25.04.2014 Feature Article

GHANA - We Do Not Have The Brains To Make It (3)

 By: Kwame Gyasi By: Kwame Gyasi
25.04.2014 LISTEN

'I never asked anyone where they came from, only where they wanted to go”

—Adolfo Suarez, former Prime Minister of Spain

The Mahama administration has proven to be the most insensitive political administration in the history of this country.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration wrongly believes that it can survive on ethnocentric considerations.

Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, President John Dramani Mahama's mentor, was able to survive for so long because he played the ethnocentric card so successfully to a fault.

He packed the leadership of the security forces and intelligent services with men and women from his ethnic group whose loyalty he could take for granted anyday anytime. He ensured that people from his ethnic group got top Foreign Service appointments and key appointments within the financial sector.

Foreign scholarships were freely given to persons from his ethnic group.

To complete the equation, he used intimidation and blackmail to keep his lieutenants in check and used panic and fear to control his adversaries.

Unfortunately, while he provided economic empowerment to the elite from his tribe, he failed to implement policies which could bring development to the people at the grassroots.

While the Volta Region witnessed very little development as indicated by some independent minded chiefs from that region, surprisingly, the people continued to vote for the NDC in droves no matter which part of the country they resided.

One important project the Rawlings PNDC/NDC administration could have successfully implemented was the eastern corridor road linking Volta Region to the Savannah Region, which could have brought enormous economic benefit not only to the people of the Volta Region but the country as a whole.

Today John Dramani Mahama is following the footsteps of his mentor.

He has appointed incompetent men and women from his Savannah Region to boards, chief executive and key civil service placements.

A casual check of persons who have obtained the lion's share of foreign scholarships especially to study for qualifications in oil and gas indicates large swing in favour of persons from the Savannah Region. Indeed, the impunity with which he is practicing his kind of ethnocentrism beats that of J.J Rawlings.

Also, just like his mentor, J. J. Rawlings, he appears to have deliberately forgotten the people at the grassroots who provided him with the needed support.

The diabolical way in which he has neglected and criminalized his own grassroots people from the Savanna Region is heartbreaking considering the massive poverty, ignorance and illiteracy, which is endemic in that region despite all the commendable attempts to provide free education for the people of that region started by Dr Kwame Nkrumah's CPP administration and continued by other subsequent political administrations.

THE MIRIROR of Friday, March 28, 2014 on pages 22 and 27 vividly captured the deplorable state of Kayayei in this country.

The story started with the following sentence: 'The influx of Kayayei (female head porters), mostly from the THREE NORTHERN REGIONS OF GHANA to the south to seek greener pastures has become a worrying phenomenon for all.'

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014 JOY TV showed a documentary on the SADA initiative concentrating on the tree planting project.

The film set my blood boiling. The documentary  clearly depicted the massive wanton looting and sharing of national resources by the elite from the Savanna Region who had been mandated to implement the SADA initiative.

Despite the fact that colossal GH¢32.4 million had been spent on a supposed tree planting project,  the managers of the SADA initiative failed to plant a single viable economic tree and also destroyed most of the economic tree like the sheanut butter trees, which provided livelihood for the poor people of the Savanna Region. So the tree planting project, which was meant to regenerate the environment through afforestation, resulted in the deliberate, callous and criminal gross destruction of the environment. The afforestation aspect was criminally awarded to a construction company, which definitely might be owned by educated elite persons from the Savanna Region.

The 2012 Auditor-General's audit report also provides some revelations on the SADA initiative bordering on unprecedented gargantuan fraud, which could only have been perpetrated by criminally minded people.

The audit report revealed several worrying facts.
It indicated that even though SADA employed the services of highly skilled professionals who were well remunerated to carry out their assignments, the SADA management contracted four consultants (all of whom were elites from the Savanna Region) and paid them monthly fees totaling a whopping amount of GH¢620,206 to perform the same assignments. It was clearly a case of create, loot and share.

The management of SADA failed to produce the profiles and performance reports on the activities of the four consultants to help assess their effectiveness.

Further reading indicates that one of the consultants in charge of Resource Mobilization failed to generate any revenue for SADA yet his appointment was renewed for another six months. All the four consultants were engaged without going through public advertisement to ensure that people with the right calibre were selected.

The audit report states that top officials of SADA, (all of them elites from the Savanna Region) spent a staggering amount of Gh¢69,840 on a trip to Birmingham, England and Berlin, Germany without recourse to the Tender Entity Committee.

This amount was approved without prior approval from the Board even though the cost of the trip was above the threshold of the Chief Executive Officer. The report showed that the amount was paid to a company which was not in the travel and tour business to organize the trips to Birmingham and Berlin for the three officials of SADA.

According to explanation offered by management of SADA for this colossal expenditure, the trip was undertaken to help members to acquaint themselves with marketing (perhaps marketing of guinea fowls) opportunities in Birmingham and Berlin.

The same audit report indicated that three  personalities, a Minister of State at the Presidency, the Board Chairman as well as former Chief Executive Officer of SADA (all elites from the Savanna  Region) spent huge US$13,938 on a trip to the United States.

On the trip to the United States, the report said SADA management released an amount of US$20,000 to the three individuals to attend the 68 th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York (presumably to promote the consumption of guinea fowls in the cuisine of the United Nation restaurant) but failed to account for the hotel accommodation and accountable imprest components of the amount totaling US$13, 938.

In the same report, SADA in 2012 organized a trip for another three officials (all elites from the Savanna Region) to Turkey on behalf of some district assemblies.

The three travelled to Turkey at a cost of GH¢226,000 to SADA.

The trip, according to SADA management, was meant to facilitate sister-city relationships (presumably to introduce and promote guinea fowl eating habit among the Turks) on behalf of some district assemblies.

The audit report stated that the trip did not fall within the mandate of SADA and did not bring any benefit to SADA.

The report also said that the amount spent on the trip was not approved by SADA Board.

The audit report continues: six officials of SADA, all elites from the Savanna Region, have been asked to pay back over GH¢830,000 to SADA. Two of the six who are board members are supposed to pay back GH¢60,000 they received from SADA for performing unspecified administrative duties.

SADA management could not produce any agreement between the management and the two board members who authorized them to carry out the administrative duties for fees of GH¢60,000 in addition to their monthly board sitting allowances.

The audit report aptly pointed out that board members were supposed to supervise the Chief Executive Officer of SADA and not work under him. Which country with brains will tolerate such an imbecile behavior on the part of those put in entrusted positions?  Forget it, Ghana we can never make it since we do not have the brains.

 By: Kwame Gyasi

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