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22.08.2019 Feature Article

“Material Breaches” Are Not the Same as a Scandal

“Material Breaches” Are Not the Same as a Scandal
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I read Mr. Koku Mawuli Nanegbe’s quite interesting article titled “PDS Scandal: Mr. President, Where Is the Protection of the Public Interest??” with a little more than passing interest, if only because, as usual, the theme and thrust of the article are nauseatingly pedestrian and predictable ( 8/13/19). I have not checked with Jubilee House – something which I have never really done by design – but if the author of the article presently being discussed really cares to know, this year’s national historic theme is “400 Years of Slavery” or “The Year of Return.” What this means is that had he been very up-to-date with his knowledge of Ghanaian and African history, Mr. Nanegbe would have readily recognized the fact that this year, that is, 2019, is exactly 400 years since the first batch of some 20-odd captive Africans aboard a Portuguese-owned ship, in 1619, was seajacked and its human cargo recaptured and redirected to the North-American mainland, to a place of misery, of the most horrible degree, in present-day State of Virginia ironically named Point Comfort. The 20-odd African captives were probably bound for the large Portuguese plantation colony of Brazil, South America. They would soon be put to work as slaves by the English colonial settlers.

So, two things ought to be made clear here, immediately, for the benefit of the well-known relentless critic of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The first of these is the inescapable fact that Ghana could not cavalierly presume to credibly celebrate 400 years of slavery without also paying tribute to the country or the people of the exact location on the African continent where this first batch of captives was taken from to be shortly enslaved in North America. And that place, of course, is present-day Angola. Which logically takes us to the second reason why recently President Akufo-Addo found himself in Angola, in the wake of the breaking news of the ECG-PDS’s apparent contractual snag, when the likes of Mr. Nanegbe would rather have had the President sitting put at home and being peppered with questions by the media. In other words, there was absolutely nothing dodgy about the timing of the decision by Nana Akufo-Addo to fly down to the Republic of Angola in order to collectively share in the pains and the pride of the nationals of our two countries. Needless to say, Ghana and Angola are two of the most significant nations on the African continent that contributed the most seminally towards the Making of Modern American Civilization.

As well, let the critic make absolutely no mistake about the fact that the present-day United States is the veritable and vintage product of African genius and ingenuity, as much as it is a veritable extension of Western-European Civilization, the recent pontifical White-Supremacist pronouncements of the half-Scottish and half-Bavarian-descended President Donald John Trump notwithstanding. In short, American Civilization is decidedly an African Civilization because the former was built directly on the blood, sweat and toil of our continental African ancestors. It is also rather disingenuous, to speak much less about the downright absurd, for anybody to suggest that the man who promptly suspended the operational license of the Power Distribution Services (PDS) Company, Ghana Limited, would curiously avoid dealing frontally with the “material breaches” that precipitated his very bold and politically responsible and timely decision by craftily embarking on a trip abroad, in dubious hopes of avoiding facing up to media enquiries and the possibility of further damning revelations.

If such clearly preposterous second-guessing gimmickry really had validity, as Mr. Nanegbe would have his readers believe, then why, at all, would President Akufo-Addo have opened an enquiry into the possibility or the likelihood of any “material breaches” that might have occurred in the operational compact initialed between the managers of the state-owned Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Philippines-headquartered Power Distribution Services? You see, you simply don’t open up a full-scale investigation into a possible contractual breach of major proportions in a critical industrial sector dealing with energy production and supply, when the main and sole objective from the get-go is to unconscionably cover up the same. This may have been the standard modus operandi and the choice political language of the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress, but under the relatively far more transparent and progressive tenure of President Akufo-Addo, investigative coverups have absolutely no place in the kind of good-governance practices adopted and staunchly adhered to by the present New Patriotic Party Administration.

Rationally reversing the patently shambolic shareholding agreement brokered by the previous Mahama regime, in which the Government of Ghana, which owns most of the fixed assets and properties of the ECG, could only own a piddling 20-percent share, with PDS owning the lion’s share of 80-percent, was not exactly a savvy approach to contractual ownership of the ECG, unarguably the most strategically critical resource and asset of the country. At any rate, why is Mr. Nanegbe not calling such a grossly incompetent NDC-brokered agreement the veritable “scandal” that it inescapably is? That is what a real scandal looks like, if Mr. Nanegbe really wants to know. I also don’t see any scandal in healthily and wisely having Ghanaian entrepreneurs and private citizens own 51-percent of the majority shareholdings of the ECG, with 49-percent minority shares going to PDS Ghana Limited.

Very likely, it is the fact that the local shareholders or investment subscribers are not predominated by NDC political-machine operatives that has made this entire otherwise very progressive means of building a strong middle-class system in the country appear to be a scandal. But, then, who prevented the Mahama Posse from signing a savvy contractual agreement, to begin with? It is also rather unprofessional and logically unsound for the critic to virulently accuse Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta of criminally and thievishly scheming to own the lion’s share of the ECG-PDS compact, together with his “associates and cronies,” without providing any forensically verifiable evidence to back up his accusation other casting aspersions and innuendoes and rumors. Now, that is tantamount to defamation of character and reputation.

On the question of why, in spite of the summary suspension of the ECG-PDS agreement, these two entities would still be working together, and around the clock, in order to ensure the uninterrupted energy supply throughout the country, this is just a simple matter of common sense, the main leadership quality markedly separating the key operatives of the ruling New Patriotic Party from their main opposition counterparts of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress. Even the most virulent critics of the ECG-PDS Affair, so-called, have applauded this unquestionably visionary and progressive move.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

August 21, 2019

E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2019

The author has 4933 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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