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Mahama’s Word Without Honour   
 
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12-May-2013  
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The other day when I heard Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress in the ongoing election petition, make a comment on honesty or lack of it at the Supreme Court I pictured hapless Mr. Baah-Boakye in my mind’s eye.

A former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Baah-Boakye was posted to the Ghana Mission in Bonn, then political capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, under a certificate of emergency.

The news out there was that his wife failed to join him in the capital city of the then Federal Republic of Germany.

As I listened to Mr. Tsikata, my mind went on an excursion to the so-called revolution of December 31, 1981, which succeeded in producing a different batch of the nouveau riche and influential characters of society. Meanwhile, many businessmen and women who had sweated over the years to build viable entities were re-classified as enemies of the state and subjected to all manner of inhuman treatment. There are no prizes for guessing what happened to most of them.

On June 30, 1982, three judges, including a nursing mother and a retired army officer, were abducted from their bungalows during curfew hours and murdered in cold-blood. They were all dispatched to the next world in military-style executions at Bundase, a firing range belonging to the military.

Those were the days when impunity by a few group of people answered for the Government of the Republic of Ghana. The style of governance was akin to the way Mr. Tsikata shouted on the lead counsel for the petitioners, and brought to mind events of the regrettable 11 and-a-half years of man’s inhumanity to man.

I am sorry if I have recalled moments in our history many people would want to forget in a hurry. I am afraid events unfolding at the moment do not suggest that we have moved away from the era of the Culture of Silence, when those who shot their way to Government House, aided by midnight advisers, behaved as if they owned this Land of our Birth.

The ‘Hand-Over-to Whom?’ syndrome is very much alive, in spite of all the 20 years spent trying to democratise the system. When I saw video footages of the police-cum military confrontation with traders at the burnt-out Kantamanto Market in Accra on Tuesday, I told a number of friends that the so-called democracy we have bandied about for the past two decades had not taken roots.

Here were a number of Ghanaians, who had depended on the market over the years to eke out a living, virtually facing the fire-power of the Ghana Police. Why would the Accra Metropolitan Assembly rush to claim the site from the traders at a time most of them were traumatised by the fire outbreak and the loss of their entire life’s savings?

I have been listening to the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoh Vanderpuije, sounding like a military commander, issuing out instructions to his footsoldiers. It does not look like anybody cares so much about the traders who have lost everything.

At this point in time, I do not believe reconstruction is the most important item on the table concerning the Kantamanto market fire. One would like to believe that at this point in time, engaging the traders, who have lost their life investments, ought to be the most important item on the table.

After the traders’ pain had subsided, we could talk of reconstruction. As it is, it looks like the Accra Metropolitan Assembly had made up its mind long before the fire outbreak. As it is, it is very difficult to discount the conspiracy theory doing the rounds.

Without the sympathetic ears of Government and its agencies, the leadership of the traders appears to have found solace in meeting with Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, New Patriotic Party leader in the disputed 2012 presidential election.

While thinking about the traders and their plight, I read the call to patriotism theory and celebrating the African message President John Dramani Mahama delivered to the African Parliament in South Africa and hoped that a little bit of the suggestion he made should rub off on his government back home.

It is important to remind ourselves of the patriotic deeds of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Emperor Haile Selassie, Jomo Kenyatta and the early independence leaders who worked tirelessly to set up the Organisation of African Unity. It is important too to learn from the mistakes they made, and from which we are still reeling. The rhetoric on the political platform made for quotable quotes. It made for headline news around the world.

But, the fact that Africa’s share of world trade is currently under two percent is very worrying. It tells everything about how these leaders chartered the business course of their individual countries. We need to celebrate Nkrumah, for instance, for leading Ghana to independence and aiding other Africans to throw off the colonial yoke.

But, more than 50 years of our liberty has been spent wallowing in poverty. As a nation, we have not done much to inspire Africa to add value to our primary products. For the past half a century, we have blamed the imperial powers and colonialism for Africa’s woes. But, what have we done for ourselves?

On Friday, radio and television brought the commissioning of one of the three turbines of the Bui Dam to our living rooms. It was a proud moment, in the sense that even though the project is not ready for full commissioning, the thinking process at the time has enabled this nation to add 133 megawatts of power to our dwindling power base.

Apparently, President Mahama was so overjoyed by the additional megawatts of electricity coming on board that he announced that the power outages, known in local parlance as ‘Dum-so Dum-so’ would come to an end the next day, Saturday, May 4, 2013.

I ordered one cold bottle of Stone in celebration. With my health not responding to treatment, I was confined to the house the next day, Sunday, May 5. Just as I was settling in to weekend matches in Europe on television, the lights went out. That was as early as 8:00 a.m. Later on, when I ventured out, I learned that the power outage had affected a sizeable population of the capital city.

The next day, I dragged the old and battered body to work. Unfortunately, at the time production was at its peak at 6:0 p.m., power went off.

Unfortunately, for President Mahama, this is not the first prediction he has made of an end to the power crisis. It looks like anytime the President ventures into the power crisis and gives a deadline, that deadline is not only missed, but the crisis deepens.

In Mahama’s Ghana, the notion is fast developing that there is not much to make of Presidential pronouncements.

Instead, evidence is all over the place that the administration is hopping from one crisis to the other. The cedi is barely able to hold its own, falling faster than ripe mangoes in the windy Harmattan season. With GH˘8.7 billion squandered in efforts at getting the Mahama Government elected, the economy is in crisis.

Last January, as Ghanaians reflected on what many called a flawed election, the government said it was removing subsidies on fuel. The result was increases in all goods and services. To put many minds at rest, Government said it would introduce a number of social interventionist policies to cushion the poor.

There were roof-top advertisements of introducing solar-powered lanterns for the rural areas. But after an initial experiment in Greater Accra, where it was alleged that most of the beneficiaries of the new lamp policy were agents of the ruling National Democratic Congress, not much has been heard of the policy again.

Instead, prices of all manner of goods and services keep escalating way beyond the means of most Ghanaians. Ghanaians queued to elect a government to solve their problems. Instead, we have an administration that has perfected the art of creating more problems for the people.
 
 
Source: Ebo Quansah/Tthe Chronicle
 
 

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