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24.02.2006 Feature Article

40 Year Darkness And The Politics Of Envy And Fear Must End!

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This ROPAB debate makes me sick!! Folks, living overseas and achieving any personal or material success takes a lot of hard work, but it seems there are some in Ghana who have hijacked the country for over 25 years and think they can simply steal from public funds for the rest of their lives, first through armed banditry and now through legal thievery. Some of us are tired of this and it is time Ghanaian overseas made themselves into a viable force to reckon with!! This is not an NDC vs. NPP affair at all!

We are Ghanaians, and whether these people like it or not there is nothing they can do about it! Dr. Kwame Nkrumah set in motion forces that helped some of us obtain higher education and exper3eince overseas and we will not abandon our nation and our people! We will move home gradually and we will participate in changing Ghana to make it a viable globally competitive and lovely nation. The 40 year darkness left after the Nkrumah overthrow by the CIA-inspired coup on Feb.24, 1966 is almost over. Ghana will see light, and that light will come from those who have been exposed and have the dedication to help their country! That time is now!

On Tuesday February 21, 2006 it is reported on Ghana web that the opposition parties, led by men like Dr. Atta Mills and Haruna Iddrissu had staged another mass public rally to oppose ROPAB, the bill called the Representative of the Peoples' Amendment Bill. One H. Aborbi wrote this for the Chronicle online which was further posted on our Ghana Leadership Union forum. I like it and I will quote it here:

“I am a Ghanaian who has been living abroad for over 20 years so I should be happy with efforts to allow me to vote in elections in Ghana. But I am not. I am not happy because I am greatly disturbed by the time and effort being devoted to the ROPAB while the country suffocates under the weight of pressing problems.

One particular headline attributed to Appiah Menkah, the Chairman of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) caught my attention. He was reported in The Chronicle of February 15 to have said, “disenfranchising Ghanaians living abroad would be tantamount to sabotaging the nation's progress.” Sabotaging the nation's progress?

Listening to the debate over the last two weeks or so, has made me suddenly aware of one reason why our country is not progressing:

We are busy arranging the deck chairs on the ship, while the ship itself is sinking. Just look at the time and effort devoted to this Bill. During one of the debates, the electricity went off in the Parliament House. Members of Parliament (MPs) simply waited for the power to come back on and then resumed the debate as if nothing had happened.

What is sad, very sad, is to see that incompetent Minster for Energy, Prof. Oquaye, busy going around passionately talking about the benefits of the Bill when he should be devoting his energies passionately to making the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) operate a little more efficiently to reduce the frequent interruptions in power supply. Factories everywhere are shutting down because the cost of doing business in the country is too high.

Our waterways and gutters are clogged with disease-causing filth and plastic bags. Probably, a third of our petroleum imports is wasted by vehicles idling in choking traffic. Unemployment is sky-high, and young boys and girls who should be in school learning skills needed for economic development, are on the streets selling plantain chips or 'pure' water.

Accra has been turned into one large hawkers' market; the telecommunications network is nothing to write home about; our universities are producing increasingly large numbers of graduates with degrees in courses, some of which are irrelevant to our present needs; we are not competitive internationally. Some residents in Cantonments and other areas have not had water for months; the people of Adenta - Madina find it a miracle if water flowed twice a week through their taps; there is also water crisis in the North; schools and hospitals are not being adequately funded; the list goes on and on. But Parliament is not discussing these issues!

The country seems to be afloat with no direction or any well-thought-out policies and prescriptions for solving these problems. And what is the captain of the ship (the President) doing? He seems to be asleep at the helm.

Mr. Appiah Menkah, the above ARE the problems that WILL sabotage the nation's progress, unless we start devoting time and effort to finding solutions to them!” (H. Aborbi, Chronicle, Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2006)

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Folks,

This is the nicest and shortest piece I have seen on this topic. It seems to have been written by yours truly - I don't have any pseudo-names! Trust me!

I have been quiet on this bill. I never knew there was that much envy and jealousy factors in Ghana, some 20 years after this illegal nonsense of a coup to overthrow a legitimate government of Ghana under the PNDC. I am getting more and more convinced that the only way Ghanaians in the Diaspora, if they really want any rights, and if they want to be able to live back home, is to make strategic plans to go home and participate in the running of the country!

The NDC boys from the old PNDC are the same people who have run the nation down to the gutter and to bankruptcy over a period of almost 20 years, with over $6.2 Billion in loans incurred mostly for infrastructural development but cannot point to any improvement in the supply of water, electricity, and phone and other services. They cannot show any accounts of what they used the money for during the time they were in office. Many of the have retired rich, some purchased factories with no money down, including Ato Ahwoi, my own senior from high school! Shame! Others like JJ are riding in Jaguars claimed to be given to them by friends whiles stealing openly 12 vehicles as retirement gifts! The nation they served had been sold at the auction block to foreigners! I have estimated the interest on the loan the P/NDC left to be about $240 million per year! All our net gold and cocoa proceeds won't even pay for that! Nobody out there, including Dr. Botchwey who faked as finance Minister, seems to know how to use a business calculator!

