Sunday, 30 June 2013

Private-Sector Cash Should Fund The Ketu Power Project

Author's note: This piece was written on 27 /6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

Apparently,  consultants for  the proposed  2,000 megawatt Ketu Power Project (KPP),  Finite Earth Consult, led by a Mr. Mayor Agbleze,  want the Ghana government to invest in their independent power producer (IPP)  project.

 One certainly hopes it is not a cash investment from  hard-pressed taxpayers that they seek. Ghana's  private sector cannot eat its cake and have it.

If we want the private sector to be the engine of growth, then let the private sector be creative enough,  to raise cash for all the projects it dreams up.

If they  are so sure of the success of the KPP, why does Finite Earth Consult not approach wealthy private investors, such as HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal,  of Kingdom Holding Company, who has the money,  and has demonstrated his faith in Ghana,  by investing in the Movenpick Hotel, to fund the KPP project?

Finite Earth Consult can also talk to Idan Heavey, the founder and CEO of Tullow Oil - who might have ideas that could be useful to the promoters of the KPP.

There are also sovereign wealth funds, such as those of Norway, Singapore and China, which invest in worthwhile projects. Why do the promoters of the KPP not approach some of them?

The golden age of business for  crony-capitalists in Ghana is  over.

With respect, the government of Ghana  cannot be  a bank of last resort for  wealthy individuals - who cannot raise funds for their own projects.

Hapless Ghanaian taxpayers will no longer tolerate that, alas. For that reason, the government of Ghana cannot invest In the Ketu power project.

Let the promoters of the Ketu power project  focus on raising money to fund the project  from the private-sector instead, to make it a 100 percent private-sector funded project - and set a worthy example to be emulated by  the promoters of other private-sector projects in Ghana. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Violence Makes No Sense For A Nation With Aspirations

Author's note: This piece was written on 25/6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

Looking at photographs of scenes of the results of lawlessness at Ashiaman in the pages of this morning's newspapers (25/6/2013),  one wonders what those law-abiding citizens living there,  whose lives were turned upside down by the unfortunate events,  felt,  during the few hours when law and order broke down completely, in parts of Ashiaman.

Whatever the reason for the violence by a section of Ashiaman's residents, the destruction they caused,  can never be justified under any circumstances - and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Violence and chaos serve no purpose and only set  nations back.

Recovering from the destruction wrought by violence and chaos brought about by political and ethnic tensions, for example, takes years - as we have seen in  places like Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast.

That is why it is so important that Ghanaian politicians eschew the kind of needless brinkmanship, which could tip our country over the precipice - and destroy the gains Ghana has made after  decades of sacrifice on the part of ordinary people: who have borne the brunt of the painful reforms that have made sustained economic growth possible today.

Now, more than ever,  Ghanaians need to come together,  to ensure that ours remains a peaceful  and tolerant society.

Ghana needs mature and responsible politicians, who understand the overriding  importance,  of maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the country -  to ensure that confidence in Ghana amongst investors is not shaken and lost.

Jobs come with investment - and no  investment can take  place in a nation racked by chaos and violence.

Let the unfortunate events in Ashiaman yesterday,  serve as a lesson to  all Ghanaians - of where our nation could end up: if we allow power- hungry and power-drunk politicians to continue getting away with not delivering the democracy dividend (of nationwide development beneficial to all) to ordinary people; but rather expend their energies  and resources dividing Ghanaian society, to either win power or continue remaining in power.

Above all, let the terrible events in Ashiaman yesterday, serve as  a wake up call to our political class.

They must cooperate across party lines more frequently, and work hard to develop the whole country. Violence simply does not make sense for a nation with aspirations.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sell ECG, GRIDCO, VRA & BPA To Japanese Power Companies

 If Ghanaians want to have a 21st century power industry, which provides reliable round-the-clock electricity, then there is a need for the country's ruling elites to  take a radical approach to reforming the national economy's power-sector.

With the mounting challenges  facing the power sector's state-owned entities, the question is: has the time not come for the enterprise  Ghana to leave the provision of electricity to the private sector?

It is obvious that the state-owned entities in Ghana's power sector need massive amounts of investment funds to modernise their plant and equipment.

Clearly, that cannot come from a cash-strapped government.
Yet,  modernise our power sector we  must, if our nation is to  grow and prosper.

Why do we therefore not marry our need for investment funds to modernise the state-owned entities in the  power sector (which the government cannot provide), to the need for new markets by Japanese companies to enable them expand and prosper in the long-term?

My humble suggestion,  is that the President invites the leaders of Japan's power industry to Ghana, to see for themselves first hand,   the lucrative potential market awaiting them in West Africa: exporting electricity from a solid Ghanaian base.

Between them,  a consortium of Japanese power companies and the country's  mutual-fund industry,  could easily buy the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG); Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO); the Volta River Authority (VRA);  and the Bui Power Authority (BPA) in one mega-deal worth a few billions, informed by a long-term perspective.

Modernising those newly-acquired Ghanaian  power companies quickly, will be in their interest - to put them on a profitable  path, which  will enable  the Japanese consortium  to start recouping  its investment.

Perhaps a separate deal with the Ghana National  Gas Company (GNGC), could empower the Japanese to develop their own pipelines and infrastructure,  for  the supply of natural gas directly from offshore Ghanaian oilfields, so that they can always have an assured supply of natural gas for their Ghanaian thermal power plants.

And if those negotiating on Ghana's behalf take a leaf from Mr. Martin Amidu's  book, and think of our nation's interest - as opposed to  seeing it as an opportunity  to receive secret kickbacks - they could persuade the Japanese consortium to pay a premium price for those state-owned utility companies,  and assume all their debt too.

That will make the government's exit from the power industry a profitable one. It will also  set a precedent for future privatisations of state-owned enterprises - in which maximum value is derived from government's exit from a particular  industry or state-owned enterprise: rather than  Ghana ending up receiving peanuts for deliberately  undervalued assets,  and   being saddled with  mountains of debt on top of fire-sale tragedies.

The opportunity to best its ache-rival China, in a win-win model-deal in an emerging market in fast-growing Africa, which  can be contrasted sharply with the bitterness  evoked by  China's hard-as-nails Shylock-type loans being extended to nations across  the continent  (such as the controversial  US$3 billion loan to Ghana), will be hard to resist for Japan.

Japan, unfortunately,  has seen its past generosity to Africa put in the shade,  by China's aggressive grab for natural resources in Africa - made palatable by the  provision of funding for  infrastructure projects throughout the continent.

With matured home markets, and an economy in which growth is less than snail-pace,   Japanese industry is desperate for new markets overseas,  to provide it with growth.

That is why this is the perfect time - especially with a President in power today, who has a lot of goodwill amongst Japan's ruling elites,  because of his past association with Japan's diplomatic mission here  -  to sell  ECG, GRIDCO, the VRA and  BPA to Japanese power companies.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Thank Goodness Ghana Still Has Many Decent People In It

Author's note: This piece was written on 20/6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

The cynicism and bile elicited by an article of mine posted online (entitled: "Helping Ghanaians In The Diaspora Execute Projects Successfully"), suggesting  an untapped  Diasporan business opportunity existed,  for reputable financial services sector companies in Ghana - and that perhaps they ought  to consider offering  a service enabling Ghanaians living overseas,  to successfully  complete their projects in Ghana from their  bases abroad -  illustrates perfectly the depths to which public morality seems to have  sunk in Ghana.

