Thursday, 31 March 2016

Has Dr. Bawumia Finally Kick-Started An Issue-Based NPP Election Campaign?

It is a positive development that the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has finally come out with a 10-point plan to end youth unemployment and to spur economic growth.

The NPP must be congratulated for finally attempting to change the nature of its election campaign so positively.

Despite his brave attempt to inspire the students he addressed at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi,  alas, like many of the members of our educated urban elites, Dr. Bawumia showed that he is not an original thinker.

With the greatest respect, when it comes down to it, he is nothing more than just yet another "flash-in-the-pan brilliant chew-and-pour educated Ghanaian," to quote an old acquaintance of mine. Pity.

Unsurprisingly, there was an unfortunate lack of creativity,  in the plan he outlined to the KNUST audience of spell-bound students that he addressed, to stimulate growth and jobs in the real economy - which will actually impact lives positively. Versions of the policies mentioned in his 10-point plan have been implemented by various regimes since the 4th Republic came into being, with very little impact on the lives of ordinary people, alas.

He mentions the cost to the economy of corruption, for example - yet strangely does not commit to the one thing that will stop high-level corruption in its tracks in the real world here: all political appointees (from the president down to the last  district chief executive) and their spouses publicly publishing their assets immediately before and after their tenures in office.

Ditto political parties publicly publishing their sources of funding. Young educated Ghanaians must take note of that when considering who to vote for in November. Without that gesture of transparency, Ghana is going nowhere, fast, in its economic development after the elections.

He also talked about expanding the mortgage industry. Perhaps that is a good thing in a sense - for young people in some well-managed developed world economies, that is. However, in the real world, across  our homeland Ghana, only high earners can take on mortgages comfortably - and there are not that many young high earners in Ghana as it happens, unfortunately.

A more creative policy, for example - in a nation with huge disparities in wealth - will be to rather ring-fence revenues from the National Lotteries Authority - and use that to build well-designed and well-built affordable  two and three-bedroomed flats, in new green-designed communities through public private partnerships (PPP), with reputable local real estate developers, and stipulate that rent will be used as installment payments to acquire the flats over a period of twenty years.

Will that not give low-income youth from Nima, and other deprived urban communities from the bottom strata of Ghanaian society, the opportunity to own their own well-designed and well-built accommodation, in new green neighbourhoods - simply by buying lottery tickets, and, to ensure fairness in their allocation, qualifying for one through random selection by public computer draws?

That is creative policy-making in the  real economy impacting actual lives positively.

Incidentally, why do the Bawumias (and other young politicians from across the spectrum) not talk to the California-based Sama Group's Ms. Leila Janah - about partnering the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to create well-paid digital jobs for unemployable youth in the Zongos and rural Ghana?

Ditto using her group's  Laxmi cosmetic business to partner shea butter-producing women's groups in the three northern regions, such as Cynbeth, run by Ms. Cynthia Kampoe, whose value-chain provides scholarships for over 300 children?

Leila Janah once taught in a village school in Ghana for a year whiles at high school. And, after graduating from Harvard University - where she did a course in African Development Studies - she worked as a consultant at Kazenbach. She later left to work with the World Bank.

Her desire to help alleviate global poverty, led to her resignation from the World Bank, to set up SamaSource, to leverage her Silicon Valley contacts to find well-paid digital work for poor slum dwellers in Kenya and elsewhere. A win-win PPP between the YEA and her Sama Group could find relatively well-paid work for tens of thousands of disadvantaged youth in both rural and urban Ghana.

Is that not a more creative approach than current and past government poverty alleviation schemes - such as the NPP's  proposed Zongo Development Fund - which at the end of the day, only allow our vampire-elites to exploit the poor?

What is the point of pouring taxpayers' cash down the financial equivalent of  blackholes that the many crony-capitalist-benefiting-poverty-alleviation-schemes represent - that mostly only end up enriching a few super-wealthy individuals who fund the NDC/NPP duopoly through kickbacks from the vast profits milked from those schemes, I ask?

And in case Bawumia forgets, President Kufuor's regime apparently sunk U.S.$30 million into the National Identification Authority in 2006 - years after some of us had been persistently asking for one for our nation in our writing: if as a people we were serious about modernising our nation. Did he hear the rumour that that U.S.$30 million alledgedly disappeared into the ether, one wonders?

If he was a more creative thinker would he not already have spoken to Facebook, by now, for example, about collaborating with Ghana in a PPP to fund the creation of a national ID system using its DeepFace artificial intelligence facial recognition system, which would connect all state agencies and entities with one another and be accessible to all of them too - and informed his KNUST audience about it?

It will be a win-win PPP - as Ghana would gain a robust cutting-edge national ID system, without having to pay upfront for it, whiles Facebook gains the experience for a new stand-alone global business,  providing national ID systems, for developing nations.

Speaking as someone from a  land-owning cocoa farming background, with respect, the only way politicians in Ghana can  actually  improve agricultural production in the real world,  is to make the entirety of farming value-chains across all sectors - not just that of the cocoa sector -  tax-free businesses.

Hopefully, the Dr. Bawumias will revise their notes in that regard. The same must be done for the renewable energy sector too - if we are to democratise energy generation in Ghana by expanding the renewable energy sector.

And the only way to release the boundless energies and incredible talents of young Ghanaians, and create an entrepreneurial culture to power a business revolution that will create jobs galore in our country, and make our nation a prosperous one - paradoxically - is to abolish personal income tax, and make Ghana the nation with Africa's lowest corporate tax rates. Ditto the African nation with the continent's lowest interest rates for bank lending.

What that will do, is to immediately attract hundreds of thousands of high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs from around the world, to come and establish residence here, and live here for part of the year at least.

And when they do, they will either buy properties here or rent them, set up sundry businesses, including manufacturing industries, and invest in other areas of the national economy. All that will create tens of thousands of jobs for young people in Ghana.

Since Dr. Bawumia apparently loves reading, this blog humbly recommends that he reads the book entitled: "Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System Is Broken, And How We Can Fix It" - by Positive Money, the UK advocacy group that wants to democratise the issuing of money.

