State of the Nation address: A critical piece

Earlier this year the transitional president gave his addresses on the state of the nation, however invalid. They sounded like good meditations as he delivered them on the floor of parliament seamlessly as though off head. But the irony is that the whole nation is under hostage awaiting the verdict of the Supreme Court amidst life’s deprivations. I even heard one analyst say if the SC overturns the declaration of the Electoral Commission and deem Nana Akufo Addo president then Mahama would have deemed never to have been president technically, save for the records.

Throughout this discourse, the legal luminaries bombarded us with strange terms drawing us to tail-end ones as “communist inferior tactics”, “ retroactive penalty”, ad infinitum. I staggered intermittently to watch and understand the gruelling duel.

To wit, about half of Ghanaians (or the electorates) thirst for blood about the irregularities of the elections citing the errors were gargantuan. Although the EC admitted to some of these claims some were furiously rebuffed by the respondents. We are yet unsure as to what the SC would do.

Within this period there have been incarcerations of at least two personalities for speaking their minds thus creating panic between free speech and contempt of court. The ordinary Ghanaian is under fear and trepidation of being whisked away by the SC or Police should one express his mind on the media. Otherwise there are a number of corridor politicians speaking worse things. However, the mantra of peace is being sung on the air waves. (I have not however heard of our Nobel Peace Laureate, Lemah Gbowee).

“A man must not swallow his cough because he fears to disturb others.” Democratic-oriented institutions have been dilating on matters on the airwaves on this spectrum amidst hypocrisy from the National Media Commission. The NMC and the Police are on swooping bends to check critical minds. I only hope this mandate of the former does not contradict its role in ensuring press freedom. They should not be misled by peace and security considerations since their mandate is clear. They should not be the ones to censure the media.

In all this topsy-turvy, the point worth considering is that hopefully by 29th August we would know our hunger and thirst—whether the SC would maintain the status quo that Mahama was validly elected or that valid assessment shows that Nana Addo is President or there is extent of irregularities to call for rerun of general elections or elections in selected constituencies.

Whatever be the outcome, the late chimsky would soon ridicule his successor Bob-Loose-Conscience from the netherworld. I am neither a necromancer nor a prophet, but it’s logic, never magic. If the sword of Jehu fails the cudgel of David would annihilate. All discerning Ghanaians know what am talking about.

Next on the agenda is the transition team’s report. I wanted to include a paragraph of it in an earlier publication on dabbed Is Justice and Rule of Law in Ghana a Mirage? But it escaped my mind; I wonder whether ‘it was the evil meditations of some blood-consuming demon. I can’t forget it though they are the same old bandits for Ghana, its all I have and my freedom and safety is paramount (I see no contradiction in that!). But matters of the Supreme Court seem to have buried it. But should all stop working because we are waiting on an important verdict? By no means. Even that I believe Marietta (or is it Magretta they call her) Brew Oppong would still dilly-dally like her predecessor, Betty-Mould. I heard her recently addressing an international conference on judicial matters and I said this one should better remove the plank from her own eye before she removes the log from another’s eye.

I have not even heard of the report being submitted to the president or its progress reported from the community of politicians.

But transition team’s report often seem gimmickry especially when it is the same gov’t or its kind in power, otherwise Ghana may suffer the fate of Italy for corruption and oppression that has bedevilled the lampo man’s regime. Notice that Ghana has moved by five units since 2008 towards the first position on the global corruption performance index by Transparency International (64/176). So Moh Ibrahim has not even shortlisted President Mills.

But the NDC often defy the philosophy of a monkey being bound by its own tail. This mask of a report should be unveiled and the Attorney General should tell us the number of cases to crucify for some of us are already upstanding and panting with sledge hammers in hand.

In connection with that, the delay in the implementation of the Right to Information Bill or Law is yet one headache. So the ordinary Ghanaian may not know what is happening in our Central Bank, Cabinet, Office of the President, National Security, etc. I have no means of laying hand on the draft. With Nana Oye’s entry into mainstream politics I don’t know the fate of the Right to Information Coalition. The education seems not to have gone down well, if that is their role. But for one newspaper columnist I wouldn’t have had a gist of the law even as an information technocrat and political critic. I don’t know whether the Constitution Review Commission is incorporating all this into our law book.

It is significant to note that the Auditor-General’s reports often reach our regional libraries only with each change of an entirely different government. In actual fact, it seems a matter of disseminating the weaknesses of previous gov’ts while concealing their own awaiting such future exposés. The latest for the three northern regional libraries have been the 2008 ones. Even in Accra you can not easily lay hand on them in almost all libraries for the common people. And you know Parliament House has its own bureaucracies This kind of centralization or irresponsibility does not enhance democracy and good governance. I am however uncertain whether such access is a right or a privilege.

Also, the Auditor General’s reports always seem mere window dressings. I learnt the Public Accounts Committee is chaired by an opposition member but it rather seems a powerless sub-organ as the Auditor General’s recommendations are never really implanted. Financial irregularities cost the nation a lot and things repeat themselves over the years but I have never seen a single person being convicted by this committee or a court of law. And recently the president gave a harmless directive to bring those found culpable to book.

More so, there have been contradictory statements on the state of the economy from government functionaries themselves. As Tekper has now been sidelined I wonder who would tell the story, the Bank of Ghana or the Statistical Service? But records have it that inflation defied the single digit status in the last few months and has hit a rocketing figure of 11.20 compared with 1.8% in the US, 2.70% in China and 8.40% in neighbouring Nigeria. While Nigeria has a budget deficit of 2% of GDP Ghana records 12.10%.