Abuse from strangers one does not know  - many immature adults from their inane and abusive comments on  articles they couldn't possibly have read with any comprehension: judging by their  reaction  -   can be expected on some online platforms, but that so many  people who commented on the article  seemed  to actually believe that no honest individuals can be found anywhere in Ghana, is worrying in the extreme.

Of course,  not all Ghanaians hold such negative views about themselves and those they know - and it will do Ghanaian society no good at all,  if  our children and their children's children,  were to become infected by  the cynical and limiting viewpoint that we are a dishonest people.

Yes, we must go through life being careful, to ensure  that we are not taken advantage of,  by dishonest people - who are to be found in every nation on the surface of the  planet Earth, incidentally  -  but we must not be so negative as to believe  that there aren't many Martin Amidus in Ghanaian society, for example. Indeed,  there are.

It is true that  there are many not-so-honest individuals in Ghana - just as there are everywhere else in the world, for that matter  - but not all Ghanaians have been infected by the money-at-all-costs-virus  that makes some  lose their values and bearings.

At any rate, most of the people I personally know, are people with values,  who are men and women of integrity. In that  old-fashioned world,  helping each other,  is not a shady-business-opportunity to rip one another off.

In  light  of such socially destructive  cynicism amongst the commentariat, I am certainly glad I did  not grow up in a Ghana,  in which having values and integrity,  meant  one was  an oddball and a fool.

I admit to the fact that I am no saint myself - I have a vile temper, I am ashamed to say. And I can be very mean: I hate flies and mosquitoes - both of which I annihilate on sight,  when spotted, with water-based pyretherium insecticide.

Let the cynics who think every Ghanaian in Ghana is a crook, speak for themselves.

Luckily for me, the everyday world I inhabit in the Ghana of today,  as I edge towards my 60th year on this earth,  is still full of individuals with values and integrity. Thank goodness,  for such little mercies, say I.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Helping Ghanaians In The Diaspora Execute Projects Successfully

Author's note: This piece was written on 19/6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so, on the day. Please read on:

Over the years I have come across horrific stories of betrayal,  in which close family members and friends,  of Ghanaians in the Diaspora, have duped those hard-working Ghanaians residing overseas - who have sent various sums of money to Ghana for projects, which never materialised.

Instead of having to go through the hassle and loss of hard-to-replace-cash involved in finding reliable and honest individuals they can count on, on a trial-and-error basis, surely,  there ought to be businesses in Ghana, which could specialise in overseeing sundry projects financed by Ghanaians in the Diaspora, who have no trusted individuals they can rely on in Ghana?

Currently, for example, my partner and I are  committed to helping a childhood friend,  who works and resides in the United States of America, to successfully execute projects that have previously  stalled -   for lack of reliable  oversight in  the execution of the multi-faceted projects.

Although doing so on a purely voluntary basis, and only working to help a team he has put together himself, we  shall ensure that no one takes him for a ride - as our  own integrity will be at stake. Being old-fashioned, our  word is our  bond - so  we intend to help him successfully realise all his plans.

It is Ghanaians like him who will help create jobs in Ghana and help make our nation prosperous - so the authorities must find a way to assist them, by creating finacial instruments they can invest in to help Ghana grow and prosper from.

Why does the government not encourage pension funds in  Ghana to set up mutual funds,  to which it could offer some of its dollar-based sovereign bonds to, and which  Ghanaians in the Diaspora could invest in, for example?

Wealth management teams of financial services sector companies, which  cater to the high net worth individuals niche, ought to also  think of assisting individuals in the Diaspora such as  my childhood friend - by offering them a blue-chip  service that enables them   successfully complete their  projects from their overseas  bases: safe in the knowledge that the best architects, surveyors, quantity surveyors, building engineers, lawyers, etc., and the highest quality building  materials,  will be used in the execution of their projects.

Food for thought for innovative and dynamic companies like the UT Group and Guardian Assurance perhaps? A bespoke service, with regular status reports, helping high net worth  Ghanaians in the Diaspora, to execute their projects in Ghana successfully, could turn out to be a very lucrative niche  for Ghana's financial services sector indeed.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Use Swiss Law Courts To Unravel Mystery Of Supposed Oman Ghana Trust Billions In Switzerland

Author's note: This piece was written on 18/6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

Today, global public opinion, including that of  political  leaderships worldwide,    want to see an end to  banking secrecy,  in tax havens.

For decades, that  banking secrecy in tax havens,  has enabled corruptly-obtained  money around the world, to be salted away in secret offshore bank accounts in  tax havens.

The question for patriotic,  one-nation Ghanaians is:  since the climate is now more favourable, why do the Ghanaian authorities not work together with the Federal Swiss government, to use the law courts in Switzerland,  to unravel the mystery of the supposed US$30-plus billions allegedly sitting in a Swiss bank, and which apparently is for the people of Ghana?

Could that cash not be invested in long-term paper in Switzerland itself, on Ghana's behalf,  by the bank in which the account is said to be held - and the coupon used to pay some of the interest on Ghana's mountain of foreign debt,  and to retire some of that debt at term's end, one wonders?

That will enable the Ghanaian authorities to cut taxes levied on businesses, for example - something which will help companies in Ghana to expand and employ more people: who currently are not in paid employment.

The taxpayers of Switzerland too, would also benefit from such a move - as the Swiss government would not have to provide Ghana with any official aid, were those funds, if they exist, to be released to the Ghanaian authorities.

Surely, with global public opinion  ranged against banking secrecy in tax havens, the time has now come for Ghana to use the Swiss law courts,  to enable the government  unravel the mystery of the supposed Oman Ghana Trust billions in a bank in Switzerland? A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

NPP's Moderates Must Seize Control Of Their Party Now

Author's note: This piece was written on 18/6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on: 

I have often  wondered   what the views of the hard-working and prosperous middle-class people in the neighbourhood I live, really are, when contentious national issues have come up for debate,  in the court of public opinion.

Those hard-working and prosperous Ghanaians,  who live in my neighbourhood,  are a natural constituency for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Clearly, if the NPP wants to continue holding  on to the support of this particular demographic in Ghanaian society, the party must distance itself from the old-style Ghanaian politics - in which cynical and extremist politicians often  hire  thugs,  petty criminals and  muscled-spongers  as "enforcers",  to dish out insults and  physical punishment to independent minds, such as  the party's Charles Wireko-Brobbeys and Kwame Pianims.

For such fair-minded and hard-working middle-class Ghanaians of good conscience,  who also believe in the enterprise Ghana, the question  is: should the NPP not  be presenting Ghanaians with alternative policies, whenever criticising the regime currently in power in Ghana,  and gaining more new converts to its cause that way - instead of the endless insults and negativity, which  is now standard fare  for its small army of  "communicators", many of whom wax lyrical,   doom-mongering  on the airwaves of radio and television stations across the nation, and only end up putting off so many independent-minded,  patriotic and apolitical Ghanaians,  as a result of  their cynicism and endless negativity?

The intolerance shown by political parties in Ghana to independent-minds, is worrying in the extreme. Democracy is not only just a system of government -  it is also a way of life based on tolerance. Cutting-edge and innovative ideas seldom evolve from groups and societies that are intolerant of dissenting views.

