Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No democracy can survive in an atmosphere of lawlessness

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Folks, sometime ago, I posted an opinion piece to complain about the “whom-you-know” or “who-knows-you” syndrome in Ghana, which is nothing but a negative attitude to national reconstruction. I complained that our Establishment has too many loopholes that let unscrupulous public office holders off the hook and portray them as “angels” instead of the despicable criminals that they are to be punished!!
The Supreme Court’s verdict against Alfred Agbesi Woyome in the deplorable judgement debt saga ties it all up for us to flush out all those working against the interest of the state. If the economic resources of the state are not protected and used to grow our democracy, there is no way that democracy can be sustained. Thieves, liars, and murderers parading themselves as nation builders should be flushed out as the laws of the land are used to streamline governance. And governance means more than the perpetual acrimony that we see about the NDC, NPP, and all the mushroom political parties whose leaders and functionaries continue to bore us with issues that negate our aspirations.

Woyome here, Woyome there, judgement debt palaver over?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Folks, the long-drawn-out case involving the judgement debt paid to Alfred Agbesi Woyome is over; and Woyome is the loser. He should have known all along that what he received was fraudulently given him because of the loopholes in our system that unscrupulous public officials teamed up with him to exploit. The news is simple:The Supreme Court has ordered business man Alfred Woyome to refund a total of 51.2 million Ghana Cedis judgement debt payment he received between 2009 and 2010. Judges at the highest court ruled the National Democratic Congress financier had no valid contract to be paid that amount of money.
The ruling follows a review of the court's own earlier decision sought by former Attorney General Martin Amidu who insisted that Woyome, like Waterville and Isofoton, had no valid contract to be paid any amount by the state in judgement debt.

African politics and the role of First Ladies (Part II)

Monday, July 28, 2014
I have a good reason to segue to what happened after Nana Konadu had left the scene for Mrs. Kufuor and Naadu Mills. Let's first deal with Mrs. Kufuor, who sought to carve a niche for herself by also exploiting her status as the First Lady. She established a Foundation for Women and Children and made several donations at hospitals, orphanages, etc. She is the unassuming type and satisfied with her personal accomplishment as a nurse. She is not the overbearing type and deserves the right to enjoy peace in her out-of-office life.
Naadu Mills, an educationist, has a sad history to tell the world about her experiences as the First Lady. The events characterizing her relationship with Nana Konadu when she was the Second Lady (her deceased husband Atta Mills being the Vice President at the time) are still fresh in our minds. No elaboration. But in office as the First Lady, she also stepped up the game to use her status for something. Everything has now ended in smoke.

African politics and the role of First Ladies (Part I)

Monday, July 28, 2014
Folks, the wives of male Presidents in Africa are parading themselves about as First Ladies and profiting from it. Of all, Mrs. Graca Machel is the only one to have emerged as the First Lady for two different countries at different times, beginning as the wife of Samora Machel of Mozambique and shifting to South Africa’s Madiba Nelson Mandela.  She has outlived her husbands. The status of First Lady has come to stay, some may say.
It is no news that these First Ladies have constituted themselves into an Association of First Ladies and are accorded whatever respect and privilege that their status fetches for them. It is nothing new to be told that so-so-and-so is the First Lady of so-so-and-so country, meaning that she must of necessity be accorded all that her husband (the Head of State) enjoys in terms of protocol services and submissiveness wrought by status as the fount of authority wherever she shows up.

Monday, July 28, 2014

African politics and the role of First Ladies (Part II)

Monday, July 28, 2014
I have a good reason to segue to what happened after Nana Konadu had left the scene for Mrs. Kufuor and Naadu Mills. Let's first deal with Mrs. Kufuor, who sought to carve a niche for herself by also exploiting her status as the First Lady. She established a Foundation for Women and Children and made several donations at hospitals, orphanages, etc. She is the unassuming type and satisfied with her personal accomplishment as a nurse. She is not the overbearing type and deserves the right to enjoy peace in her out-of-office life.
Naadu Mills, an educationist, has a sad history to tell the world about her experiences as the First Lady. The events characterizing her relationship with Nana Konadu when she was the Second Lady (her deceased husband Atta Mills being the Vice President at the time) are still fresh in our minds. No elaboration. But in office as the First Lady, she also stepped up the game to use her status for something. Everything has now ended in smoke.