Public debt claims almost 50% of GDP. And each Ghanaian now owes $753.32 (approx. GH¢1506.6) whilst each owns a paltry GH¢26.64 from the Jubilee Oil field were we allowed to pocket it. I pray that the White man does not come to organize a raid someday, but am told much of the debt is internal.
In this light the Controller & Accountant General has halted our biometric registration saying there is no money in the system, otherwise it is sabotage. (I hereby entreat the CAG Dep’t to replicate its Sekondi/Takoradi phenomenon in Tamale so that pay slips could easily be printed and distributed quickly for the northern sector.)

Tax has been ridiculously levied on mobile phones and condoms coupled with the Communication Service tax. This tax was originally meant to cushion the funding of the GYEEDA program but I don’t know of its purpose now. Meanwhile the Ghana Revenue Authority is said to have met its target for the 2012 financial year.

GYEEDA, SADA, Massa, leave!! The MDGs may never be met with the count down except for food security. So they claim but some of us dey hala here with student food.

Needless therefore to mention maternal and child health, mortgages for health insurance reimbursement, failed one time premium, doctors’ strike actions for non-payment of market premiums, among others. The piece of land for the proposed Regional Hospital for the Upper West is still laying there. Unless it is not the one by Traditional Touch Inn. According to one informant the roofing sheets used to shield the project site have been blown away by recent rainstorm into neighbouring bushes. The inhabitants are lamenting powerlessly. Meanwhile in due course three successive health ministers have hailed from the region with the hypocrisy of their late brother, the Roads & Transport minister, the Chapuri man. Instead CHPS compounds have been dotted in the region as the Kunbuor-Chireh-Bagbin effect but nobody remembers Dr. Sorry. The Wa district hospital serves in multiple capacities as the entire region and even many from the Northern region access this facility.

As for the expansion works at the Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga only the paint of the Children’s Ward has been changed as part of the work of the phase two of the project. The other new thing there is a play room attachment constructed by pastor Eastwood Anaba. As for the proposed new one only propaganda billboards stand in the municipality proclaiming the phenomenon. BONABOTO, a pressure group in the region, decry that the piece of land donated by the chiefs for the project has not even been weeded.

For the Tamale Teaching Hospital, it’s the proposed change of uniform since its upgrading, together with an MRI machine said to have been donated to the hospital. The northern sector as a whole lacks a CT Scan machine, which gives finer and quality images with no known hazardous effects compared to an ordinary x-ray machine. You know what that means! Another unpopular case has been the theft and contract irregularities furiously been denied by the hospital’s CEO.

Meanwhile, President Mahama has recently changed his kidney in South Africa.

On Information Technology, the proposed ICT park in Tema (contract given to a local firm) has only the construction of its communication routes underway. The actual structures may begin in December, 2015. A minister of Information says the internet-elite population stands at 25%. In this regard, cyber fraud and internet crime is on the ascendancy despite government’s promise to wipe out the phenomenon. Notice that about four years ago, Police raided an Internet café in Chantan, Accra, ripping off network cables and heckling users in disarray. A one-stop centre comprising relevant bodies was proposed. I also contributed to this phenomenon but yet unsure as to what state it has reached. Ghana now ranks 2nd in Africa and 7th in the World for this high tech crime related crimes.

On the international front, a number of embassies, diplomatic and consular missions have been evicted for defaulting in rent payments. Some consular staff have even packed bag and baggage home. Ghana is now said to have a new mission at the Vatican. Also Ghanaian students abroad who are on government sponsorship are been threatened with deportation for failure of their government to honour its obligations.

Ghana has never ceased to be a haven of drug barons, market fires and all forms of criminality. Recent reported cases show an increasing spate. I even flipped somewhere that Ghana tops the gay rankings in Africa. And you know President Mahama is friend to Andrews Solomon, a gay activist, who together with the Chinua Achebe, helped launched his debut in United States.

To add to that the dumsor dumsor never ceases even though Bui Power Authority is said to be operational. There are even plans of establishing a coal plant which a fellow technocrat lambasted in no small way compared with solar power expansion. But the government seems to lack consultation.
After almost one year, the West Africa Gas Pipeline is said to have resumed supplying of gas to home and industry. For the jubilee field am unsure how many volumes of cylinder it is able to generate now.

And now, the White Volta awaits the submerging of Buipe and other riverine communities along its way. Nothing is remembered of the barricading dam panacea and consequent benefit to power generation or irrigation.
The STX housing deal is already shut down but NDC says it is hibernating.
Not all, the Graphic Communications Group Ltd should decentralize their work so that we could print and access newspapers at the regional outlets in real time.

Eduction: UTAG book research allowance coupled with non-payment of market premium arrears have been in the system for some time now. It’s like the teacher unions are alternating the business of industrial action vis a vis ministers’ gargantuan salaries and duplications. Okudzeto, a deputy minister of education was talking yesterday in the morning on this but I didn’t have time to listen to what new excuse the government had to give. To add to that allowances for teacher trainees in our colleges of education are to be wiped out with immediate effect to be replaced by students loan as a tertiary status benefit.

In Accra, Vanderpuye has retained his seat with a renaming spree amidst hypocrisy from the presidency. Salomey Okoh, the lady-designer of our national flag was nearly usurped. Mahama made a public apology on this. Mills one year anniversary is over climaxed by the laying of stone to immortalize the lampo man.

I draw my curtain here.