Let Bawumia's many young admirers do so too - by looking up the Positive Money website. They should sign up to join the International Movement for Monetary Reform - and set up local chapters in all the university campuses across the nation.

If they browse the Positive Money website, they will see why the Dr. Bawumias are part of the problem humankind faces - not part of the solution to the myraid of problems of modern life in a globalised world resulting from bad monetary policies by central banks.

Incidentally, where were the Bawumias when some of us were in the trenches in the nineties demanding debt relief for poor African nations and a reform of the international monetary system - before that relentless pressure led to the highly indebted poor countries initiative that gave the Kufuor regime the breathing space we predicted debt relief would bring to spur growth in poor African nations: whose very lifeblood was being sucked out of them by Shylock-debt-servicing?

Dr Bawumia is a beguiling political figure admired by many educated young Ghanaians - but what Ghana actually needs is a Sir Richard Branson-type of charismstic, swashbuckling serial entrepreneur, who has been hugely successful at creating wealth and jobs.

If the leaders of all the Nkrumahist parties finally see the light, and merge their parties with the Convention People's Party, and select a world-class individual and successful serial entrepreneur like Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, as the party's presidential candidate, that indeed will be the "real deal" for Mother Ghana.

Educated young Ghanaians, who are indepedent-minded thinkers, must compare Nduom and Bawumia (since hypothetically he might succeed a President Akufo-Addo before the end of his tenure) in a head-to-head contest to see who has a stellar track-record of job creation and wealth accumulation through honest hard work and innovative leadership.

In that regard, Nduom dwarfs all Ghana's politicians - including President Mahama and the NPP's Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo. He is the "real deal" indeed for Ghana's future after the November elections.

Be that as it  may, one hopes that Dr. Bawumia has finally kick-started an election campaign based on issues of concern to ordinary people - and that Ghanaian politicians across the spectrum will now end their daft politics of endless propaganda, trading insults and the demonising of political opponents.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

An Open Letter To Ivor Greenstreet, Dr. Edward Mahama, Dr. Henry Lartey And Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom


This blog salutes all of you. It might interest you to know that there are many discerning Ghanaians, who say that seldom has our homeland Ghana faced greater danger, since it gained its independence in 1957, than the horrifying prospect ahead of it: the possibility of civil strife after the November presidential and parliamentary elections

They point to the intense rivalry between the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), and warn that if civil society organisations fail to encourage moderates in both parties to restrain the extremists in their midst, those violence-prone hardliners will plunge Ghana into a civil war, as sure as day follows night.

This must not be allowed to happen under any circumstances, as it will set our country back many decades - and shatter the hopes and dreams of millions of families and individuals across the nation: whose lives will be turned upside down if widespread violence erupts in Ghana.

The best way to prevent such a catastrophe from occurring is to present voters with a credible third party in the November elections - which will form a government of national unity made up of the best brains from all the political parties in Ghana.

Under such a regime, for example, Ghana will finally be able to build an affordable climate-change-proofed network of plastic roads - made from the simple technology of mixing melted plastic waste with bitumen.

Plastic roads remain pothole-free throughout their long lifespan (they last thrice as long as conventional roads), bear heavier loads than conventional roads, and are never washed away by flash floods because plastic is impermeable to water.

The NDC/NPP duopoly will never build plastic roads, because doing so will block a very lucrative avenue for kickbacks, from the well-connected and super-wealthy thieves, amongst our vampire-elites, who fund their election campaigns and other party operational activities.

If Nkrumahists could unite under the banner of their mother party, the Convention People's Party (CPP), they could offer ordinary people a credible alternative to the discredited NDC/NPP duopoly that has monopolised power since the 4th Republic came into being.

Gentlemen, you are all very capable individuals - with enviable individual track records. And without a shadow of doubt, you all love our country dearly - and want to see the transformation of Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Ghana needs honest and caring leaders who will halt the siphoning off of taxpayers' cash into private pockets by "a powerful few with greedy ambitions" - to quote Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

No shares in oil blocks off our shores that should go to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), will be given out to private interests, instead, under such patriotic leaders, for example - which is what happened under both regimes of the NDC/NPP duopoly.

If revenues from the National Lotteries Authority are ring-fenced by a CPP government, could they not be utilised to fund the provision of well-designed and well-built  two and three-bedroomed flats, for ordinary Ghanaians, randomly selected from lottery ticket buyers to ensure fairness - whose  monthly rent will be regarded as long-term installment payments to purchase their flats over say a period of twenty years? Will that not create millions of proud homeowners across Ghana, I ask?

And there will definitely be no Smartys Management and Productions type of bus-branding rip-off scandals under such leaders either - because at all material times, it will be the national interest and the welfare of all Ghanaians, not the selfish interests of party carpetbaggers, which will decide priority projects beneficial to the masses of the Ghanaian people, that will be funded by government.

And since you are Nkrumahists, you will doubtless be open to adopting the best ideas from around the globe, and adapting them to spur Ghana's development.

And unlike the hard-of-hearing NDC/NPP duopoly, your regime will definitely listen, when patriotic individuals suggest that your administration ought to invite outstanding thinkers from around the world, such as John Farrel, the director of the U.S. based Democratic Energy Institute, of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, to Ghana, to meet with your government, to share ideas about giving millions of families and communities across Ghana energy independence, using solar power systems utilising rooftop solar panels, and concentrated photovoltaic thermal solar power generating systems with molten salts energy storage.

And as visionary followers of the polymath Nkrumah, your regime will no doubt also listen, when advised by patriotic individuals to look to Australia for solar companies, such as Zen Energy,  to partner Ghanaian companies - to contribute to the initiative to provide homes and communities across the country  with off-grid energy independence with rooftop solar power systems that have molten salt and other non-toxic storage capabilities.

And one is sure that under a CPP government the destruction of forests across Ghana by illegal loggers will be halted. Ditto the pollution of rivers, streams, groundwater and other water bodies across Ghana by illegal gold miners - because unlike the corrupt NDC/NPP duopoly your administration will never be beholden to the criminal syndicates behind those heinous crimes against Ghanaians.

