Thursday, 26 February 2015

President Mahama's State Of The Nation Address

Listening to today's state of the nation address, to Parliament,  delivered by President Mahama, I could not help feeling sorry for him. He must be the most maligned leader in Ghana's history, thus far.

A kind, humble and decent gentleman - who, we must not forget,  never actually sought the presidency to begin with, and never imagined he would become president so suddenly, either - he is clearly envied by many amongst Ghana's political class: who wished they were in his shoes.

Many of the leading lights  in the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) readily come to mind  -  particularly its small crop of ruthless and hypocritical tribal-supremacists.

Despite the many challenges it has faced, and continues to face, President Mahama's administration has done so much on many fronts - yet his regime is regarded by many ordinary people as corrupt and incompetent.

Alas, a lot of the Mahama regime's PR troubles are self-inflicted. For example, although President Mahama was right in implying that his regime has done more to expose, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption in the country, than any other regime in the 4th Republic, the Attorney General's Department has just halted the prosecution of the alleged accomplices of Ms. Nayele Ametefeh - even though she was only just recently jailed for 8 years for smuggling cocaine into the UK.

What message does that send to ordinary people? Does it not give the impression to Ghanaians that powerful people engaged in criminal activities such as cocaine smuggling can operate with impunity - because they have the influence and power to stop their hirelings from being prosecuted and jailed when caught in Ghana?

And how many more years will it take for the Attorney General's Department to retrieve judgement debt cash unlawfully paid out to the  Wayomes and Taricones?

Has the time not come for the Pesident to relieve the present Attorney General of her post - and bring back Mr. Martin Amidu: for the good of the nation?

Martin Amidu would never have allowed his office to give the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) advice to enable it sidestep parliamentary approval for a loan from a bank in Germany, as was done by the present deputy attorney general.

Rumour has it that that was the main reason why the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) was merged with the GNPC in such hasty fashion - so that the gas supplied to the power ships that will be supplying electricity to the ECG,  would count as a GNPC core business: a legal sleight of hand designed to facilitate it obtaining the wherewithal to provide the guarantees sought by Karadeniz Holdings before commencing business with the ECG.

Incidentally, the President would be wise to put Bishop Doug Heward-Mills and  Pastor Mensah Otabil on the GNPC's board - to ensure it has independent voices who will prevent it being looted by the regime-placemen posted there to create-loot-and-share the mountains of cash it generates, through clever siphoning schemes.

An example is the dubious Karadeniz Holdings' power ship deal between that company's subsidiary, Karpowership Ghana Company Limited, and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Why risk endangering the finances of the GNPC, which has been asked to provide guarantees for the ECG, when there are other power barge companies from the U.S. that will finance such deals themselves?

My humble advice to the President, is to approach the government of the Bahamas as soon as practicable, and ask it to give Ghana copies of the many proposals for power barges and thermal power plants, which  it has received thus far.

He will be pleasantly surprised - as every one of the members of the consortia that submitted proposals to the Bahamian government would consider Ghana - even in its present predicament - a very attractive investment destination.

 As a matter of fact, with an ECG that is a financial basket case, and possessing natural gas deposits of our own, their proposals are tailor-made for Ghana - and more suited to conditions here than exist in the Bahamian power sector. They would be a godsend for Ghana - and Ghana a godsend for them: in win-win deals.

SGI Global Holdings and the Caribbean Power Company are two such entities. They are both  capable of reacting swiftly if approached by Ghana for emergency power barges - and send them here within months.

SGI Global  Holdings' proposal to the Bahamian government, even includes financing the upgrading of the infrastructure of the Bahamian equivalent of the ECG, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, itself. Imagine, that.

We must stop the powerful few with greedy ambitions, whose determination to milk Mother Ghana dry, leads to daft deals such as the one between the ECG and Karpowership Ghana Company Limited, from continuing to rip our nation off. We must end their baleful influence in our country once and for all.

Finally, if President Mahama wants to be remembered for constructing the most durable roads ever, in Ghana's history, let him send the minister for roads and highways to visit Jamshedpur, the TATA-owned steel city in India, to see the plastic roads built there by the TATA subsidiary, Jusco.

By mixing melted discarded plastic waste with bitumen, the resulting plastic roads last longer than ordinary roads, bear heavier loads, remain pothole-free throughout their lifespan, and because plastic is impermeable to water, they are not easily washed away by flash floods. What could be better than that as a legacy, I ask?

Since the TATA conglomerate is already in Ghana, the company can be asked to partner Ghanaian road contractors to construct the "cocoa roads" in rural Ghana, as well as rehabilitate roads in urban Ghana - and climate-change-proof Ghana's road network that way, at relatively little cost to our nation.

Just my humble two-pesewas.  And, incidentally, this blog will still continue sharing ideas with fellow Ghanaians, regardless of the fact that  instead of thanking me, some of the President's appointees rather laugh at me and call me a fool, for giving out ideas that I could profit from,  personally, so freely.

I don't blame them: they wouldn't understand a man whose DNA is wired to share with others. I am happy to be a nobody,  and content to remain financially-challenged like millions of fellow Ghanaians who stay on the straight and narrow path, despite their daily struggles. We don't envy them.

Let them continue to  participate in the ongoing brutal gang-rape of Mother Ghana. Their cups will soon fill up - and judgement day will then be upon them. Greed and selfishness in a politician in today's Ghana will always lead to dire consequences, when he or she exists office.

They must not forget that although the alchemist's gold shines brightly, in reality it buys zilch. Honest stewardship, on the otherhand, moves mountains. They and their fellow-travellers in the NPP who think Ghanaians are stupid will get a shock in 2016. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o. Asem ebeba debi ankasa.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Tape-Recording Of Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo's Voice Must Be Sent For Forensic Audio Analysis

It is not surprising that controversy has erupted over the tribalistic sentiments allegedly expressed by the Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo, which were secretly recorded during a meeting he held with elders of his party, in the Eastern Region.

The authenticity of the tape-recording must be quickly established to enable the controversy to end.

If it is found to have been doctored, those behind it must be found and prosecuted for slandering the Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo, and ruining his hard-earned reputation.

On the other hand, the Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo's career as a politician must end, if any forensic audio analysis carried out by reputable experts confirmed that the tape-recording had not been doctored - meaning therefore that  he actually made  those totally unacceptable  tribalistic comments.

In the face of the denials by the Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo and his spokesperson, they have a moral obligation to tell Ghanaians what exactly Yaw Osafo Marfo said on that particular occassion.

Nothing else will do - and the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) presidential candidate for the 2016 election,  Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo,  must ensure that that is done immediately.

This is a particularly nasty poison and sure-fire-election-loser that will not be neutralised by dissimulation and clever PR.

What fair-minded person who is a patriot and nationalist wants to be ruled by narrow-minded and tribalistic politicians - who claim to be champions of democracy, yet feel that ruling Ghana is their birthright? Hypocritical politicians with such an antediluvian mentality will stop at nothing in order to win power - which can never be good for any democracy.

That is why Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo must publicly condemn those unacceptable and divisive views - and assure Ghanaians that he is a one-nation politician whose regime will not discriminate against any section of society or region in Ghana.

For the sake of our country, it is important that members of Ghana's political class immediately own up, when they are exposed by secretly recorded voice recordings of controversial statements made by them, in private conversations, which  they would otherwise wish had never been put into the public domain.

