Although the author never pursued any course of study as a student of literature in English at the high school, he had the chance to read some literature books written by a couple of the African Writers. Most of them really touched the hearts of many to believe in oneself as an African. One of such novels was ‘Weep not Child’, written by one James Ngugi, a Kenyan.
So when the news about the death of the octogenarian Nigerian Chinua Achebe, of the ‘Things Fall Apart’ fame was told, many were those who did not believe their ears. Even those who never studied Literature still talk about this wonderful book and make references to the title especially when things never get on well in life. It has now been proven that the man is dead and gone to join the ancestry.
However, before he doffs his hat for Senior Chinua’s prolific achievements and the immense contribution he made towards African education in particular, and the students of Literature in the West African sub-region in general, please stay tuned. The books have been in use for more than half a century. The author would respectfully like to crave the indulgence and humbly request the likes of Profs. Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Nobel Peace laureate and fellow compatriot and his Ghanaian counterpart, Atukwei Okine in celebrating the memory of the late Nigerian academician, nationalist, educationist, Pan African and Poet for the wonderful educational journey he and his colleagues collectively, through thick and thin and turbulent times, made to the apex to raise the art of writing and poetry in this part of the world to place the African Continent as a whole on the world map.
As a matter of fact, a novice writer without much experience such as your columnist, like, on behalf of the inky fraternity of Ghana, to express sincere condolences to the bereaved family and Africa, and to say adieu and dammirifa due, due ne amanehunu! Fare thee well.
VINDICTIVENESS, VENDETTA ETC. – Incidentally, Wednesday, April 17, marks the 100th day of Prez. John Dramani Mahama into office, as official Chief Executive Officer of the Nation Ghana when he was legally/illegally sworn into office. Before then, he had had a stint of 5-month caretaker presidency on the demise of his former boss, the late Prof. John Mills, who passed on one Tuesday, July 24, 2012.
This junketing reporter wants Ghanaians to refresh their minds as to the kind of vindictiveness, vendetta, mayhem and other social vices that have been visited on fellow Ghanaians. Government appointees and their numerous foot soldiers who know no retreat have been the worst offenders.
The rampant seizure of public toilets, lorry parks and the chasing out of water tanker drivers from fetching water for sale to the general public by the Brig. Mensah Nunoo’s national security and Yaw Donkoh’s BNI operatives doing their worst. Indiscipline has taken a greater toll of governance in the country. Violence and arrogance have been the order of the day. The least talked about Larry Gbevlo Lartey’s revamped comman-does or special force, the better it will be. The author wants to leave the readers and the general public to their judgment. One sterling question many sane persons would like to ask the president is – Did you know that you were tax exempt?
And if you knew that, why did you, in the first place, subject yourself to public ridicule to the highest order? How much royalty did you raise from the publishing of the controversial book, ‘My first coup d’etat’ and the guinea-fowl farming project? For what period of time did you file your tax returns? By the way, who are your special advisers in town? They have not done you any good. They must be on their arses without any sleep and be working round the clock 24/7.
ECONOMY – the Mills-Mahama-Amissah-Arthur government ‘crazily’ prides itself as having done the best by putting remedial measures in place to fine-tune our economy. Fine, they have put brakes on the inflation rate to stand at a single digit for three years. But does that put succulent food on our tables, or money into our pockets, or better still, pay for our children’s school fees? They should leave us alone so that we could focus on something tangible else. Does the inflation rate reflect in the pockets of the ordinary Ghanaian in the street, let alone the woman trader at the market-place? The three musketeers, including the late Mills, should be mindful that the controlled inflation rate does not have any meaning to the ordinary Ghanaian.
This trumpeted assertion has rendered Ghana and its actors to become a laughing stock to the western countries and other people resident in Ghana who understand inflation much better. For all you know, the manufacturing industry has completely gone kaput. Many employees have been either sacked or made redundant. Almost everything has gone out of hand. The economy is out of gear and so also is governance and the world must be told the honest truth.
Again, since Independence in 1957, no other government of this country has gone borrowing without much ado than the NDC 3 & 4. To date, the government has contracted some $25bn loans/grants within a spate of four years for no physical work of any form of infrastructure to show. No other government has ever been lucky than this government in terms of loans, grants etc. yet, they stand accused to be the most hopeless in terms of governance and prudent management of the economy. Everything is ‘ye bedii keke’.
