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25.10.2005 General News

CJA launches "Wahala" book

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Accra, Oct. 25, GNA - The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) on Tuesday launched a 73 page booklet entitled "Wahala: A people's struggle for better living conditions," a compilation of public statements by the Committee since its inception on February to the end August 2005. The booklet raises issues on four main areas of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's policy on petroleum products and looks at the transparency and sincerity of President Kufour's administration as well as corruption, abuse of office, rule of law, the media and its treatment of dissent.

Dr Gamel Nasser, Lecturer University of Ghana, Legon, who launched the booklet, in an overview said the brochure provided easy reference to groups and individuals who wanted to identify with the suffering of the people.

He said as a result of the persist effort of the CJA; a growing number of Ghanaians were becoming aware that the NPP government was neither "transparent" nor "totally truthful" to the people. The Lecture cited the fuel prices increase as an example of "lack of good faith" on the part of the government, adding that, even though the government had to generate income through taxes, it was equally important for it to take the overall effect of the taxes on the livelihood of the citizens into consideration.

"With the majority of the people living in abject poverty and already overtaxed, any government policy should be directed at mitigating the plight of the majority and not to exacerbate it" Dr Nasser expressed concern about the government's over reliance on petroleum taxes suggested that it lacked creative and imaginative thinking for the economic crisis confronting the country, adding that "the lack of imagination has led to wanton dissipation of state resources to satisfy the opulent lifestyles of government functionaries".

He stated that the booklet pointed out the situation "where the mass of the people sink deeper into poverty; government officials wallow in extravagance, corruption and vulgar opulence".

Another critical area highlighted was the political failure associated with the Kufuor administration especially in relation to the rule of law, he said and stated that in spite of the President's oath to "do right to all manner of persons", selective justice and abuse of fundamental human rights had been the feature of the government. He said the government's hostility towards critical media was a betrayal to many who believed that it was going to do new things under a programme of "positive change".

The government had gone into symbiotic relationship with a section of the media, which defended issues while those critical of government were starved of advertising revenue and sometimes, "financial strangulation".

Mr Danny Ofori-Atta, Chairman of the Eagle Party bought the first auctioned copy for four million cedis.

The second and third copies were bought for three million and eight hundred thousand cedis by Mr Bernard Monarh and Chief Divine Ankutse respectively.

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