African politics and the role of First Ladies (Part I)

Monday, July 28, 2014
Folks, the wives of male Presidents in Africa are parading themselves about as First Ladies and profiting from it. Of all, Mrs. Graca Machel is the only one to have emerged as the First Lady for two different countries at different times, beginning as the wife of Samora Machel of Mozambique and shifting to South Africa’s Madiba Nelson Mandela.  She has outlived her husbands. The status of First Lady has come to stay, some may say.
It is no news that these First Ladies have constituted themselves into an Association of First Ladies and are accorded whatever respect and privilege that their status fetches for them. It is nothing new to be told that so-so-and-so is the First Lady of so-so-and-so country, meaning that she must of necessity be accorded all that her husband (the Head of State) enjoys in terms of protocol services and submissiveness wrought by status as the fount of authority wherever she shows up.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Where did Vice President Amissah-Arthur sleep last night?

Saturday, July 26, 2014
Folks, I find it difficult to understand why some government officials cannot come to terms with the reality in front of them to do decent politics and win the goodwill of the people.
Just last Thursday, we all saw and heard how Ghanaian workers (organized labour) took to the streets, joined by many segments of the population (private businessmen and women, commercial drivers, and just any group of identifiable elements) to complain bitterly about the worsening economic situation in the country because of the government's inability to solve problems while at the same time raising taxes and implementing policies leading to the high rate of utility services, petroleum products, foodstuffs, and many other vitals.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dr. Amoako Baah makes a lot of sense

Friday, July 25, 2014
In commenting on pertinent national affairs, Dr. Richard Amoako Baah (a political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) has of late said a lot but hasn’t turned my crank, apparently because I don’t agree with his viewpoints, especially those undermining the Mahama-led administration. I have quickly dismissed much of his effusions as the outpourings of a frustrated academic seeking to draw attention to himself in view of what he teaches. In other words, I have seen him as stepping out of the political science box into the national arena to do partisan politics—for whatever purpose only he can best know and tell.
But he has come out again to say what resonates with me at many levels, taking out his impetuous claim that because President Mahama hasn’t been able to fulfill the electioneering campaign promises made to Ghanaians, he has lost credibility. I don’t think that President Mahama’s inability to fulfill those promises is because he is unprincipled or politically naïve or mischievous. After all, the resources for funding projects that he promised won’t come from his private coffers. They would come from the national coffers that the hardworking Ghanaian workers feed with their tax money and other contributions.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The workers’ demonstration and its aftermath

Thursday, July 24, 2014
So, the nationwide demonstrations by organized labour and other interest/pressure groups are either over in some regional capital towns or ongoing in others. Nothing violent has occurred, at least, from reports.
While the demonstrations were going on, President Mahama and his Vice (Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur) joined Ministers of state, hundreds of Ghanaians, wife (Naadu Mills) and family members of the late President John Evans Atta Mills to mark the second anniversary of his passing. Former President Rawlings, Parliamentarians as well as members of the ruling National Democratic Congress were in attendance.
Conspicuously missing were members of the opposition parties. The short ceremony was climaxed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Asomdwe Park near the Independence Square in Accra. Honouring the dead and not caring for the living, someone may ask?

