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24.04.2009 Feature Article

Yeresesamu Indeed! A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

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Join the NDC, the party of strange, interesting and at times bizarre things. The party whose action one cannot be sure of and so cannot predict. The party that its founder could inspect a Guard of Honour mounted by some soldiers at the blind side of the President The party of many factions but which for the sake of elections and a common enemy in the NPP closed its ranks and presented a united front to win the December, 2008 Elections. But once in power, the dominant faction has adopted a “winner takes all” syndrome to effectively shut out of government, members of all other factions.. It is a party which specializes in the act of deception, for they told us many positive things they would do to better the lot of Ghanaians, but on attaining the reigns of power, they drummed it into our ears that those were campaign talks. When they were referred to their party manifesto, they pointed at a different one and told us that the one we had referred to was their “campaign manifesto”.

But do we take them up on their promises? I bet we cannot, for they have in place a large group of young Turks and Hawks who are well versed in the act of deception or propaganda, if I am permitted to call it so. These manipulators would muddle the waters and then turn round to accuse innocent people of doing so.

Ask them how they would arrest their “buga-buga” and car snatching megalomaniacs in the country and the hawks would retort: “You see these NPP nation wreckers and cocaine peddlers. Having crippled the country economically, they have the nerve to talk about injustice. Have they forgotten that Kufuor once accused us of treason and ordered us to be shot at the Teshie Firing Range? But we were only poor, innocent journalists going about our legitimate business. We have also not forgotten the $6,000,000 per diem allowances per day paid to each journalist who accompanied ex-President Kufuor on his numerous trips abroad..

“You see, Kufuor is very greedy. Just think about the enormous amount of money he is collecting as ex-gratia. It is as gigantic as the elephant itself. Isn't it ironical that the elephant happens to be the symbol of the NPP? Oh yes, these NPP gurus have milked the country dry. There is no need to provide evidence. It is there already. See their protruding stomach. See their puffy cheeks. Look at their thick necks. Are these not sufficient evidence that these people have embezzled money? What other proof do we need to nail these people? Yes, Nsawam is a must for all of them!” So, the mantra continues, “cocaine peddlers, jail them”.

However, the NDC as a party cannot be said to be bad in all its ramifications. Very good people exist in the party. As early as 1996 when there was no indication that John Dramani Mahama would be made Professor Mills running mate, I had written an article praising him for a comment I considered to be objective on an issue of national importance. Equally nice people whose submissions during the newspaper review segment every morning I enjoyed listening to then were Haruna Iddrisu, Mahama Ayariga and Inusa Fuseini.

But that did not mean that they were objective and factual in their presentations. No, far from that but they did their home work so well that anytime they discussed national issues their some of their counterparts were made mince works of. Most often, the discussants from the NDC side twisted facts and figures so much such that it appeared the other discussants/analysts or representatives were confused, unprepared or uninformed.

But like I have stated, most of the people in the NDC did their job with fine toothcombs, that no matter where one's sympathy was, one was compelled to fall in love with them. At that time, Haruna could conjure facts and figures from nowhere to make his counterparts look foolish and sheepish. But his encounter with Malik Kwaku Baako, brought out the best in both for anytime the two met, it was an encounter of who was better informed. But I believe, Malik Kwaku Baako alias “Mr. Documentation” had an edge over Haruna. This stems from the fact that Mr Documentation buttressed his points with relevant facts and figures. Other equally good discussants from the Osono fraternity I enjoyed listening to were Nana Akomeah, Ursula Owusu, Catherine Afeku, Ibrahim Adjei, Dan Botwe, Kwabena Agyepong, Kwabena Sarpong, Kofi Juma, the Iron Lady, Frances Ewurabenaa Essiam and others, too numerous to mention.

