Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Parliamentarians are whining for nothing (Part II)

Monday, June 30, 2014
The distrust and mistrust between the Legislature and the Executive seem to be growing. The Executive has made promises to improve the lot of the MPs but not done so. The MPs Common Fund is one touchy area. So also is the pledge to provide decent office accommodation and staff for the MPs. So far, nothing exists to confirm that the government is really working to support the MPs. Salaries and allowances arte paid, even though the MPs remain the Oliver Twists of our time. On that score, unless the government plays its cards well, it may end up angering MPs, including its own NDC elements, who appear to be spearheading the current show of discontent at measures now being introduced to the detriment of the Legislature. The MPs are complaining that they don’t have offices and the government continues to massage their feelings with promises upon promises.
The delay in the completion of the “Job 600 Complex”, to serve as offices for MPs is a clear instance. The MPs are unhappy that even though a loan of $25 million has already been approved by the House for its completion, nothing is being done to serve their needs. The MPs need offices and will fight to have them. Clearly, everything points to a bad-blood relationship between the government and the Legislature, which the new directive denying the MPs the protocol privileges will reinforce.

Our Parliamentarians are whining for nothing (Part I)

Monday, June 30, 2014
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken a bold step to divest Ghana’s Members of Parliament of “state protocol privileges whilst in the United Kingdom” and the MPs are incensed. They are extremely angry and have threatened to show the Executive where power lies. I laugh these MPs to scorn and will urge them to be circumspect in their haughtiness. They have a lot to lose if they act irresolutely. One question, though. Why the UK, particularly?
The Ministry’s action against them is appropriate and I urge that it be extended to other countries apart from the United Kingdom. In effect, our MPs don’t deserve any protocol privileges because there is no need for such privileges for them. They should ask themselves what they have done to deserve such privileges and stop whining for nothing. If they knew the extent of public anger at their incompetence and cunning ways of exploiting the system for personal benefits, they won’t stick their necks out to be cut for them.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This half-hearted reshuffling is not the answer

Saturday, June 28, 2014
Folks, while we wait to know the circumstances surrounding Ghana's participation in the ongoing World Cup tournament and the dismal performance of the national team (the Black Stars) this time around, many things have begun happening in government circles.
Without even waiting for the dust to settle on his own feeling that an investigation needs to be conducted into the matter, President Mahama has swiftly removed the political heads from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Elvis Affriyie Ankrah has been sent into the "cooler" at the Presidency and may not even have a desk to sit at. A mere "job-for-the-boys" initiative.
Joseph Yammin, his deputy at that Ministry, has been sent to the Ashanti Region as the Deputy Regional Minister. Of course, he had been resident in Kumasi before being brought to Accra to serve under Affriyie Ankrah. As if fearful of the repercussions of his unguarded utterances regarding the "carting" of supporters to cheer up the Black Stars in Brazil, he is reported to be thanking God for influencing President Mahama in retaining him as a government functionary. Such characters aren't fit to be in government, though. They are so full of narrow, partisan political instincts as not to know that Ghana is above those instincts and should be served as such. A party boy merely being rewarded?

Friday, June 27, 2014

On the fuel crisis: Why rob Peter to pay Paul?

