Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All-inclusiveness is not just about political appointments

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A group calling itself the “Kwame Nkrumah Inspired Citizens Movement” has urged President Mahama to implement the 7-year Development Plan of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. In a statement issued in Accra, the group said the plan will boost Ghana’s progress and sustainable development (Myjoyonline, Jan. 30, 2013).
I agree with the group and add my voice to its appeal. I challenge President Mahama’s administration to act on it immediately to dig up that Development Plan and implement whatever is feasible in it and relevant to our contemporary Ghanaian development agenda. Remember the saying? “Nkrumah Never Dies!”
Undoubtedly, the Great Osagyefo implemented development programmes to actualize his policy of indigenization/Africanization of the Ghanaian socio-cultural, political, and economic regimen, although overspeeding in some areas, making atrocious mistakes in others, and creating enemies for himself thereby.  
But his overarching vision for Ghana is still relevant at several levels, which is what this group has drawn attention to. Nkrumah’s infrastructural development programme, especially, holds the key to any effort to alleviate suffering in the country. There must be something special about that 7-year development programme to warrant its being revisited.

Friday, January 25, 2013

If Kofi Adams is a “Prodigal Son,” accept him

Friday, January 25, 2013
With the NPP’s abstention from the two upcoming bye-elections in the Akatsi South and Buem constituencies, the NDC must be laughing all the way to claim an easy electoral victory. Not much money expected to be spent campaigning, certainly.
The candidate for Akatsi South has been selected without incident. But for Buem, the situation has turned ugly—too ugly—for comfort, which raises questions: Is somebody being batty? Or allowing the NDC’s performance at Election 2012 to eat away his reasoning ability?
The NDC leaders have disqualified Kofi Adams, the spokesperson for the Rawlingses, from contesting the primaries. This action is not only sickening but it also reflects the shadiness with which the party’s leaders approach politics. It is a clear instance of the off-colour politics that they do to create problems.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dancing in circles, the NPP is a kite without a tail (Part II)

Friday, January 24, 2013
We continue the discussion of the factors that have turned the NPP into a tailless kite gyrating on the political terrain as it waits for its fate to be sealed by the Supreme Court.
Boycott of Parliamentary work/Vetting of Ministers-designate
The NPP MPs have decided not to participate in the vetting of Ministers nominated by President Mahama. Their reason? “The current John Mahama administration is temporary and transient and would not last beyond the determination of the case.”
Party Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, said even though the party recognizes that its MPs have a responsibility to represent the interest of their constituents, the “NPP would not participate in any deliberations and decisions on matters which would evaporate upon cessation of John Mahama’s administration.”

Dancing in circles, the NPP is a kite without a tail (Part I)

Friday, January 24, 2013
Right in front of our eyes, the NPP is fast turning itself into a huge kite without a tail. Obviously, if you have made or flown a kite before, you should know how a tailless kite behaves when launched.
Going into a tailspin just before the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan) announced the certified results of the Presidential elections, even in the teeth of opposition by the party’s leaders, the NPP didn’t take long to go into a terrible overdrive only to lose its tail thereafter. It has remained on our radar screen and we continue to monitor its gyrations.
And we don’t expect its commotion-without-motion to end anytime soon because the whirlwind that propels the gyration is still active on the horizon. Several happenings within the NPP’s own fold provide that kinetic force to sustain that whirl. Call it a “Concert Party” show of sorts!

What gives Kennedy Agyapong this vacuous bravado?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
We have on several occasions had cause to question the integrity of the NPP’s Kennedy Agyapong (Assin Central MP) because of the dare-devil posture he has assumed to make foul—very foul—public pronouncements. But he is mindless of criticisms and still goes ahead to intensify the tirade.
What is the source of his kind of swagger and foolhardiness? And why does he think that he can take on the entire status quo to defeat? His ribaldry must have its roots in something he trusts.
Agyapong’s “genocide-laden” call on Asantes to rise up and kill all Gas and Ewes caused so much tension in the country, but very little came from him to defuse that tension. His supporters in the NPP (including the defeated Akufo-Addo) closed their ears to all the calls to discipline him. In the end, I can say with all certainty that his pronouncements were responsible for the voting down of Akufo-Addo by the majority of those he had wanted killed.
Although he was duly arrested and dragged to court to answer for his inflammatory pronouncements, the matter hasn’t been disposed of for us to know his fate. Despite that “Sword of Damocles” hanging over him, nothing seems to stop him from indulging in weird behaviour.