Little wonder that party manifestos in Ghana seldom contain  creative ideas that are truly transformational.

It is not surprising that geniuses,    who for blinkered and cynical political reasons, even criticise  Supreme Court judges and accuse them of scarring off foreign investors -  for  ruling against foreign crooks running dodgy businesses here, which  defraud the Ghanaian nation-state to the tune of some tens of millions of euros,  by  fraudulently securing judgement-debt orders in the law courts against the Republic of Ghana - hold sway in the NPP of today. Incredible.

What, one wonders,  are we then to make of  regulators in the bastions of capitalism,  the UK and the US,  which not too long ago, slapped  fines of billions of dollars on leading banks guilty of manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), for example, I ask?

Did they drive away investors from the UK and the USA,  in droves, in acting against  banks engaged in what some would describe as near-criminal behaviour  - going by the strange logic of that NPP hardliner and genius?

It is those selfsame geniuses who have driven  the NPP's fleet of Yutong buses  to the end of so many  metaphorical cul-de-sacs that they  seem unable to reverse out of.

Let the pragmatists  and one-nation politicians in the NPP,  grab  the  steering wheels of their party's fleet of Yutong buses,  from the unsteady  hands of those smug,  arrogant and incompetent drivers,   whose poor map-reading skills lead only to cul-de-sacs, before December 2016 steals up on them.

The vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians are simply fed up with the nation-wrecking politics of violence, insults and  intolerance.

That is why the NPP must change course - and move away   from the path of  intolerance and endless negativity,  before it becomes  too late to do so.

Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and the party's prosperous middle-class silent-majority-base - as well as the ordinary people of Ghana who are inconvenienced by all that negativity -   definitely deserve  better. The NPP's moderates must seize control of their party now. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Open Letter To Ghana's Finance Minister

Honourable Minister,

Years ago, I wrote an article urging the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to take steps to enable Ghana switch to certified  organic cocoa production.

It was read by the then Finance Minister, the Hon. Baah-Wiredu of blessed memory - who  thanked  me for what he said was an insightful article.

That was typical of the late Baah-Wiredu - who was aware that I had authored many articles that were extremely critical of  the New Patriotic Party (NPP)  regime of President Kufuor.

What mattered to him,  was that my article pointed the way to the future,  for Ghana's cocoa industry.

The upshot of it,  is that when the Hon. Baah-Wiredu accompanied President Kufuor to Switzerland on an official visit,  the President had a meeting with the Ghanaian community in Switzerland - at which  the then finance minister apparently  engaged a young Ghanaian resident in Switzerland, Mr. Yayra Glover, in a conversation.

Impressed by Mr. Yayra Glover, when asked what he could do to get him to return to Ghana, Mr. Glover is said to have told the minister that  if given a license to produce and purchase certified organic cocoa for export, he would return  home to set up a business to organise cocoa farmers to produce and export certified organic cocoa beans to Switzerland.

Mr. Tony Fofie was the deputy chief executive of the COCOBOD at the time.

It so happened that around that time, I was also  trying to help a young man, Mr. Newton Amaglo -  who had the agency for a natural  pesticide made from neem seed oil that was manufactured in India - to get his natural neem pesticide tested by     the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) for approval for use by cocoa farmers.

It was then that I  met Mr Fofie, who was very helpful and got his male secretary to arrange for CRIG to test the natural neem seed oil pesticide.

To the eternal credit of Mr. Fofie, he  was quick to grasp  the long-term need for Ghana to switch to organic cocoa production,  to enable it  maintain its position as a major  producer and exporter of cocoa beans, in subsequent phone  conversations with him at the time.

Indeed,  he pointed it out to me that CRIG and the NGO Agro-Eco were  actually involved with a group of organic cocoa  farmers  at  Akwadum in the Eastern Region.

For me, it is entirely fitting that today Mr. Tony Fofie is in charge of the COCOBOD as chief executive.

For it is  at precisely the  time when someone  from Ghana's Western Region, Madam Christina Nana Armah Amihere,  is  endeavouring to bring a company with experience in certified organic production in Belize to Ghana.

Madam Amihere's  vision is to  see organic cocoa  grown using natural organic fertiliser, biochar and permaculture methods,  creating sustainable   wealth for rural dwellers  in her home region,  the Western Region.

The idea is to replicate a certified organic cocoa project that Carbon Gold and Craig Sams have in Belize,  here in Ghana too.

Carbon Gold was  founded by Mr. Craig Sams, the founder of Whole Earth Foods and co-founder of Green & Black's, the  organic chocolate company.

Green & Black's was  taken over by Cadbury,  which in turn was itself also  taken over by Kraft Foods, the US multinational food giant - but has kept its fairtrade ethos.

When they appeared on the scene, the Belize project   was apparently faced with ruin. The high price they once enjoyed from the buyer of their beans,  had collapsed  from US$1.80  to 55¢ a pound.

As providence would have it, Mr. Craig Sams appeared on the scene  when  they suffered the price-collapse for their cocoa beans - as a white knight to the rescue, so to speak.

Today,  the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) farmer's co-operative in Belize is thriving - supplying the beans for Mr. Craig Sams' new chocolate, Maya Gold.

Mr. Sam's company, Carbon Gold, which produces and sells biochar, wants to replicate its organic cocoa production success in Belize in Ghana.

It will be a return to West Africa for Green and Black's co-founder, Mr. Craig Sams - as prior to going to Belize in 1993, Green and Black's sourced its cocoa beans from Togo.

Political instability in Togo - post-election violence - forced the company to look for a new supply source, which ended up in Belize.

I am writing this  letter  to appeal to  you to help Madame Amihere  collaborate with Carbon Gold and its founder, Mr. Craig Sams   to  replicate their successful  Belize organic cocoa project here too -  as my humble contribution to helping Ghana eventually switch to organic cocoa production,  to secure the industry's long-term future.

Since it will qualify as a free-zone entity, who knows, perhaps years down the road we might  even succeed in getting Mr. Sams to build a factory here,  to produce organic chocolate in Ghana's Western Region  - to   supply own-brand organic chocolate to   supermarket chains in the UK, the EU,  the US,    Russia, China and Japan, and create sustainable wealth and well-paid jobs in  the Western Region.

Please do what Mr. Baah-Wiredu did to make possible  the Yayra Glover Project,  for the far-sighted and dynamic Madam Amihere  - by encouraging  the COCOBOD to give her planned   partnership with Carbon Gold and its founder,   a licence to buy and export  certified organic  cocoa beans from the farmers  they  will work with,  in the Western Region,  to convert to organic cocoa farming.

At the moment they are actively seeking funding for the proposed project in the Western Region.

Many thanks in advance for your assistance - and Happy Father's Day to you in advance, Sir.

Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,

Kofi Thompson.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Why President Mahama Will Make a Formidable Opponent In 2016

When it transpired recently,  that Mr. Randy Abbey had been falsely accused of causing the arrest of the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Michael Omari Wadie,  by the Bureau for National Investigations (BNI),  what was lost on those spreading that unpardonable  falsehood, was that today, Randy Abbey, a member of the group of journalists known as the "Coffee Shop Mafia",   appeared to be viewed by some NPP members as a political turncoat.

