This rejoinder to the rejoinder of Mr. Samari Samson Eliasu, who describes himself as an aide to Dr. Clement Abasinab Apaak, the former Mahama Presidential Staffer and presently the National Democratic Congress’s Member of Parliament for the Builsa-South Constituency, in the Upper-East Region, is primarily aimed at addressing the sort of bipartisan cynicism that has characterized and continues to regressively dog Ghana’s Fourth Republican democratic culture and socioeconomic development. Yes, I, too, heard Mrs. Hawa Koomson assert that absolutely none of the low-cost irrigation dams constructed in the northern-half of the country has dried up in the Harmattan – the Arabic-borrowed original Akan word is “Hramata,” meaning, the season of lull or yawning. This was in sharp and understandably testy response to Mr. Eliasu’s boss and paymaster, who had reportedly insisted publicly that these mini-dams were a virtual white elephant that had done absolutely nothing to enhance the working conditions of the average northern Ghanaian farmer (See “Re: Call Clement Apaak” Modernghana.com 3/15/20).
I suppose by the parenthetical caption of his article, the writer meant “Call Clement Apaak to Order.” If this latter clarification has validity, then I would unreservedly and resoundingly add that “It is about time!” The intent here, however, is not to back up one side of the debate or controversy or the other. It is simply to induce what many a critical thinker and constructive critic is predisposed to doing, which is to offer meaningful proposals and/or alternatives to the apparent failure of an otherwise well-intended project or amenity that is clearly aimed at significantly bettering the quality of life and the general working conditions of the average-to-poor northern Ghanaian farmer. I find this ratiocinative tack or mode of reasoning to be quite effective and even necessary because during the more than five years, or approximately five years, that the hitherto Mahama Presidential Staffer was a civil society activist, not much that was remarkable or significant to the life occupational existence of the Ghanaian farmer, in general, but the northern-Ghanaian farmer, in particular, had been done by the largely Cash-and-Carry-minded operatives of the Mills-Mahama regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
At least, with the construction of these cynically dubbed “irrigation dugouts,” the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration can be justifiably envisaged to be off to a good start, as it were. Besides, in his rather vacuous rejoinder, Mr. Eliasu emphatically points out that, indeed, the Minister for Special Development Initiatives (SDI) had right from the beginning indicated that the GHȻ 256,000 that was initially earmarked for the construction of these mini-irrigation dams was woefully inadequate. So, clearly, rather than cynically malign this well-intended project, what Mr. Eliasu and Dr. Apaak, the former’s boss, ought to be publicly discussing here are the ways and means by which adequate funding may be secured for this otherwise laudably conceived but apparently poorly executed “One Village, One Dam” Akufo-Addo agricultural policy agenda. It is an open secret that under the present Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party, the country’s agricultural sector has expanded exponentially in ways that have not been witnessed throughout the temporal span of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.
Not only has the country’s agricultural production exponentially expanded, Agriculture Minister Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto would readily tell you, with staunchly and credibly backed facts and figures, that when it comes to the critical subject of food conservation, or silage, the present government has performed far and away better than any other previous government, including even the relatively equally high-performing erstwhile John Agyekum-Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party. In contrast, under former President John Dramani Mahama, the former boss and paymaster of Dr. Apaak, whatever number and mileage of new roads that were constructed were almost exclusively and opportunistically targeted towards the cocoa-producing areas of the country, with negligible road construction projects targeted towards the relatively economically poorer or deprived districts and regions of the country. This is one of the significant policy agenda features that sharply differentiate the people-oriented government of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from the ballot-box and voter-scamming regime of former President Mahama.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
March 15, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]