But one thing I cannot take away from the NDC is their penchant to conjure facts and figures and also to twist and joggle them to make them appear against your better judgment that they are untrue. Who can beat them at their own game? None, but themselves! It is a party that rewards its members. And that is an advantage it holds over the NPP. That was why they called out their members to the Electoral Commission and they came out in their numbers. The members of the NDC feel a sense of belonging. They are made to believe that they are part owners of the party. This is a party that specializes in training novices to become experts and professional liars. This is a party that invests in its youths by sending them to learn lying and deception in countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, Iran, Zimbabwe, Kenya and others. Like squealer in Animal Farm, these youth returned to Ghana to chunk and peddle lies about Kufuor and the NPP. They did that with so much passion that the rural folks were easily taken in by their lies and deception. When it suited them to shed tears, they did so and there were a lot of willing shoulders to lean on. They said Kufuor and his team had stolen our monies and sold off our strategic investment and pocketed the proceeds. They went to the airwaves and inundated our ears with such lies. Once more they shed open tears as a mark of solidarity with the down trodden masses.

Koku Anyidoho, Kwame Ametor, John Abu Junapo and of late Mahama Ayariga and Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak have taken over our airspace and are either spewing forth utter lies or contradicting one another for the loudest approval of all the policies put forward by the NDC regime. By the way, where is Alex Segbefia, that firebrand leader of the propaganda team whose actions together with others nearly plunged the country into crisis the period immediately after the 2008 General Elections? But I must confess, Sir Alex discharged his assigned task in a professional manner. What about Gbevlo- Lartey, the National Security Co-ordinator who has elected himself to do the personal battles of ex-president J. J. Rawlings against ex-president Kufuor? The role he played was just similar to the Nigerian ace musician, the late Sonny Okosun. He could not come out with any meaningful album after the fall of Apartheid in South Africa since all he knew best was to compose songs critical of the apartheid system. In the same vein, the National Security Co-ordinator, Gbevlo-Lartey made a nuisance of his position, when he publicly, against all decent principles of good governance, unilaterally decided to personally pursue the hidden agenda of “ cutting Kufuor to size by humiliating him”

After the seizure of Kufuor's vehicles and those of Nana Akufo –Addo who exhibited their stoic nature by refusing to react in the face of extreme provocation, has any one heard of Gbevlo Lartey again? No, he is one of such people Shakespeare refers to in his tragedy “Macbeth” the bad actor who frets upon the stage and then is heard no more.

Nobody asked the NDC what it would do within the first 100 days of its assumption of office. The party stated it in no mistaken terms what it hopes to achieve within the first 100 days and that was what has generated the entire hullabaloo. It was absolutely unnecessary to set oneself a task which one knew could not be achieved within the time frame limit. But that is the NDC for you. They do the unthinkable and dare you to confront them.

Decent people discuss issues without recourse to insults. But not the NDC! Most of them at the least opportunity and without any provocation resort to insults and abuses when you hold a contrary view from their own. I am of the Osono stock and they should not expect me to sing praises of their party all the time.

I have done so on the few occasions that I felt the party deserves to praised. I have also taken strong exceptions to some actions taken by ex-President Kufuor and have stated so in no mistakenly terms. When I criticize the NPP, supporters /sympathizers of the NDC would not compliment me, but let me write something critical of the NDC and then, my E-mail inbox would be full of insults like “stupid Idiot/ goat”, “useless and frustrated fraudster”, “humpty dumpy”, “NPP thief”, “Receiver of stolen goods”, “How much cocaine money have you collected”, “your name makes you one of these cheats”.

I believe that intellectual discourse will enliven our political atmosphere. I frown at such insults and throughout my presentation I try as much as I could, not to exhibit my negative side. But I must confess in all sincerity that the few times I did so, I felt ashamed of myself. Some of my admirers called and also wrote to ask why I should condescend to that low level and use gutter language. I wished at that time for the earth to open so that I could seek solace in it. But let me also state here that, I have received many calls and letters from some decent minded NDC supporters condemning the attitudes and utterances of their colleagues in the NDC. That not withstanding, the bulk of those NDC sympathizers are among those who insult and abuse their political opponents. I have come to the conclusion that such people resort to insults and abuses because they cannot match their political opponents in such intellectual discourse. Such people adhere to the saying that: “fighting has no formulae” and so reason that they could use any means, both orthodox and unorthodox to do their battles. If such people vehemently detest what someone has written, the worst they could do would be to write a rebuttal or rejoinder instead of hurling insults at the writer. You see, it is only those who know deep down in their heart that they cannot win an event that will resort to cheating and use unorthodox method. Mike Tyson resorted to use of unconventional and unorthodox methods like head butting and biting of one's ears when he realized and knew that he could not match his opponents pound for pound. This, in a nutshell, is what the party called NDC is capable of doing.