It illustrates perfectly, the uniqueness of  President Mahama in the world of Ghanaian politics - in his amazing ability to attract the loyalty of independent-minded and apolitical individuals who love Ghana with passion.

It is this special gift the President has, which is the main reason why his political opponents should never underrate him. They do so  at their own peril. He is a very formidable opponent to have.

For example, in a conversation with the Honourable AIban Bagbin recently, I  was struck by his loyalty to the President - and his determination to help President Mahama succeed.

"I will do whatever I can to make the President succeed. His success is my success - and my success is his success. Who Jah bless, let no one curse!", was the way he put it.

Yet, many would think someone as  influential in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as the Hon. Bagbin is, would be  resentful of the President,  and regard him as a rival.

Incredible though it is, today,   there is unity amongst those in the  top echelons of the NDC.

Even super-critical former President Rawlings seems to be willing to be open-minded about President
Mahama. And that speaks volumes.

And under President Mahama, the party is shying away from the abusive politics of the past - whiles its opponents stay with the old-style politics of never-ending abuse of their political opponents. President Mahama must be the most abused Ghanaian leader in history.

Yet,  quietly,  and without fanfare, President Mahama is taking actions that few thought was possible in Ghana, a nation in which cynicism about politicians is widespread.

Serious action, including   investigations,  follow swiftly, once  allegations of corruption against even  leading NDC members appear in the public domain.

The investigations being carried out to ascertain the veracity or otherwise,  of allegations of corruption at  the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA),  and the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA),  are examples.

And at long last, the powerful and wealthy vested interests,  behind most of the illegal gold mining going on in Ghana, have their backs against the wall - as nationwide action is taken to halt their egregiuos gang-rape of the Ghanaian countryside.

And who would have thought that a senior figure in the national security apparatus would be arrested for alleged malfeasance - and the fact made public immediately?

To defeat such a formidable opponent, the NPP would be wise  to  swiftly rid itself of the party's extremists,  whose power-winning-strategy is scorched-earth-politics:  in which everything that can contribute to making the country ungovernable and ensure its decline, is covertly given wings.

Many ordinary Ghanaians have taken note of this nation-wrecking agenda,  specifically designed to make President Mahama fail -  and because of their innate sense of fairness,  and the inconvenience it is causing to millions of families across the nation,   will take it into account,  when the day of reckoning comes around again  in December 2016.

In the face of the many challenges confronting his regime,  whiles his opponents take to abusing him, the President and his administration are  working quietly to solve the many problems facing Ghana and its people.

Let his opponents in the NPP beware - they risk  being left behind as Ghana inches forward despite its many challenges. If the President were to publicly publish his assets and those of his wife today, he will bury the NPP in December 2016. Even as things stand, he is a very formidable opponent indeed. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Bar Companies Securing Judgement Debts Against Ghana From Bidding For Government Contracts

The outrageous and shabby story of how Latex Foam was allowed to secure  a  judgement debt of some Gh¢207,356.62 (on October 26, 2009), because the Attorney General's Department failed to contest the case, even  though no formal contract existed between the company  and the Ghana@50 Planning Committee, illustrates perfectly, how the carelessness of  much of officialdom  has permitted the Republic of Ghana to be ripped-off  by sundry  private-sector entities,  with complete  impunity,  for decades since the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966.

To compound the outrage, in that particular instance of the manipulation of the legal system to milk Mother Ghana dry  -  by a clever and well-connected few,  who  secured a judgement debt of dubious provenance -  there was no competitive bidding for the supply of those confounded mattresses to  the Ghana@50 Planning Committee.

What commercial entity,  underpinned by corporate good governance principles, and run by individuals of good conscience, would go to court, knowing full well  that it delivered part of the order for mattresses to the Ghana@50 Planning Committee, long after the VIP guests invited to attend the 50th Independence Day anniversary  celebrations - who were to sleep on those apparently tailor-made  mattresses -  had departed our shores, I ask?

The time has now  come for  all our politicians to agree that companies  securing judgement debts against the Republic of Ghana,  under dubious circumstances, will be blacklisted,   and barred from bidding for government contracts, in perpetuity.

Why should such businesses be given yet more of  taxpayers' money,  when once upon a time they demanded their pound of flesh in ruthless fashion,  without any consideration  for the dire economic situation facing the nation, by securing judgement debts against the Republic of Ghana, and under  dubious circumstances?

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Hon. Dzifa Attivor: Creative Solution Addressing Virgin Atlantic Airways' Concerns

It is important that those who lead our nation, think creatively,  when confronted with problems.

Instead of being embarrassed  by Virgin Atlantic Airways' decision to stop flying to Ghana, because of the high cost  of aviation fuel,   the minister of transport, the Hon. Dzifa Aku Attivor, ought to seize it as an opportunity to get Virgin Atlantic Airways and the other airlines that fly here, to support a bio-diesel initiative in Ghana.

That bio-diesel initiative,  will also help repair some of the environmental damage,  caused by illegal gold mining around the country - killing  two birds with one stone, as it were.

The idea,  is that all the gold mining companies in Ghana, will be encourage to contribute to an environmental restoration fund.

Out of that fund, rural co-operatives,  made up of unemployed people,  will plant vertiver grass and jetropha trees around the  country,  to help repair some of the damage to the natural environment,  caused by illegal gold mining.

Vertiver grass has been shown to be  very effective in removing toxic material from soils.

Those rural co-operatives,  will also plant  jetropha trees to supply jetropha nuts  to a number of bio-diesel production units (perhaps co-owned by the Virgin Group  and District Assemblies as PPP projects) around the country, to produce bio-diesel for Virgin Atlantic Airways and other interested airlines, which fly to Ghana and are keen to use a green fuel, as their contribution to the fight against global warming.

The vertiver grass planted by the rural co-operatives,  will remove the poisonous heavy metals and chemicals, which  have leeched into the soil,  in areas where gold mining has ended.

Seedlings of vertiver grass for the rural  co-operatives to plant around the country, in areas in the countryside damaged by illegal gold mining, can be  acquired from a 5-acre  nursery at Bunso,   owned by Dr. Dale Rachmeler (of Business Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) fame).

As a CSR initiative, the association of small-scale gold miners could also  pay  the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research's (CSIR) Plant Genetic Resources Centre of Bunso, to produce seedlings of jetropha for the rural jetropha and vertiver grass planting co-operatives.

That is a creative solution,  which apart from creating jobs in rural Ghana, will also  produce bio-diesel for use by airlines flying in and out of  Ghana - whiles using vertiver grass to repair some of  the environmental damage caused by illegal gold mining in Ghana.

All the airlines that fly to Ghana, could  be asked to contribute to a fund to implement the idea -  which will enable each  one of them to enhance their individual corporate image respectively: funding a CSR bio-diesel (and vertiver grass) initiative, which  produces a green fuel for airlines,  and also helps repair the harm caused to the natural environment by illegal gold miners.

Ghana's minister for transport, the Hon. Dzifa Aku Attivor,  can fine-tune the idea with Virgin Atlantic Airways' highly-creative founder, Sir Richard Branson,  and the other airlines that fly here - to produce a workable initiative from the seed of the idea I have just planted, which will enable all of them to neutralise the carbon-footprint of their respective fleet of aircraft.

