Wednesday, 7 October 2015

These Indeed Are Interesting Times In Ghana


A thought occured to me, when I heard one of Peace FM's female news readers - whose name escapes me - asking a question this morning, about the format used by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), for the debates it organises, during campaigns for Ghana's presidential elections.

I have always wondered, whiles listening to them on the airwaves of Peace FM, why patriotic, one-nation media professionals - like the Kweku Baakos, the Kwesi Pratts and the Kwame Sefa Kayes - don't come together as a syndicate, to use the Despite Group's electronic media platforms, to organise a series of live presidential debates in all the 10 regional capitals, one after the other, so that topics sent to moderators by ordinary people in all the 10 regions of Ghana, are debated by all the presidential candidates, and aired live, nationally.

Would that not be a more meaningful contribution to the deepening of Ghanaian democracy, than the IEA's elitist and discriminatory presidential debates, I ask? And, best of all, would it not be equally beneficial to all Ghana's political parties, too, during the campaign periods leading up to presidential elections? Food for thought.


That President Mahama is a good and decent gentleman is beyond doubt. He has also shown that he has the courage to fight high-level corruption, when it is brought to his attention. Seldom in our nation's history have there been such  numbers of high-profile prosecutions of high-ranking public officials alleged to have engaged in acts of corruption.

The Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), and National Service Scheme (NSS) prosecutions come readily to mind.

The question the president and his advisors ought to ponder over is: Why is there such widespread concern that we are losing the fight against corruption in Ghana - when some practical action is being taken to fight it? Sadly, in a sense, President Mahama is his own worst enemy, when it comes to the issue of the public's perception of his willingness to fight  high-level corruption and end impunity in Ghana.

He seems to lack the moral courage to rid himself of those around him who engage in unethical conduct. Why, for example, is the brutish Stan Dogbe still at post - after physically attacking a journalist?

Is he above the law - or does he perhaps possess information that could bring the president down if it is revealed publicly: as some cynics and conspiracy theorists unfairly suggest (according to bush-telegraph sources)?

President Mahama's attitude, when his blood relations and those in his inner circle of friends mess up, always ought to be that they must not expect him to put his position at risk, by rescuing them from their own foolishness.

His family and friends have a moral obligation not to embarrass him by getting themselves into trouble of any kind. Ever. That is why he must get rid of the despicable Stan Dogbe now. From his own conduct Dogbe has shown clearly that he is simply not fit to work in the presidency. We all await the denouement of the Stan Dogbe saga-of-impunity.

Furthermore, President Mahama must ensure that his brother, Ibrahim Mahama, answers all the questions raised by the Hon. Kennedy Adjapong, and the rest of the minority caucus in Parliament. Did Ibrahim Mahama receive a payment of US$20 million from the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) for dredging the Odaw River - or did he not?

In fairness to him, it must be said that this being Ghana, many of those who criticise Ibrahim Mahama, probably do so because they are envious of his business acumen, and the enormous wealth he has accumulated over the years.

The ministry of local government and rural development, must give the good people of Ghana a detailed breakdown, of the total amount spent on fuel by the government for the use of the trucks, excavators and other heavy equipment, which Engineers and Planners  used to dredge the Odaw River.

It would also help the public to appreciate his public-spirited gesture better, if Ibrahim Mahama told the world the exact amount, which Engineers and Planners spent paying its employees to undertake that particular task.

And when exactly did Engineers and Planners take delivery of the ministry of local government and rural development's excavators, trucks etc., etc.?

Did the company also resort to using state-owned equipment in executing road construction projects at Tafo and Klago, as alledged by the Hon. Kennedy Adjapong and his New Patriotic Party colleagues in Parliament? Hopefully there was no question of the state paying for the fuel used for powering the equipment in either of those two road projects.

One hopes that the president and his advisors will realise the significance of the public being given precise dates of exactly when the ministry of local government and rural development's heavy equipment and trucks were handed over to Engineers and Planners to work with - and why the President must ensure that that is done immediately. It will give clarity on the issue of where the equipment used by Engineers and Planners for the Tafo and Klago road construction projects actually came from.


Such is the gravity of the crime of accepting bribes to pervert the course of justice that those guilty of it deserve no sympathy when caught. That is why it is so hard not to be contemptous of dishonest individuals in the justice delivery system, who when caught in the act, fight to prevent the world from viewing evidence that reveal acts of alledged corruption that they have been involved in, by manipulating the law - in the hope that they will be saved from punishment by legal technicalities.

This is the 21st century information age. Do such individuals not understand that in an era dominated by social media, in the long run,  adopting such a stonewalling strategy, is an exercise in futility? We must not allow those with such antediluvian mindsets to turn back the clock of progress - as Ghanaians seek to create an open, just and liberal society for themselves.

For the common good, why does Anas Amereyaw's Tiger Eye not simply post the results of its latest investigation, which exposes alleged corruption in the justice delivery system, on Facebook and YouTube -  and strike a blow for freedom of expression in Ghana: against those plutocrats in the system who (as a face-saving tactic) seek to use the law courts to censor free speech in Ghana?


Finally, it is a good thing that the Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, who is one of the leading political figures of his generation, now recognises that youth unemployment poses a long-term threat to peace and stability in Ghana. Having come to that conclusion, he ought to carefully study the  European Union's (EU) carbon offset initiative - that it is collaborating with the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission to implement - to empower rural communities to establish agro-forestry plantations, and recieve payments for same bi-annually.

The vast swathes of land degraded by illegal gold miners across rural Ghana could be restored through such low carbon development initiatives. Cooperative societies of unemployed youth could benefit financially from such green-economy initiatives. Is that not  a creative way to curb youth unemployment at a time of global climate change, one wonders?

The question is: Will those who now lead our nation see the enormous benefit of such green initiatives for the younger generation? With the citizenry now determined to force Ghana's leaders to produce policies that help to improve the quality of life for ordinary people - instead of having to put up with being fed with never-ending sugar-coated propaganda - those who say that these indeed are interesting times in Ghana, are definitely right to say so: This is a time when ordinary people expect positive action from politicians, not mere platitudes.

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