Educated young people, who have read about the many achievements of President Nkrumah, such as the affordable housing projects initiated by his CPP regime, its free education and free healthcare initiatives, import-substitution industrialisation that provided jobs, etc., etc., want to know when you will unite the parties you lead with the CPP, so that the votes they will cast for candidates of the reunited CPP in the November elections, will not be wasted.

Gentlemen, when exactly will you reverse the parties you lead into the CPP? In doing so you will all be making great sacrifices for a noble cause: a return of the CPP to power again, to transform Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Ghana needs you to do so soon - as it is only a CPP regime that will rescue Mother Ghana from the clutches of the discredited NDC/NPP duopoly. Thanks very much indeed  - and may God bless, protect and guide all of you, always.

Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,

 Kofi Thompson.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Will Ghanaians Experience Rule By Saints Under An NPP regime If Its Candidate Wins The November Presidential Election?

The propensity for Ghanaian politicians to take ordinary people for granted, is truly amazing.  For example, why are so many highly-intelligent politicians carrying on as if ordinary people can be fooled permanently into thinking that there will be rule by saints, if the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP),  wins the November presidential election?

As the largest opposition party, it is in the national interest that the NPP never ceases to expose high-level corruption in Ghana - but should it continue to take Ghanaians for granted, by remaining silent on the issue of political parties publicly publishing all their sources of funding,  as an effective anti-corruption measure, whiles constantly making allegations that the current government is corrupt?

Do the NPP's leaders not realise the vital need for politicians running for office in a Ghana in which high-level corruption is endemic to publicly publish their assets and those of their spouses - as an anti-corruption measure? Why not commit to doing so to help end high-level corruption in Ghana, if they are sincere about fighting corruption in Ghana, when they are voted  into power again?

To demonstrate to Ghanaians that he is serious about fighting corruption, and that he will not tolerate corruption in his administration, if he is elected as Ghana's president, in November, why does Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo (a good and decent gentleman who by all accounts is incorruptible) not follow Nigeria's President Buhari's example - and publicly publish the assets of both himself and his wife: as a symbolic act to show his commitment to transparency and accountability?

And why does he not also demand that his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and his wife, do so too - and promise that he will make that a precondition for  all public-sector appointments made in his administration during his tenure as President?

Furthermore, since this is a nation teeming with millions of highly-intelligent and educated young voters, concerned about their individual futures, why is the biggest opposition party not addressing the issues that actually matter, if there is to be a paradigm shift in Ghana's real economy, and the ethos underpinning governance in the country?

How is the NPP going to turn a highly-indebted Ghana into a prosperous society successfully?

Unfortunately, as things currently stand, our homeland Ghana must be the only democracy in the world, in which the main opposition party, expects to coast to victory in the presidential election, simply by criticising the governing party endlessly - without once telling voters exactly what their alternative policies (to the many things they criticise the current government for), actually are. Incredible.

And in which Western democracy will a serious contender for the presidency, campaign across the country,  asking voters at rally venues to give him or her a chance and "try" him or her as president, instead of outlining his or her plans for the country, who will not immediately be ridiculed - and dismissed by the media as a most unsuitable leader to run that nation?

Yet that is the appeal that the advisors of the NPP's presidential candidate, are asking him to make to voters, across the country. Amazing.

The question is: Has the time not come for discerning young Ghanaians - who are serious and independent-minded thinkers - to focus on the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, and his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia: and ponder over their strange and deafening silence, on the critical issues that actually matter, if real change is to occur in Ghana after the November presidential election?

Take the issue of high-level corruption - the virulent  cancer destroying our country - for example.

What is significant about Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, and his running mate Dr. Bawumia, as well as their dissembling underlings, such as the garrulous John Boadus and Sammy Awukus, on the issue of corruption, is that thus far, not a single one of them has stated categorically, that every individual appointed to a public-sector position, in their government after 7/1/2017, will have to publicly publish his or her assets, as well as that of their spouse, before their tenure, and immediately after the end of their period in office - and that they themselves will do so too: as their contribution to the fight against high-level corruption.

Neither have any of the NPP's leading lights ever stated publicly, that they will publicly publish all the sources of funding for their party's presidential and parliamentary elections - to show the world that they are a truly transparent and accountable political party: as opposed to the opaque National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mahama that their party wants to replace as the governing party.

Yet, without such anti-corruption measures in place, the super-wealthy thieves amongst our nation's vampire-elites will continue appropriating Ghana's wealth for themselves, even after the NPP  comes to power.

The question that every young person voting for the first time, and desirous of real change in Ghana, after the November presidential election, ought to ponder over is: Why the deafening silence by the NPP, and its presidential candidate, and his running mate, about the importance of politicians in Ghana publicly publishing their assets and those of their spouses, immediately before assuming office, and immediately after the end of their tenures?

There will be no real change in Ghana if Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo becomes president in January 2017, if the NPP and its presidential candidate, and his running mate, do not publicly publish the sources of the party's campaign funds - as well as the personal assets of all the NPP's presidential and parliamentary candidates, and their spouses, before the November elections.

That is why voters must focus on the continuing deafening silence of the NPP about publicly publishing all the sources of funding for the party's candidates for the November presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as publicly publishing the personal assets of those candidates and their spouses.

Discerning young voters ought to understand clearly that nothing will change in Ghana, as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, if the NPP's leadership fails this litmus test of demonstrating the party's commitment to ending high-level corruption in Ghana, should it win power after the November presidential election.

Simply put, no one in Ghana must expect rule by saints,  should the NPP come to power after the November elections - in light of their deafening silence on the matter.

It is pretty obvious that for some extraordinary reason, the party's candidates for the November presidential and parliamentary elections, are unwilling to publicly publish the sources of the party's funding. Neither is the NPP willing to publicly publish the personal assets of those selfsame candidates, and their spouses, too.

Whatever be the reason for their reluctance to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and accountability in such practical fashion, that reluctance is not a very good sign, alas.