It is vital that political parties in Ghana never shield leading members who are exposed by such secretly recorded private conversations - as it is not helpful to give the world the impression that a political party is hastily erecting a wall-of-deception to hide an unpallatable truth about one of its leaders from the world.

It would say a lot about the integrity of the Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo, if claims by his spokesperson that the recording of him making those controversial statements had been doctored, were to be scientifically proven to be pure lies told to try and distance Yaw Osafo Marfo from what he actually said.

The question we should pose to Ghanaian politicians is: If there are reputable forensic laboratories around the world that specialise in analysing audio voice recordings to ascertain whether or not they have been doctored, why bury your head in the sand, when it can be scientifically proven that your denials and claims that the recording had been doctored are nothing but pure lies?

Indeed, so serious are the tribalistic sentiments allegedly expressed by the Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo, in the secretly recorded tape-recording of his voice that its authenticity ought to be established as soon as practicable. We must condemn such dangerous and atavistic views in no uncertain terms.

No politician or political party holding such divisive views ought to rule our country.

We must not forget that it could be argued that if it can be established that a majority of the leading members of any political party in Ghana, are in fact tribal-supremacists, that party could be banned from participating in elections in our country - and its certificate of registration cancelled and withdrawn.

The more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media, which actually care about the stability of our nation, and the welfare of ordinary people - and thus remain strictly neutral observers of the Ghanaian political landscape - ought to submit the voice recording that the Hon. Yaw Osafo-Marfo's spokesperson claims has been doctored, to a reputable forensic laboratory outside Ghana, for analysis to ascertain its authenticity.

In addition to sundry police forensic laboratories across the world,  as this blog's humble contribution to that important national assignment, we  recommend Gregg M. Stutchman's Stutchman Forensic Laboratory, in California, USA, to the Ghanaian media.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Andrew Awuni Is Doing A Great Disservice To Ghana By Refusing To Expose High-Level Corruption He Claims To Be Aware Of

It is extraordinary that an anti-corruption campaigner can say that exposing high-level corruption that he is aware of will destabilise Ghana. Corruption impoverishes nations - which is why it is frowned upon throughout the world.

Under no circumstances should those involved in it be protected. Yet, that is precisely what Mr. Andrew Awuni's refusal to expose those whose involvement in corruption that he says will destabalise Ghana, if it becomes public knowledge, amounts to.

Exposing those involved in high-level corruption, weakens their power and influence in society - and destroys the networks of vested interests that corrupt them. What could be better than that, I ask?

And how can that possibly destabilise Ghana? It is corruption that is destabilising our country - by denying others the opportunity to partake of the national cake. That slowly builds up resentment that could lead to possible future social explosion. Literally.

Mr. Andrew Awuni is either on the side of the ordinary people of Ghana, or on the side of the thieves-in-high-places, whose unfathomable greed and selfishness, is destroying the moral fabric of Ghanaian society - and endangering Ghanaian democracy.

He cannot eat his anti-corruption NGO-cake and have it. Either he does the public interest work he registered his Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, for, or closes it down.

Surely, only someone who is an elitist and amoral, will say that exposing powerful and influential people who are secretly robbing our country, will destabalise Ghana? After all, the onus is on important people to live above reproach - if they don't want to end up in jail and lose face in society. With respect, he must put up, or shut up.

If, for the sake of argument, the president and vice president, for example, were to conspire to rob Ghana in the award of a contract tomorrow, and Mr. Awuni exposes them, both of them  will be forced by Ghanaians to resign from their positions - and the constitutional provisions for replacing them, will be activated to replace both of them, and swear in their successors. End of story.

Wherein lies the destabilisation in that, I ask? On the contrary, it will deepen the roots of Ghanaian democracy, yet further. Let us not underrate the robustness of our institutions of state. Did Parliament and the Judiciary not rise to the occassion when a sitting president suddenly passed away?

Our institutions of state are sufficiently robust to withstand Mr. Awuni exposing any crooks-in-high-places involved in grand corruption.

Mr. Andrew Awuni is  doing a great disservice to Mother Ghana, by refusing to expose those involved in high-level corruption, which  he claims has come to his notice.

There are some independent-minded thinkers who will say that that is unpatriotic and highly hypocritical of an anti-corruption campaigner.

He risks losing his credibility amongst discerning and patriotic Ghanaians - as it is difficult to avoid drawing the conclusion that his curious claims are mischievious:  and calculated to discredit President Mahama's administration. Pity.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Let Us Protect Ghana From Those Sabotaging The Nation-Building Effort

One can understand more mature politicians in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), being irritated by the negativity generated by the public utterances of youthful firebrands, in their party - particularly during a severe power crisis that has led to the governing party in Ghana becoming unpopular across the nation.

However, it is important that senior figures in the NDC don't dismiss out of hand, the suggestion that some sabotage in the power sector, cannot be completely ruled out.

The NDC's leadership must also recognise the fact that atavism is what is actually driving the most implacable of President Mahama's opponents and critics. They must also understand that it is pointless reasoning with such bigoted opponents.

Bigotry is irrational. That is why it is often so hard to understand some of those who are so verbally aggressive in their opposition to President Mahama.

It is pointless reasoning with politicians like the John Kwadjo Owusu-Afriyies and the Bernard Antwi-Boasiakos of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The government of President Mahama must focus instead  on getting the country's economy back on a sound footing again.

What is monstrous  about the unreasonableness of the John Kwadjo Owusu-Afriyies and the Bernard Antwi-Boasiakos, is that essentially, like Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the NPP's presidential candidate for the 2016 election, President Mahama too is basically a good and decent human being.

Although many in the NPP will deny it, the truth of the matter, is that the main reason why President Mahama is being so unjustly vilified and demonised,  is that a small number of  tribal bigots in their party, find it intolerable to be ruled by a northerner. What infernal cheek and arrogance - when scientific research confirms that Ghanaians share virtually the same DNA: and are thus one and the same people, effectively.

Going by the revealations from the recording of a conversation between the Hon. Yaw Osafo-Marfo, and party elders in the Eastern Region, it  is obvious that such individuals believe that dominating our country, is their birthright.

On that basis, it is easy to understand why President Mahama is seen by such opponents as a usurper whom they must get rid of at all costs.

 Nothing will stop such bigoted individuals from pursuing their objective - regardless of how much suffering their actions cause ordinary people. And how the saboteurs are making Ghanaians suffer. And to think they are being allowed to get away with it, too.

That is why urgent steps need to be taken to contain those tribal-supremacists who are clearly prepared to go to any length to achieve their goal of removing the president from power. That must be done side by side  with the ongoing fight against high-level corruption.

One of the steps the government can take in that direction, is to work with the satellite company, Urthecast, so that the security agencies can monitor important installations throughout the country from space, using Uthercast's near-realtime video streaming satelitte platform.

Using that platform during the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, for example, the 26,000 or so polling stations across Ghana, can be monitored by all the political parties and ordinary people who have access to the internet.

The whole world will be able to confirm the veracity or otherwise of allegations of the NDC's skullduggery in the Volta Region, and the NPP's shenanigans in the Ashanti Region. Both parties had better not engage in rigging in those two electoral strongholds of theirs, or anywhere else in the country, in 2016, for that reason.

And various state agencies could also watch our borders, monitor the remainder of our forests, track illegal gold miners and sand-winners, monitor sundry street furniture and track those who steal them.