It is a simple and creative solution to address Virgin Atlantic Airways' concerns, which led  to its  departure from Ghana. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Close Down Support Services Companies Serving Small-Scale Gold Miners

For nearly two decades now, I have participated in the dangerous and  lonely fight against the rape of Mother Nature, in what is one of the most beautiful places on the surface of the planet Earth - the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest.

In the process, I, like others involved in that war,  have made many enemies - many of whom are super-wealthy criminals,  who do not care one jot about the effect of their actions,  on their fellow humans and the natural environment.

So, more than most, I actually know what it entails protecting Mother Nature from wealthy and powerful individuals, bent on destroying what has taken millions of years to evolve, in their quest for gold.

My family owns a total freehold landholding of   some 14 square miles,   in the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest - which is constantly under threat from hunters, illegal loggers and illegal gold miners.

Being at the sharp end, one therefore approves  of the ongoing  battle to halt illegal gold miners and illegal  loggers from destroying what is left of Ghana's natural heritage.

Over the years, I have often despaired at the complacency of much of officialdom - and been enraged when I have come across corrupt officials working for the regulatory bodies that are supposed to prosecute illegal loggers and gold miners,  but who rather choose to aid them escape punishment instead.

At age 60, I am glad to have lived long enough,  to have seen  for the very first time,  the Ghanaian nation-state actually taking determined and sustained action,  to halt the rape and poisoning of vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, by the greedy and selfish criminals engaged in illegal gold mining and illegal logging.

President Mahama deserves the respect and gratitude of all Ghanaians,  for this determined fight by the Ghanaian nation-state,  to halt the rape of the Ghanaian countryside by illegal gold miners and illegal loggers.

Clearly, the powerful vested interests that profit  from illegal logging and illegal gold mining will fight back.

Our political class must therefore unite,  and  ensure that a  bill is brought quickly before Parliament,  and passed into law, which will  make  it mandatory for  all equipment -  including chainsaws; the trucks used to cart chainsaw lumber; as well as the excavators, vehicles and other accoutrements - used in illegal logging and illegal gold mining,  to be seized and forfeited to the state.

Additionally, all permits and licenses (including work permits for foreigners)  issued to mining support services companies servicing  small-scale mining companies must be revoked and withdrawn.

It has become obvious that registering as a mining support services company, is the new  ruse being used by the wealthiest and most powerful amongst  the criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal gold mining that goes on across the country, to provide legal cover for their  crimes against humanity.

Small-scale gold mining,  by definition,  is an artisinal economic activity,  meant to create jobs for rural people.

It was never meant to be an economic activity,  in which 32-tonne excavators that can destroy what has taken millions of years to evolve,  in a matter of a few hours, are deployed to  mine   gold  to enrich a wealthy and selfish few,  at the expense  of the well-being of the rest of Ghanaian society.

The time has now come for swift action to be taken to close  that legal loophole for wealthy criminals engaged in illegal gold mining in Ghana. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Ghanaians Must Unite To Save Their Nation

Author's note: This piece was written on 9/6/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

Driving  through  a part of Kasoa,  apparently known as "High Tension",  at dawn yesterday, I was struck by just how industrious your average Ghanaian is.

Many people were already up and  getting ready for the day.

It is this earnest  approach to life, in order  to ensure a better future for their families, which lies at the heart of the wish that virtually all Ghanaians have that their nation remains  peaceful and stable.

And it is also the reason why no prudent politician in the Ghana of today, should encourage the violence-prone extremists in their midst -  who sometimes hire thugs to cause mayhem around the country:  in furtherance of their power-at-any-cost agenda.

The danger for our country, is that today's hired-thug causing mayhem across the country for extremist and power-hungry politicians, is tomorrow's terrorist  -  planting bombs for cash, at the behest of Al Qaeda-type terrorist groups.

And as sure as day follows night,  they will hold us all to ransom,  in the end, one day.  Ordinary people in Ghana do not deserve such a fate.

That is why the  time has now come for all political parties in Ghana,  to offer their support,  for   those in charge of protecting the Republic and the government of the day - so that the professionals in our security agencies  can  focus on those who actually pose a real threat to the stability of Ghana: as opposed to harassing  those who for patriotic reasons criticise wrongdoing by those at the helm of affairs in our country.

Criticising those engaged in high-level corruption, is not treason.

Yet, for years now, for example, an insignificant individual like myself,  has been under surveillance,  for no other reason,   than that I have been  critical  of some influential members of governments  of the day - under both New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) regimes.

That is absurd -   and a complete waste of valuable time and resources,  for those whose actual job is to protect our nation from real threats, such as terrorism and super-wealthy criminals wanting impunity for their unlawful actions.

It is  also the reason why partisan politics ought to be kept out of the fight against illegal gold mining - which ought to be waged in relentless fashion, in order  to bring that existential-menace to an end.

As a people, we must never forget that members of the wealthy and ruthless criminal syndicates,  behind much of the illegal gold mining in Ghana, are all potential warlords in the making.

The strategic alliances they are striking with foreign criminal elements,  seeking to launder dirty-money through illegal gold mining here, pose a real danger to our country and its democratic institutions.

For that reason, it is vital that new laws authorising the seizure and forfeiture of  heavy earthmoving equipment,  vehicles and other accoutrements used by illegal gold miners in their operations  - and, incidentally,  anyone using a 32-tonne  excavator is by definition not a small-scale gold miner:  and must therefore not be given  a small-scale mining permit under any circumstances - are passed quickly by Parliament, under a certificate of urgency.

The time has come for all Ghanaians - including members of our political class -  to unite to defeat  the nation-wreckers in our midst, who are seeking to destroy our peaceful,  stable and democratic country, for purely selfish reasons.

Indeed, ordinary  Ghanaians have no choice, but to unite,  to defeat the malevolent forces ranged against their nation. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The NPP's Moderates Must Take Control Of Their Party To Secure Its Future

For some fair-minded Ghanaians, it was  extraordinary that those who allege that  the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan,  colluded with President Mahama,  to rig the December 2012 presidential election in the President's favour, objected to his being allowed to give evidence in the presidential election petition being heard by the Supreme Court.

For such discerning Ghanaians, it was an unfair legal tactic that  was hard to fathom -  and in their view  was  rightly over-ruled by the panel of judges.

In search of the truth, what did it matter that Dr. Afari-Djan's  deputy, rather than the chairperson of the Electoral Commission himself,  had  signed affidavits covering the Electoral Commission's documents  submitted to the Supreme Court?

To those  patriotic Ghanaians   who despise the extremists amongst our political class, that aborted legal manoeuvre by the petitioners' legal team,  illustrates perfectly, the cynicism  and ruthlessness  of the  hardliners who prevailed on the  New Patriotic Party (NPP) to agree to the Supreme Court being  petitioned to overturn the declaration by the Electoral Commissioner, of President Mahama as victor, in the 2013 presidential election.

Clearly, for that small group of  NPP the-end-justifies-the-means  hardliners,  who remote-control their party from the shadows -  and who are  depending on  a falsehood to secure the presidency for their party's defeated candidate -  the object of the presidential election petition before the Supreme Court, is not about  seeking  the truth as to  what actually occurred during the two days of polling in the 2012 presidential election, but the clever use of arguments  and legal technicalities,  to enable them achieve their objective. It is all "political" -  to quote one NPP genius.

