Saturday, 28 June 2014

Stopping The Forces Of Darkness In Ghana From Exploiting The 2014 FIFA World Cup Debacle In Brazil

It is not surprising that controversy has errupted in Ghana, over the inability of the senior male national soccer team, the Black Stars,  to progress from the group stage of the 2014 Federation of International Football Associations' (FIFA) World Cup tournament,  in Brazil.

As a result of the national soccer team's failure in Brazil, the forces of darkness in Ghana are cock-a-hoop.

They have latched on to what is a national humiliation - and  believe that they finally have the adminstration of President Mahama on the ropes: reeling  from delivered-blow after delivered-blow,  as the country experiences one strike after another and public demonstration after public demonstration,  by sundry groups.

Naturally, the lackeys of the forces of darkness in Ghana's print and electronic media are also in heaven. They are ecstatic. Their joy at the discomfiture of the Mahama administration is palpable - and can be gleaned from the sarcasm in the voices of a number journalists who broadcast on the airwaves of radio stations like Peace FM and Joy FM.

One hopes that those who currently lead our nation,  have now cottoned on to the fact that the forces of darkness in Ghanaian society are hard at work sabotaging their regime - as they have done every progressive regime that has ruled Ghana since March 6,  1957.

If the intentions of the forces of darkness towards our homeland Ghana were honourable and benign, they would not be seeking to create conditions similar to those that prevailed during the  winter of discontent in the UK, between 1978-1979 - which led to the defeat of the then British Prime Minister,  Jim Callaghan,  in the general elections of 1979.

What is currently  happening in the Ghana of today, is akin to the Labour government's  disarray resulting from the endless strikes by trade unions in the UK, during the aforementioned period -  and public anger  with the Labour Party arising from that, which led to its defeat by the Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher,  in the 1979 general elections.

If they loved Mother Ghana, instead of formenting trouble across the country, the forces of darkness would rather be advocating for a new kind of politics in Ghana - to demonstrate that they cared about the plight of ordinary people, and the well-being of our country.

If they cared about Mother Ghana, the forces of darkness would be demanding a new kind of politics in which individual politicians publicly published their personal net worth (as well as the assets of their spouses), and political parties published the sources of party funds utilized for election campaigns, and used for  running them in periods  between elections. That would help limit high-level corruption, would it not?

The truth of the matter, is that such is the perfidy of the forces of darkness that they would  malign even a regime led by God Almighty - regardless of the fact that it had Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed, the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Angel Gabriel serving in it as cabinet ministers.

And were God to be elected as Ghana's president and make the mistake of bearing the name John Adam Musa-Wangara, and informing the world  that he hailed from Gusheigu in the north of Ghana, they would resist his regime - because to them it is an abomination to be ruled by someone from the north of Ghana. Incredible.

Alas, the contumely of the forces of darkness did not start today. It was on display during the fight for independence, before Kwame Nkrumah was invited to the Gold Coast colony in 1947, by the quislings who made up the  leadership of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).

The main goal of the progeny of the pre-colonial ruling elites who made up  the UGCC's leadership, was to dominate the independent nation that they wanted to see succeeding the British colonial government. To enable them do so,  they planned to limit the franchise to property owners and those who earned a high wage.

Their hope was that access to power in a nation-state in which only property owners (and high wage-earners) had the vote,  would be limited mainly to the elite in society - giving that stratum of society the dominant role they previously had in the  pre-colonial era.

It is that disgraceful attempt to prevent the adoption of universal adult suffrage, which Kwame Nkrumah demanded for the masses that today's progeny of the forces of darkness have sought to hide, by deploying the clever and innocuous-sounding phrase, "a property-owning democracy".

The fact of the matter is that the forces of darkness in our country have always believed that they have a devine right to rule our people - which is what motivates the ruthless and sly Bernard Antwi Boasiakos in our midst (they of the gold-at-any-cost-and-damn-the-environmental-consequences Weltanschauung).

It is also the reason  why as early as 1958 they plotted to overthrow the Convention People's Party (CPP) regime of Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah in a military coup - even though Ghana was a  multiparty democracy: and despite the fact that the CPP had won all the elections held in 1951, 1954 and 1956.

Today, those forces of darkness  are busy sabotaging the nation-building effort, in order to destabilise the Mahama adminstration. Sabotage has replaced the bomb-throwing-terrorism of the Nkrumah-era:  because they know that they will quickly become global-pariahs were they to resort to bomb-throwing in their bid to supplant the Mahama regime.