Talk of a lean government and my heart bleeds for Ghana, the country we all claim to love and cherish. The NDC claims Kufuor had 88 Ministers but they have 75. But to be honest, how many Ministers did Kufuor appoint during his first 100 days in office? Sixty Six! Even here, Ghanaians should not be taken in by such a populist propaganda. The budget for the Presidency has shot up by more than 163%. There is One Chief of Staff with two Deputies. There is one Presidential Spokesperson with another as Director of Communications. But these two can never agree on any issue. It is only when it comes to hatred for the NPP, that we can be sure of one thing, both are in total agreement. These two communication experts are always throwing darts at each other with the sole aim of attracting the attention of Mr. President.

Apart from that, we have a National Security Advisor and a National Security Co-coordinator. Can somebody educate me on the job schedules of these two top Security Capos? There are also many Special Aides and Party Functionaries cruising around in official vehicles and drawing free fuel and allowances. At least Mr. Seth Ohene Ofori, Communications Director of the NDC did tell us that most of the people cited as riding state vehicles were performing governmental functions such as interviewing Metropolitan/ Municipal and District Chief Executives. Admitting that he is using a state vehicle himself, he explained he was involved in the selection of DCE's in the Eastern Region.

Mr Ohene Ofori said they were also entitled to allowances since they were working for the government. What about Dr Kwabena Agyei and Johnson Asiedu Nketia, National Chairman and the General Secretary respect5ively of the NDC? The NDC has taken Ghanaians for a ride. This is tantamount to what fraudsters refer to as “sakawa”. They have taken one step forward in order to move three steps backward. Mills reduced fuel prices by 5% and increased it by more that 10%. He reduced the number of Ministries from 27 to 24 and then increased the budget allocation to his office by more than 163%

Is this the social contract the NDC signed with Ghanaians before the 2008 elections? If this is not scam or 419 of the highest order, then what do you call it? The President, in defending his choice of nominees for the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives said that he put together a national team to go round the country to interview prospective candidates. But we have now been told that it was not so. At least, the Communications Director of the NDC has told us that he was a member of the team that interviewed prospective candidates for such positions in the Eastern Region.

If we were to put together the number of party functionaries who took part in the exercise and the per diem each person collected per day, then a colossal sum of money might have accrued into the pockets of such party functionaries to the disadvantage of the country. Ten party functionaries from each region is a reasonable number to assume took part in the exercise. That is if we were to be modest. What this means is that, at least ONE HUNDRED CARS would have been given out to party functionaries in the course of the exercise. Consider the fuel allocation to each of them took, the refreshment which usually followed such sittings, [which the party claims has been abolished, but still hold unabated] and 'dem dem' and you would notice what they have done to us “mmoborowas”. Couldn't such a colossal amount of money have been spent on the construction of hospitals/ health centres and the provision of furniture for pupils in some remote parts of the country? But that is the NDC for you! The give you something with the right hand and take it from you with the left!

When the monstrous lending interest rate was clamped on the rest of us, the defence put up by the NDC was, “But Paul Acquah is your man. You appointed him Why blame us for his 'incompetence'? He must be sacked!

In the course of the 2008 electioneering campaign, Professor Mills said that Ministers of State and other top government functionaries would be made to pay for their use of utilities in their homes. I wonder whether such a measure has been implemented.

We would also like to know the total amount per diem each member of the Transitional Team took for every sitting during the period.. What about refreshment during tea breaks, Lunch breaks and other “goodies” extended to members of the NDC Transitional Teams Why were such courtesies not extended to those on the NPP Side? My mouth waters when I imagine the 'goodies' placed before the numerous transitional teams. They were so many that one lost count of them. W e had Transitional One, Transitional Two, Transitional this Transitional that and many others. They were damn too many!. Oh God, when will such “courtesies” be extended to the “mmoborowas” on the other side?

