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26.11.2021 Feature Article

24 People in Glasgow Is Too Many Already

24 People in Glasgow Is Too Many Already
26.11.2021 LISTEN

No matter how one looks at it, the picture is simply not very good. But is, nevertheless, characteristically Ghanaian in its vapidity all right. This darn primitive tendency to flock to the Aryan West on the least excuse, I suppose, was set in motion by the massive capture and enslavement of the Continental African between 1450 and 1850, in what variously and euphemistically became known as the Middle Passage and the Transatlantic African Slave Trade or, more properly speaking, the Western-European Slave Trade or the European Trade in African Humanity. Some who would have Africans envisaged as the least rational or thoughtful among humanity prefer to call it the African Slave Trade. And there may be some iota of truth to the latter observation or assertion; for it was Africans who, for the most part, traded themselves to the willing European buyers who snapped us up like precious metals for chattel enslavement in the erstwhile New World, presently redesignated The Americas.

That is the most rational way to reckon how it came about that the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came to be virulently accused of flying some 330 Ghanaian citizens to Glasgow, Scotland, for the Global Warming Conference or Climate Conference that has become popularly known as the COP 26 Summit (See “Only 24 People in Glasgow, not 330 – Government Fights Back Claims” Ghanaweb.com 11/8/21). I knew from the get-go that the figure of “Only 24 People in Glasgow, not 330” was not the whole story. It has been said innumerable times that the unvarnished truth often lies somewhere in-between. So, I was not the least bit surprised when Mr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, the Executive-Director of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to put paid to this obvious media propaganda blitz by claiming that only 24 government officials had been sponsored to the Glasgow Climate Change Confabulation, and that these officials had not traveled en-masse or in one fell swoop but had staggered their participation for the two-week conference that began on October 31 and ended on November 12.

Somebody WhatsApped me the presentation of the female Prime Minister of the Afro-Caribbean country of Barbados by the name of Mia Mottley. It was such a magically masterful and mesmerizing presentation that I kept wondering whether President Akufo-Addo really needed to have reportedly chartered a jet to attend this conference at all. I did not see Uncle Kwaku Willie matching the presentation of the Barbadian Prime Minister in both content and rhetorical drama, which kept America’s President Joseph R. Biden and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson sedulously nodding their heads like rubber-ducks in a pond or a bathtub, the way my 24-year-old daughter used to do when she was four or five years old. I am not the least bit worried about Nana Akufo-Addo’s widely maligned quite frequent renting of luxurious Presidential Jets for Government or National Business abroad, especially flights that take my 77-year-old uncle outside of the ECOWAS or West-African Subregion, when one also thinks about the $ 172 Million (USD) of military aircraft purchasing money that the then Vice-President John “European Airbus Payola” Dramani is widely alleged to have been unable to account for to his then immediate boss, for which President John Evans Atta-Mills, late, is reliably alleged to have put Kwame Gonja under investigation at the time of his “inscrutable” demise.

That, of course, was the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money. You see, generally speaking, life is priceless; but even more priceless is when the life under discussion is that of the democratically elected President of a key international diplomatic player like the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana, who has also been doubling, for the second year running, as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States. Now, those of Nana Akufo-Addo’s most inveterate opponents who think the President is unprecedentedly a spendthrift need to prove their case or cases by supplying the rest of us with a comparative budgetary analyses of the jet-rental expenditures of all four predecessors of our incumbent President. You see, wet-eared political cynics like the “shark-toothed” Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, that sobriquet, by the way, came from the late President Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings, the acclaimed Founding-Father of Ghana’s main opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), often forget that the COVID-felled Chairman Rawlings was infamous for the routine and habitual use of the couple of jets owned by the Ghana Airforce as the “private car” of the Rawlings’ family.

Legend even has it that for the 20 years that he effectively dominated Ghana’s political firmaments, Chairman Rawlings used our taxpayer-underwritten Ghana Airforce jets to teach each and every one of his three daughters and son how to “drive” an airplane. Gratis! Which, of course, means that Chairman Rawlings never paid a dime or a pesewa for the purely private and personal use of these military aircraft. Never once have I or anybody that I share acquaintance with heard the North-Tongu National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament call attention to this criminally profligate use and abuse of taxpayer money. Which immediately raises the critical question of whether Mr. Ablakwa, somehow, envisages Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be a far less legitimate President of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana than all four of his predecessors. Not that it would matter the least bit where the predictable Mr. Ablakwa stands on the latter question or matter.

As the old sage once said: “Nobody can stop the time.” To the latter quote, one may aptly add: “Nobody can scapegoat ‘The Little Man from Kyebi.’” In the COP 26 Affair, Mr. Kwabena Kokofu, the Executive-Director of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency, tells us that the original list of the COP 26 Glasgow Participants entailed the names of some 170 people, largely drawn from civil society organizations around the country before being significantly pared down to 24. In the era of instantaneous audiovisual communications technology, one wonders where any more than the presence of at the most five government officials would really have been needed in Glasgow. And just precisely what socioeconomic and/or political impact did Ghana make at Glasgow’s COP 26 Summit, when the leaders of even the most environment-polluting nations like Russia and China were a conspicuous no show?

At any rate, what we are most interested here, as taxpaying Ghanaian citizens, is precisely how much money the Akufo-Addo Government spent on Ghana’s participation in Glasgow’s COP 26 Climate Change Confab; and also precisely what cedi-value benefit did Ghana harvest from the same? Would it have made any seismic heck of a difference, by the way, if Nana Akufo-Addo had delivered his address via teleconferencing? In the kind of Hitech Global Village in which we all currently live, it is almost certain that delivering his address from the Press Room of Jubilee House would have taken absolutely nothing away from the impact and significance of the same. Trust me, Dear Wofa Kwaku Willie.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

November 10, 2021

E-mail: [email protected]

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