Posted: Monday 21st July 2014 at 15:00 pm

Blood Cars

The man or woman who coined ‘blood diamond’ deserves plaudits. His or her patent has given the world an apt description of the gems mined from the world’s conflict zones – ‘blood diamonds.’

The proceeds from the sale of blood gems are used to fuel insurgencies and to prop regimes of dictators: they are sneered at in decent societies as they spot a “don’t patronise” label from the international community.

Here is to extend the label to the gifts, donations or favours of any form, be they statutory or not, given to chiefs or persons of high repute by bad governments at a time when citizens are dying from the effects of bad governance.

The bad governance which such chiefs refuse to speak against, preferring to hide behind the “chiefs should not do politics” bunkum – even as some of them dine with the perpetrators of the governance aberrations – has resulted in the widespread impoverishing of the people to the point of starvation.

Accepting gifts under such circumstances by chiefs is to accept to be accessories to the thievery of state coffers by those at the helm. This among others have resulted in the economic crisis represented by crumbling state institutions and even high mortality rate when for instance, people are unable to access the national health insurance scheme.

We wish our chiefs, custodians of our heritage, whose forebears in pre-colonial days administered their areas of jurisdiction, are not associated with the division of the loot. Regrettably, they are making themselves fair game for public opprobrium.

In Ghana we witnessed a rueful development last week when in the face of a financial crisis and an imminent collapse of the economy, chiefs accepted vehicles from the government, seeing the gesture as a constitutional entitlement.

Receiving the objects of comfort when schools are on the verge of shutting down because of non-release of funds from government is despicable, especially when chiefs are the direct beneficiaries. Blood cars are what they are!

We would not be cowed by the correspondence from the President of the National House of Chiefs who sought to robe the subject in politics as a means of whittling down the effect of the aberration.

Perhaps not responding as he did would have been the most appropriate, given the level of hunger and deprivation being suffered by Ghanaians. Maybe as President of the National House of Chiefs he and his friends in government are spared the pangs of the economic crisis.

Ghanaians are hungry and desperate and would not spare anybody, regardless of their status in society, who stands in the way of their demand for what is due them as citizens of this country.

What stopped the chiefs, as fathers of our traditional setups, from declining the vehicles and rather directing that the funds used for the purchase are directed towards the settlement of the subventions due senior high schools?

Chiefs, like fathers, should ensure that their children are satisfied before themselves. Accepting blood cars now does not present them in good light, to put it brusquely. With so much wealth at their disposal, some of them have sold land multiple times, especially in Accra, and so can help Ghana in crisis by at least declining the so-called statutory entitlements for now. After all, the President said he had reduced his salary in response to the crisis.

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