We have not forgotten the jamboree trip embarked upon by top members of the Mills administration and their girl friends to La Cote d'Ivoire during the final of the CHAN competition. What was the purpose of the trip which “somebody” quickly came out to say that it was he who sponsored it? And as they usually asked when they were in opposition, couldn't the money have been expended, even if it had come from an individual pocket, on the provision of some few amenities to some rural communities? At least, that could have put smiles on the faces of some few individuals! But sadly enough, the NDC let slip by, such a golden opportunity to write the party's name in gold. A lean government indeed!

And if they could charter a plane and go on an “extravaganza” to Abidjan, why for goodness sake, should the Minister for Sports Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Muburak tell the Black Stars players that their winning bonus was going to be slashed? Was the timing appropriate? And what moral authority did the Minister have to tell them he was going to reduce their bonus which had been agreed upon by both parties before the match? And if I may ask, why can't the Minister forgo part of his salary as his contribution towards resuscitating the economy? Would he be happy if his monthly salary as a Member of Parliament was reduced at the point of collection? It is on record that Busia and his Ministers on their own reduced their salaries when the Progress Party was in power. He has been an MP for many terms and has been collecting his ex-gratia at the end of every Parliament. Can he tell us whether for the love of the country, he had given any part of such money to charity, establish a foundation or done something to assuage the hunger and suffering of his fellow human beings? When Essien played for Ghana and got injured, how much did Ghana spend towards his recovery?

And come to think of it. If a whole Minister could go to the extent of telling the players a few minutes to an important game that if they were not satisfied with the reduced bonuses, he would not hesitate to replace the team with the Satellites, then I feel there is something wrong with our system. The Government of Professor Mills should call him to order. If such an utterance had been made in any country where the rule or law prevails, I don't think the Minister would have gone scot free.

Ghanaians, irrespective of our political affiliations should hold the Minister responsible for the lackadaisical performance of the Black Stars players. He brought down the morale of the players assembled for the match. Without any prejudice, I recommend that such a Minister should be banned from visiting the Changing/Dressing Room of any of our football teams until he has purged himself of that contempt. If the Mills government claims to be an all-listening one, then it should not hesitate to apply this sanction on the Minister for bringing doom to the country. This is the people's verdict and they have asked me to be their spokesperson.

In fairness to all discerning readers, I would like to state that the first 100days of the Mills administration has been characterized by series of woes and misfortunes with a few plusses. We have witnessed the serial and mysterious death of children in an unprecedented manner, the resurgence of armed robbery never before witnessed in the history of the country, the seizure of cars either at gun points by men of the underworld or those operatives who are expected to provide adequate security for all of us but have turned the guns on their perceived enemies. It would interest you to know that the highest haul of marijuana worth over $35million was intercepted abroad after it had been allowed to slip out of our ports. This was one of their campaign promises. But why have heads not started rolling? Power outrage has reached an unprecedented crescendo. The Cedi has been allowed to take a nose-dive against all major currencies and there appears to be no redemption in sight. Filth is swallowing almost the entire Accra Metropolis.

All these were things our learned Professor promised to tackle when he got to power. But now that power has been given to him and his lieutenants, it appears the administration is bereft of ideas as to how to solve these problems. It appears Mr. President and his teams are unprepared for the great task ahead.

If they are, let them borrow a leaf from Governor Fashola of Lagos State who came with his blueprint to restore Lagos to its former glory. Because of Fashola, every Lagosian can hit his chest and point at Oshodi, Opebi, Ikeja, Obalende, Ikotun, Epe, Victoria Island, and tell the white man to go to hell. No longer is Ajegunle spoken of in disdain – All thanks to Fashola, for he came, saw and conquered.

We expect to see similar progress under President Mills. If Fashola, a black African can exhibit such sterling qualities to make the yesteryears hostile state of Lagos the cynosure of all eyes and envy of all, why cant Professor Mills? It is no wonder that when Governor Fashola of Lagos State speaks, all the oyibos man stand with rapt attention.

The President must act decisively and very fast too! This is because if you take too long to cross the river, the current will sweep you away. I represent the link between the Past, the Present and the Future. I have spoken.

Daniel Danquah Damptey.
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Daniel Damptey Danquah
Daniel Damptey Danquah, © 2009

The author has 287 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: DanielDampteyDanquah

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