The NPP also took office and see only self gain and continuation of the same old tricks. They have not shown any concern for the society's problems at all. Fiannce Minister Osafo Marfo was so busy writing checks to order Toyota Landcruiser for the President and cabinet Ministers he forgot Ghana Water Company Ltd. people needed simple pumps to provide water for the people who voted them into power! Shame! Advice given them at the beginning of their era as to how to attract jobs, high paying high tech jobs, was taken on deaf ears and they embarked on some old fashioned cassava plantations and factories which even they could not manage! Now Nana Akuffo Addo talks about indigenous capitalism! What the heck do these men know about capitalism when they do not know that it takes water, electricity and phone lines to run a factory and create jobs! In the mean time they were not smart enough and allowed a $20 million investment in rice farming go to waste, instead allowing Texas and Vietnamese rice on the market and driving thousands of farmers out of jobs! They have not been able to do any better in providing water despite receiving $103 million grant and another $500 million loan for water projects! So far they are replacing PVC and copper pipes and will claim to have exhausted the $603 million money. The cost of a complete water pump is estimated only about $300,000 to help alleviate the pain and suffering of the whole 300,000 people in Tamale. The NPP has also shown a very callous disregard for the very humans they are taking taxes from and living on high horses in luxury vehicles, dreaming of living in $30 million mansions! What a joke and a disgrace!

I talked to a man last night who said he attended a funeral in Akuapin area a week ago which was attended by the Minister of Defense who came with an entourage of over 10 SUVs of Toyota Landcruiser ($75,000 each), Nissan Patrol ($45,000 each) and other such vehicles. I saw Kufuor's entourage myself last 2004 in the rural areas when I was in Abetifi. The NPP has continued to tax all people with cars and goods shipped to Ghana a total aggregate of taxes and duties and fees exceeding 100% of the purchase price of the goods. This raise prices of any goods or cars in Ghana by over 100% of what they cost overseas! They cannot provide simple toilet facilities at the ports for customers to use where perhaps over a million dollars is collected every day! Our hospitals are death traps as 2.5 % collected on every purchases in Ghana and goods shipped, for over 2 years now. There has been no disclosure or public accountability. What the heck is going on in Ghana!?

THIS INSANITY, DISGRACE, FEAR, GREED and ENVY, MUST END!! We are all brothers and sisters and we will not allow a few to separate us! We will not allow the ship to sink! No!

Anybody who wants to return to Ghana to live must consider him/herself a part of the SOLUTION. Those who are not ready to return can help from their remote residences with funds to help those on the ground who want to participate in their constituencies. American politics is run the same way. We do not have to vote in order to help the right people in Ghana win elections. I hope Franklin of IMANI and others in Ghana will take this seriously. I talked to a friend in Maryland yesterday and one of our colleagues, a genius from Achimota who graduated from Columbia University with a PhD in Engineering and scholarship mate of Dr. Ohene-Frempong took an early retirement [those in America know what I mean] after being VP of a billion dollar American company in telecommunications. I met another such Ghanaian with PhD in electrical engineering in Ghana in 2004 who was even short-changed on some contract he did for government, and has a case in court now! Our friend from Achimota is doing consulting job in Nigeria. I know two others with similar skills also retired now. Ghana is hiring people from Europe to manage our phone companies at millions of cost to the taxpayer and nobody gives public disclosure of corporate quarterly or annual reports either! Is that he way to run a country? Or anything at all?

And so who is opposed to this right to vote called ROPAB? I for one have not lost sleep over this right to vote since I am already 60% at home, having shipped almost everything. However, I support Kofi Boateng and the fine crew who formed the DVC, and I will keep supporting ROPAB. Fact is that Kofi and all, if they don't allow ROPAB to pass, let us MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL OF POLITICAL ACTIVISM! Let us recruit candidates from all over Ghana in all constituencies and help finance all viable candidates who can oppose the selfish MPs who are opposing us! That is politics, isn't it! How much will $200-$400 hurt any of us if say 10-20 of us from one constituency contribute that much and fund the right candidates with $2,000-$4,000?

I don't' see why some people are making this an NPP vs. the opposition parties. Rawlings himself promised African-Americans to come home and settle! Now many are in Ghana and can't get water to flush their toilet! Was he serious? So what the heck these obedient flock of JJ's NDC boys, and the man Rawlings himself, plus noble-looking men like Atta Mills opposing this ROPAB? Are these people drunk or what? How can men like Atta Mills oppose giving Ghanaians in the Diaspora an opportunity to vote? I believe my friend Appeah Menka's statement may have been misinterpreted. I know the man. He shares my kind of passion and such words should not be misinterpreted to mean other priorities are not important. He meant that the exclusion of the talent pool overseas could be a loss of participation and hence skills needed to develop the nation! People participate more if they can vote. You all overseas need to be part of the solutions to Ghana's problems!

Folks, let me assure you all that teams are being formed right now to participate in the struggle to salvage our nation. Our classmates have build Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and others and some of us feel ashamed of what these boys we left behind have done! Even those who joined from overseas were not included fully in the club that these political hierarchies have become! It's time they moved aside and either run way or lived in peace with the inevitable forces of change!

When it's time for these greedy and selfish and crooked politicians to go to jail, I hope you guys don't plead “gyae-ma-no-nka” for them.

Cheers, Kwaku A. Danso, President, Email: [email protected] Ghana Leadership Union, Inc. (NGO), www.GhanaLeadership.com Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Kwaku A. Danso
Kwaku A. Danso, © 2006

The author has 112 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KwakuADanso

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