The Urthecast space platform could also be used to enable the Ghana Health Service to monitor the spread of infectious diseases in communities across the country - and track infected individuals if need be.

Road accidents could also be spotted in time by the police - and ambulances dispatched to take seriously injured passengers to hospital.

 It will also enable smallholder farmers to monitor their crops.

And during natural disasters, such as flash floods and earthquakes, by using the Urthecast space video streaming platform, more targeted help could be provided by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), to victims across the country.

Finally, since the power crisis is becoming a national security issue too - as it leads to the closure of businesses and the laying off of workers - perhaps Ghana ought to replicate market-driven solar power solutions that have been a great success in Kenya and the U.S.

Incidentally, it is significant and telling that not a single NPP leader took advantage of their recent demonstration in Accra, to speak out against the theft of electric power by individuals, households and businesses across Ghana.

Neither did any of them  bother to take advantage of the occassion, to encourage Ghanaians to conserve power by not wasting it, and use energy-efficient appliances, to help save energy in Ghana.

That would have been a practical demonstration of patriotic leadership, would it not?

 Alas, when it mattered most, they failed Mother Ghana - because they were too busy scoring political points, and, based on the large number of demonstrators, no doubt dreaming of returning to power again in 2017. Pity. The current power crisis is a collective failing of all Ghanaians - and the short-termism and lack of political will to take painful but necessary reformist decisions, on the part of the present, as well as previous NDC  and NPP regimes, of the recent past.

In any case, the question for President Mahama is: why does his government not invite Jesse Moore, the founder of M-Kopa, the leading affordable solar power systems provider in Kenya and Uganda, and Lyndon Rive, the founder and CEO, of SolarCity, the industry leader in the USA, to Ghana - so that they can partner Ghanaian solar power companies to provide affordable solar power systems for homes and businesses in Ghana, whose owners can take advantage of their innovative financing models?

 We must protect our country from those sabotaging the nation-building effort for tribalistic reasons - by providing innovative ideas that will halt the downward slide along the slippery slope to economic disaster and national ruination. God forbid that Ghana ever ends up like that. The saboteurs must not get their wish.

The above  are one's widow's mite contribution in that regard. Hopefully, the Kokou Anyidohos will make sure that the minister of power acts upon it.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

A Few More Questions For The Hon. Mahama Ayariga About The Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs Presented To The Black Stars

The Hon. Mahama Ayariga has stated emphatically that the government did not pay for the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, presented to the Black Stars, by Tanink Motors - for placing second in the just-ended 2015 African Cup of Nations soccer tournament, held in Equatorial Guinea. Fair enough, some would say.

However, to ensure that the doubting-Thomases in the Ghanaian media world, don't start asking the Hon. Mahama Ayariga more  questions on the subject, he and the management of Tanink Motors, would be wise to make further disclosures - in order to clarify what they have put in the public domain, thus far.

Apparently, the CEO of Tanink Motors,  Mr. Roger Klogo, says the amount involved in the exemptions from paying import duty on the said vehicles for the Black Stars, obtained by his company, was "minimal". What exactly was the total figure he refers to as "minimal"? Saying they were "minimal" is simply not good enough, alas.

It is unfortunate that those in charge of corporate governance and compliance at Tanink Motors, did such a great disservice to the company, by allowing the CEO, instead of their department's head, to interact with the media, on the subject of the Jeep SUVs presented to the Black Stars.

Surely, their CEO's job is not to save government appointees from embarrassment - but to protect his company's image and reputation from being damaged by association with non-transparent politicians, and cagey Ghana Football Association (GFA) officials,  in the minds of the general public?

His intervention has only ended up  raising further suspicion about the processes involved in presenting those vehicles to the Black Stars.

What they must not forget, is that in other jurisdictions, influence-peddling invariably lands corporate titans in jail. We are getting close to that stage in the age of accountability in which pressure groups like #OccupyGhana refuse to put up with high-level corruption.

A question some might ask is: how did it come about that state revenue authorities that are said to regularly reject even applications for exemptions from paying import duty, on hospital equipment and vital drugs donated to healthcare facilities from overseas, for example, speedily granted same to a company giving out  luxury vehicles as gifts to super-wealthy soccer stars - some of whom earn in excess of US$ 200,000 per week, and are definitely not short of a pesewa or two: and already own luxury SUVs, themselves, in any case?

How can that be justified morally, at a time of such great economic hardship in Ghana, one wonders? Who exactly in government did the Tanink Motors CEO approach to obtain the exemption from paying import duty on the said vehicles for his company - and did that person too recieve one of the vehicles as a gift?

Would that not be inappropriate and highly unethical - and  qualify as an egregious example of conflict of interest amongst public officials - if that indeed were the case? They would be wise to provide a full list of all the 30 recipients of those Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV's to the media. That will clear the air for them.

 And since Tanink Motors' CEO also said that the idea for presenting the vehicles to the Black Stars was originally to reward them if they qualified for the quarter finals stage, in the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, the question they must answer there, is:  did the Tanink Motors CEO obtain exemptions for payment of import duty at that time too - and were they ever utilised by his company subsequently? One hopes that that is not the case - as a case of fraud and tax evasion could be built against the company.

Those in charge of corporate governace and compliance at Tanink Motors, must not forget that it could also be argued that far from being a case of charitable giving, deserving of a waiver of import duty, those gifts to the players were merely a means of leveraging the value of the Black Stars brand, and enhancing Tanink Motors'  corporate brand in the eyes of his "partners" - and, crucially, a golden opportunity to sell expensive vehicles that would otherwise not have been sold: in a bulk purchase deal paid for by his "partners".

In other words, it was a purely commercial transaction benefiting Tanink Motors' bottom line, not charitable giving - and therefore not deserving of a waiver of payment of import duty.

 I believe the phrase used by Tanink Motors' CEO, Mr Klogo, was "I mobilised my partners" - if he was quoted correctly by the Ghanaian media, that is. Well, it describes what went on perfectly, in a sense, does it not? If they are transparent about the whole process, that suspicion will not arise.

Who were those  "partners" who said they would only agree to purchase those vehicles for the Black Stars, if payment of import duty was waived on them?

There are some who might say that it would be a grave error of judgement  on the part of Tanink Motors and the Hon. Mahama Ayariga to treat divulging the names of those "partners" as confidential information - and attempt to hide that from the public for that reason. That is precisely the type of mindset that leads to scandals on the scale of Watergate.

Can they tell Ghanaians what the amount actually stated as payment for the vehicles, which appears in the books of all parties involved in the deal is - and would a forensic audit confirm that purchase price  figure? One certainly hopes so - as regardless of how they proceed, a change in government in January 2017, will result in investigations to unearth what actually took place.

Above all, they must tell Ghanaians whether or not any state-owned company paid for any of those luxury vehicles given out as gifts to the Black Stars.

If the answer is yes, then although it would be regarded by some as unfair to do so, others might  conclude that it exposes what most would regard as grand deception of the public on their part - and most probably the real reason why the Hon. Mahama Ayariga was so determined not to be questioned by journalists about the budget for the preparation and  participation of the Black Stars in the 2015 African Cup of nation's football tournament staged in Equatorial Guinea.

Was there a fear that payment for some of the vehicles for the Black Stars by state-owned entities would be exposed?

State-owned enterprises run by party-placemen are fast becoming a conduit for the dissipation of taxpayers' money by public officials.