There are many fair-minded Ghanaians,  for whom it was  against natural justice,  and most unfortunate, that those who have openly maligned  a man of  great honour,   who has  served his country diligently as Electoral Commissioner for many years, and supervised  presidential and parliamentary elections,  in which there have twice been transfers of power from one political party to another -   resulting from victories of  presidential candidates of opposition parties in December 2000 and December 2008 -  objected  to the Supreme Court allowing Dr. Afari-Djan  to give evidence,  to ascertain the truth or otherwise,  of their own allegations.

Those NPP hardliners and extremists,   for whom the late J. B. Da Rocha's patriotic principle  of a political party putting the national interest above momentary party advantage, when the country faces  an existential threat, is an  alien concept,  have brought Ghana to a dangerous moment in its history.

Those who are making life unbearable for millions of ordinary people,  as they make Ghana "ungovernable",  came to the Supreme Court merely to manipulate the legal system,  to enable them obtain what they failed to secure in the December 2012 presidential election: political power. Alas, they will fail there too.

To secure its future, when the inevitable  happens, one hopes that the NPP's many decent-minded moderates -  whom one is absolutely sure genuinely believe that the Supreme Court presidential election petition is a principled move  to  set a precedent to ensure the sanctity of all future elections -  will move swiftly  to seize  control of their party,  from those  hardliners and extremists,  into whose grasping and incompetent  hands their party has fallen. Without them, it could be third-time-lucky for Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.  A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Tel: 027 745 3109.

Monday, 3 June 2013

No Political Party In Africa Can Succeed With A Dark Ages World-View

In 21st century Africa, no political party that does not tolerate dissenting voices,  is likely to appeal to the fair-minded and independent-minded African  (whether educated or not).

A political party of that nature,  is also unlikely to be one that brims with cutting-edge ideas,  about moving  society  forward,   which will attract voters in numbers sufficient enough,  to enable it win  national elections in the continent  comfortably.

And neither will  any political party vying for power in national elections in 21st century Africa be successful, if the most powerful and influential individuals amongst its leadership,   secretly still hold a Dark Ages world-view,   that somehow members of their ethnic group  are superior beings   whose pre-colonial traditional ruling elites'  natural place,  ought to be  at the helm of the social order.

Above all, in an Africa in which smartphones with internet access to Facebook and Twitter are all the rage amongst the younger generation,  and thousands of private radio and television stations bring   the latest news to even the tiniest of hamlets on the continent daily, it is folly of the highest order,  for  any group of politicians to think that they can successfully hide the truth from their people,  forever.

If they want to still remain relevant in Ghanaian politics, let those members of our political class,  who seem to  have forgotten that democracy is not only  a  system of government, but is  also a way of life based on tolerance, be guided by  all the above.

Over the long run, no political party in 21st century Africa,   can  succeed with a Dark Ages worldview - and the sooner Ghanaian  political parties that are  failing to rid themselves of the arrogant, intolerant and violence-prone extremists  in their midst,  understood that,   the better it will be for them. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Japan: Perfect Source Of Beneficial PPP Projects For Ghana?

Genuine private public partnerships (PPP) that actually benefit the Republic of Ghana -  as opposed to opening the doors to the national treasury for ruthless exploitation by private-sector carpetbaggers -  could provide our nation with infrastructure,  at very little cost to Ghanaian taxpayers.

Since Japan is  currently in the news,  because it has just hosted a summit on African development attended by Ghana's President Mahama, I will use it as an example,  to illustrate how genuine PPP projects can benefit Ghana and private-sector investors equally.

Like many wealthy developed nations, Japan's economy has been in the doldrums for decades - and its annual  GDP figures over the period tell that unfortunate  no-growth-story perfectly.

Fast-growing Ghana,  an emerging market blessed with a stable democracy,  and a peaceful political climate,  as well as an industrious and welcoming people, could therefore  become a magnet for Japanese companies, desperate to find lucrative overseas opportunities,  in a global economy now  more or less dominated by its arch-rival China.

If those in charge of our nation are creative enough in their thinking, they could ask Japanese companies with suitable  expertise,  to bid for a number of PPP infrastructure projects in Ghana, to be  wholly financed by private investors, such as the following:

(1) A PPP project to build and operate a modern railway system, which  connects all the regional capitals to Accra,   and reaches  Paga, Elubo and Aflao as well.

Many Japanese companies are capable of  sourcing funding for such a build, operate and transfer PPP project.

(2) Japanese power companies  could also be attracted to come to Ghana to take advantage of Ghana's dream  of self-sufficiency  in power generation, and becoming  the leading exporter of power in  West Africa.

They could build  their own gas-fired double-cycle power plants; offshore wind-power farms; tidal-wave power plants;  and mini-hydro power  plants.

To save them from  having to build their own power lines and electricity distribution network, they could be offered the opportunity to takeover the Ghana Grid Company (Gridco), the Volta River Authority (VRA)  and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) -  paying their full value and assuming  all their debt  -  in exchange for charging  electricity rates the two sides  deem fit (but which are fair by international power industry standards)  for the 25 years they will be allowed to operate Ghana's  power system as a PPP project financed entirely by them.

(3) Japanese road construction companies could also be given the opportunity,  to construct a  concrete tolled motorway network linking all the regional capitals to Accra, and  be allowed to charge their own toll rates (within reason, naturally) and repatriate 100 percent of their annual  profits tax-free,  over the 25-year period they will  operate and maintain that  concrete motorway network, which will be financed entirely by them.

(4) Japanese companies could also be given the PPP opportunity,  to build canals to form a water transportation system,  connecting  the  south and north of Ghana, based on the Volta Lake.

They   could also  operate boats (including hovercraft and hydrofoils) and barges on that water transportation system in addition, for 25 years -  repatriating all their profits tax free.

Ghana's contribution to such PPP projects with Japanese companies, would simply be to:

* Make all imports for the execution of the projects tax-free.

* Ensure that Japanese employed to work on the projects do not have  to pay Ghanaian income taxes on their salaries.

* Remove all local  bureaucratic impediments to the projects'  successful implementation.

The beauty of striking such deals for PPP infrastructure projects, is that unlike  contracting commercial loans for infrastructure projects,   present and future generations Ghanaians,    will not be burdened with the cost of paying for those PPP infrastructure projects,  financed and built by  Japanese companies.

Naturally,  the agreements covering all  the Japanese PPP projects in Ghana, should  state that the construction work must meet and conform to Japanese standards - which are amongst the most stringent in the world.

The value for Ghana and its people,  would be that there would be no need to use any  taxpayers' money,  to build a modern rail network linking all the regional capitals to Accra; build a concrete  motorway network linking all the regional capitals to Accra; have canals linking the southern half of Ghana to the northern half of the country with the Volta Lake; and have a modernised 21st century mixed-energy power system.

Because ethical behaviour is an integral part of Japanese  culture, unlike companies from elsewhere in the globe,  Japanese  companies  tend to take issues  of corporate good governance seriously, when operating overseas.

For that reason, they will make perfect PPP partners for Ghana - meaning that  they will never cheat us by doing shoddy work in any of their PPP projects: and above all,  they will neither  be  disrespectful to Ghanaians nor be contemptuous of  Ghanaian culture.