Perhaps #OccupyGhana can establish its moral authority by demanding (on behalf of ordinary people) that the NPP should publicly publish all the sources of its funding - and that all its candidates for the presidential and parliamentary elections publicly publish their assets as well as that of their spouses, before this November's elections? It should demand same from all the other political parties, too, incidentally.

It is said that coming events cast their shadows. No prudent young Ghanaian voter should overlook the NPP's deafening silence about publicly publishing the sources of its election campaign funds, and publicly publishing the assets of all its candidates for the November presidential and parliamentary elections, and their spouses, when considering who to vote for in that election (especially when Freddie Blay, its 'saintly' acting national chairperson, has stated categorically that the NPP has no intention of doing so).c

Clearly, Ghanaians will not experience rule by saints, under an NPP regime, after January 2017, should the party win the November presidential election.

This blog  confidently predicts that the create-loot-and-share phenomenom will be far worse under an NPP administration. The signs are there for all those with eyes to see that clearly for themselves: How many secret banks accounts does the NPP have - and who and whom in that party operate those funds - and why? And why were Paul Afoko and Kwabena Adjapong hounded out of their positions when they tried to stop the operation of secret NPP bank accounts? Hmm Ghana, eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Has John Dumelo Joined The Presidency's Gravy Train Too?

I listened to the host of Peace FM's entertainment programme, "Entertainment Review," Kwesi Aboagye, interviewing the actor John Dumelo, earlier this afternoon, about his appointment as a tourism ambassador, by the minister for tourism and the creative arts.

It is instructive that John Dumelo made the point that he has the largest Facebook following in Ghana - with a million followers apparently.

Was it a subtle way to justify his appointment, perhaps, one wonders? If so, why does he need to justify what he says he is not being paid for?

He also casually  mentioned a documentary film about tourism that he is shooting -  at which point this old fogey's big ears automatically pricked up.

What John Dumelo ought to do to reassure his many Ghanaian Facebook followers, when he says he isn't being paid for his role as a tourism ambassador, is to issue a statement to the general public, categorically stating that no state-owned entity, is sponsoring his ambassadorial role in any shape or form.

On the other hand, if it is the case that he indeed has some form of sponsorship from some state-owned entities, for his role as a tourism ambassador, then he should tell Ghanaians  precisely what those sponsorship "packages" consist of, and what the names of those particular state-owned entities are.

He must be transparent about that to avoid government critics condemning his appointment as a cover for juicy sponsorship deals from state-owned entities, to share with his cronies at the presidency.

Finally, does his ambassadorial role enable him to get sponsors to pick up some of  his expenses - such as hotel bills and fuel allowances - when he visits tourism attractions around the country? Ditto return air tickets to destinations overseas and per diems?

If he is to avoid rumours that his appointment was secured for him, by the create-loot-and-share genuises at the presidency, so they could use him to secure juicy "sponsorship" packages from sundry state-owned entities, which they could share with him - and also prepare the ground for a positive vetting-narrative, when he is appointment a deputy minister of tourism and the creative arts, should the National Democratic Congress be returned to power again after the November presidential election - then he must issue an unequivocal statement denying that, swiftly.

That will reassure his fans that he has not joined the presidency's gravy train's first class carriage too, to milk Mother Ghana dry.

If everything about his appointment  is lily white and above board, then one wishes him well in his new role.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Must We Allow Political Parties To Set Up Private Paramilitary Units Because Powerful Politicians Fear For Their Lives?

Should we allow political parties to set up private paramilitary units because a few powerful  politicians fear for their lives?

Well, whiles it might be in the interest of political parties and individual politicians to set up paramilitary organisations,  it is most definitely not in the national interest, for that to happen. It will be a grave error of judgment, collectively, if Ghanaians allowed that to happen.

The trouble about political parties training young people ostensibly for security duties during election campaigns - that under normal circumstances ought to be provided by the state - is that when their paymasters fail to win power, they can be used by rogue elements in such parties to sabotage critical infrastructure, and carry out terrorist attacks across the country.

And they could also freelance in groups as armed robbers whenever they feel the need to do so, could they not?

To forestall such a  development in Ghana, it might be prudent for the leadership of the security agencies and the relevant select committees of Parliament, to collaborate with all the political parties, to address their security concerns, and find solutions to those challenges - and obviate the need for what are in effect private paramilitary units for political parties.

In most democratic nations, it is the state that provides protection for politicians, during election campaigns. There is no reason why we should not do so in Ghana too.

No sincere and independent-minded  Ghanaian patriot, who listens to verbally-aggressive politicians, such as the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) Robert Owusus, and the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Bernard Antwi-Boasiakos, will fail to see the wisdom in not allowing political parties in Ghana to form what to all intents and purposes are private paramilitary units, under any circumstances.

Politicians and political parties will come and go, but our homeland Ghana will endure till the very end of time. At all costs, the stability of our country must be maintained, for the sake of ordinary people.

The personal ambitions of politicians should not be allowed to put that stability at risk. Ever.

In a polarised nation in which many politicians put party and tribe above loyalty to Mother Ghana, we are asking for trouble, if we allow political parties to form paramilitary units, at  a time when international terrorist groups are focusing on west Africa.

The safety of the Republic, and the well-being of ordinary people in Ghana, must not be allowed to be jeopardised by the formation of private paramilitary units by political parties. Period.

After all, politicians who fear for their lives have a choice: they are free to return to their private lives - and live quiet and tranquil lives as private citizens. We must not allow political parties to set up private paramilitary units just because a few powerful politicians fear for their lives.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

When Will The Brutal Gang-Rape Of Mother Nature In Ghana Be Halted By Officialdom - Before International Terrorist Groups Participate In It Too To Raise Funds?

At a time of global climate change, no sane green investor will invest money in any nation in which ruthless and murderous criminal gangs can invade privately-owned property with impunity - and get away with it.

That is why the existence of the rule of law is a key prerequisite for investors - across all the jurisdictions they choose to invest in,  worldwide.

If we are to maintain law and order in our homeland Ghana, it is vital that the criminal syndicates behind illegal sand-winning, illegal logging and illegal gold mining across the country, are broken up quickly by the security agencies.