It is a dangerous practice that must not be allowed to continue - as it could eventually bankrupt those public-sector entities: and saddle Ghanaians with yet more debt. We must watch the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) like hawks, for that reason.

To protect the company from individuals from the top echelons of the create-loot-and-share brigade posted there, President Mahama must put patriotic individuals and world-class achievers like Bishop Doug Heward-Mills and Pastor Mensah Otabil, on the board of the GNPC, as soon as practicable. The President must remove two of the regime-cronies currently on the board for that purpose.

Finally, it was mentioned that Mr Klogo was one of 30 business executives flown to Holland by KLM, to watch the Black Stars play in a friendly match in that country before the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Somehow, one gets the distinct impression that some clever PR person, wants to make it appear that the Dutch airline KLM sponsored that particular flight.

Was it the airline that bore the cost of the tickets for those 30 business executives it flew to Holland to watch that friendly match involving the Black Stars before the commencement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil?

Or was the trip paid for by a Ghanaian state-owned company, which paid the money to KLM in Holland, to fly those 30 business executives from Ghana to watch that particular friendly match in Holland - as some claim? Is there something they have in common that links the 30 business executives with the said 30 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, one wonders?

Hopefully, the Hon. Mahama Ayariga will shed some more light on the KLM flight issue too.  In any case, a few more questions for him to answer about the Black Stars team will certainly do him no harm - as it will only shed more light on the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs presented to the national team's players by Tanink Motors - and perhaps  remove all suspicions from the minds of the doubting-Thomases in the Ghanaian media world, about those vehicles.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ghanaian Politicians Must Eschew Tribal Politics

Tribal-supremacists can be found right across Ghana - and they exist in the midst of every ethnic group in Ghana. Luckily for our homeland Ghana, they constitute only a tiny minority in every single one of Ghana's  ethnic groups.

On a day to day basis, the vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana, aren't motivated by tribal prejudice, when interacting with their fellow citizens. It is important that that remains a defining characteristic of our country.

No tribe in Ghana is inferior or superior to another - in our one nation of diverse-ethnicity whose people share a common destiny.

Furthermore, there is not a single extended family clan in Ghana, which either through blood-ties or marriage, does not contain relations from different ethnic backgrounds.

And under our system, northerners, have as much a right to seek the presidency, as do southerners - and the right to rule Ghana does not depend on the amount of natural resources a presidential candidate's home region has.

Tribalism is backward - and anyone who is tribalistic has a world-view firmly rooted in the Dark Ages.

It is a dangerous contagion that can destroy the nations it spreads in - as was the case in the civil war in the Ivory Coast. No politician  who uses ethnicity as a political tool, deserves to be in power anywhere, in the Africa of today. We must never allow that madness to take hold in our country.

Ghana's minerals and other natural resources, such as the timber in forest reserves,  do not belong to the people of the regions where  they are to be found. The laws of Ghana are quite clear about that - they belong to the state: and by extension and inference to all Ghanaians.

Every Ghanaian politician is aware of that - so it is the height of irresponsibility for any politician or group of politicians to attempt to make a case for a dominant role in our nation's affairs for the people of resource-rich regions.

I have always had a high regard for the Hon. Yaw Osafo-Marfo - who is a highly-intelligent politician and hard-working gentleman.

If it is true that the sentiments expressed in the tape-recording purported to be his voice that has just surfaced, are actually views held by him, then it is a pity that in this day and age a politician like him still focuses on ethnicity.

Bigotry is a cancer in every society in which it exists. A tolerant and peace-loving people like Ghanaians do not deserve to be ruled by tribal bigots. That would be an abomination and an aberration.

As a people, we must never forget that it was such arrogant prejudice, which  spawned Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Those selfish politicians who want to divide our homeland Ghana along tribal lines in order to win power, must be careful that they themselves are not consumed by the raging inferno, which their short-sightedness and narrow-mindedness, is bound to ignite, at some point.

For the sake of our nation and all its people, politicians in Ghana must eschew tribal politics - and focus their energies instead on the task of transforming our nation into a prosperous and fair society, for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ghana's Political Class Must Do The Impossible To Prevent Being Swept Aside By A Mass Uprising

There are moments in the history of nations, when monumental events, such as the overthrow of regimes by mass uprisings, take seed.

When those cataclysmic shifts occur, their beginnings are often imperceptible - and members of the regime about to become history, often carry on as if the world as they know it, still remains the same and intact.

In that sense, members of Ghana's political class are actually drinking in the last chance saloon - although many of them appear to be oblivious of the fact.

Beneath the facade of apparent normalcy,  Ghanaian democracy is threatened, as never before - and the 4th Republic's very foundations could be rocked and destroyed by a spontaneous uprising by ordinary people: such as the uprisings that toppled the regimes of Tunisia's Ben Ali, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Libya's Colonel Gaddafi.

One's prayer, is that lack of wisdom on the part of any of those in power today, shown in public to the anger of many, will not provide the spark for such an uprising in our homeland Ghana, too.

To avoid such a national catastrophe, it is important that Ghanaian politicians think through the possible ramifications of what they say and do in public - at a time when the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians feel ill-disposed towards our ruling elites.

It is a situation that has been brought about by the negative impact on living standards resulting from today's  harsh economic climate - compounded by the widespread feeling that the lives of ordinary people are being unnecessarily inconvenienced by endless disruptions in the supply of treated drinking-water and frequent power outages: the blame for which is laid squarely at the present government's doorstep (unfairly, perhaps, many an unbiased and independent observer might say).

That is why one's humble advice to the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, the minister for youth and sports, is that no matter how unprofessional and poorly-educated many Ghanaian journalists might appear to him, to be, he must not doubt their power to shape public opinion - and mould perceptions about the regime of which he is such a prominent member, in negative fashion.

To ensure the continued stability of our country, our nation's politicians must think through the possible ramifications of unnecessarily taking on the media, in Ghana. It is never a wise course of action, for anyone in the public eye to embark upon, in any case.

The Hon. Mahama Ayariga complains about the gross disrespect shown to important people in society that is oxygenated by the media in Ghana - who provide a platform for it.

Yet, that selfsame disrespect partly results from the polarisation of Ghanaian society - brought about by the errosion of society's moral fabric, by the divide-and-rule tactics employed by the most ruthless of the hardliners and extremists in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

As we all know, those most guilty of the usage of indecorous language on the airwaves of FM radio stations, are often the hirelings of the NDC/NPP duopoly. No one should be surprised when some of them go as far as heaping personal insults on traditional rulers and even sitting presidents of the Republic of Ghana - in their never-ending propaganda battles on the airwaves of FM radio stations, and in opinion pieces and reader-comments on same, posted online on websites such as

It is indeed a sad state of affairs. And it is apparently one of the reasons why the Hon. Mahama Ayariga feels he owes no apologies to journalists who read abusive text messages from listeners that personally insult President Mahama on air - and on that basis, therefore has no regrets for taking umbrage at being questioned by such journalists about the budget for the preparation and participation of the senior male national soccer team, the Black Stars,  in the just-ended African Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Equatorial Guinea.

Apparently, the Hon. Mahama Ayariga feels it would be more useful to society,  if he was asked about his plans for improving sports generally in Ghana, by journalists. Fair point, perhaps.