 Paradoxically, the debacle in Brazil that has made our nation the laughing stock of the world, is an opportunity for President Mahama's regime to hit back hard,  at the forces of darkness.  If the Mahama admistration were wise, it would carry out a thorough investigation,  into the events in Brazil, which led to the disarray in the camp of the Black Stars.

Above all, they must find out from journalists working for the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph, who accused the president of Ghana's Football Association (GFA), and others, of agreeing to participate in match-fixing, what exactly is the relationship between the government of Britain and the English Football Association, as regards payment (if any) of winning bonuses and appearance fees to officials and players of their national soccer team.

It will enable us all discover why the GFA, which says that FIFA rules frown on state inteferance in its affairs when it suits it, still insists on  relying on Ghanaian taxpayers to bankroll the Black Stars, when they play in international matches, such as those they played during the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.  And, best of all, it will stop the forces of darkness from  exploiting the debacle in Brazil for political gain, at our homeland Ghana's expense.  A word to the wise...

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

May The Late Ameer Maulvi Dr. Wahab Adam Rest In Peace

Ghana has lost an illustrious son, in the passing away of the Ameer of the Ahmadiya Mission in Ghana, Maulvi Dr. Wahab Adam, who died on Sunday, 22nd June, 2014, and was  buried at Kasoa earlier today.

Maulvi Dr. Adam was an extraordinary religious leader - who sought to bring together the different strands of Islam in Ghana so that they could co-exist peacefully.

He reached out to other religious faiths too - and was keen to see Christians and Muslims living peacefully together throughout Ghana.

A man of great learning, who had a gentle disposition, he championed girl-child education throughout the country - in the many educational institutions, which the Ahmadiya Mission in Ghana established nationwide, under his able leadership.

He was also a dedicated peace advocate who worked with other religious leaders to help keep Ghana peaceful and stable. It was not surprising that he was appointed to serve on the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), set up by President Kufuor,  in January 2003.

Maulvi Dr. Adam personified goodness in his interactions with others, and, uniquely, like the Dalai Lama, had a holy aura around him.  He was a truly good human being - and one  saw it immediately when one met him.

Generous-spirited and humble, he treated people from every stratum of  society with respect, and was kind to all he came across.

 It is a tribute to him, and an illustration of the positive impact he had  on our national life that members from  all sides in Parliament, paid such glowing tributes to him, when his death was officially announced. Ghanaians of goodwill throughout the nation commiserate with his family.  May his soul rest in peace.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Ghana's Economy Will Emerge Stronger From Its Present Difficulties

If those who lead our country want an example of a nation that has gone through the kind of economic difficulties Ghana  is currently experiencing, but which is now making considerable progress  economically, let them look no further than Greece.

 At the height of its troubles,  the Greek government had to impose sundry taxes on a people famous for their dedication to evading taxes, cut public-sector spending - including the slashing of public-sector employees' salaries across board - amongst other austerity measures designed  to rebalance public finances,  to enable Greece  qualify for  a bailout from  EU governments, the  European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 Today Greece's economy is recovering -  and it is also  attracting foreign investment. If Ghana is forced by circumstances to dispose of state assets, our leaders would be wise to study the acquisition of management rights to run half of the port of Piraeus, by the giant Chinese carrier Cosco - and use it as yet another privatisation model.

According to the UK newspaper,  the Guardian, Cosco paid €500 million to run part of the port of Piraeus for 35 years. It is a far better way for Ghana to unlock some of the value in its state-owned enterprises (SOE) - than allowing greedy and dishonest public officials to strike opaque deals with foreign carpetbaggers that sell our nation short.

Apparently Cosco intends to buy a majority stake in that part of the port of Piraeus still in state hands. It also wants to buy the port of Thessaloniki when the sale of  that port, and Greece's railway network, as well as  a number of airports are put out to international tender. Why do we not opt for that transparent asset-disposal model too more frequently than is currently the case?

It is an outrage that blocks in oilfields off Ghana's shores are being
disposed off in secret deals brokered by public officials. Why not auction them in  public auctions  to the highest bidders - so that Ghana gets the best prices for oil and gas deposits that after all are diminishing assets?

If we put state asset-disposals out to international tender, is it not likely that we will see situations in which some of the best-resourced state-owned Chinese companies in the energy sector, and Japanese power companies, for example, compete to acquire management rights to run  the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company Limited (Gridco), Bui Power Authority (BPA), for extended periods?

 If that were to happen, it will end up  turning all those public-sector power companies  into efficient and profitable entities - and, eventually, they will all be modernised without a pesewa of taxpayers' cash being spent on them.

