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13.03.2010 Feature Article

What if it was TA and not EO!

Every 6th of March, we have a national holiday to mark what has come to be accepted as our 'Independence Day'. Many are the people in this country whose understanding, of events prior to that big day, are sketchy to say the least. They depend on the few GBC-produced archives of the time and also on some form of oral tradition. The 'true' history of this country has never been told in its entirety. There are elements that would do anything and everything to keep the status quo. They argue that the true story of 'independence' would 'favour' one group and that should never be allowed to happen.

For those who were alive then or at least have attempted some serious study into the history of this country, the dichotomy in our politics can be largely traced to that period of time. Other contributing factors go way beyond and before the so-called 'independence struggle'. I am going through this to make a point and that is, in spite of the acrimony and distrust that characterized politics of the time, there was no point at which Ghanaians were deprived of their businesses just because they belonged to the 'other side'. At no point did Nkrumah or any of the successive leaders encourage the people of Ghana to boycott goods and services offered by certain business enterprises because of their perceived 'opposition' status.

It all changed when the 'Chairman' forced his way into our lives. Since then full-blooded Ghanaians have lost their businesses for political reasons. Every 'trick' in the book has been used to either destroy or discredit what people have taken years to build. In some cases once these 'entities' were confiscated, new 'owners' were provided to take over. As to the political make-up of these new 'owners' your guess is as good as mine. Unfortunately this politics of vendetta has become part of our national political culture.

Records indicate that Ghana's quest to explore its hydrocarbon deposits started way back during Nkrumah's time albeit on a small scale. Successive governments made attempts but the necessary investments were not forthcoming. Exploration of the reserves gained much prominence during Tsatsu's time at GNPC, but with time both Tsatsu and GNPC decided to diversify and so lost the focus that was required to see the venture through. Again due to the nature of the underlying seabed (terrain) and the uncertainty of finding oil reserves of commercial quantities, many of the foreign oil-drilling companies were not ready to invest. Another reason for the lack of investment was the political climate at the time; due to the high risk nature of oil exploration and its need for heavy capital infusion, any would-be investor wanted a country where the law was 'supreme'; where investments would be protected and where there were no arbitrary take-over of businesses. Ghana under 'Chairman', for the most part, could not guarantee any of these conditions. News of what was happening in the country travelled to all parts of the world and so these investors knew exactly what was going on; they were not ready to take on such high-risk ventures.

In comes the Kufuor-led administration and one of the first things they do is to put GNPC back on track to focus on its core mission-finding oil! The NPP government also created the necessary enabling business environment that gave much credibility to our system. Creation of the right environment was still not enough-the investors needed to see Ghanaians who were ready to put their money where their mouths are and also to vouch for the safety of their investment s. This is where the EO group comes on board. In any other developed democracy, these two men-EO-would be national heroes. They were able to do what has eluded us for over half a century. But here we are, the government (which should know and do better) is spearheading the attacks on these sons of Ghana. They have been called every name under the sun and vilified for no reason except political expediency. And what was their crime? They succeeded in convincing an oil exploring company to come down and invest in our reserves!! O and they happen to be from the 'wrong' part of town!! They were also closely associated with the former President and his government. Tried as they could, the Mills-led NDC has not been able to come out with evidence of criminality against the EO group. In fact records of the dealings are available to the government and also to anybody who is serious enough to do some research. Why should Kosmos Energy and partners invest in the exploratory work only for some others to reap the oil? Why should Kosmos Energy cede their share so that the government of Ghana could hand it over to some Chinese company? The contracts entered into by the EO group were all 'prim and proper'. So what exactly is responsible for these attacks on their integrity and all? Things clearly do not add up. When this whole vendetta started, I decided to do my own investigation. As I said earlier, documents are available if you know where to look. After going through these documents pertaining to the contracts signed by the EO group, I came to the conclusion that something else must be feeding this orchestration of unwarranted attacks. One of the questions I asked myself was what if it was TA group and not EO group? Would the Mills-led NDC government's reaction be the same? And what if they were perceived supporters of the NDC? What then? So I was not surprised at all when reports started coming in about a particular 'T' for it was that very 'T' I had in mind when I mentioned the TA group. In a developed and civilized society, one would have expected Tsatsu to come out openly to congratulate the EO group for succeeding where he had failed; but instead we find Tsatsu doing his darnest to discredit them and get them out of the scene for his own selfish interests. We already know of his 'secret' dealings with Anadarko, the Houston-based Oil Company. EO group cannot be allowed to go through with this contract because it would present such immense wealth to them and their allies. But Tsatsu is free to enter into any kind of arrangement with Anadarko and/or the Chinese. His close association to the ruling party is no problem. His dealings with 'Chairman' even put him a much better stead. So on one hand, one group is targeted and vilified for being associated with the former President and his government but on the other hand, the other group can do whatever due to its connections to another government (the ruling government) and its allies.

How do we expect Ghanaians in the diaspora to bring investment opportunities to the country if this is the end result? We thought the 'buga buga' days of 'Chairman 'were over. Didn't we elect a supposed law professor? The veritable 'Asomdwehene'? Is this the way he intends to govern? Alas he was an 'astute' student of his master!!! He learned all the dirty tricks from Chairman and he intends to put them to use. I am ready for all the hypocrites who would come out with insults, denials and accusations. Some of us are not ignorant of the true state of affairs; we do know what is going on and we would be true to our responsibilities and let others know what we know. In situations where I am not sure of exactly what, I would not hesitate to ask the relevant and pertinent questions. That is a promise I intend to keep. In all of this the one question that remains unanswered is: would the EO group have suffered all they've been subjected to if it was TA group instead? And by TA , I mean Tsatsu and Agbodza!!

Written and submitted on March 12, 2010

Yaw Opare-Asamoa
Yaw Opare-Asamoa, © 2010

The author has 55 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: YawOpareAsamoa

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