So, what happens after tomorrow's demonstration?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Folks, I am waiting patiently to see how tomorrow dawns for the organizers of the demonstration to move on with their one-day nationwide demonstration in protest at the situation at their workplaces and the country, generally, as the economic problems persist. A preview should create a good context for us to slot in future happenings, even as we continue to monitor the situation.
Organized labour (whatever that means) is playing the frontline role in this street protest, joined by professionals in the Ghana Medical Association and other identifiable interest or pressure groups, some known for their political manouevres even if they attempt to throw dust into our eyes to create the impression that they are apolitical and non-partisan.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why isn’t our democracy solving problems?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Folks, let’s be bold to place the current political and economic challenges facing our country in their proper perspective and to discuss them to know why those in power cannot solve problems to move our country forward. It is no exaggeration to say that the current turbulence in the country is not the direct upshot of the inadequacies of this Mahama-led administration alone.
Those conversant with the political and economic history of Ghana will admit that the current happenings are traceable to the cumulative effect of many years of mismanagement and wanton disregard for propriety in government business. In effect, our problems are systemic and haven’t been tackled with the requisite alacrity and commitment over the years. Under President Mahama, everything seems to be coming to a head. Finger pointing has taken centre-stage and street demonstrations have become the most preferred means for registering discontent. Unfortunate!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A revolution to erupt in Ghana?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) is warning of a revolution in Ghana if government fails to address the growing workers agitations and protests across the country. Isaac Bayor (Coordinator of the Network) told Joy News that while the revolution may not take the form of the Arab Spring, the powers-that-be must not underestimate the widespread agitations in the country. He added that elements who may have other aspirations could infiltrate these demonstrations to cause mayhem in the country. (See: http://myjoyonline.com/news/2014/July-22nd/workers-demonstrations-wanep-warns-of-revolution-in-ghana-if.php).
I like this part of the WANEP Coordinator’s observation: “elements who may have other aspirations could infiltrate these demonstrations to cause mayhem in the country”. Is causing mayhem tantamount to the REVOLUTION that WANEP is forewarning the government (and Ghanaians, generally) about? A revolution in a democracy? For whom to take over the rein of government? A scary but manageable premonition?

Is President Mahama still a communications expert?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
One major lapse in the handling of affairs by this Mahama-led government is the failure to use COMMUNICATION effectively; the failure to tap into available resources to boost the government’s public image through productive COMMUNICATION. The impact is clear: that the government isn’t reaching out successfully to the citizens; hence, its being buffeted here and there by those who are constantly portraying it in a bad light in the public sphere. No need to elaborate, but evidence exists to prove that the government isn’t getting good press, apparently overshadowed by the huge presence of its opponents in the information dissemination sector.
Sadly, the President is touted as a communications expert and he is fond of using social media to attempt connecting with Ghanaians as he puts out there anything that he thinks will encourage the sharing of ideas. I have written to complain about that approach, but he still uses it. Unfortunately, as we have seen from the retort given to his recent post on Twitter by a staff member of the United States Embassy in Accra, that recourse to social media has turned out to be counter-productive. Better measures can be used to make the government’s case in public discourse.

Is the government really insensitive? What for?

Monday, July 21, 2014
Folks, there is much tension in the country, apparently because of the street demonstrations by various interest and pressure groups and other acts or utterances that touch raw nerves and muddy the waters. Many comments have been heard to the effect that the government is insensitive to the plight of the people. Is the government really being insensitive? What does it hope to gain from being so, anyway?
As organized labour gears up for its demonstration on Thursday, the impression being created is that the Mahama-led administration is implementing policies that are worsening living conditions. The 23% hike in the prices of petroleum products by the National Petroleum Authority, leading to a 15% increment in transport fares, as well as the rise in tariffs imposed by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission seem to be the main factors provoking discontent among organized labour. Added to that provocation is the government’s imposition of taxes and other measures that seem to be pushing the citizens into a tight corner from where those belonging to identifiable groups are now springing to take on the government through these street demonstrations and wanton condemnation in public utterances (on radio and in other forums).

Brazil 2014: What benefits to Ghana?