Instead of seeing Japan as a place to take the begging-bowl to, and to borrow money from, to saddle future generations of Ghanaians with yet more debt, let those who now rule our nation think creatively - and see Japan  as a perfect source of  PPP projects beneficial to  Ghana and all  its people. A word to the wise.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Crony-Capitalism Must Not Be Allowed To Destroy GYEEDA

Today,   youth unemployment has become a global social problem. It is a problem that  governments in nations around the world, both rich and poor,  are grappling with - with varied degrees of success.

Luckily, there are a number of government initiatives in Ghana - the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP) and its variants being examples  -   which are creating thousands of micro-entrepreneurs.

In a sense,  initiatives of that nature,   are perfect tools   for ensuring social mobility in Ghana, for the marginalised in society. They also create an entrepreneurship culture amongst marginalised and poor communities in both urban and rural Ghana.

In a nation with huge disparities in wealth, that is a  vital societal safety-valve,  for  preventing  possible violent future  social upheaval.

It is for that reason that it is  so important  that those now running Ghana,   appreciate the fact that such schemes ought to  be  run efficiently,  and in transparent fashion - because over the long-term,   they have the potential to transform the lives of  millions of marginalised young people,  around the country.

Against the backdrop of  media allegations of widespread corruption, the government must move  swiftly,    to put   right   whatever has gone  wrong,    at the  Ghana Youth Employment and Enterprise Development Agency (GYEEDA).

At the heart of the malaise at GYEEDA,  and similar initiatives like it,  is the totally unacceptable greed that seems to underpin its implementation.

It appears to have ended up becoming  a clever money-making scheme for the well-connected. That is unjust and shameful.

In one instance,  for example, as much as Ghc400 out of every Ghc500 of taxpayers' cash,  paid per month for  each participant -  in an initiative meant to train, equip and empower marginalised and unemployed youth to become self-employed -  ends up  being paid to a  private-sector entity as  "management fees":  in a process whose hallmark is its structured-opaqueness.

That cannot be justified under any circumstances. The government must ensure that the bulk of hapless taxpayers' cash,   used for all such initiatives, goes directly into the end-of-training packages  designed to set participants up in business, after successfully completing their training.

Surely, there are   many entrepreneurial and training consultancies in Ghana, which  would happily accept Ghc50 " training and management fees" per participant per month,  to deliver training for GYEEDA's various "modules",   if put out to tender  for competitive bidding?

Under no circumstances should  egregious crony-capitalism,   be allowed to destroy what is a taxpayer-sponsored way out of the poverty-trap,  for millions of unemployed young people   across  the country. A word to the wise...

Tel:027 745 3109.

Asiedu-Nketia Exposes Nature Of Conspiracy Against President Mahama

Author's note: This piece was written on 29/5/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day.Please read on:

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, is a man I have been critical of, on occasion. So I cannot possibly be accused of  seeing him through rose-tinted glasses.

His down to earth witness-box-manner,  in giving evidence in the December 2012 presidential election petition  currently being heard by the Supreme Court panel of nine judges, made him come across as an honest man,  earnestly seeking to help  the Supreme Court  unravel the truth in the matter before it.

In his last day under cross-examination by Mr. Philip Addison, he went to the heart of what amounts to a  conspiracy against President Mahama,  in simple,  plain language.

To paraphrase him, it is untenable   that elections in  known polling stations on the ground, could be described as unknown, when voting did in fact take place in them   -  and the petitioners'  party's designated polling agents,  were indeed present as votes were cast there,  and after the vote-count,  when  polling ended, duly signed  the famous pink sheets.

In his view, the fact that there had been  mispelling of polling station names,  and errors made in recording polling station serial numbers on the pink sheets (duly signed by NPP polling agents  in any case),  could not suddenly turn  known polling stations on the ground,  in which voting actually took place, into  unknown ones -  and that it was wrong to  describe those actual polling stations on the ground in which voting indeed took place, as unknown polling stations,  to the Supreme Court panel of judges hearing the  presidential  election petition case.

That particular  answer to the petitioners' lead counsel, Mr. Philip Addison, during his cross-examination of Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, makes  it easy for every discerning Ghanaian,  to now come to an understanding of,  and to see the abominable falsehood, which the petitioners want the Supreme Court to use as justification,  for   disenfranchising  millions of voters across the country: and deny President Mahama his hard-won victory,  in the December 2012 presidential election.

Speaking personally, for example, from what Mr. Asiedu-Nketia told the Supreme Court, it is  as if the petitioners are  seeking to turn the polling station I am registered to vote in, and in which actual voting took place on both days that  polling took place, and where the NPP's polling agent signed the pink sheet  to approve the vote-count,  into a phantom and unknown  polling station,  in the petition brought before the Supreme Court.

Yet, the NPP's polling agent in my polling station, watched the entire voting process with eagle eyes -  as did all who voted there,  incidentally.

He also voluntarily signed the polling station's pink sheet  to approve the vote-count.

Yet  still, the petitioners insist that it is a phantom and unknown  polling station,  in the petition they have brought before the Supreme Court - merely because the stressed-out  and harried presiding officer in our polling station had mispelt the polling station's name,  and made errors in recording the pink sheet's serial number. Incredible.

Yet,  nothing sinister took place in our polling station - despite what the geniuses who forced the NPP into this legal quagmire,  would have the world  believe.

Any mistakes made on the pink sheet from my polling station, were unintentional - and made in the full glare of thousands of eagle-eyed voters determined to prevent any vote-rigging. Nothing untoward about that, is there?

Talk about an Alice-in-wonderland,  smoke-and-mirrors-sleight-of-
hand manipulation of the legal system specifically  designed to enable a few desperate men and women,  lustful for power at any cost, to snatch the presidency from President Mahama.

To that end, an egregious falsehood that  seeks to disenfranchise all those who voted in the polling station that I,  and a few thousand others,  registered to vote in, and in which actual voting took place - has been taken to the Supreme Court. Amazing.

And insincere and selfish individuals  are seeking to  use  an exhausted presiding officer's inability to spell the polling station's name correctly,  and his error  in recording the pink sheet's serial number, as justification for taking away our constitutional right to vote in an election in Ghana:   in which we  duly registered to vote,  and were, and are,  indeed, listed  on the electoral register. Amazing.

It illustrates perfectly,  the  mindset of the small band of too-clever-by-half hawks, who forced the NPP into this dead-end that will eventually end in ignominy for the party.

Luckily for the NPP,  that approaching defeat in the Supreme Court election petition case,   will result in the sidelining of the geniuses  who dreamt up that expensive folly - and  make them permanently irrelevant in the scheme of things in the NPP. That can only benefit the NPP in the long run. A very good thing that is indeed.

And if the party were to go on to select Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo  yet again,   to make a third attempt at the presidency, a 2016 presidential election campaign,  free of the baleful influence of that small band of arrogant hardliners, might indeed stand the NPP's presidential candidate  a far better chance of making it third time lucky.

Incidentally, in all this, I have never forgotten what Atta Akyea & Co. said,  in the immediate aftermath of the  December 2008 presidential election, in the tape-recording of their shabby attempt  to deny the winner of that election, Professor Mills,  the presidency.

