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Opinion | Sep 9, 2018

Let Them say, but Don't Let it Be

Let Them say, but Don't Let it Be

After moments of quiet reflection on two seeming nagging problems, the grey-haired man popularly called by his peers as the Silver Fox, is back and refreshed to offer words of admonishment and chastisement. Yes, “grey is not a repository of wisdom” as a saying goes. However, as there are exceptions to general rules in some cases, my grey hair, could be the opposite of the adage.

Having no time to beat about the bush but to nail the drum right in the head, let the public understand that irrespective of one’s tribal background, social status and political affiliation, they must be treated equally fairly before the law. Nevertheless, this is not often the case in Ghana where one is treated more human than the other depending on their political association, especially when their party is in power. When one is rich and/or highly educated, the person is treated differently in a more favourable manner than a poor or illiterate person. This is what I am against. This is what annoys me most.

I have a proof for, or a life experience history behind, most of the messages I publish for public consumption. In his youthful exuberance but inexperienced days, Flt. Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings as the President of Ghana, had inane hatred for the Akans. He embarked on an agenda of reducing their rich men and women to the same level as the poor in the society. He confiscated the industries of persons like Messrs B. A. Mensah of International Tobacco Ghana Ltd (ITG), Appiah Minka of Appiah Minka Industries (Apino Soap), Siaw of Tata Breweries etc., all based on his burning hatred for the rich and on other flimsy excuses.

Mr B. A. Mensah was accused of non-remittance of his collected excise duties to the State, although he had been given a number of years, I should think, a five-year grace of tax rebate or exemption, from the importation and sale of goods by ITG. I shall at this point call on Messrs Essiful and Kyei Boateng to assist with clarification and expatiation. The retention of the excise duties was needed to help his then infant ITG Company find her feet and to properly prop itself in the industrial world. The company had come to face some challenges.

The above explanation is to assist in homing in my main point. When the Rawlings’ PNDC administration decided to abrogate the agreed offer to Mr B. A. Mensah by then Head of State Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong’s Supreme Military Council I (SMC I) government, he accepted to pay what the Ghana Internal Revenue Department claimed he owed with all the calculated interests and penalties. He issued a cheque for that. The cheque was turned down. He issued a second cheque doubling what they claimed he owed. The second cheque was turned down. He said he would pay three times that amount and subsequently issued a cheque in that regard. Someone from the Ghana Internal Revenue emphasised to him that they had been ordered by “order from above” not to accept any payment to be made by Mr B. A. Mensah but rather to seize his company. That was how ITG was taken over by the government and later sold to a foreign investor.

The late P. V. Obeng was allegedly very instrumental in the confiscation of ITG. Did P. V. Obeng not turn out to be corrupt in the end, yet, he assiduously assisted Rawlings to impoverish genuine rich men and women through their whimsical diabolical maxim of, “we shall make the rich and the poor the same”. Now, he who was crediting “yoko gari”, is now one of the most rich persons in Africa. I mean Rawlings. How did he make his wealth?

The NDC governments under the late Professor Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama pursued similar malicious agendas. Why do Ghana governments always make it their objective to render some rich people poor? Those who have acquired their wealth genuinely must be left alone, but those who earned theirs through foul means must be held responsible.

As I have said elsewhere in my previous publications, a suspicious material or written statements about how the current NPP government is sharing same nefarious intentions, appeared on my WhatsApp. I refused to share it but took the necessary step to check its authenticity. That secret document was allegedly authored by……(names withheld).

Now, the government of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with the President himself taking control of the wheels, have resolutely determined to end the illegal small-scale or surface mining in Ghana, in part in orchestration by foreigners, especially the Chinese. All discerning Ghanaians who aspire to secure better future for posterity and themselves, know the importance of water, fertile arable lands and clean air to the sustenance of human life on our planetary earth. However, the activities of these surface miners (galamseyers), are devastating the nation’s water bodies, arable lands and forests as well as polluting the air that we breathe. The Chinese, sorry to single them out, are known the world over not to have any least respect for the environment and human life. When into mining, they will only always leave a track of irreparably destroyed land behind them.

The reason by the President stopping the “galamsey” (illegal small-scale or surface mining) is to save Ghana from total devastation of our precious means of survival as indicated above. This is the simple message we need to emphasise to those who require an answer to why the government is stopping galamsey but nothing else. This honest reason is more than enough to persuade any rational Ghanaian to support the President’s initiative.

However, some people are adding what may be their personal unfounded views to making the President’s policy seem as though, he is pursuing a similar selective agenda to punish some people of particular tribal, political, or whatever, inclination, as done by his mentioned predecessors.

A certain person I hold him in high esteem for being honest and wishing the best for Ghana, recently told me something that sent cold chill down my spine with my entire body filled with goose bumps. A man he had heard on radio express support for the President’s publicly-announced reason for ending the destructive galamsey assigned his own reason to the policy. His, was ignominious with an undertone of a purposeful mission to destroy some people for some specific reasons. I am not going into the details of it.

Nevertheless, putting two and two together will make any discerning citizen privy to certain things begin to have a second-thought or be in two minds. I am waiting to see how things turn out with regard to the government taking over the ownership and running of some locally-owned banks accused of various malpractices and gross professional misconducts. These seven or five banks consolidated into one, and called the Consolidated Bank of Ghana Ltd or whatever, has one of them, uniBank, challenging the government through the courts about its forceful takeover.

I am not here to discuss the reasons for and against the confiscation of the banks but to express a view about whether or not it is the policy in Ghana for governments to pursue policies with intent to destroy certain successful persons or industrialists. In case, some of the banks come up with the required recapitalization fee of GHC400 million and other guarantees as may be required by the Bank of Ghana, will the banks be released to their original owners to run them, or they will forever be subject to confiscation as they are currently? Will it be the usual “order from above” to cost the owners their banks as did happen to Mr B. A. Mensah, my Kumawu compatriot and father-in-law by extension of the Ashanti or Akan custom and tradition?

I am watching with keen eyes and ears the court wrangling over uniBank to decide for myself the real motives of the government. It is my hope that they are not the repetitions of those by Rawlings, Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama hence the title, “Let Them say, but Don’t Let it Be”.

Rockson Adofo
(Sunday, 9 September, 2018)

Rockson Adofo
Rockson Adofo, © 2018

This author has authored 1692 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: RocksonAdofo

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