Monday, July 21, 2014
Folks, news reports indicate that footballers who made good impressions at the World Cup in Brazil are set to reap a windfall. Where do our Ghanaian players lie?
It is beyond question that professional football (soccer, I mean) involves more than meet the eyes. Apart from seeking to entertain lovers of the game with their dazzling skills, professional footballers aim at maximizing material benefits and getting the best out of their talents whenever they feature in any tournament.
As a footballer myself (having been a goalkeeper many years ago), I truly admire the game and wish I could go back to pick the pieces. Alas, Nature has had its toll, and I can’t do so. I can only sit back to watch others play it and cherish what they have to offer. As a veritable pastime, soccer is a game of chance that any true lover of the game should appreciate as such. No need for violence or malpractice as such.

Friday, July 18, 2014

This United States Embassy faux pas is unacceptable

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Folks, President Mahama has administered the oaths of allegiance, office and secrecy to 12 new envoys, including Alhaji Abdul Rahman Haruna Atta (Ambassador to Namibia). Some commentators have quickly labelled Haruna Atta as a “traitor,” having come across all these years as a bitter opponent of anything Rawlings and NDC but turning round to join hands with the Mahama-led government and turning his back on the NPP that he has identified with.
To those people, I say “Due!” They really don’t know the man. Haruna Atta sprang up with the Rawlings phenomenon and was even appointed as the CEO of the defunct Ghana Film Industry; but he lost the position in circumstances that fuelled his bitter opposition to Rawlings and by transference, to the Mills administration. But about a year ago, he came out to say that he was more than willing to serve Ghana in the Mahama era. And his appointment as an Ambassador confirms it. Should anybody blame him? I won’t.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Do our MPs and Judges not know their statutory functions, Kwaku Azar?

Friday, July 18, 2014
But for its contradictory and paradoxical implications, the legal suit filed against the Attorney-General, the President, and the Constitution Review Implementation Committee by Stephen Kwaku Asare (who writes under the moniker, “Kwaku Azar,” on Ghanaweb and other online media) wouldn’t have turned my crank.
His suit says “Professor Dankwah and his so called Constitution Review Implementation Committee have no power under the laws of Ghana to schedule a referendum and/or to amend the Constitution of Ghana… Parliament is the sole body that can initiate, consider and propose amendments to the Constitution.” Kwaku Azar insists that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution “is not only plenary and exclusive but also cannot be delegated to or usurped by the President, the so-called Constitution Reform Commission or the Constitution Review Implementation Committee.”
We note that the Constitution Review Implementation Committee isn’t gearing up to organize any referendum on the submissions and proposals gathered from Ghanaians by the Constitution Review Commission led by Mr. Fiadjoe. The Constitution Review Implementation Committee, chaired by Prof. Emmanuel Victor Dankwah, was set up by government to make proposals and recommendations for the review of the constitution. The recommendations and proposals will be subjected to a vote at a referendum. And we already know that it is only the Electoral Commission that is mandated to perform such a responsibility as organizing general elections or referendums. The CRIC isn’t usurping that role either.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

President Mahama has re-aligned his team, but.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
My good friends, President Mahama has moved on to reshuffle his team, bringing in new faces, shifting some appointees around, disbanding the Ministry of Information (to gladden my heart!), and retaining some appointees at post.
The “old faces” have either been moved to new portfolios or retained to suggest the amount of confidence that President Mahama has reposed in them, even if there is much to prove that their performance isn’t above reproach. The Minister of Education and her Deputies (Samuel Okudjeto-Ablakwa and Alex Kyeremeh), for instance, have been kept at post, although the Ministry faces much turbulence in many areas—lack of resources for the schools, industrial actions by teachers and lecturers at the polytechnics and universities demanding better service conditions, and many more. Will they gear up to prove their critics wrong now that they have been given the nod to remain at post?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Congratulations to the NPP Minority in Parliament!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Folks, Parliament is said to have approved a loan facility being negotiated by the government to equip the Ghana Armed Forces, even though the Minority had vehemently opposed it because it wasn’t satisfied with some crucial aspects of the terms. (See: http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2014/July-15th/minority-washes-hands-off-fraudulent-military-loan.php)
The loan facility totaling 300 million dollars is to be provided by VTB Capital plc of London and will be used to finance the procurement of equipment including air assets and other logistics that will equip Ghana's military to participate effectively in the United Nations peace support operations in South Sudan and Mali.
We don’t doubt the fact that Ghana’s military needs support to stand on its feet. We welcome measures to strengthen the institution and to keep our soldiers out of harm’s way. But we don’t accept the manner in which the approval was given by the Majority side in Parliament despite the huge controversy surrounding this loan facility