However,  life, as he very well knows, is not fair - and the result is that his frustration with not being able to get pertinent questions posed to him about his ministry's plans for improving sports in Ghana generally, by Ghanaian journalists, has now ended up giving many the unfortunate impression that he is an  arrogant and rather unwise politician. Pity.

What should not escape the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, is that despite his loyalty to him, he could still be out of a job tomorrow - if the president deemed that necessary to safeguard his own legacy.

Those in power today must understand that no condition is permanent - as some of us used to remind members of the NPP administration of President Kufuor: who grew wings and thought they were invincible.

The Hon. Mahama Ayariga must understand clearly that even if the truth is that in reality President Mahama's administration is actually working hard on the ground, and is bringing development - such as access to new healthcare facilities, the provision of portable water and the construction of new classrooms for schools - to many communities in districts across the country, the perception created in the minds of many ordinary people, by their political opponents (and their allies in the media), is that the enterprise Ghana isn't working, and is being destroyed by high-level corruption.

For the information of the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, countering that widespread and possibly unfair perception created in the minds of ordinary people,  will only be possible, if President Mahama does what some of us advised him to do, when he became president following the death of President Mills: he must publicly publish his assets and those of his wife as soon as practicable - showing Ghanaians what assets he had before becoming president and what assets he and his wife now own.

It will enable him occupy the moral high ground, and give him the moral authority he needs to rule the Ghana of today - and enable him to set the agenda in Ghanaian politics: instead of his regime constantly having to respond  to the agenda set by those extremist opposition politicians now busy sabotaging the collective nation-building effort  (ably assisted by their allies in the Ghanaian media, incidentally).

To quote an old wag I know, who was responding to an anti-corruption measure that I have advocated for, for nearly some two decades now: "Kofi, although it is not a legal requirement, if there is nothing to hide, why does the president not publicly publish his assets and those of his wife - if that is the only way to save his regime from the certainty of being thrown out of office by voters in 2016?" Good question.

Although  it is humble advice freely offered to Ghanaian politicians for nearly two decades now, by a poor and very insignificant Ghanaian writer - who also happens to be an ignoramus without any formal education: for which reason one hopes the erudite Hon. Mahama  Ayariga will forgive one's inability to express oneself  properly and cogently, in the English language  - one's hope and prayer, is that this time, it will not fall on deaf ears, yet again.

Such a move, could actually save the presidency of President Mahama, who paradoxically has done more to fight corruption - in terms of investigations, prosecutions and new anti-corruptiin administrative measures - than any Ghanaian leader since the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966, if truth be told.

Whatever be the case, regardless of what the Hon. Mahama Ayarigas in our midst think of Ghanaian  journslists, the painful truth that they must deal with, is that Ghana's ruling elites are drinking in the last chance saloon.

With respect, the Hon. Mahama Ayarigas of our country had better wake up from their deep slumber in their well-appointed ivory tower - and face reality before it becomes too late for them.

An ethos of transparency must underpin whatever our leaders do - if they are to survive the approaching tsunami. And they must  bring an end to the massive rip-off of Mother Ghana, going on across the nation - mostly by individuals and companies engaged in tax evasion: some even rumoured to fund the NDC/NPP duopoly's election campaigns.

Single-sourced public procurement must cease forthwith. It cannot be justified under any circumstances in a nation with a public-sector full of thieving-wolves-in-sheep's-clothing masquerading as respectable and dedicated public servants.

Our ruling elites must do the impossible, in what are extraordinary times, to save themselves from being swept aside by a tide of public disenchantment, similar to that which toppled long-serving President Blaise Campoare of Burkina Faso.

Alas, their usual three-wise-monkeys-approach of: seeing nothing, hearing nothing and saying nothing, will not save them this time round. Above all, let those amongst them who can, publicly publish their assets and those of their spouses, to save themselves from the fury of the masses about to be unleashed on them. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o. Asem ebeba debi ankasa.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Hon. Mahama Ayariga, The Hon. Kofi Adams, Zoomlion, Plastic Lumber & Plastic Roads

 As implied by the title, today's posting muses over a number of topics and issues - and  shares my opinions about them with readers. Please read on:


Not having heard it myself, if it is indeed true that the minister for youth and sports, the Hon. Mahama Ayariga, told a journalist interviewing him on radio that Ghanaian journalists ask "useless questions", then in my humble view, it was a most unfortunate remark for a man in his position to make.

A government minister in a developing nation that is so desperately short of money to fund many sorely-needed development projects, ought to understand that for patriotic and professional reasons, Ghanaian journalists are duty-bound to demand accountability from public officials in the disbursement of taxpayers' money.

More so, when it comes to the murky world of the funding of sundry activities around the senior male national soccer team, the Black Stars - ranging from the extremely wasteful business of flying planeloads of 'supporters' of the Black Stars out of Ghana to support the team, during its overseas matches, to the outrageous and dubious  enterprise, of paying "winning bonuses" to officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), who are members of the so-called "management team" of the Black Stars.

In case it escapes the Hon. Mahama Ayarigas in our midst, this is actually a constitutional democracy, not a dictatorship. Under our system, government ministers are answerable to the people of Ghana - on whose behalf the media act as society's watchdogs: a role in which they ask questions of government appointees on ordinary people's behalf whenever the need to do so arises.

It will not hurt him politically, if the Hon. Mahama Ayariga apologised to the Ghanaian media, for his unfortunate remark - especially as it gives the impression that he has become a tad arrogant. Saying that with the benefit of hindsight, he should have done better in his choice of phraseology - and therefore apologises to the Ghanaian media for his choice of words on that occasion - will not do him any harm.

It is a pity that during the interview, he did not simply ask to be excused from answering that particular question concerning the budget for the just-ended African Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Equatorial Guinea - by saying that out of respect for Parliament, to which he was actually scheduled to present the details of the budget for Ghana's preparation and participation in the African Cup of Nation's in Equatorial Guinea, shortly, he would have to refrain from answering the question asked by the host of the programme.


Apparently the new national organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Hon. Kofi Adams, who is also the member of Parliament for Buem, in the Volta Region, thinks that critics of the government should be constructive in their criticisms - by offering alternative solutions to the challenges confronting our nation, when necessary. Fair enough.

However, the question is: will those who rule us make use of such alternative solutions when offered by their critics?

Since he said so in response to the views of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the power crisis, here is an alternative power solution for Mr. Adams & Co - whose hard-of-hearing party some of us have now given up on, alas: Let them go to France to see the world's biggest tidal power plant, the 240 MW La Rance barrage dam power plant.

It produces power at the astonishing cost of 1.8 cents per kWh, as compared to 2.5 cents per kWh for nuclear power in France. The estuary of the Volta at Ada, could be one of a number of possible sites, for such a plant in Ghana.

Kofi Adams & Co ought to also get the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Bui Power Authority (BPA) to get the U.S. hydrokenetic power company, Ocean Renewable Power Company, to show them its TidGen turbine generator unit. It could be an alternative solution for the global-climate-change-induced problem of low dam water levels resulting from changed weather patterns, which now bedevil Ghana's hydro power plants - and provide power to communities along our major rivers.

Finally (and he knows why I say this), it is still not too late for the Hon. Kofi Adams to encourage the founder of the 31st December Women's Movement, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, to get her movement to partner the U.S. headquartered NGO, Solar Sisters, in Ghana.