Monday, January 21, 2013

President Mahama gives voice to Ghana’s physically challenged citizens

Monday, January 21, 2013
When the NDC decided not to field a physically challenged candidate for one of the constituencies in Accra, it created much furore. Some disparaging comments had it that the NDC didn’t have room for that segment of the population. Some even threatened to punish the party at the 2012 elections for that matter. The rest is history.
But as if stepping forward to prove those cynics wrong, President Mahama has taken the boldest decision ever to appoint a visually impaired personality to head a Ministry.
For the first time in Ghana’s constitutional democratic governance, he has appointed a physically challenged person to head a Ministry. He is in the person of Dr. Henry Seidu Daanaa who is clinically blind and has been the head of research at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture. The President has elevated him to be the Minister of the re-designated Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.
What could be more illuminating than this strategic move? It is an appointment worth celebrating. It is not just cosmetic; it is meant to tap into the expertise of a physically challenged Ghanaian who has weathered the storm to be counted!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

As PV Obeng re-surfaces…

Sunday, January 20, 2013
Good friends, more developments keep cropping up for us to engage in our conversation. President Mahama has moved steadily to establish the pillars of his administration. He has just released the names of 15 new appointees of Ministerial status, and one for the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.
As he continues to form his government, appointing personalities to Ministries and the Presidency, he gives us to know what he is capable of doing. He has almost completed filling the Ministries. The vetting of his appointees by Parliament will begin soon.

Aren’t these NPP leaders committing political suicide?

Sunday, January 20, 2013
Fellow Ghanaians, the NPP seems to be over-extending itself and risks compounding the problems that have pushed its Akufo-Addo and Mahamudu Bawumia into the dark chambers of the Supreme Court instead of the seat of government (be it the Osu Castle or the Flagstaff House). In politics, miscalculation has very terrible consequences.
The NPP leaders are heavily poised to do or say anything, which tells me that they are more than determined to endanger the future of the party. I have said it several times that their vitriolic reaction to Election 2012—even if regarded as constitutionally permissible—is creating more hiccups for them than they can endure.
Too many inconsistencies and vain threats won’t make them and their party any stronger or better than what it was at the time of the elections. As if determined to harm their party’s interests, they have taken decisions that have turned out to be politically disadvantageous and substantially damaging.

Friday, January 18, 2013

President Mahama’s new appointments: Matters arising (Part II)

Friday, January 18, 2013
We can confirm that President Mahama is intent on forming a team that knows what his agenda for “Better Ghana Phase Two” entails and will commit themselves fully to enunciating and implementing policies and programmes to actualize his dream. His appointments have revealed a lot that we have been discussing.
New Ministries/New Faces
President Mahama’s appointments into new Ministries include Hon. Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor (as Minister in Charge of Government Business in Parliament), Nana Oye Lithur (Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection); Akwasi Oppong-Fosu (Minister of Local Government and Rural Development); Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Minister of Education, and also ex-Vice Chancellor of University of Cape Coast).