Renouncing Ghanaian Citizenship Shouldn’t Alarm Anybody!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
News reports that the number of Ghanaians renouncing their Ghanaian citizenship and re-engineering themselves as citizens of other countries don’t surprise me at all. Naturalization is a common practice that will persist for as long as human beings migrate from one region to the other, motivated by diverse reasons, and become convinced that the new circumstances in which they find themselves can help them realize their aspirations. Nothing can stop it and anybody raising alarm over what has just been revealed in the case of Ghanaians will be wasting time.
The Ministry of the Interior has revealed that about 817 Ghanaians renounced their citizenship in 2013 while 39 foreigners applied to be Ghanaians. According to the Ministry, 538 applied for German citizenship, 233 for Dutch, 32 for Norwegian, 7 for Danish, 5 for Austrian, and 1 for Hong Kongian and Chinese citizenship each. Out of the 817, females numbered 450 and males 367. This revelation was made in Accra on Monday when the Ministry took its turn in the meet-the-press series addressed by the sector Minister, Kwesi Ahwoi.
(See: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2014/July-15th/817-ghanaians-renounce-their-citizenship.php)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Prodding government appointees: President Mahama is right!

Monday, July 14, 2014
Folks, President Mahama is reported to have introduced an innovative approach toward managing the process for recruitment and dismissal of persons to public office. And as is to be expected, those who have positioned themselves to see nothing good coming from him have jumped on him to condemn. I see nothing wrong with what the President has initiated. First, the news report, then, my comments.
Sources attributed to The Informer newspaper have revealed that President Mahama has warned all appointees of his government, particularly, those working at the seat of government (Flagstaff House) that with the on-going reshuffle that he is conducting, no appointee is safe from being fired. In letters said to have been signed by the President himself and given to the appointees, including the Chief of Staff (Prosper Bani) and other senior presidential advisers and aides, President Mahama thanked them for their services rendered to his government and to the nation.
(See: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=316837)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

No Upper House or Prime Minister for Ghana, Mr. Kufuor

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Folks, the national discourse on our problems of under-development continues. Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has struck a rhythm on serious political dynamics that should not be left uncommented on because it entails a lot. And I see a lot wrong with that rhythm. First, let’s get to know what Kufuor’s views are.
1.      RECONSTITUTION OF COUNCIL OF STATE
He has called for the reconstitution of the Council of State into an Upper House of Parliament to serve as an effective check on both the Executive and Lower House. (As currently constituted, the Council of State is an advisory body to the Executive).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Finally, something to confirm my stance

Friday, July 11, 2014
Folks, I haven't made any secret of my vitriolic reaction to the orchestrations by the Mahama-loathing politicians and their unwitting followers, especially in criticizing those taking to the street in the name of freedom of association and speech to condemn President Mahama as the cause of the country's woes in our time.
As I continue to unpack their agitations and motivations for such rabble-rousing, I won't hesitate at all in repeating my often-stated viewpoint that President Mahama is not Ghana's problem. Ghanaians are the cause of Ghana's problems and the earlier they recognize this fact and turn a new leaf to contribute their quota toward solving problems, the better chances are that we can take the country (and ourselves) out of the woods.
Many people reacting to my high-sounding claim that President Mahama is not Ghana's problem were quick to write me off as a shameless bootlicker, using my opinion pieces to attract attention and be given an appointment in government. I have never ceased laughing off such vile opinions.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