All their leading members must be arrested, prosecuted and jailed, before they finally succeed in turning Ghana into a lawless state - in which the law-abiding are either murdered or brutalised with impunity on a regular basis.

It is such a pity that there is such enforced apathy in officialdom, about all matters to do with dealing effectively with the egregious harm being caused to the natural environment, by the activities of illegal sand-winners, illegal loggers and illegal gold miners, across Ghana.

Unfortunately, that apathy essentially results from a lack of the required resources, needed to enable the security agencies deal effectively with the problem, head on, once and for all.

Yet, the activities of those criminal syndicates  affect the quality of life of millions in Ghana.

An example, is the acute water shortage that occurred at Nsawam and its environs before the recent rains set in.

If news reports in sections of the Ghanian media are to be believed, apparently, the drying up of the reservoir for the Nsawam treatment plant, of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), resulted partly from the blocking of a tributary of the Densu River,  by illegal sand-winners at Mensahkrom, which is the next village after Thompsonakura - about five minutes as the crow flies, from Kyekyewre, off the Accra-Kumasi highway, just before Asuboi and immediately after Teacher Mante.

The question is: Do those who now govern our country not realise that there is synergy between the activities of international drug cartels and international terrorist groups, and that of the criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal sand-winning, illegal logging and illegal gold mining in Ghana, today?

And do the security agencies that daily brief those who now govern our country also not realise that that synergy will eventually lead to an alliance between the West African affiliates of international terrorist groups, and the criminal syndicates behind most of the illegal sand-winning, illegal logging and illegal gold mining now going on in Ghana, someday, soon: as sure as day follows night?

Those of us who are currently at the receiving end of the activities of the criminal syndicates involved in illegal sand-winning at Thompsonakura and Mensahkrom, near Kyekyewre; and the illegal activities of the criminal syndicates behind the illegal logging and illegal gold mining now being carried out in the 14-square mile freehold upland evergreen rainforest property of the P. E. Thompson Estate at Akyem Juaso (around Forest Reserve pillars 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98), with such impunity, can see that clear and present danger to our homeland Ghana, looming over the horizon,  very clearly.

And it is a state of lawlessness and impunity that is most frightening.

Why does it never strike our leaders that no green economy investors will come to Ghana, ever, if some of us sought the help of global protests groups, such as Greenpeace and, to inform the world of the abominations being carried out by criminals in our freehold upland evergreen  rainforest property - that is part of a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA)?

How can  those who have now unlawfully taken over part of our freehold forestland -  acquired in 1921 and 1926 - with the collusion of the Odikro of Akyem Juaso, Barima Kofi Osei, and his council of elders, using fake documents as 'legal' cover, get away  with their heinous crimes against humanity - even though the matter has been reported to Anyinam District Police Command by the Hon. Gyeatuo, the Assemblyman for Akyem Saamang?

Why is the Anyinam District Police Command not following up on the complaint lodged by me personally, recently, against those trespassing and destroying our forestland unlawfully - the selfsame criminals arrested by the Hon. Gyeatuo -  I ask?

With respect, for the information of the Anyinam District Police Command, the P. E. Thompson Estate, the legitimate owners of the said freehold rainforest  property, are no pushovers. We intend to sue those despicable criminals for GHc10 million - as compensation for damaging part of an upland evergreen rainforest  that evolved over millennia, just to steal timber and gold with impunity. They have finally met their match.

On what is World Water Day, the question all patriotic Ghanaians, who care about the natural environment, and are concerned about the seeming breakdown in law and order in our homeland Ghana - as regards illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning - must ponder over is: When will those who now govern our country wake up to what is a clear and present danger to the safety of the Republic of Ghana, and its citizens, and halt the ongoing brutal gang-rape of Mother Nature, in Ghana?

Since President Mahama is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, why does he not act to stop these monstrosities across Ghana, I ask?

Will the authorities in Ghana continue sleeping, till international drug cartels and international terrorist groups become aware of the vast profits made by those behind illegal gold mining and illegal logging in the aforementioned areas, and other parts of Ghana - and decide to use such criminal syndicates to generate funds to expand their drugs and terror networks across West Africa?

Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

Monday, 21 March 2016

May Jake Okanta Obetsebi-Lamptey's Soul Rest In Peace

May the soul of Jake Okanta Obetsebi-Lamptey - who is reported to have just passed away in the UK - rest in peace. Apparently, he died of leukemia.

One hopes that he did not suffer much pain, if any, during his illness - and that if he did it did not last for too long a period.

Unless one is a lucky survivor of cancer, it is actually hard to comprehend the pain and expense involved in fighting some terminal illnesses if one has never been through such illness before.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has lost a key strategist - and one of its most intelligent leaders.

Had he lived till the end of this year, Jake could have made a real difference for Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's quest for the presidency - as even that cabal of hard-of-hearing geniuses (with overblown ideas about themselves) in Nana Addo's  inner-circle, now causing such havoc within the NPP's ranks, and ruining its election campaign with their hare-brained tactical ideas, respected him.

His flair for marketing, definitely played a key role, in the election of the party's candidate in the December 2000 presidential election - the then candidate John Adjekum Kufuor - as the second President of Ghana's 4th Republic.

Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey was one of the few truly world-class individuals to hold office, as government minister, in the Ghanaian  political world, since Ghana gained its independence from Britain in 1957.

And, as minister in charge of the tourism portfolio, he most certainly had a far better grasp of the potential game-changing role that responsible tourism can play in Ghana's development, than all the ministers who thus far have been in charge of the  tourism ministry, since the 4th Republic came into being.

Perhaps Jake Okanta Obestebi-Lamptey could have eventually ended up as a presidential candidate of the NPP - or even as Ghana's president - if he had been a fluent speaker of Twi, for example. It is such a pity that he never learnt to speak any Ghanaian language fluently.

As someone who criticised him in one's writing, whenever one felt that it was in the supreme national interest to do so, one is particularly saddened by his death. Hopefully, those criticisms did not add to the burden of stress that sometimes impact human health negatively, and might have influenced the final outcome of Jake's leukemia.