President Mahama’s new appointments: Matters arising (Part I)

Friday, January 18, 2013
President Mahama has begun forming his government, appointing all manner of personalities to Ministries and not narrowing the scope down to only those widely recognized as die-hard NDC functionaries. He has given us the chance to know how he is dismantling the government machinery that he presided over in his care-taker capacity and rebuilding it now as the substantive President of Ghana.
Forget about the NPP’s lawsuit against his legitimacy as the winner of Election 2012. Life must go on.
His moves open a window through which to take a sneak peek at what he intends to do to carve a niche for himself as a youthful, dynamic, and astute leader.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

President Mahama’s appointments and the fate of “Babies with Sharp Teeth”

Thursday, January 17, 2013
President Mahama has made more appointments. Significantly absent from the list are those variously qualified as “babies with sharp teeth” and “evil dwarfs” (apologies to JJ Rawlings).
These elements are best known for fighting the wordy warfare with political opponents of the NDC/government (especially those in the NPP) that characterized the term of office under the late Mills and caretaker President Mahama.
To their credit, their toe-to-toe, tooth-for-a-tooth-and-nail-for-a-nail relationship with those political opponents helped the government in its propaganda stunts even though it harmed its public image in several other areas. They are still on the quivive, whetting their appetite to do battle if challenged.
But they have so far not been given any Ministerial appointment, which is provoking disquiet in the NDC circles.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Street hawkers: The harder they come, the harder they fall (Part II)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

There is an urgent need for a change in local government policy that could make petty traders’ environment safer, more humane, and more rewarding.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly may claim that it has constructed new places (Agbogbloshie, Neoplan Station in Accra, etc.) and that the hawkers have no justification not to use those places. They may claim also that the problem is caused by these hawkers who have refused to relocate to those centres. I disagree with them because those places aren’t conducive for these hawkers to settle in.

Street hawkers: The harder they come, the harder they fall (Part I)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Once again, the Chief Executive Officers of the Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan Assemblies are out, warning petty traders (hawkers) to “voluntarily vacate” the streets and public spaces or face the consequences. Those in Accra gave a deadline that has expired with little indication that the warming had been heeded. Those in Kumasi have given a two-week’s ultimatum to the hawkers to do so or be met with stringent measures to uproot them from their business enclaves.

So, the tone is set for a physical confrontation between these stubborn petty traders and those who claim administrative/political jurisdiction over the business spots in these metropolises.

This ding-dong battle between these two is nothing new. For sure, we know what the trend is. The petty traders will not heed all those strings of warnings. The consequence? The Metropolitan Chief Executives will unleash the full force of the “law” at their disposal to physically “put the fear of God” in these recalcitrant petty traders.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

President Mahama’s 4,800 witnesses and the NPP leaders’ headache

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Folks, there is more trouble in Osonokrom. President Mahama’s intention to call about 4,800 witnesses to testify for him in the NPP’s election-related case now before the Supreme Court has sent serious shock waves through the NPP elements. Why?
Some are worried that such a tall list of witnesses will prolong the hearing of their case to an unbearable psychological, emotional, and physical limit. There is a gut feeling that calling all those witnesses may take the trial to well over 9 years to conclusively determine.
Others are afraid that any protracted determination of the case could get them close to Election 2016 by which time they wouldn’t have been able to put their house in order in readiness for the elections. It means that whatever harm this electoral dispute would have done to the party cannot be repaired and the party strengthened to improve its standing. The fear is that the party will be disadvantaged.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Who else are these NPP leaders deceiving but themselves?

Monday, January 14, 2013
Folks, there is more to discuss about the lawsuit before the Supreme Court and why the NDC’s application to join it cannot and must not be denied.
In objecting to the NDC’s application, the defeated Akufo-Addo gave a porous reason that it was designed to delay “unnecessarily” the hearing of the substantive case, which is against President Mahama and the Electoral Commission in terms of the allegations that warranted that petition, in the first place.
Then, the NPP legal team disrupted proceedings of the Supreme Court on the first day of sitting, protesting against Justice William Atuguba’s membership of the panel on the suspicion that he had a vested interest in the case because his cousin (Dr. Raymond Atuguba) is the Executive Secretary of President Mahama (the second respondent to the lawsuit).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why Akufo-Addo’s woes will increase

