Replacing the substance with the chaff would not wash
4/25/2012 3:00:04 PM -
Ebo Quansah in Accra
Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr.
Mr. Stan Dogbe
I understand that President John Evans Atta Mills is in the United States to confer with a group of conservative thinkers, which in itself, is a very interesting development. We are told in the manifesto of the party propping up the Presidency that the National Democratic Congress has metamorphosed from the coup mentality of the founder to become social democratic in structure. If it were so, how come that the Socialist leader is now conferring with Conservatives in the United States?
I do not believe all the facts of the fourth presidential visit to the United States in under one year have been told. This question of meeting with investors has been flogged for too long without much by way of results in tangibles. On the return of one of such trips to Uncle Sam's territory, state media crowed about a certain $18 million investment. It was flogged for some time, and even won plaudits for the administration for bringing home hard earned foreign exchange to help stem the tide in the free fall of the local currency against the dollar.
It was much later that it was pointed out that the same $18 million investment had been captured nearly one year before the presidential visit. It was then that most nationals realised that lack of concrete achievements was driving those who speak for this administration to dwell on events long past their sell by date.
When Barack Hussein Obama came visiting in January 2009, we were told it marked a significant point in Ghana's relationship with the United States. The visit was to ensure that this nation of 24 million people became the most favoured state in Africa, in terms of African-American relationship.
At Cape Coast, where the Obama family spent most of their time in this country rummaging through the Castle and archival history of this nation's ancient link with the Americas, the visit was sold to the people as marking the beginning of a number of investment drives by the United States in the area. Three years down the line, the people are still waiting on the investments.
Sometimes, one wonders why this administration would want to flog people's private initiatives as the achievements of the government. It is on record that Michelle Obama, wife of the American leader, had been researching into her background long before the husband won the American presidential elections in 2008.
When the husband was inaugurated, Michelle smelled the opportunity to visit the castles in Ghana which hold documentary evidence of how the black race came to populate the United States. The visit of Obama, immediately after his inauguration, which also coincided with the taking of office by Prof. Atta Mills, was a great opportunity to grant his wife her wish.
Coming to Ghana was more of a research project by the wife than President Obama's wish to invest in this country. Sadly for citizens of this nation, the whole visit was couched in language that suggested that the new President of Ghana had worked out a miracle.
In life, when the imagination does not run wild, the person risks having tunnel vision, which is exactly what is happening on the governance front.
It is beginning to look like in this administration the substance and the chaff are mixed in a cauldron of hot air. I am told Kwakye Ofosu, a member of the so-called Government Communication Team, a group of young men who had previously not held any serious appointments put together by Stanislav Xoetse Dogbe, and paid from state funds to mislead the public so that the party in power would look good, is blowing hot air over The Chronicle's front page yesterday, in which Prof. Kofi Anyidoho, Chairman of the government flagship project in the Volta Region, has kicked structures for the University of Allied Health and Sciences at Ho in the Volta Region, to touch.
The good old professor has been given the onerous task of ensuring that the university takes off this academic year. With barely four months to the official opening, the structures are simply not in place, and the Chairman is visibly angry.
At a public forum to brief the people on the state of the university, Prof. Kofi Awonoor said the structures, particularly, the administrative block, could not pass for well-constructed edifices. 'We cannot risk using the building as an administrative block,' the Chairman complained.
At news review yesterday on a radio station, Mr. Kwakye Ofosu, a member of the young men assembled by Stanlislav Xoesie Dogbe to sell a goat to the nation as a cow, for which tax payers money funds their expensive tastes, pooh poohed the story on the basis that since it emanated from The Chronicle, edited by my humble self, an avowed opponent of the goat and cow theory, the story could not represent the truth.
This assertion tells a lot about why the Green Book would continue to suffer from a credibility crisis. It is becoming obvious that the concept of truth in the compilers' estimation is an exaggerated form of presenting a simple matter. When the road leading to a school is tarred and presented as one of the major achievements of this regime, one gets the impression that those directing state policies are grateful for small mercies.
I do not think officials need to go around the country and beyond shouting unprecedented achievements, if a tarred road in front of a school would constitute part of the unprecedented achievements.
If Ofosu Kwakye's pronouncement is problematic, try making sense out of a presentation by my good friend Kwesi Pratt. Apparently, Mr. Pratt is telling Ghanaians that because the Chairman of the University Council is not an architect or civil engineer, he could not be relied upon to make an informed judgment on the state of buildings for the proposed university.
If my good friend is right, then it means that those of us who make comments on matters, over which we have little or no knowledge, should not even be countenanced. I bet over the years, Kwesi himself has commented on issues from reproductive health, through hard core economics and governance to peace keeping, without holding professorial inaugurals on these topics.
I have not seen my good friend since the good old Professor of law took charge at the Castle. Ever since the officials of the Committee for Joint Action trooped to the Castle, allegedly to bare their teeth at officialdom, and ended up drinking very expensive tea with the Presidency, the tone of my good friend's lecture on the state of the nation address on radio and television has changed.
I cannot pinpoint to anything that could have affected the bank balance or not. But, once upon a time, I went round the various radio and television stations in the national capital defending my good friend, when some nation-wreckers concocted stories of Uncle Sam's green notes changing hands, in which the name of my very close friend was loosely tossed about.
The problem with Kwesi's pronouncement on the state of the university buildings at Ho is that it exposes the uneasiness in the system about commentaries on the substance of issues at stake. Left to those who speak for the authority of state, the whole nation would be dealing with the peripheral, while the substance of under-achievement and lack of policy direction remain un-discussed.
When there is Woyome, Construction Pioneers, and several issues of the handling of judgment debts involving hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis outstanding, selling this nation on the strength of propaganda would take some doing.