 The key is for our leaders  to study privatisation models like Cosco's deal with Greece to manage half of the port of Piraeus - for inspiration. Today, Cosco has modernised the piers in its section of the port of Piraeus,  and handles 6000 containers daily efficiently.

Perhaps that privatisation model  could fetch the nation about US$1billion in restructuring the ports of Tema and Takoradi.  Deals of that nature, and floating part of the government's stake in SOE's on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), will generate much-needed funds for the national treasury.

Let us take a leaf from recession-defeating Greece's book.  Let us be inspired by the tenacity of the Greek people, who went through hell-on-earth conditions, to get where they are today. Although things look bleak at the moment, Ghana's economy  will definitely emerge stronger from its present difficulties.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Ghana Must Alleviate Extreme Poverty To keep Terrorist Organisations At Bay

It was recently reported  in sections of the Ghanaian media that gunmen had attacked a bullion van in the north of the country, and killed two policemen and two bank employees in cold blood. They made away with the guns of the policemen - who were protecting the cash in the bullion van, as well as the two bank employees accompanying it. Apparently, the gunmen did not touch any of the cash the van was carrying.

Clearly, their main motive must have been to lay their hands on the guns and ammunition carried by the two policemen. It is a worrying development. The brutal murder of police officers and soldiers in order to acquire arms, has been a tactic frequently used by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram  has also been recruiting gangs of young men in neighbouring Niger - whom it pays to carry out acts of terrorism on Nigerian soil.

Over the years, countless young men from Niger have travelled to find work and economic  opportunities in Ghana. We cannot rule out the fact that some of those who have come to Ghana in search of work in the recent past,  might have worked for Boko Haram on occasion. They must not be allowed to operate freely on Ghanaian soil robbing and killing people with impunity.

 It is important that members of all the  security agencies in Ghana are made aware of the threat that terrorist organisations operating in the west African sub-region pose to the stability of Ghana. In an era of terrorism, taking a bribe at the borders of Ghana in order to turn a blind eye to the activities of foreigners entering our country,  is tantamount to aiding terrorists to slip into Ghanaiank'm territory to harm our nation and its people.

 Ghana's security agencies  must be sufficiently resourced to strengthen their intelligence-gathering capabilities. We must not allow terrorist organisations to take root anywhere in Ghana.

We have the terrible  example of the harm now being caused to Nigeria and its citizens by Boko Haram to remind us of the importance of protecting our nation and its people from terrorist organisations operating in the west African sub-region. Boko Haram has taken root in northern Nigeria precisely because of the widespread  poverty in that part of the country.

One hopes our leaders will be proactive in that regard. Something drastic needs to be done to alleviate extreme poverty in the north and in the slums of  urban Ghana - so that they do not become recruiting grounds for terrorist organisations targetting our country. Ghana needs to alleviate extreme poverty if it is to keep terrorist organisations at bay. A word to the wise...

Monday, 16 June 2014

Good Luck To Ghana's Black Stars In Brazil

Most Ghanaians dream of seeing their nation's national soccer team, the Black Stars, returning home from the 2014 Federation of International Football Associations' (FIFA) World Cup soccer tournament currently underway in Brazil, with the soccer world's ultimate trophy, the FIFA World Cup.

 Naturally, there are spoilsport  soccer  pundits who will  say that the Black Stars have their work cut out for them - and that winning the FIFA  World Cup will be an impossible task for the team.

However, one lives in hope - and with a team full of world-class players, one's prayer is that the Black Stars will, at the very least, go further than they did at the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa.

 On a good day, the Black Stars are capable of matching any of the teams that qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil. What they need is mental strength and the determination to win - and they have both in abundance, luckily.

If they perform well in Brazil,  the Black Stars will enhance Ghana's image globally - and perhaps attract yet more Africa-bound overseas tourists,  and long-term international investors interested in emerging markets, to Ghana.

Above all, it will cheer up a  hard-up and mostly-morose populace,  and perhaps also bring a much-polarised society together again.

(Alas, our homeland Ghana has been divided by ruthless and self-seeking politicians -  power-hungry and power-drunk party-hardliners from across the spectrum: who only think of party advantage, and increasing their personal net worth, at Mother Ghana's expense. But I digress.)

