Another Chance to Expose the Incurably Corrupt Mills-Mahama Regime
It was an interesting editorial from the Ghanaian Chronicle captioned “Ghana Must Make Economic Use of Bagre Dam Spillage” (Modernghana.com 9/6/18). This caption is beguiling or, rather, I should say downright deceptive because we are also informed by the contents of this news story that in 2008, the Parliamentary Majority Leadership of the then-President John Agyekum-Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) contracted the whopping loan sum of $ 525 Million (USD), from Brazil, to construct a multipurpose dam at Pwalugu, in the Upper-East Region, and a second one called the Juala Dam, located in the Northern Region, to wisely and foresightedly and safely and constructively harness the annual spillages from the Bagre Dam, which is located on the White Volta in the former Upper Volta, presently renamed Burkina Faso, Ghana’s immediate and direct northern neighbor.
Two-Thousand-and-Eight, of course, was the final year of the two-term Agyekum-Kufuor Presidency. Anyway, what we presently know, at least as related by the editorial writer of the Ghanaian Chronicle is that once President Kufuor handed over the democratic reins of governance to the newly elected President John Evans Atta-Mills, the real predictable mischief set in. The newly elected government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) decided that it had a better and more constructive way of using the money earmarked for the construction of the two aforementioned dams. Well, President Atta-Mills, late, and his then-Vice-President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, decided rather curiously and clearly inadvisably or unwisely to use the Brazilian loan to construct what they termed as the “Eastern Corridor,” I believe this was a highway that was designed to run from the southern Volta Region to somewhere in the North. I am not quite sure of the latter characterization or description, except to irately report the predictably bad news: which is that the so-called Eastern Corridor or Highway never quite got fully constructed or completed. But it is almost certain that the larger chunk of the highway-construction loan ended up in the wallets and bank accounts of some NDC robber-barons and movers-and-shakers.
This episode may very well have been connected to the Kanazoe-Mahama Ford Expedition Payola Scandal that involved then-Vice-President Mahama and a Burkinabe contractor called Mr. Gibril (Jibril) Kanazoe. I have recently extensively written and published on this subject, so I do not intend to rehash the same herein. Anyway, the editorial writer of the Ghanaian Chronicle article being presently discussed brought up the issue of the criminal diversion of the $ 525 Million Brazilian loan again because just several days ago, the sluice gates of the Bagre Dam were opened to let out huge volumes of water downstream, as the Burkinabe authorities have been known to do annually since the France-financed dam was Yet constructed in the early 1990s to supply electricity to that country. And guess what happened? Well, the released waters from the Bagre Dam flooded hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime farmlands, massively destroying crops and livestock and, of course, killing tens of human lives. And we have not even begun talking about the hundreds of inhabitants of the so-called Three-Northern-Regions who were effectively rendered homeless by the inundation of their lands.
Which means that every year, round about this time and season, Ghana’s Natural Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), the agency that supplies relief materials to victims of natural disasters, has to go about repeating the same process of supplying relief items to preventable disaster victims over and over again. You see, writing this part of this column reminded me of a classic quote globally attributed to the great German physicist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Prof. Albert Einstein. And that quote runs roughly as follows: “Stupidity is when you repeat the same hopeless process over and over again and expect to get a different result each time.” An obviously major part of this problem is the abject lack of continuity and common sense in the way that development has been done by postcolonial Ghanaian governments since independence.
Some critics and observers have even called for the establishment of a cross-partisan National Development Plan/Program (NDP). Such call sounds mellifluous to the musically attuned ear but, in practical terms, it is simply not feasible for the simple reason that while the decidedly visionless leaders of the Rawlings-fangled main opposition National Democratic Congress claims to be socialist in ideological orientation, the ruling New Patriotic Party has been relatively successfully pursuing a poor-people-oriented policy agenda, including such progressive policy initiatives as the recently implemented fee-free Senior High School System by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; and before the latter, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), implemented by the John Agyekum-Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party government.
The leaders of the National Democratic Congress prefer to facilely talk about enviable credentials in the area of infrastructural development, by which they invariably mean road construction. But, of course, any recent visitor to Ghana can confidently attest to the fact that not many first-class roads can be seen or traveled on by both visitor and native resident and/or citizen alike.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, -Nassau
Garden City, New York SUNY
September 8, 2018