Saturday, June 28, 2014
Folks, I can’t bring myself to understand, let alone accept, what is happening in the fuel sector in the country. The causes of the current fuel crisis in the country did not crop up overnight, which is why I am unhappy at the manner in which the government is attempting to address the crisis. In short, the crisis could have been more easily prevented than solved with a knee-jerk action of the sort that the government has taken.
News reports have it that it has “released its strategic reserve to remedy the dire fuel shortage in some parts of the country,” as announced by Information and Media Relations Minister, Mahama Ayariga. (See: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=314629)
He said President Mahama on Friday morning, directed that Bulk Oil Storage & Transportation (BOST) Company Limited discharges fuel in its facilities dotted across the country to ease the pressure. “BOST started pumping out early part of the day when the president gave the directive,” he told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday.
Ordering that the strategic reserves be released is very easy, but tracing the cause of the crisis and explaining why the government waited for the situation to reach this dire level before acting isn’t. We are told that the main factor responsible for this mess is the government’s indebtedness to bulk oil distribution companies to the tune of 1.5 billion Cedis. The government has disputed this quantum but gone ahead to pay Ghc450 million, according to Ayariga. It has also claimed to have facilitated a forex cover of $100m to enable the oil distributors to get oil from their suppliers.
A knee-jerk reaction to a crisis that is easier to prevent than to solve? Wasting energy grabbing the bull’s tail instead of its horns to control it? Pathetic!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ghana is not a “Banana Republic”, Mr. K.B. Asante!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Writing under the above heading, Mr. K.B. Asante (a man of many parts) made several observations that can be set down under such categories as “human rights”, “Ghanaian nationality”, “internal security”, “foreign intelligence”, “counter-intelligence”, “personal security”, “diplomacy”, and “sovereignty”. There could be others too. (Please, refer to: Mr. Asante’s opinion piece under the title “Is Ghana becoming a Banana republic?”: http://www.myjoyonline.com/world/2014/June-24th/is-ghana-becoming-a-banana-republic.php)
A careful reading of his opinion piece establishes Mr. Asante as very much alarmed at the treatment given to one employee of the Daily Graphic newspaper, cameraman Addai, who was caught up in some fracas of sorts verging on “personal security” at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel to cover a ceremony involving the visiting Israeli Foreign Minister. 

The NPP and its dog-eat-dog woes (Part II)

Monday, June 23, 2014
Folks, we need to place happenings in our contemporary times within their proper context, especially as far as the NPP’s kind of “rogue politics” is concerned.
Those of us who know the history of Ghana will never sit down unconcerned for them to mislead anybody. They are doing things today to project themselves as more patriotic than anybody else, which is captured in the very name of their political organ (the New Patriotic Party (NPP)); but truth be told, there is a huge question mark hanging over their kind of patriotism.
They are no more patriotic than those not hailing from the tribal confluence on which their party depends for sustenance. Ask yourselves why it is only two out of the 10 regions constituting Ghana that continue to give them what they need to remain in contention. No need to elaborate.

The NPP and its dog-eat-dog woes (Part I)

Monday, June 23, 2014
Folks, is it not strange that at a time when Ghanaians expect the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to put the government on its toes with critical comments and scrutiny of its pathetic performance it is rather embroiled in an internal wrangling that is tearing to tear it apart? A responsible opposition party does things to prove to the electorate that it can outdo the incumbent and must, therefore, be considered favourably at the next polls. Not so for the NPP. What with its agenda of boycott of important national events and assignments and baseless criticisms for mere political capital (which it doesn’t get, anyway)?
True to prediction, the persistent internal wrangling in the NPP is assuming ugly dimensions by all accounts. Daniel Bugri Naabu (Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP) has bitten deep into the reputation of ex-President Kufuor, Kwadwo Mpianim, Paul Afoko, and Kwabena Agyapong, among others, and created the impression that these afore-mentioned personalities are the trouble-makers in the NPP.
According to him, Afoko and Agyei had put in place an “Agenda 2020” by which they want to “disorganize” and “kill” the NPP. To help them do so, they had become willing “tro-tro” buses being driven by ex-President Kufuor and his Ashanti gang. He said a lot more. Very serious indictment of ex-President Kufuor and the Asante elements on Bugri Naabu’s radar screen!!

Our Black Stars have made us proud

Saturday, June 21, 2014
Folks, the much-anticipated clash with Germany is over and without mincing any word, let me say that our Black Star players have made Ghana really proud. I had nursed serious doubts about their ability to contain a well-organized and tactically efficient German side; but they proved me wrong.
The 2-2 scoreline is respectable (four goals scored in a span of 20 minutes), even though I thought that our defence was sloppy in not preventing the German equalizer. By this feat, our players have posed a huge challenge to Germany because it hasn't qualified to progress to the next stage. It needs a victory over the United States for that purpose.
Ghana plays Portugal next and all lies in the womb of time. All said and done, a huge round of applause for our BOYS!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Point-of-Order: Petition Please!