In any case, despite one's frequent criticism of his party, as tourism minister, he was always helpful, when one drew his attention to particular projects that one felt needed his ministry's support.

Above all, one hopes that Jake Obestebi-Lamptey's untimely death will lead to less rancour in the politics of our country - and help reunite his much-divided party, which he once served as national chairperson, of, too.

Jake's death ought to remind all of us (politicians and journalists alike) that whiles alive, we must never forget that in the final analysis, it is our nation that will endure - not political parties and individual politicians: no matter how significant they might appear to be to one at any given point in time in our history.

We must also never forget that peace and tolerance are what our nation and its people actually require for a stable democratic system -  and help foster both in our nation's politics.

Jake has played his part in shaping our nation's destiny - and has now departed from this earth on the journey to the other side that we must all undertake one day too.

The whole nation mourns with his widow and family, as well as with the entire membership of the NPP - all of whom have our prayers: and to whom we send our heartfelt condolences at this most difficult period facing them. May Jake Okanta Obetsebi-Lamptey's soul rest in peace.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduro Must Examine His Conscience Over The GNPC's Defiance Of Parliament's Select Committee On Mines And Energy

When sundry high net worth scoundrels can manipulate our system, and get away with ripping Mother Ghana off, successfully, patriotic Ghanaians ought to worry about the long-term future of Ghanaian democracy.

If impunity is not brought to an end in Ghana, one doubts very much if ordinary people will continue to tolerate high-level corruption in Ghana - not when the cost of living is increasing relentlessly and they are being overburdened with endless taxes.

Our ruling elites must change their ways - for it will be dangerous for ordinary people to come to the conclusion that their country has become an unjust society, and that Ghanaian democracy has been hijacked by thieves-in-high-places: who are enriching themselves at the expense of the masses.

Parliament's oversight responsibilities, if taken seriously by parliamentarians, could help stem the tide of high-level corruption - and stop it from overwhelming Ghanaian society: and tipping our country over the precipice.

For that reason, many discerning Ghanaians rely on the diligence, and sense of patriotism, of the Speaker of Parliament, the Right Honourable Joe Adjaho, and his two deputies, the Honourable Ebo Barton-Oduro, and the Honourable Joe Ghartey, to ensure that Parliament acts to protect the national interest, at all material times.

Many patriotic and indepedent-minded Ghanaians have not forgotten that the Honourable Ebo Barton-Oduro, the first deputy speaker of Parliament,  allegedly played a role in enabling the scoundrel Woyome, to swindle Ghana out of the sum of some Ghc51 millions - because as the then deputy attorney general he and others did not do a diligent enough job scrutinising Woyome's exaggerated claims.

It therefore came as a surprise to them when he was selected to be the first deputy speaker of Parliament. Indeed, for many patriotic Ghanaians, it was disappointing that despite the Woyome scandal, the Majority side in Parliament went ahead and chose him to be the first deputy speaker of Parliament.

In light of all the above, he must not let it be said tomorrow, too, that as first deputy speaker of Ghana's Parliament, he also allowed those now in charge of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), to defy Parliament: and get away with dissipating the company's funds renting office accommodation - despite advice by a select committee to the company's management that they build a head office instead of renting one.

For many independent-minded and discerning Ghanaians, only one question comes to mind, when they reflect upon the recent exchanges on the floor of Parliament - over the propriety or otherwise, of referring to the photocopy of a document originally submitted to the Select Committee on Mines and Energy, by the GNPC's management - between the Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduro, sitting as first deputy speaker, and a member of the Select Committee on Mines and Energy, the Hon. Isaac Asiamah, the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) MP for Atwima Mponua.

The question there for such patriotic Ghanaians is: Does the Hon. Barton-Oduro want those in charge of the GNPC to defy Parliament - and fritter away the GNPC's money renting office accommodation at Dennis House in Tema: when they can use such monies to part-fund the building of a new head office building for the company?

Just whose side are the Hon. Barton-Oduros of our country on, one wonders  - the side of the masses of the Ghanaian people, or the powerful and well-connected few determined to "Chop Ghana small!"?

Do the Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduros not read the writing on the wall for our vampire-elites at all - and does it not strike them that they might possibly be drinking in the Last Chance Saloon?

From all indications, the GNPC, under its current management, has all the makings of an African equivalent of Brazil's corruption-riddled Petrobras - and, like Petrobras, could end up embroiling many people in the top strata of Ghanaian society, in massive corruption scandals too, one day, in the not too distant future.

It will be disastrous for our country, if crooks-in-high-places succeeded in targetting the GNPC - and stole massive amounts from it through create-loot-and-share sole-sourced public procurement schemes.

Alas, unluckily for those genuises, the Ghana of today, is not a nation in which high-level corruption can be successfully hidden away from the public, permanently - so in the end dubious deals entered into by the geniuses in charge of the GNPC will be exposed.

Getting such monies back will be the challenge Ghanaians will have to face - but we have President Buhari's example in Nigeria to guide us, thank goodness.

With the greatest respect, the Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduro ought to examine his conscience, in this matter - for he has the opportunity to help the Select Committee on Mines and Energy to stop the GNPC (on behalf of patriotic Ghanaians) from unwisely committing money it can use to build itself a new headquarters building to paying exorbitant rent to private landlords.

The Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduro must ask himself a simple question: If it was his own money, would he allow those geniuses presently in charge of the GNPC, to misuse it, by paying rent to a private landlord, instead of building a new head office for the company - as advised by the Select Committee on Mines and Energy of Ghana's Parliament?

Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

#Brochuregate: President Mahama's Regime Must Tell Ghanaians The Whole Truth

Is #Brochuregate a terrible nightmare, from which one will soon awaken, one wonders - or is it an actual tragedy that befell our country on the day it celebrated its fifty-ninth anniversary as an independent African nation-state?

Perchance, was the printing company which the presidency used to print those confounded 59th Independence Day anniversary parade brochures,  infiltrated by someone evil, who was planted there by those busy sabotaging the nation-building effort, for political gain, at the expense of ordinary people in Ghana?

