General News of Sunday, 27 December 2015
I have written fifty-one articles this year, missed one sometime in November, I think and marred a perfect record since 2013. I started this column halfway through 2012 and after the Daily Guide decided to make it a weekly page in 2013, I have been going week after week without fail. I didn’t start it as such, but it kind of got into that rhythm and hasn’t swerved since.
And the only reason I keep going is because I have close to 15,000 readers worldwide on my Blog and I get so much encouragement, I hardly pause to think of it is a thankless job. Hindsight, I should have been a writer but life took me down a different corridor and I ended up an accountant.
So to all my readers out there and to all of you who encourage me daily, I say a big thank you, may you cross over gently, not like Dr. Kwbena Donkor, who must shed his “dumsor” load and make it safely across if he can.
I am asking Pastor Otabil a favor that if he sees the Minister in his Church this 31st night, could you please make sure he is not carrying any dumsor. His final task this year is to leave the dreaded load behind or shed his behind and close his office door gently. There will no light so he need not turn the lights out.
But on the other side, I have had seven continuous days of electricity, I am not sure if it is the Xmas break or if we are on the way to recovery. If we are finally getting some answers, Ghanaians should pat themselves on the back, it will be one of the other times we have “forced“ implementation out of the politicians, (reluctantly?) and we should say “big up “ to the people.
The Ameri deal is still out there with lots of questions. I was on the rounds early in the week, seeking answers to some issues that I knew had to be cleared before we close out this scam.
After the debacle with the power Minister I went round to cross check facts with ancillary institutions, armed with the confidence of Article 21(f) of the Constitution and my right to information. Oga, they treated me like some rookie reporter and run me around like “jimi-jimi”.
At the VRA, I spoke to Ing. Kirk Koffie on the phone, simply asking him to “akon-f?rm” or deny whether VRA had sole-sourced the civil works contract to E&P. He gave it to me in the rudest manner I have ever encountered as an adult and ended telling me he is under no obligation to tell me anything and if he chooses to do so, he will reply to any letter or not.
Now, see this man ooo. When we “funeraled” my uncle Louis, at Akosombo, he went to great lengths to tell me how grateful he was to my uncle for giving him the opportunities he had in VRA, training and all that and if ever I needed anything I should not hesitate to just walk into his office and he would more than oblige.
Not knowing the courtesy did not extend to his politics. After all he belongs to Mahama. A symptom of our corrupted system and lackey to his perks. So I called off with my tail in tow.
At the PURC, who we were told were the only persons who could set a tariff in this country, my own good friend and PWC alumnus, Sam Sarpong, gave me three minutes short shrift and asked me to go talk to ECG, because they had no hand in this matter, seeing as it was a PPP arrangement.
So off I went to be sat outside the door of the ECG boss, who came sauntering back from lunch, called his secretary who told me he could not talk to me because he had back to back meetings the rest of the afternoon. I sat there for thirty minutes; no one entered his office. Rookie journalist!
Then off to Public Procurement Authority and one of the most pleasant administrators I have ever met in Ghana. I was warmly received and entertained and there I learnt that yes, the Government had sought consent to sole-source the contract to E&P and it had been consented to. But I remembered Dr. “Dumsor” Donkor told us there were others in the mix with E&P and the only reason E&P had won the offer was primarily because they agreed to waive their mobilsation etc., which would have made it a restricted bid.
Then I came back, played the tape and yes, that is what he did say, other competitor names withheld, among other things. So he lied a little, and hey, what difference does it make? This Government has lied all year round.
Many are telling me to let this Ameri thing alone, they have signed the contract, they will not change it, they are determined to steal big money and there is nothing we can do.
Might be true, but we can expose it. Check your last prepaid bill. I bought Ghc300 over the Xmas period and I got 452 units. This means it cost me 66p/unit. The Ameri tariff is 14.5918 cents/KWh. At an exchange rate of Ghc4:$1 it makes Ghc58.37. It is no coincidence that the consumer tariff was increased to cover the impending Ameri tariff. This is no conspiracy theory; many of the players in this arena are all appointed by the President and their testicles sit in his palm. They will do as the master bids and the master has many voices acting in his name.
Especially Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor, who resigned over a meager one million dollars. Questions plenty and Occupy Ghana will be asking a few very soon. What did the Board of MMT have to say about this branding? Was it of their bidding? If so should they not be the ones with their necks on the chopping block? Why has Dzifa taken the fall?
And while you were all sleeping, trying to get your heads around “Attivor-Gate”, insincere Seth Terkper, insincerely again piled on petroleum taxes, which will make fuel more expensive at the retail pump, cause an increase in long-haul transport fares will affect the price of food in the market and of course increase inflation.
But Government will meet the inflation target and all the macro indicators will start improving. It is an election year after all.
Well, I spent Xmas eve at the International Conference Center, just to confirm that this has truly been a “Decemba to Rememba”. It was a great concert, we were all having a whale of a time until some nobody with poor vocals and bad attitude came and hit a massively profane rear end and disgusted the enthusiasm out of us. Not even the offer of a Galaxy 6 from Stanbic Bank could bring us back and the organizers did not see the need to render a proper apology.
But thanks to Stone Bwoy whose performance was just out of the Ashaiman and VVIP whose Rockstone was solid with the oldies and all, things turned round and we did leave with fantastic memories. I enjoyed it, I think the rest of the audience showed their appreciation and by the time I got home at 3am, the bass was still pumping in my ears and chest.
So in a week we will cross over. Otabil will have more people in his Church than we had at our concert, but please lets leave the dumsor behind. No need to bring it along. Even though I still walk in the dark and have not noticed the lights, Dumsor Donkor must still sign his resignation page and not leave it to his personal assistant, ala Attivor.
By the way Dzifa, don’t come back next year to tell us your assistant issued and signed that letter without your consent. We are not crossing over with the load shedding; we will see through that. Happy New Year y’All!
Ghana, Aha a y? din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!
Written By: Sydney Casely-Hayford