Can he imagine how many of those sturdy solar lanterns financially-challenged women in Ghana could sell for a profit -  and help thousands of households in Ghana to cope better with the power outages in the process? Naturally, one assumes that Mrs. Rawlings and the movement do actually care about the plight of poor and disadvantaged women - in which case, this could be a perfect poverty-alleviation project, to revive the 31st December Women's Movement with.

He could also tell his party colleague and fellow parliamentarian, the Hon. Fifi Kwetey, who is in charge of the ministry of food and agriculture, to take a look at the aquaponics project initiated by the Agricultural University of Bangladesh, in that country. If it could be replicated throughout rural Ghana, it will create wealth and jobs for millions of unemployed young people - who could grow different types of vegetables for export and for sale locally, and also farm tilapia and catfish too, for sale in urban markets and to restaurants and supermarkets in urban Ghana.


I do hope that Zoomlion  will task its research and business development departments to send some of their employees to Kenya to visit EcoPost Kenya to see its plastic lumber manufacturing plant in action. Ditto to the U.S. to see Axion International's plastic lumber manufacturing plant in action. It could be a lucrative way for them to make use of recycled plastic waste - and rid Ghana of the plastic waste slowly engulfing our country. Its value-chain will spawn thousands of micro-entrepreneurs who collect and sell plastic waste countrywide.


And since the Indian conglomerate TATA is present in Ghana, why does the minister of roads and highways, not ask them to consider getting the company's subsidiary, Jusco, to partner some of Ghana's leading road construction firms to bid for road projects in Ghana - and build plastic roads here?

Plastic roads - made from mixing melted shreded plastic waste with bitumen  - last three times as long as ordinary roads, and remain pothole-free throughout their lifespan. Its loadbearing qualities are superior to that of conventional asphalted roads. It is a value-for-money way to climate-change-proof roads in Ghana. And because the plastic makes plastic roads imperviable to water, they are not be washed away by flash floods.

Hopefully, Mr. Kofi Adams will follow up with both Zoomlion and the roads and highways minister, on this important subject, too. As we say in local parlance: "Massa, over to you, Joe Lartey!"

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Yearning For A United Ghana Is An Opportunity For Nkrumahists

It is heartbreaking to hear Nkrumahist politicians implying, in their public speeches, that the candidate eventually selected by their party, is capable of  winning the 2016 presidential election - without the backing of the other Nkrumahist parties.

That is delusionary - and dangerous: as it will stop the Nkrumahist parties from coming together in an alliance to campaign for a common presidential candidate in that all-important election. Yet, that is precisely what they ought to do, if Nkrumahists are to return to power again,  in the  Ghana of today.

The plain truth is that no Nkrumahist party's candidate is capable of winning the 2016 presidential election on his or her own - without the active backing of all the Nkrumahist parties.

To enable Ghanaians face the tough times predicted for the global economy in 2016, the winner of the 2016 presidential election, will have to work hard to unite our sharply divided country.

Without that unity of purpose and national consensus, groups of hardliners in both the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), will continue their secret agenda of sabotaging the nation-building effort - regardless of whichever of those  two parties controls the presidency in 2016.

 (Unless and until they become totally transparent about their sources of funding, and dedicate themselves to protecting the national interest at all material times, may God forbid that either of those two corrupt and opaque parties wins the 2016 presidential election. Patriotic and independent-minded Ghanaians have had enough of the NDC/NPP duopoly's hardliners' divide-and-rule tactics - and the unfathomable greed that underpins most of their actions when in government. But I digress.)

To avoid that selfish and nation-wrecking strategy used by hardliners in both the NDC and NPP, to make governments of the day unpopular - regardless of the detrimental effect it has on the country and ordinary people: as is clearly the case today - we must have a government of national unity after the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections: with the new administration's membership consisting of ministers selected from all the political parties in Ghana.

By forming an alliance in which each Nkrumahist party maintains its identity, and selecting a common candidate for the 2016 presidential election, the Nkrumahist parties will be demonstrating to Ghanaians, in practical fashion, their commitment to the formation of a government of national unity that embraces honest and patriotic politicians from across the spectrum - including individuals from both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The leaders of the  Convention People's Party (CPP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), People's National Convention (PNC) and the Progressive People's Party (PPP), must understand clearly that none of the parties they lead, can select a presidential candidate who will go on to win the 2016 presidential election, without the backing of all the other Nkrumahist parties.

 For the sake of the hard-pressed ordinary Ghanaian, who wants to see Ghana transformed into an African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, the leaders of the Nkrumaist parties must put pride and ego aside - and begin talks to form an alliance of equals.

If they truly love Mother Ghana, the Nkrumahist parties must come together and select a common presidential candidate in 2016 - as that is the only way for them to win that particular election.

It is time the leadership of all the Nkrumahist parties understood that clearly - and started talks to form an alliance of equals to fight the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, as soon as practicable. Ghanaians want their polarised society to be united - and that yearning presents Nkrumahists with an opportunity they must not miss: as it might never come their way again.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Danquah Sought To Entrench Elite-Previlege

The Convention People's Party's Chairperson, Ms. Samia Yaabah Nkrumah, and Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, who is a leading member of the party, struck the right note, in responding to Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's curious statement that Dr J. B. Danquah's family had forgiven Nkrumah for Danquah's death.

Actually, there is nothing from the past to do with Danquah, to forgive Nkrumah for. It is a fact that Nkrumah's political opponents wanted him dead - and conspired with foreign powers to bring that end about.

The facts-on-the-ground to do with the history of the struggle for our independence can never be conjured away by dissimulation and dissimulators. With respect, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo must not allow himself to be misled by his speechwriters.

It is unfortunate that someone once read a document containing the colonial authorities' longterm development plans for the Gold Coast colony, went on to ask a question based on it  during a sitting of the Gold Coast Legislative Council - and today it is fetched up by clever people as evidence that the idea for the Akosombo dam and hydroelectric power project were his.

Danquah's acolytes can ascribe every major development project in our country and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa - from the days of Adam and Eve to the day of his death - to Danquah.  It will still not make him a nationalist hero to the ordinary African on any street in the continent.

Declassified U.S. National Security Council documents from the Kennedy and Johnson eras, confirm that Danquah was part of the conspiracy to overthrow Nkrumah.

He collaborated with the CIA - and whiles he was in prison his family was supported by U.S. intelligence.

In the end it landed him in the Nsawam prison - and he was detained without trial under the laws of Ghana at the time.

As a result of the threat posed by global terrorism, even tougher laws have also been passed, and are in place today, in all the Western democracies - to enable them deal effectively with those involved in acts of terrorism.

And scores of suspected terrorists have been detained for different periods of time in a number of Western democracies  without trial. In view of the viciousness and barbarity shown in attacks by various terrorist groups around the world, who in their right mind today, would complain about such measures to protect nation-states and their citizenry?

And what  responsible leader will sit unconcerned and allow bombs to be exploded indiscriminately, by political opponents determined to assassinate him, and maim and kill hundreds of innocent citizens in the process?

That is precisely why President Kufuor warned former President Rawlings that he would "smell pepper" if he tried to overthrow his regime - and took the necessary  steps to ensure that Rawlings could not do so.

It is important that the followers of Nkrumah do not allow themselves to be sidetracked into unproductive arguments, by following the agenda set by the political progeny of Danquah - who are engaged in a revisionist enterprise that amounts to  intellectual dishonesty.