And did he or she  see an opportunity to embarrass the government, and swiftly took it, one wonders - if some of the conspiracy theorists in our midst are to be believed, that is?

The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) ought to investigate that possibility: and either rule it out or in as the case might be - as it would amount to treason if that indeed is what occurred.

Or, is it simply the case that educational standards in Ghana have fallen so abysmally low, that the English language can be crucified in such brutal and undignified fashion, and such esoteric-Kweku-Ananse-geography inflicted on the world, as well, in a simple brochure outlining the ceremonial order for the 59th Independence Day anniversary parade, addressed by both President Mahama and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta?

It is hard to believe that people at the heart of the presidency in Nkrumah's Ghana, who had ultimate responsibility for that unspeakable monstrosity, could bring such shame on our beloved country - as a result of their monumental incompetence.

How is it possible for such third-rate individuals to play significant roles in the governing of our country, I ask?

President Mahama's regime has a lot to answer for in this scandalous and shabby affair.

To mollify the nation, Mahama's Cabinet's members should demand that the President sacks Stan Dogbe immediately: and rid their regime of his baleful influence at the presidency - before the next of his hare-brained schemes permanently sinks their regime.

The question is: What exactly does Stanley Dogbe do for President Mahama that the president is either unwilling, or unable, to sack that genius from his administration - despite the many calls by well-meaning and patriotic Ghanaians for his dismissal?

An otherwise memorable occasion has now been ruined in the memories carried by many who watched the parade - both at the Independence Square and on television around the world - who when they look back to that impressive parade, will now only remember #Brochuregate.

Well, now the President's hard-of-hearing regime is reaping the whirlwind - and it serves them right. They have brought this upon themselves. Why allow such amoral young people, who have no principles and lack integrity, to operate from the heart of the presidency, I ask?

Since the proverbial buck ultimately stops with him, this time round, President Mahama must personally tell Ghanaians, how it came about that a simple printing job that the Information Services Department had hitherto been responsible for,  for decades, was suddenly taken from them by the presidency, and given out to a private entity to print. Who exactly owns that private printing press, one wonders?

And what exactly is the connection between Stan Dogbe and the owners of that particular printing press, if any?

Furthermore, President Mahama must tell Ghanaians precisely how much those shameful and abominable brochures cost taxpayers - and whether or not the job was put out to tender: or sole-sourced as usual as yet another create-loot-and-share scheme to enrich some of his acolytes?

Above all, was another state-owned entity inveigled into paying for it, so that those confounded geniuses could lie through their teeth, and tell Ghanaians that no "government money was involved" in the payment of those sodden brochures?

The printing press and its promoters must be blacklisted - and must never be allowed to bid for government contracts again. Ever. Period.

President  Mahama should not treat this unpardonable  disgrace brought upon our country, by the Machiavellian Stan Dogbe, and his amoral and incompetent underlings, as some terrible joke - and leave it in the hands of the Chief of Staff at the presidency to investigate and report back to him: so that that too can be shelved by his regime as it is wont to in such cases.

Those geniuses at the presidency have made our country a laughing stock around the world. That is why President Mahama must ensure that Ghanaians are told nothing but the truth, and only the whole truth, about this shabby story of hard-to-believe-incompetence, emanating from the very heart of his regime.

If greed and selfishness are what motivated them, then the President must make sure that all those involved in the  #Brochuregate scandal are sacked immediately from his government - and ordered to refund the full amount involved to taxpayers.

And if any public procurement laws were broken in this outrage, the good people of Ghana expect Stan Dogbe & Co to be prosecuted, and jailed, for their egregious crime against Mother Ghana. Enough is enough. Haaba.

In the matter of #Brochuregate, Ghanaians expect nothing less than a full disclosure of all the pertinent facts, from President Mahama and his hard-of-hearing administration. Ghanaians want to hear nothing but the whole truth about this scandalous and shabby affair.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Is Gender Parity Key To Making Ghana An African Equivalent Of The Egalitarian Societies Of Scandinavia?

Today is International Women's Day. It is entirely fitting and proper that on a day set aside to honour women, globally, patriotic men of goodwill and good conscience in Ghana, should salute our nation's hardworking and industrious womenfolk.

Ghanaian women have always played a significant role in the development of our nation.

On the political front, for example, many market women supported Kwame Nkrumah, and the Convention People's Party (CPP), during the fight to rid the Gold Coast of the British colonial occupiers of our country.

They continued to do so after Ghana gained its independence from Britain in 1957 - by contributing cash to the CPP.

Today, women are a powerful presence, in the informal sector of our national economy - despite the many societal barriers that many of them have had to contend with in accessing finance over the years.

Male chauvinism has undoubtedly played a part in oppressing women in Ghana historically. It is the reason why so many powerful men from the top strata of society get away with raping women in Ghana - even when their victims are underage teenagers.

And the fact that there is still a great deal of misogyny in Ghanaian society today is also not in doubt.

The endless pillorying of the new chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Ms. Charlotte Osei, is a case in point. If she had been a man, she would have been given the space and time, to settle down in her job. In many ways, Ghanaian women are effectively second-class citizens in their own homeland, the Republic of Ghana.

Indeed, there are a number of fair-minded and discerning males, in Ghana, who will insist, if asked, that that is one of the reasons why women, who outnumber men in the country's overall population, still don't have half of the seats in Parliament reserved for them - and people with disabilities - when they should: in what after all is the 21st century.

In their view, if roles were reversed, and it was men who faced discrimination in society, they would demand that half the seats in Parliament, ought to be reserved for Ghanaian men.

One's hope, is that the CPP's presidential candidate, Mr. Ivor Greenstreet, will make the reservation of half of the total number of seats in Parliament for women - and people with disabilities - a key plank of his campaign for the November presidential election.

Women are the backbone of countless families throughout Ghana - and play a key role in nurturing children and in ensuring that all their offspring, male and female, are educated.

That is why if we want to prepare young people in Ghana, today, for tomorrow's challenges and opportunities, society must find practical ways to encourage women to support their children and wards, of both genders, to learn to code.

