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28.09.2005 Feature Article

Free Land To MP’s And Ministers Policy Is Fatally Flawed.

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It is one thing to say that you want to increase food production to prevent the reoccurrence of famine that has hit the two Upper Regions, to increase the image of farming by attracting many people into that venture. It is another thing to say in order to do so you have to give free land, free seedlings, and “free” money (forget about the term “loan” used by Kwamena Bartels, it is meant to throw dust into your eyes, it will eventually turn out to be free money) to MP's, and Ministers.

Mr. Kwamena Bartels announcement came as a shock to me. Why single out MP's and Ministers? A lot of our Ministers are just bankrupt with fresh ideas to move the nation forward. They are just square pegs in round holes and they keep on displaying their incompetence before all day in and day out. This policy amounts to nothing less than a grand design to steal our lands and money by virtue of the fact that they wield power. The NPP administration is behaving like a conquered army out to share the spoils among themselves and they are not ashamed of that. What is the guarantee that these MP's and Ministers after allocating these government lands among themselves, and using our tax payers money to buy themselves free seedlings, and giving themselves “free loans”, will not turn around and lease these same lands and seedlings to the real farmers whose daily toils have kept mother Ghana going all these years at exorbitant rates or even sell these lands outright and use the money to put up buildings without cultivating a single seed. What plans has the minister got to check abuses in the system? And if he has any plans why didn't he make it public in his press conference? And how is he going to recover these 'loans' from the MP's and the Ministers?

I think Ghanaians deserve to know how many of our serving, defeated or retired MP's have paid back their car loans. The government owes it a duty to all of us to publish the names of all MP's who collected the car loans, how much they collected, and how much they have paid back and how much they owe the state as of now. This must be published in the national dailies for the Ghanaian tax payer whose taxes supported the MP's with that loan. If there are some defaulters who have not paid back their car loans why add more loans to them? If they can't pay their car loans, how can they pay back this new loan unless it is meant as a gift or as my friend put “sharing the booty among themselves”.

If there are any group of people who need free lands and free seedlings and money to expand their farms then they are our current farmers. Our mothers and fathers who have always worked so hard to supply the food that keeps Ghana going and the much needed foreign exchange which our corrupt and clueless politicians are allocating to themselves. And if the government is truly interested in raising the image of farming, then it should encourage and entice our young graduates who do not have a job, whose high hopes for a better life under “positive change” have largely fallen flat because the NPP has failed to make good on its campaign promises of strong economic growth. These young graduates need to be enticed with such packages to go into farming, not to MP's and Ministers who will turn around and sell to make profits.

There is poverty and government incompetence all over the place. These are two things you cannot spin. Kwabena Agyapong cannot spin that, neither could Dan Botwe or any of those guys. It is there for all to see and has consequences. .…….two bye election defeats in a row. The other day I was in the market watching a young woman buy a tube of yam. She was holding a child may be six or seven and I knew the child should have been in school at the time they were in the market. I knew instantly that she was about to do something the President, our MP's, our Ministers are either incapable of doing or figure is not necessary, make a budget decision based on common sense and economics. She had to choose between feeding her child or going to pay that school fees and send him to school. Anyone who works for a living, pays taxes, has kids, pays rent at the end of each month knows, that such foolish decisions by our elected leaders are what has prevented Ghana from reaching its fullest potential. Remember our Ministers don't pay rent, they don't buy fuel, they don't pay water, electricity, nor telephone bills like you and I do. They enjoy our all these facilities at our expense and they need our lands for free again. Oh Ghana ! Any Ghanaian who is struggling to pay school fees of his kids, who has a relative dying from malaria, who has a loved one died through traffic accident because of the deplorable nature of our roads, is a victim of such greedy and senseless policies.

Kwamena Bartels policy proposal is fatally flawed and inspired by pure greed and corrupt mind. I wonder why the press did not take him on instantly. It is only through true change that the NPP will recover its strength, its relevance, its idealism and to regain the support of the people. Things aren't getting better, they are getting worse. The castle and the whole of the political establishment are disconnected from reality. The reality is that the masses are suffering and it is good time to reflect on the pitfalls “positive change” and “zero tolerance”. Ben Ofosu-Appiah, Tokyo, Japan. The author is a social and political commentator based in Tokyo, Japan. He welcomes your comments, criticisms and views. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ben Ofosu-Appiah
Ben Ofosu-Appiah, © 2005

The author has 133 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: BenOfosuAppiah

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