Nkrumahists should focus instead on regaining power to reunite the people of our divided country once again - and empower Ghanaian businesses to grow and prosper so that they can create jobs for the unemployed youth: as their government of national unity sets about transforming Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Arguing with the political progeny of Danquah will not change anything about the past. It has become an unproductive activity. It will not change the outlook and worldview of any of Danquah's political progeny.

After all, much like Danquah in the past, today, some of his present-day followers still collaborate with organisations abroad that actively work with foreign intelligence agencies to execute their neocolonialist agenda in Africa - such as the UK's Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), for example.

The verdict of history is not obtained by putting a clever spin on past events  and resorting to subtle image-makeovers for the figures of history. The attempt to turn Danquah into what he was not will never succeed - and so will it be till the very end of time.

The many victims of the arbitrariness and capriciousness of the  traditional authorities during the reign of Nana Ofori Atta 1 - both Akyem and non-Akyem - certainly knew by their lived experiences in Akyem Abuakwa, who the real Dr. J. B. Danquah was. That is why Danquah never won any election he stood as a candidate in.

Not for the Kwawu shopkeeper victims of the traditional authorities' capriciousness, the protection of their basic human rights by the 'champion' of liberty - as they were thrown out of their rented shops and accommodation on the orders of the traditional authorities: just because they were not Akyems. Ordinary Akyems who tried to help them faced reprisals.

When the crunch came, the sense of initiative and entrepreneurial drive of the Kwawu shopkeepers - who were not lucky to be sufficiently wealthy to afford to build or buy their own shops, and therefore had to rent premises to carry on business - did not save them. It is instructive that wealthy Kwawus who owned their own shops and houses were spared. Naturally, their very deep pockets could be tapped to enable the traditional authorities to continue to live in the lap of luxury.

Neither did positive personal attributes save other hardworking individuals from the discriminatory policies against non-Akyems enforced by the 'champion' of democracy, human rights and private initiative, and his allies amongst the traditional authorities of Akyem Abuakwa.

Yet, those victims were all industrious individuals determined to improve their personal circumstamces and increase their net worth - which is what actually brought thousands of settler farmers from Krobo, Akwapim and other parts of the Gold Coast into Akyem Abuakwa. Would a true champion of personal freedom and private enterprise not have defended them?

But in the end, those positive attributes meant nothing to Danquah, the 'champion' of liberty and free enterprise, and his allies amongst the traditional authorities in Akyem Abuakwa at the time - who were determined to implement a policy  that amounted to the economic equivalent of ethnic-cleansing, regardless.

The reason was simple: Danquah & Co were looking far ahead to the day when their dream of a federation of pre-colonial tribal states in the newly-independent state that would replace the Gold Coast colony would finally come into being.

Why did the 'champion' of private enterprise and individual freedoms,  not prevent the enforcement of the traditional authorities' arbitrary edicts that sought to exploit harworking settler farmers in Akyem Abuakwa, for example? And there too, significantly, only the wealthiest non-Akyem farmers were spared - so their wealth could be tapped to support the traditional authorities' obscene  profligacy.

What will never change about the history of liberation struggles by subjugated peoples in our part of the world, is that there is not a single African nationalist hero who fought colonial occupation of his or her country, who  was also a tribal-supremacist.

Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela, all rose above petty tribalism. Danquah on the otherhand was an unapologetic Akyem tribal-supremacist. His actions and utterances proved it.

Neither is there a single African nationalist hero, who sought to entrench elite-privilege - by opposing the adoption of universal adult suffrage for elections to select the people's legislative representatives.

During the fight for independence Danquah wanted the vote extended to only property owners and those who earned a wage.

That is what the phrase "property-owning democracy", which was bandied about at the time by reactionary forces, actually connoted.

Yet even that hackneyed phrase too has been through the hands of today's cynical spin-doctors and been given the "special-toli- treatment" by image-makeover specialists - and it is now held up by Danquah's acolytes as an example of his democratic credentials.

Danquah was no nationalist hero. Yes, he was a brilliant scholar and had an extraordinary intellect - but he was no nationalist hero. Freedom for the masses was not his priority.

The accolade "nationalist hero" is reserved in the Pantheon of great leaders of humankind strictly for those who fight for freedom on behalf  of and for subjugated peoples.

Throughout the struggle for independence,  Dr.J. B. Danquah & Co sought to entrench elite-privilege for the pre-colonial ruling elites  - freedom for the masses was not a preoccupation for the Gold Coast's elite.

That  is why Danquah and his allies wanted any newly-independent successor-state to the Gold Coast colony to be a federation of the pre-colonial tribal kingdoms.

Fighting for freedom for the masses, whom he was contemptuous of, in any case, was the last thing on the mind of a man, who glorified the pre-colonial system that enslaved many. Freedom for the masses  was not of the remotest bit of interest to him. Seeking and entrenching elite-privilege was always his priority.

In truth, the masses were mere cannon fodder - and Danquah & Co went through the motions of championing their cause.

As a demographic the masses were simply a means to an end: Putting in place a new system (no different from the one in place in the pre-colonial era), in  which a privileged few, who felt they had a divine right to rule their fellow humans, lorded it over the rest.

Ordinary people saw through that - and in election after election (in 1951, 1954 and 1956) rejected that reactionary and elitist vision of the newly-independent state that would be the successor-state to the Gold Coast colony, proferred by Danquah & Co.

Nothing has changed, it would appear. That elite  pet-project of dominating our country, and transferring its wealth into the hands of a powerful few with greedy ambitions, still continues to this day, alas.

That is why the greediest amongst Danquah's political progeny, are impatiently waiting in the shadows, ready to seize their moment in 2016 -  and take their turn in the ongoing brutal gang-rape of Mother Ghana. So like Danquah, his followers today, too, seek to entrench elite-privilege.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Nkrumahist Parties Must Move To Form An Alliance Of Equals Now

Despite the odds seemingly being stacked against it, it is actually possible that a candidate fielded by an alliance of all the Nkrumahist political parties, could win the 2016 presidential election in Ghana.

We are at a juncture in our history, when many discerning and patriotic Ghanaians, constantly worry about the polarised nature of Ghanaian society.

The question one often ponders over is: Do Nkrumah's followers realise, that the chances of their movement returning to power again, have seldom been greater at any time, than today -  since the tragic overthrow of President Hilla Limann in December 1982?

In light of that, what precisely are Nkrumahists doing to regain power in 2016, one wonders?

It is obvious that the vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana are tired of the intense and divisive rivalry between the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC),  and the country's main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

It is that rivalry between the two parties that has resulted in the polarisation of Ghanaian society. Yet, we cannot continue to remain a divided people, and possibly succeed as a nation.

Luckily, many ordinary Ghanaians also understand the importance of the nation coming together, to confront the challenges that they realise the country will have to face, after the 2016 presidential election.

That presents Nkrumahists with an unparalleled opportunity. The question then is: what should their strategy be? The short answer is that they must leverage Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom's 2012 presidential election campaign's transparency-track-record.

He demonstrated that in practical terms by: publicly publishing his filed tax returns; openly revealing the sources of the Progressive People's Party's (PPP) funding to the public; and publicly publishing the results of his medical check up - which proved that he was physically fit to shoulder the burdens of the office of President of the Republic of Ghana.

That is what Ghana desperately needs: a leader genuinely committed to transparent and accountable governance  -  by deeds, not by making platitudinous speeches about fighting corruption at public  functions across the country.