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Folks, I want to raise something for discussion, which has been bothering me all this while. It has to do with the tons of congratulations given President Mahama vis-à-vis his inauguration in office as Ghana’s legitimate President while Akufo-Addo and his band of malcontents are still flexing their muscles, spoiling for a fight to attempt overturning that done deal. 
Here is a timely instance for my raising this issue. The Paramount Chief of the Nandom Traditional Area, Naa Dr. Puoure Puobe VII, the Chiefs and people of Nandom in the Nandom District of the Upper West Region, have released a statement congratulating President John Mahama on his election and successful assumption of office as the fourth President of the Fourth Republic. They also commended Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor on his elevation to the high office of Leader of the House and Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Will the rebuilding of the NPP be done any soon? (Part II)

Friday, January 4, 2013
Those of us who set ourselves apart to criticize the NPP knew what we were about and did things as we deemed fit. So, if we are accused of directly working against the NPP, it shouldn’t be strange. We didn’t do so for its own sake. But the same cannot be said of those who came across as NPP members, sympathizers, and apologists yet did irreparable harm. I think the difference is clear.
That is why the NPP must devise better means to restructure itself in readiness for future elections. If it relies on the very anachronistic electioneering campaign strategies that have led to its defeat in all the elections that it has protested against since 1992, the situation for it will continue to be dismal. For the party to re-position itself to win public goodwill, it will have to break with the past completely.
Here is why. So far, we can tell that the party needs more than the votes of its core supporters and hangers-on to win elections. Obviously, the 5.2 million that voted for Akufo-Addo can’t all be said to be NPP supporters. We know that uncommitted voters went for him for various reasons. Others might not have voted at all but will have to be persuaded to vote next time. Such voters are unstable.

Will the rebuilding of the NPP be done any soon? (Part I)

Friday, January 4, 2013
The NPP certainly has huge problems to solve if it seeks to change its fortunes in future general elections. Despite the vehement protestations against the outcome of Election 2012 and the filing of a lawsuit by the NPP, some of us strongly believe that the elections were transparent, fair, and free and that Akufo-Addo lost the elections because he did not connect effectively with the voters to win their trust and confidence.
The party itself wasn’t properly packaged and sold to the people. We are of the opinion that many inadequacies combined to make the party and its Akufo-Addo unappealing, which calls for better strategies to rebuild the party and re-position it for future elections.
Sadly, events characterizing the party’s post-election posture are further deepening the party’s woes. For as long as the party leaders refuse to see themselves and their poor electioneering campaign efforts as the cause of their defeat, nothing new will happen to the party.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who can remove President Mahama from office?

Thursday, January 3, 2013
What we see unfolding from the NPP front is not freakish nor will it abate soon. It won’t because it is the culmination of the party’s grand agenda in response to the unexpected outcome of the elections. It is a grand intricate agenda that might be seen from two angles as either a spur-of-the-moment or impulsive reaction to unexpected reality or a premeditated scheme to unleash the party’s venom on the system.
Response Strategy based on Spur-of-the-moment impulse
At its basic level of being a series of spur-of-the-moment reactions to the electoral disaster, what is unfolding is the obvious choice to register the party’s disappointment, shock, and unwillingness to admit that it lost general elections that it hadn’t expected to lose. But it isn’t adventitious if we recall the NPP’s response to elections that it has lost since the initiation of this 4th Republic.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

For the NPP, 1 + 1 = 3: Any more credibility left?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
We have had good cause to posit arguments that the NPP’s lawsuit at the Supreme Court won’t be determined solely on the figures and documents that are contained in the petition filed by the party’s National Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, last Friday. That is why we have cautioned the party’s followers not to be optimistic of victory.
We have also drawn attention to the fact that the NPP has the onerous burden to prove its allegations and that doing so will call for more than what the so-called documentary evidence entails.
More importantly, we have argued that by attaching President Mahama to the lawsuit, the NPP leaders have complicated matters for themselves because they will be required to go to a great length in establishing, proving, and confirming beyond all reasonable doubts that he was complicit in the electoral malpractices that they are complaining about.