Corporate Ghana, which stands to benefit tremendously if the next generation of tertiary students learn to code today, whiles at primary school, ought to seriously consider helping Ms. Ernestina Edem Appiah's Ghana Code Club, to spread its wings countrywide, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service.

Perhaps they could work with Codecademy, Alphabet (Google) and Facebook to organise and fund such an initiative in Ghana?

And, if we want our country to actually progress, then the time has come to make Ghana a nation that practises gender parity. It will enable our nation to benefit from its female population's talent-pool's many gifts. And we will be showing the world what a wise and progressive people we are.

As a people, let us make a start in that direction, by ensuring that half of those appointed to positions in the upper echelons of all public-sector entities, are women who qualify for those positions.

Gender parity is key to making Ghana an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia. Most, definitely. This blog salutes all Ghanaian women on International Women's Day!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

If Terrorist Groups Don't Seek Permission From Judges Before Attacking Their Targets, Why Should Those Who Fight Them Seek Judges' Permission To Mount Surveillance On Terrorist Suspects?

It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Perhaps the road to a hell-on-earth in Ghana, tomorrow - should suicide bombers (perish the thought) strike during a well-attended outdoor event - will be paved with the good intentions of our  smug book-long-elites.

The question is: Why insist that even at a time when the whole of West Africa is threatened by terrorist organisations, the security agencies must obtain permission from judges, before listening in to the phone calls of terrorist suspects and sundry criminal types, as well as reading their emails?

Do the Boko Harams seek permission from judges before attacking their targets? Do counter-terrorist forces not need to react swiftly to terrorist attacks and contain the threat they pose to us all, at all material times? Is intelligence gathering, not an important  part of that equation, I ask?

Surely, our book-long-elites don't doubt the fact that terrorist organisations and religious extremists, ultimately seek to overthrow democratically elected governments - and impose themselves on free and open societies: in their quest for global domination?

Speaking personally, if by reading my emails and listening in to my telephone conversations with other parties, over a given period, that will somehow empower the security agencies to prevent a terrorist attack anywhere in Ghana, or lead to the apprehension of terrorists and other criminal types - such as illegal loggers, illegal gold miners and illegal sand-winners - that is most definitely acceptable to me.

Rather that, than be under the jackboots of vile and unhinged religious extremists, seeking to impose themselves on free societies worldwide, such as ours.

In any case, if one never views terrorist websites, and pornographic websites, and one neither plans criminal conspiracies with other parties on telephones and in emails, nor cheats on one's partner by having unwholesome conversations and smutty text message chat exchanges with other people's spouses, and sundry underage teenagers, why should being monitored electronically by our security agencies, be a problem?

Why should there be a problem with the security agencies monitoring one, without first obtaining permission to do so from judges - if one never defrauds people online by scamming them, and never emails and says things that will embarrass one if the world read one's emails and happened to listen to recordings of one's telephone conversations - if that will help those whose job it is to prevent serious crimes and terrorist attacks in Ghana, to better protect the Ghanaian Republic, and all who reside in it?

None, whatsoever, as far as this cantankerous old fogey is concerned. The question is: Does terrorism not pose an existential threat to our free society, and to our way of life, in our peaceful and democratic homeland, the Republic of Ghana? And, are we all not at risk, individually, of being murdered by terrorists exploding bombs and shooting indiscriminately into crowds at outdoor and indoor events, across Ghana?

Simply put, when it comes to intelligence gathering and mounting surveillance on terrorist suspects, it is always better to be safe, than sorry - which is why our security agencies ought be given the power to monitor the phone calls and emails of terrorist suspects, without seeking permission from judges to do so.

The fight against global terrorism is a war that humankind must win - and at whatever cost it will entail to bring about that victory. Victory for  the mad-dog types who run international terrorist organisations, such as Islamic State (IS), is simply too ghastly to contemplate.

The question there is:  Why hamstring the security agencies tasked to track and arrest terrorist suspects (and sundry master criminals), by asking them to seek permission from judges, before reading their emails and listening to their telephone conversations?

After all, any law-abiding Ghanaian, or foreigner, who lawfully resides here, who feels that the security agencies have abused his or her fundamental human rights, by listening in to their telephone conversations, and reading their emails, unjustifiably, is free to sue them in our law courts.

Is that not a sufficient enough safeguard to prevent the security agencies from widely abusing such powers, if it is granted to them by Parliament?

And, best of all, if, in addition to containing the threat posed by terrorists, the power to listen in to telephone conversations, and read emails, without first seeking permission from judges is granted to the security agencies, also enables them to track down  and arrest sundry criminal types, such as armed robbers, illegal loggers, illegal sand-winners, illegal gold miners, gold smugglers, and those selfish and super-ruthless individuals and groups sabotaging the nation-building effort for political gain, at the expense of Mother Ghana and the good people of Ghana, what could possibly be wrong with that? Zilch.

Indeed, it will make our country a safer place for us all - and help halt the creeping lawlessness and indiscipline that blights Ghanaian society today.

With respect, Parliament should ignore all those who for various reasons oppose giving the state the power to listen in on telephone conversations and to read the emails, of all persons resident in Ghana.

Many of the critics of the draft bill now before Parliament, have simply not thought through the implications of life under the iron fists of the Boko Harams of this world, should they finally succeed in their aim of enslaving us all.

Where will the demand by critics that the security agencies ought to seek permission from judges, before they proceed to listen in on telephone conversations, and read the emails of individuals and groups suspected of being members of terrorist organisations that are  targetting Mother Ghana, take us, when Boko Haram bombs and murders its way  to power in our homeland Ghana?

With the greatest respect, this is not an argument about fundamental human rights  in the cosy atmosphere of a political science faculty common-room in an ivory tower, amongst well-heeled academics. Our book-long-elites must be serious for once: This is a life and death matter about securing the safety of the Republic of Ghana in an era of global terrorism. It is a very grave matter - one that is far too important a real-world common-good issue to be left solely in the grasping hands of our educated urban elites. Period.