Patriotic citizens up and down our country, and nationalistic Ghanaians across the globe, wish the Black Stars the very best of luck,  in the team's opening match today, against the national soccer team of the United States of America, the Stars and Stripes. May all their efforts in Brazil be crowned with glory - and if Providence so wishes, we do hope they will return home to Ghana,  with the FIFA World Cup. Amen.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Let Us Celebrate The Quincy Sintim-Aboagyes of Ghana

In any other nation, successful entrepreneurs like Mr. Quincy Sintim-Aboagye, the CEO of Saltpond Offshore Production Company Limited (SOPCL), would be celebrated.

 Yet,  he is constantly being hounded and pilloried in Ghana - despite the fact that against great odds he has kept the offshore oil wells off the coast of Saltpond in production for so many years now.

Japan and South Korea became successful nations, even though their economies were devastated by wars fought on their territories, precisely because they nurtured and championed a select group of local entrepreneurs. 

The Quincy Sintim-Aboagyes in our midst create jobs, provide valuable skills for young Ghanaians, and, as role models, inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Their businesses contribute to Ghana's GDP - and above all they create wealth that remains in Ghana.

 Unlike so many foreign oil companies (and multinationals in other sectors of the economy), Quincy Sintim-Aboagye's oil company has not set up subsidiary companies for the sole purpose of engaging in activities that enable it successfully rip Ghana off - through incestous offshore trading relationships whose hallmark is the over-invoicing and under-invoicing of  transactions: designed to enable them siphon money out of our national economy.

On the contrary, SOPCL is a good corporate citizen of Ghana, which  meets all its tax obligations  - and Quincy Sintim-Aboagye is a patriotic Ghanaian who chose to invest in Ghana, rather than remain in the USA: and live out the rest of his life there  in considerable  comfort.

It is the ingenuity of such dynamic and  innovative entrepreneurs, whose activities at the micro-level,  transform nations,  and turn them into prosperous societies. At the micro-level, 100,000 of such entrepreneurs employing100 workers each, will resolve Ghana's youth unemployment problem.

If an entrepreneurial culture is to take seed in Ghana and thrive, it will be the example of such brilliant entrepreneurs that will make it happen.

 Rather than constantly denigrating their businesses, let us celebrate the Quincy Sintim-Aboagyes in our midst. The very future of our nation depends on them. A word to the wise...

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Wishing Mother Nature Well On World Environment Day

On what is World Environment Day, one cannot but  wonder at what lies in stock, for future generations, in quality-of-life terms -  as we trash both the natural and built environment across the length and breadth of  Ghana with careless abandon.

 Everywhere one looks, in both the countryside and urban Ghana, egregious harm is being done to the earth that  sustains us - and we are seeing ecosystems being destroyed in vast swathes of the Ghanaian landmass.

Wildlife habit loss is occuring at a frightening pace  - as  biodiversity hotspots disappear. And in many towns and cities across the nation, Ghanaians are gradually being engulfed by unimaginable filth. Is it not time we banned the main culprit, non-biodegradable plastic, from Ghana?

 Ruthless and amoral individuals,  driven by unfathomable greed, are putting our collective future in jeopardy as they poison soils,  surface water bodies and the underground watertable with impunity  - in ther single-minded quest for gold.

 As my widow's mite contribution to the fight to keep Ghana clean,  I am offering Zoomlion land either to build a campus for an environmental university, or  to build a landfill site - but on condition that  any structures built will be world-class, well-engineered and  built to the highest environmental standards: and will not affect neighbours in the area negatively in any way.

What is sad in all this, is that in  all parts of Ghana, traditionally, we are a people who for centuries have always valued our natural heritage. In the past, we protected our forests, revered our rivers and kept our villages and homes clean at all material times. What a sorry pass we have come to, alas.

One hopes that  the nationwide furore generated by the destruction of part of an old forest near the public areas of the  Aburi Botanical Gardens - allegedly  by a district chief executive  -  will be a watershed moment that will lead to renewed commitment by officialdom to the protection of  the remainder of Ghana's forests.

 Many rivers across Ghana could eventually disappear if there is no change of heart by officials responsible for the protection of Ghana's forests. What quality of life will Ghanaians have then?

 In the long-term Mother Nature will survive and regenerate itself - it is humankind that risks  disappearing off the face of the planet Earth by making our biosphere uninhabitable. That cold  fact of life ought to serve as a warning to present-day Ghanaians.

If environmental  degradation on the scale we are currently witnessing is not halted, we may end up  having to spend all the wealth generated in Ghana,  on a plethora of  projects, dedicated to  the restoration of  the health of the natural environment  -  just to ensure that our country continues to remain habitable at a  time when global climate change is impacting Ghana negatively.

One wishes Mother Nature well on World Environment Day - ditto all members of the one-human-race dedicated to protecting her around the world.