The Nkrumahist alliance's members must assure Ghanaians that as an anti-corruption measure, all their government's appointees - from the president down to the last district chief executive, and their spouses - will publicly publish their assets, before the beginning of their tenures, and immediately after they leave office.

And they must also publicly publish the sources of funding for all their parties before the elections.

They must form an alliance of all the Nkrumahist parties - which will form a government of national unity if their candidate wins the presidential election.

That administration ought to include some of the most honest, brilliant and patriotic members of the NDC and NPP, who are one-nation politicians genuinely committed to protecting the national interest at all material times - which is whatever promotes the welfare of all the people of Ghana: and ensures the well-being of our homeland Ghana.

The question then is: What sort of individual should the next president of Ghana be? The next president of Ghana must be someone who knows what kind of conditions are necessary for businesses of all sizes to thrive in Ghana - because he or she has made a success of his or her own business.

That leader must also be someone who knows how to create jobs - because he or she owns businesses that have successfully created thousands of jobs as they have expanded and thrived.

Above all, the next president of Ghana must be someone who despite the odds, has risen  from the same background as Ghana's struggling masses, and can therefore empathise with their plight, and fashion policies that will create opportunities for them to succeed too.

Both President Mahama and the main opposition party's presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential election, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, come from privileged backgrounds. But it is important that we do not hold that against them - as none of us also chose our parents. And as we all know, they are both essentially good and decent human beings, too.

However, as a result of their privileged backgrounds, they can never truly understand what poverty is - and what it does to the individuals who have the misfortune to suffer from it.

The self-made-man-narrative about Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom's rise from humble beginings to great wealth is a powerful and compelling one - and will resonate with millions of ordinary Ghanaians, once they get to hear the details of his achievements in the world of business: and the thousands of jobs he has created through his businesses.

The alliance of Nkrumahist parties would be wise to select him as their presidential candidate for the 2016 election - with Samia Yaabah Nkrumah as his running mate, to whom he will hand over the baton of leadership, after serving one term as president, in a generational shift of our nation's leadership.

In return, in addition to funding the PPP he founded, he must also fund all the other Nkrumahist parties: the Convention People's Party, the Great Consolidated Popular Party and the People's National Convention.

Such transparent funding of the Nkrumahist parties, will contrast sharply with that of the opaqueness  of the NDC/NPP duopoly's funding. As we all know, they are partly funded by the vested interests that profit mightily from Ghana's corrupt system.

Nduom's wealth will insulate him and the Nkrumahist parties from the blandishments of the vested interests milking our country dry - and to which the NDC/NPP duopoly are beholden.

Nduom will make a splendid president for a nation which needs to finally understand that creating the conditions that will enable Ghanaian  businesses to grow and prosper, should be its core business - and that the machinery of government should be used to support Ghanaian businesses: so that they can thrive and create jobs for Ghana's  teeming unemployed youth.

For all the above reasons, as soon as it is practicable to do so, the Nkrumahist parties must form their alliance - in which each party maintains its identity -  and begin their joint campaign for their presidential candidate to win power that will be used for the betterment of all Ghanaians (not just to enrich a powerful few with greedy ambitions - to paraphrase Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah) in 2016.

All Ghana's Political Parties Must Commit To Free And Fair Elections In 2016

No politician, who is truly desirous of ensuring the well-being of our homeland Ghana, and keen to promote the welfare of all the citizens of our country, will contemplate, let alone resort to violence of any description, because he or she had lost an election.

And no truly democratic political party, seeking power because it genuinely believes it can fashion policies that will create opportunities for all, which will lead to the creation of a prosperous society in Ghana, should tolerate extremist politicians who use indecorous language and are prone to violence, in its midst.

Tolerance is a prerequisite for a democratic culture in any society - and it must permeate all the structures of political parties and guide the actions of politicians.

One of the hallmarks of politicians (and political parties) genuinely committed to democracy, is a willingness to accept defeat at the polls in good faith - and having lost an election go on to pledge to do all that is humanly possible to help the victor serve Ghana and its people throughout his or her tenure.

Such a politician will never participate in sabotaging the nation-building effort whiles in the political wilderness - in the hope it will result in the ruling party failing: and becoming unpopular with the masses, and consequently end up losing power in the next elections.

That abominable and treasonable act of betrayal of ordinary people, which sabotaging the nation-building effort represents, has been a constant feature of opposition politicking since the inception of the 4th Republic - and both the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been guilty of it whiles in the political wilderness.

At a point in time when Ghanaians are increasingly demanding an adherence to good governance principles, by both public-sector and private-sector entities, political parties must be underpinned by an ethos of transparency and accountability.

In that regard, as public organisations, the NDC and NPP, which are both opaque in many ways, are really no longer fit-for-purpose.

It is no accident that none of them is prepared to reveal all their sources of funding to the world - in an age when Ghanaians demand such transparency from political parties and politicians.

They are both beholden to the vested interests that profit from our corrupt system - who want high-level corruption to persist in Ghana till the very end of time: so they can continue milking our nation in perpetuity.

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, the NDC and NPP both need to act to restrain the powerful hardliners in their midst.

Unfortunately, it is precisely because of the baleful influence of those hardliners, that both parties have been guilty of underhand tactics - including intimidation and violence -  in their electoral strongholds, in previous elections under the 1992 constitution. We must no longer continue to tolerate such aberrations in our democracy.

That is why it is so outrageous to hear important politicians - some of whom also even happen to be members of Parliament - recommending that their party ought to resort to rigging the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections: because in their view their party lost the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections because they were rigged by their opponents.

Clearly, that is a recipe for disaster - and it is intolerable and totally unacceptable for politicians to make such inflamatory statements in our democracy. Politicians who make fiery speeches that inflame passions and polarise society do a great disservice to Ghanaian democracy.

The NPP's Kennedy Ohene Adjapongs and Bernard Antwi-Boasiakos, and the NDC's Robert Owusus must bow their heads in shame, in that regard.

Why do such too-clever-by-half, hardline politicians, have  the gall and audacity to act as if winning the 2016 elections is a divine right of their political grouping, I ask? Well, it isn't, actually.

And neither is the Republic of Ghana the private property, nor the plaything, of any politician or political grouping in our nation.

Their polarising and extremist pronouncements could tip Ghana over the precipice. Yet, the vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana, simply want to live in peace - and want a peaceful outcome to the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. Some of us are thoroughly fed up with their tiresome and endless posturing.

It is important that men and women of goodwill throughout the country, and civil society organisations dedicated to ensuring good governance and accountability in Ghana, act to take all the necessary steps needed to ensure that the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections are free, fair and violence-free.

Ghana's stability, and the peaceful atmosphere the country enjoys, are important factors in attracting investment into our nation. And continued investment in our national economy creates jobs for unemployed young people. We must all therefore ensure that Ghana remains peaceful after the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Above all,  it is important that politicians and political parties understand clearly that ensuring that our country remains peaceful and stable at all material times, is the best contribution to the nation-building effort, which they can collectively make, to ensure the transformation of Ghanaian society, into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

That is why all the political parties in Ghana ought to pledge to ensure that they will not do anything that will mar the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections - and also commit to ensuring free and fair elections in each one of the 26,000 or so polling stations across Ghana. Ghana and its hard-pressed people deserve no less from the nation's political class and political parties.