Even Ghana’s economy backed by oil is still crawling. The little royalty is being shared left, right, centre inarguably by Don King Co. Ltd., and the left-over used to purchase ‘nkomfem’ for the SADA. Oh, Mother Ghana, Weep not Child! The new slogan now in town is buy one ‘akomfem’ and get one RLG mobile phone for free because of quality brand. Governance has been thrown to the dogs!. All the architects of government must bow their heads in shame and if I were an authority at the Breton Woods Institute, recommend that they be given canes in public to show the public disdain and discontent. They have collectively tried to dissipate and mismanage our economy en masse. Total judgment debts alone now stand at Gh¢976m i.e. US$514m and that is unheard of anywhere.
They should give us a break! The ‘buga buga’ or rugged economy being operated with daylight thievery of the national coffers should have gone to patch up or alleviate the burden of the wailing teachers and weeping doctors and nurses not forgetting their colleague pharmacists who were already in comatose conditions. Why sanction per diem for Nana Oye Lithur’s 45-woman delegation for the gender confab in the U.S. while the ‘lazy drone’ Fair Wages & Salaries Commission and their comrades-in-arms and bedfellow, Ghana Labour Commission’s laissez faire attitude with your blessings continue to drag their feet and roam about aimlessly and do nothing about genuine delicate complaints from striking professionals?
COMMERCE & OVER EXPENDITURE
The commercial activities were now entirely in the hands of the Chinese who, before, Ms Hannah Tetteh Kpoda changed ministries, could never raise any red flag to show displeasure when she was minister of Trade. The wicked revelations from the 2012 budget expenditure also indicate that the NYEP/GEDA under Abuga Pele overspent Gh¢250m; the Science and Environment ministry also overspent Gh¢180m outside their officially sanctioned budget; the least talked about the Youth and Sports ministry under Akua Sena Dansua and Kofi Humado also overspent some Gh¢300m for the African Games in Maputo, and the World Cup in South Africa respectively. Another aspect is that the office of the president of all government machinery, in its jurisprudence, (Social Democrats) also overspent some Gh¢350m while some of the remaining satellite institutions also in their wisdom, overspent some Gh¢750m. So, you can see that it was some type of ‘ye nkye nni mafia’ who came to masquerade the economy in order to tell the whole world that Ghana under Kufuor was broke.
The latest eruption concerning the payment of the ESB or the ex-gratia to former government appointees and serving appointees gives room for speculation. The information is that while former MPs bagged home some Gh¢3.11m, those still in active service collected some Gh¢2m leaving the UTAG/POTAG/ GNAT/NAGRAT in limbo. The govern -ment says it has no money for outright payment of salary arrears to the professionals above except that it staggers it into three installments for them i.e. end of May, July and September, but could get money for ex-gratia running into trillions. Assuming that it were true, could this government be genuinely trusted for their tricks? Why do we behave as ostriches? Couldn’t there be any brave and more courageous but sensible person from the government machinery stand up from among the crowd to be counted to say we are being insensitive to our fellow Ghanaians? Why are we so daft and petty like the vulture? Why do we foolishly behave abnormally and inhuman towards fellow compatriots for the international community to subject us all to ridicule? Mr. Mahama, we are tired of the continuous bleed of Ghana and your PR gimmicks, so, give us a break!
HEALTH – Complete deterioration in the health delivery system and the NHIS that was introduced to enhance the welfare of majority of Ghanaians has now broken down. Ghanaians should never lose sight of the infamous Capitation Grant pilot programme by the Sylvester Mensah administration aimed, purposely, at reducing the steady population growth of Ashanti Region. Due to the ineptitude and incompetence of Sylvester’s non performance at this vital health sector, ably supported by his lieutenant, Ametor Kwame, on the flanks.
The NHIS system that came to the rescue of the many poor and the very down trodden , is now heavily indebted to almost all the Mission Hospitals in the country to such an unthinkable and astronomical figure of Gh¢10bn. The writer stands for correction anyway. The NDC government under Mr. Mahama has not been able to dispense with the SSSS payments of the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical related personnel. As you read this piece, the series of industrial strike actions are queued up in the pipeline. Has Shirley resurrected from her comatose condition to spit fire on striking doctors?
EDUCATION – If anybody at all would be selected, chosen and appointed for the position of deputy minister of Education, little did many people suspect that someone like Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa was the person to be proposed for that job. So, the million dollar question on the lips of many Ghanaians was – Mr. Mahama, why did you not have a more purposeful, more mature and more resourceful personality to be dealing with GNAT/NAGRAT /UTAG/POTAG/TEWU issues instead of this ‘youthful’ (?32 year old) who had, since leaving the university, never worked anywhere in Ghana until after January 2009 when luck smiled at him to be gifted with the Information deputy ministerial appointment by the Mills Administration? Again, between now and end of July, 2013, it is speculated that as many as between 480,000 and 500,000 students would be pouring out of our second cycle institutions – senior high/technical/vocational. Furthermore, it is the same number of teachers/examiners/markers who would stress themselves to work during this interval before some of them get absorbed into the universities and other tertiary institutions.