These anti-Mahama people are really suffering

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
My good friends, so much has emerged for us to know how the anti-Mahama elements are doing their dirty politics.
They began by using the opportunities given them by our democracy to register their protest (even with their loss at the general elections, which they contested at the Supreme Court to no avail). They have relied on their political parties as the smokescreen behind which to agitate and provoke confrontation with the Establishment. 
These political parties are legitimate institutions, registered and recognized, meaning that using them to poke the sides of the government cannot be regarded as undemocratic. We have seen how party buffs are manipulated to take to the street and indulge in acts of vandalism and to cause mayhem thereby. 
We have also seen how so-called civil society groups are operating, pursuing the agenda of the anti-Mahama camp and making utterances to suggest that Ghana is doomed under President Mahama. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is the United Nations threatening anti-gay Ghana and others?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Folks, the latest development is that the United Nations has agreed to recognize and respect the rights of its staff members who are gay/homosexual. It is reported that the UN will support them in every way to live their lives as such, even within the premises of the UN Headquarters.
Of course, every human being has the right to determine what is good for him or her and to pursue it in the interest of self-actualization and fulfillment. But that pursuit should be situated within the context of that individual cultural and social origin and preferences. At least, the human being has an origin to defer to. When too much laxity occurs, a free-for-all situation arises to endanger the collective will of humanity. That's what I know. Others know other things.
But the truth is that every society has its own culture by which it is identified wherever it shows up, regardless of what the individual members of that society may prefer or uphold. No man is an island, we are often told.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Parliament adopts a National Anti-Corruption Action Plan

Friday, July 4, 2014
Parliament on Thursday unanimously adopted a National Anti-Corruption Action Plan to guide national discourse on corruption. It seems Parliament is now responding to a national call. Hurrah!!
Mr. Ben Abdallah Bandah (MP for Offinso South Constituency) moved the motion for the adoption of the Plan and regretted that the various anti-corruption laws already in existence are ineffective in tackling corruption. He cited the Public Procurement Act, the Whistle Blowers’ Act and the Financial Administration Act, among others, as not achieving the necessary result since “in spite of all these, corruption appears to be on the astronomical rise”. It is imperative, then, that for government to attract more donor support, it must vigorously tackle corruption head-on, he said.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

John Dramani Mahama is not Ghana’s problem

Thursday, July 3, 2014
It was not for nothing that the late General Kutu Acheampong observed that “Ghanaians are difficult people”. If we can unpack this loaded observation and place it within the context of current goings-on, we should know ourselves better. We should use that knowledge to re-position ourselves for nation building.
Some people have asked me several times why I continue to support President Mahama and his government despite the growing public concern that they are not solving problems to improve living conditions in the country. Others have been quick to label me as a sycophant or a heartless Ghanaian living outside the country and not aware of the dire circumstances in which the citizens live. In effect, they wonder why anybody should support the President when he is “incompetent”.
All of a sudden, President Mahama has become their dirty bath water to be thrown away. Those political opponents who have not seen anything good coming from President Mahama have even gone to the extent of soiling his image with unfounded allegations of corruption, immorality, and insensitivity to the plight of the people. They are demanding that he should resign to prevent Ghana from collapse.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The NPP and its affiliates are really frustrated

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Folks, these NPP people are really at their wits’ end. Having been rejected at Elections 2008 and 2012, they are really hurting beyond measure and so frustrated in the political wilderness as to lose their bearings. They are doing and saying anything at all to ratchet up their “rogue politics”.
We saw how they reacted to their loss at Election 2012 with vigour, violence, and determination only to be pushed further down the precipice. Ever since they revealed that they can’t tolerate this Mahama-led administration and will do things to make the country ungovernable, they have resorted to many acts of political mischief: vain propaganda to undermine authority, wild allegations to create enmity, and vain threats to cause public panic. None of those acts of derring-do has turned the tide in their favour.
They have used street demonstrations but not succeeded in making any gains. Their use of surrogate institutions and personalities has yielded nothing. Now, their trump-card is to create the impression that President Mahama has failed and must RESIGN within three months. (Why not within a day, week, or one month but three months? On what basis did AFAG choose the three-month ultimatum?)