Their dastardly plan was simple: use a  "right judge" - meaning a judge known to be secretly loyal and sympathetic to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) -  to  overturn the December 2008 presidential election result.

Luckily for Ghana, in that instance,  wise heads in the NPP prevailed, and as the late J. B. Da Rocha made plain, in saying that what they were embarking on,  was neither in the interest of the NPP nor that of Ghana's, that  back-door route to the presidency through the  manipulation of the legal system  was abandoned.

Kudos to Johnson Asiedu-Nketia. He  has exposed the conspiracy to deny President Mahama the presidency, after winning the December 2012 presidential election, in simple language to ordinary Ghanaians,  who can,  and do think for themselves,  in brilliant fashion. Fantastic.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Fire Ineffective Heads of Public-Sector Entities

Author's note: This piece was written on the 28th of May, 2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

If it is true  that  the public-sector wage bill now eats up as much as a tad under 70 percent of total tax revenues in Ghana, then taxpayers ought to demand  value for their tax money.

Surely, ordinary people in Ghana,  have a right to expect the public sector to be efficient - and  public-sector employees to be helpful, honest, diligent  and highly productive?

Perhaps society   ought to  listen to those who ask whether  the time has not come for all the political parties in Ghana  to unite,  and lay  a bill before  Parliament,  to be passed into  law,  making  it possible for the President to dismiss senior public officials guilty  of gross dereliction of duty.

Those who make that suggestion,  point out  the fact that sometimes the dereliction of duty is so glaring and so egregious, that there is consensus in the country  that those in charge of a particular public entity,  ought to be dismissed instantly.

Yes, we must ensure that public officials have security of tenure, and that there are safeguards to ensure that they are not victims of arbitrary  action by politicians.

However, the question is: why should ordinary people in Ghana be constantly inconvenienced,  because senior public-sector employees fail to do the work they are paid so handsomely for,  properly?

This is the 21st  century, yet,  those in charge of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), are failing in their corporate mission  of providing Ghanaians with treated drinking-water.

Why should such failure continue to be tolerated  -  when the availability of treated water is vital for public health reasons, I ask?

Surely, if the nation is spending such a large proportion of total tax revenues  paying public-sector employees, including those running the GWCL,  not firing those in charge of such  a vital public utility company,  for the patchy nature of the delivery of treated water  to  Ghanaians,  cannot continue to be justified?

Corporate leaders, whether in the private-sector or public-sector,  are hired to solve the problems that confront the companies they head.

If the GWCL cannot deliver water to homes, schools, offices,  factories etc. on a daily basis, why allow those failing to resolve the problems that confront the company, which  hinders its ability to deliver  treated water to cities, towns and villages  nationwide, to continue remaining at post regardless - and  be paid zillions of cedis a month,  and enjoy Arabian-oil-Sheik-style perks on top of that, for  abject failure?

How many times have public utilities in Ghana,  not promised better service delivery, when asking for tariff increases -  but have failed to honour those selfsame promises, when regulators have approved the requested higher tariffs for them?

The only way to ensure that the public sector is productive, is to hold those in charge of public-sector entities,  accountable for their actions and inaction.

It ought to be specified in the employment contracts of the top echelons of the public sector,  that unless they can justify why that  should not be the case,  they will be held personally accountable  for the actions and inaction of  those below them.

That will make it more likely that  they will ensure that those under them do  what is right at all material times, in terms of fulfilling their corporate and institutional mandate.

Perhaps if those in charge of the GWCL and other public utilities, such as the Electricity Corporation of Ghana,  knew that failure to deliver on their companies' core mandate,
would end in their dismissal,  Ghanaians would not be inconvenienced to the extent that they now are,  by those public utilities.

Then there are those at the Controller and Accountant General's Department, for example, some of whose callous attitude towards hapless,  elderly pensioners in the evening of their lives,  after serving Ghana throughout their working lives, has to be seen to be believed.

It is intolerable that so many pensioners  are treated so shabbily by employees of the Controller and Accountant General's Department, after devoting their working lives to serving their country.

Then there are the endless frauds  perpetrated by rogue Lands Commission officials,  who help some wealthy people forge documents,  to enable them steal other people's land.

The question there,  is: why do those in charge of the Lands Commission not show creative leadership,  by designing the Lands Commission's internal  processes,  in such fashion,  that fraud of that nature can  easily be  detected - and those found  culpable when such fraud is unearthed,  quickly prosecuted for their crimes?

The time has come for Ghanaians to demand accountability from the top echelons of Ghana's public sector.

Top public-sector  officials must be fired if they fail to ensure maximum productivity from those employed in the public-sector entities they head. Enough is enough.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Inspiring Foreign-Born Offspring Of Africans In The Diaspora

Author's note: This piece was written on 27/5/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

On African Union Day, 25/5/2013,  I could not help but turn my thoughts  to the  young offspring,  of Africans in the Diaspora.

I wondered  how Africans in the continent  could help them get to know their African roots better - and help them grow up to be well-adjusted and productive individuals,  in the nations they were born in,  and are citizens of.

No African on the continent with links to the UK, no matter how tenuous, who heard the horrific and shocking news of the gruesome murder at Woolwich, of the British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, 25,  by two Britons of Nigerian descent,  suspects Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, a few days ago,  would have failed to have been affected somehow,  by what they heard and saw.

That heinous and abominable crime committed by the two young men,  was unpardonable and unspeakable  - and they must be jailed for life. Literally.

Those who think  they can get what they want through violence, are mistaken. Violence has never resolved any  problem anywhere. It only worsens the situation for all concerned.

Luckily, the vast majority of the foreign-born offspring of Africans in the Diaspora,  are often well-adjusted individuals with aspirations.

However, there is a minority involved with gangs and drugs, who often get into trouble with the law. And it is a growing problem, unfortunately

There are many reasons why they become delinquent, but  perhaps if those of them who get into trouble with the law,  had had contact with their parents' and grandparents' countries' of origin,  early in life, it is possible that they might have turned out differently.

Those of us at home in Africa,  must encourage our fellow  Africans in the Diaspora to  let their offspring  connect with the continent - and teach them African languages at home, as well as  let  them know about the cultures of their countries' of origin.

Despite being born in the UK, my own children and grandchildren who live there, for example,  speak Twi and do visit Ghana from time to time. Being British citizens does not mean they cannot keep the best values from their grandparents'  Akan culture.

Although there are increasing numbers of suitable black role models to look up to in the USA, Europe and elsewhere in the world where Africans have settled,  coming to Africa,  and seeing educated Africans running nations and working as members of the professions - engineers, ICT specialists, medical doctors, business executives, lawyers, etc., for example  - will always make a lasting impression on young blacks in the Diaspora, upon their return to their parents' and grandparents' adopted countries.

Let us all encourage our friends and relations in the Diaspora to set up organisations through which young blacks from disadvantaged backgrounds can be helped financially to visit countries in Africa during school holidays.

Volunteering in Africa, during school holidays,  for example, could turn out to be life-changing experiences, which  can inspire many of the  young foreign-born offspring of Africans in the Diaspora.

It is probable that many of them  will return to the nations they were born in,  and live in, after such a visit to Africa, and  aspire to better themselves  -  instead of ruining their lives joining violent gangs and extremist religious organisations, which preach hatred and violence against their fellow human beings.

Tel: 027 745 3109.