And it is the same public universities that Ghana has – the Universities of Ghana, Legon, KNUST, Kumasi, Cape Vars, Cape Coast, University College of Higher Education, Winneba, University of Development Studies, Tamale, and the two so-called ones in Ho and Sunyani that were yet to take off if they have managed to wake up from their slumber. How would this youthful MP and the yet-to-be-vetted deputy minister be able to grapple with this enormous task ahead? Did Mr. Mahama actually appoint him with the idea that he would fire him later to concentrate on his parliamentary portfolio? Was that the intent of the president for putting his name forward to be ridiculed at last by his opponents? Moreover, Sammy is not the kind of person who could surmount the magnitude of concerns the academicians have on their hands. Does anybody expect Sammy Okudzeto Ablakwa of all persons to be courteous this time round when dealing with such respectable professionals of international repute or frown upon them as usual whenever they crowd at his office with genuine concerns for redress?
Hmm. Mr. President, please think twice and come again. How many of the poor and ‘mmobrowa’ parents/guardians can afford looking for placements from the over 40 or so private universities whose fees were very prohibitive with some of them taking hard currencies for tuition and lodging? How can Sammy Ablakwa we know too well justifiably comport himself and articulate his position if a delegation of Vice Chancellors and University Dons visited his ministry for conflict resolution? Meanwhile, not long ago, according to very rife rumours in town, Sammy had his car burgled of an amount of Gh¢25,000.00. How does he, himself, explain the position of the ministry if they confront him with monetary problems bearing in mind the situation of this huge theft of large sum of money sleeping and snoring in his car booth at the time his car was at the washing bay? This situation will pose a tall order and myriad of problems for him because most of the delegates he would have to deal with obviously could be his former lecturers while on campus.
GOVERNANCE – One would have expected that Mr. Mahama, having been a legislator for the Bole-Bamboi constituency for 16 years on the ticket of the NDC since 1992-2008, would have been very well cut, exceptional and ripe for governance. But strangely enough, at the helm of affairs at the presidency, his official tenure has witnessed the very poorest, porous, worse if not worst and abysmal performance since Independence.
Even to justify his worth, he was an “aplanke” – vice president under Mills as president, still seems very suspicious. Haaba! Ommmo nomma koraa! His political nomenclature doesn’t sound resilient at all as a self-made individual capable of pulling the strings to push the country towards the middle income status. Many decisions seem very incoherent. Others also are very indecisive. One wonders whether his Council of State has been in place and in motion to help with the selection of the many square pegs rather put in the round holes. He looks very jittery and seemingly haunted, but by whom, we never know yet. Only God knows best.
Many unjustifiable and questionable judgment debt payments have gone down the drain unchecked and still feels unashamed as if nothing was at stake and gone missing to reduce the citizenry to the proverbial grave of poverty. Ghanaians have never undergone any serious difficulties and unparalleled economic and psychological trauma and stress than the Mills-Mahama experience since independence. The excruciating pains most people have passed through during this period were beyond comparison. The wanton dissipation of public purse is beyond description; the show of brute and bestial force by both the Paul Tawiah Quaye/Mohammed Alhassan police, being clandestinely supported by Yaw Donkoh’s BNI has been eyesore. The display of incompetence, ineptitude, incongruous behavior of government appointees has been very extraordinarily unimaginable.
Some of them are:
i) The unprecedented payment of Gh₵56m to Alfred Agbesi Woyome for which he cannot extricate and absolve himself from blame;
ii) The African Automotive Company Galloper vehicles for undeserved US$4m for which Okudzeto Ablakwa tried effortlessly to defend in vain;
iii) The CP’s €94m payment for no work done in the Akim Oda area,
iv) The Armajaro fiasco;
v) The Brazilian Embraer aircraft and accessories;
vi) The infamous STX Korea Housing Deal, for which, again, some inexplicable Sovereign Guarantee was unilaterally paid to the Koreans for nothing, not even a pick at the Tesano site.
vii) The 250 Ghanaian medical students for training in Cuba that cost the ordinary Ghanaian taxpayer nothing but for which so much US dollars have left the shores of the country in bizarre circumstances to find resting places in official ‘pockets’. Why does he delight himself by constantly involving in the bleed of the country for selfish interest to satisfy his whims and caprices at the expense of the many ignorant Ghanaians and still has some ‘insane’ persons following this bad precedent?