Thursday, June 19, 2014
The above heading is credited to Nana Kwame Ampadu, the King of Ghanaian highlife, who used it to tell us an intriguing story about life in the animal kingdom (“Ebe ti yie; ebe nti yie”, a song that irritated the Busia administration in the Second Republic just as Jimmy Cliff’s “Suffering in the Land” did).
To cut a long story short, we can say that the moral lesson that the songsters wanted to teach us is simple: while those placed in positions of privilege have access to the national cake to do all they can with it, those who actually bake that cake are deprived of its benefits. A gripping lesson to be taught!!
Let’s translate this lesson into the Ghanaian political situation and we should see things clearly. Those who have political connections make it while those who lack it don’t. In effect, “political connections” in our time have become the “Open Sesame”. I don’t have it; do you?
By its very configuration, the Ghanaian brand of democracy subsists on the “Ebe ti yie” principle. Prove me wrong, dear reader. I have grown to know that the 1992 Constitution is a perfect blueprint for cushioning those for whom it was designed and for restraining those seeking some leeway to change their circumstances.
If you doubt it, don’t go far. Just read the Constitution closely in its entirety. Forget about the Transitional Provisions because they were put there to do what you and I can never subvert. They are entrenched. Do we have the wherewithal to overturn the table? Forget it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Remembering Afrifa and Co. today… What for? (Part II)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The truth is that at every juncture in history, a country deserves the government it gets—and those who deserve to be dealt with are so treated under the very circumstances wrought by any change in government. Explaining circumstances of yore on the basis of contemporary political developments will be grossly inappropriate. We must not, therefore, judge the past on the basis of today’s happenings!!
Unfortunately, though, that is what those celebrating the lives of those military officers seem to be doing. Once they have the backing of their political backers (Did you not hear of those in the NPP who attended the church service?), they will insist on portraying the fate of those military officers as a national disaster and attempt forcing it down the throats of everybody. I won’t be surprised if they go ahead to institutionalize June 16 as another “Martyrs Day” in remembrance of those military officers. And trust the NPP to rope everything in for political currency. Wherever there is a carcass, the scavengers will surely obey the gravitational pull.

Remembering Afrifa and Co. today… What for? (Part I)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Folks, history has a way of repeating itself when it so chooses, not when forced to do so by mortal human beings. And by so doing, history teaches lessons that it expects mortal human beings to learn, but which they don’t and end up running around in circles, repeating the very acts that feed the annals of history.
For us in Ghana, particularly, there is a lot that history teaches us but which we refuse to learn. Regrettably, we can only conclude that it is a Ghanaian thing; the Ghanaian way of striving to bend history to do the impossible, including settling scores with Nature—and doing so wrongly too.
Is it strange, then, that while Ghanaians are complaining of the harsh conditions of existence in the country and doing all they can to leave for other countries, they fail to realize that other foreign nationals are more than eager to relocate in Ghana by fair or foul means? While they consider life in Ghana as difficult to live, foreign nationals think otherwise and act decisively.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How can Ghana be developed with this mentality?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Folks, Mr. Clement Apaak (a presidential staffer) has turned my crank with an utterance that I want to react to. And I will do so with all the vigour, verbal violence, and determination that his utterance has wrought in me.
The hue and cry over the sagging national economy over the past five or so years has created the impression that the Mahama-led administration lacks ideas with which to move the country forward. No day passes by without the gloomy picture being painted that it cannot solve the economic problems, even when it initiates any measure, it is ridiculed as inefficacious. The falling rate of the Cedi is a case in point. We know what led to the National Economic Forum at Senchi a month ago and how it raised hopes and expectations that answers would be found to the economic challenges.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The NDC sets the pace in Ghanaian politics