THE NORTH AFRICAN TSUNAMI OF 2011
The North African states of Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Libya were simul -taneously hit with the Indonesian style of tsunami in early 2011. And as if by design or accident, they were all successful. Tunisia was struck first and the president fled the country to leave the political scene in the hands of the opposition. Then it was successively followed by Egypt and its leader, Prez. Hosni Murbarak, pleaded for time to end his tenure that was some 6 months away thereby bidding time to make way for his eldest son to take over while he had left the political scene; but the warring faction flatly refused for him to kiss the canvas. He had to forcibly leave Cairo when the going became tough. His people defiantly decided to sleep at the Tahiri Square never to relent on their avowed efforts until he wisely decided to flee and give the governance of Egypt to the people.
After these two countries, the tsunami hit Morocco and the King of Morocco accepted the challenge to relegate some of his plenary powers to the people instead of relinquishing power altogether. Then, finally, ill fate hit Libya and Gaddafi stubbornly refused till, according to him, the last pint of blood of his household, body guards and his presidential guards had been exhausted but luck eluded him and he died a miserable death at the hands of insurgents on Thursday, October 11, 2011 when he went to hide in a tunnel at his home city, Sirte. So, chronologically, you can see from the above that, one after the other, those African leaders who have either surrounded themselves with loyal forces or relatives who were trained by the state in conventional warfare, KGB security system or whatever, had consecutively fallen by the roadside or died while sitting as president. Others too fled their home countries to save their lives. A word to the wise is enough.
ADMONITION – As the writer always does, please turn with him to the Book of 1 Corinthians 13:11 and it reads, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I under -stood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. Secondly, turn again with him to the Book of Lamentations 5: 1-9, “Remember, O LORD, what has come upon us;s Look, and behold our reproach! 2 Our inheri -tance has been turned over to aliens (Chinese as galamsey operators) And our homes to foreigners (nationals of the West African sub-region because of ECOWAS protocol and US dollar rentals). 3 We have become orphans and waifs – kayayee girls, truck pushers, dog-chain hawkers. scrap- buyers and our brothers/sisters at Sodom and Gomorrah near the Agbobloshie market in Accra are homelesss); Our mothers are like widows (in their own country) 4 We pay for the water we drink (if even we can get good quality treated with hygienic non-expired chemicals), And our wood (electricity tariffs) comes at a price. 5 They pursue at our heels; We labour and have no rest (hewers of wood and drawers of water but not partakers of their food). 6 We have given our hand to the Egyptians, And the Assyrians (sold our birthright to the Breton Woods Institutions for pittance and especially the Chinese $3bn loan for 15 years of our oil supplies to repudiate same) to be satisfied with bread, 7 Our fathers sinned and are no more.
But we bear their iniquities (the woes and curses from the 8 slain Generals by firing squad between June 9 and 16, 1979 for insignificant corruptible but pardonable offences. 8 Servants (?) rule over us; There is none to deliver us from their hand. 9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives; Because of the sword in wilderness” courtesy AMA’s/KMA’s/STMA’s abaa yee – the bold words however represent the author’s version. Do we have the Christian Council of Churches and the Ghana Muslim Council at all? Are they in hibernation or have now been rendered as toothless bulldogs which can only bark but not bite? Do we still have the Ghana Peace Council in existence? Wonders would never end and truly will never end in Ghana. Couldn’t some portion of the ill-gotten overspent monies have been used to remove/cart the mountains of filth that have engulfed the nation? Shameful, isn’t it?
HUMOUR – The author wants to exchange fraternal greetings with his fellow compatriots – Me nuanom Ghanafoo, me mma mo dum, dum, dum soo! And before the echo from this greeting dies down, you’d hear the nice telepathic response bouncing back from the background, ‘Yaa maha, maha, Mahama ooooo! Postscript – Meanwhile, because of the international dimension the 2012 electoral dispute has taken, representatives from the international press/media houses such as CNN, Aljazeera, BBC, VOA, the U.N., ECOWAS, AU and the Queen’s Counsel have installed telescopic lenses at the Supreme Court to cover the daily activities for their respective organizations and the world so the 9-member panel presided over by Justice Atuguba should be circumspect in their deliberations especially from Tuesday, April 16, the eve of Mahama’s 100th day as full-fledged president when Court reconvenes for the historic flight to a safe landing – impartial judgment devoid of fear or favour despite the hurriedly, Nicodemusly, cunningly arranged and back-dated special pay packages running into millions and supposedly lodged in the bank accounts of the judiciary and others that might not twist nor alter the verdict.
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Author is a researcher into contemporary history of Ghana and freelance writer.