Friday, June 13, 2014
Folks, do you recall the NPP’s senile Joseph Henry Mensah’s ill-wish for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) when it lost the 2000 elections? I do: “In a year or two of the NPP government under Kufuor, the NDC will be dead!”
J.H. Mensah himself is closer to death today than the NDC is. Who has heard anything from him over the past 8 years? No mortal being can cheat Nature; but political parties outlive their founders if properly managed.
None of the diabolic meausres implemented by the NPP administration harmed the NDC. It survived the whirligig and bounced back to torment the NPP at Elections 2008 and 2012 and will continue to do so for as long as the NPP refuses to face reality to know that its “rogue” politics is anachronistic and won’t win it political power.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Zongo Development Project raises eyebrows

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
The problems confronting the Mahama-led administration are enormous but it remains undaunted, confident that it can tackle them to position itself favourably for Election 2016. Its critics and skeptics alike smirk at such assurances while concerned citizens cringe at President Mahama’s continued making of promises! To them, the most worrisome issue detracting from President Mahama’s political fortunes is his inability to fulfill the electioneering campaign promises that won Election 2012 for him. The daily barrage of complaints and criticisms verge on that failure, which is why some people are unhappy to hear him make more promises. 
Even in the face of intractable problems that have made his handling of national affairs the butt of ridicule and provoked public anger, President Mahama is unrelenting in making promises and giving assurances of readying himself to shift to second gear! He has been running affairs in first gear for far too long. The time to move faster and more resolutely to solve problems is elapsing really fast!
But the promise-making sticks out. Here is the latest instance. In interacting with Muslim and Zongo chiefs (led by the Chief Imam Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu) at the Flagstaff House today, President Mahama announced that a major national project to change “the face of development in the Zongo communities” will take off soon. The project, targeted at improving the living conditions of the people in the Zongo communities, is to be undertaken.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The NPP gears up to test itself

Saturday, June 7, 2014
My good friends, all is set for us to know how the jockeying for the flagbearership of the NPP will intensify between now and Dec. 6, 2014, and how the aspirants will continue to tear at each other instead of offering Ghanaians (or their party members) tangible reasons why they should be elected as Ghana's President at Election 2016.
The news is that the National Council of the NPP on Friday endorsed the steering committee's proposals on the presidential primaries. Those so far interested in the flagbearership are: Akufo-Addo, Alan Kyerematen, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, and Francis Adai Munukum (Who is this one too? I haven't heard anything about him hitherto.). The National Council will reconvene on June 19, 2014, to deliberate on other matters regarding the presidential primaries.
An aspirant for the flagbearer position will pay a total of Gh¢85,000 to process his documentation ahead of the December 6 primaries. A nomination form will cost Gh¢10,000 while the filing of nominations is pegged at Gh¢75,000.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Boko Haram is now operating at a different level

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My good friends, the strategies being used by Boko Haram to destroy limb and property in Nigeria are more than “dangerously innovative”. They are scary to the extent that they cannot be predicted; but their devastating impact can be.
Three main strategies are now known:
1.         Open and brazen attacks on people (mostly unarmed defenceless civilians or military targets, depending on where they choose to operate) and infrastructure (buildings in villages, public transport, as happened near Abuja, and military installations);

The Boko Haram menace: Nigeria is still in deep trouble

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My good friends, the danger posed to Nigeria by Boko Haram persists while the government totters in the face of that danger. And more worrying is the fact that Boko Haram has its foot well planted in the Nigerian Establishment.
The BBC has just reported that 15 senior military officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces have been court-martialled and found guilty of being "accessories" or informants of Boko Haram from within the Establishment.
It is not yet known who these "traitors" are or what punishment awaits them; but whatever the situation may be, it tells us that all is not well at all in the Nigerian Establishment.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The EU’s EPA with ECOWAS: What we now know

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Folks, despite all the protests, appeals to conscience, and what-have-you, the dust has gradually settled for us to know that the European Union has finally reached a consensus on the Economic Partnership Agreement with ECOWAS.
By this agreement, the ECOWAS member-countries will have to open up 70 per cent of their markets to EU goods, while having 100 percent access to the European market except for rice and sugar.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu, has said Ghana’s final position on the EPA with the EU would largely be influenced by the decision of ECOWAS. Following the consensus, it is likely that Ghana will sign the agreement.