Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jerry Rawlings speaks on Dagbon crisis

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has reacted to the verdict by an Accra High Court last Tuesday which had sparked anger among some youths of the Andani group in Tamale. He urged parties involved in the conflict to bury their hatchet and allow reasoning to work, as a means of finding a lasting solution to the murder of their King, Ya Na Andani.

Below is the full text of his statement.

This judgement should not come as a surprise to anyone. Right from the onset I had been suggesting and insisting on fresh investigations because the old Wuaku report refused to admit serious and damning evidence – Evidence that pointed all the way into the complicity of certain personalities in the last government.

To have used the evidence in the Wuaku report was not only an insult to the intelligence of Ghanaians but a perversion of the truth and justice.

The case of the killing of Mobilla and the police officer at the Volta Regional minister’s residence are no different. Rather than attempt to sacrifice pawns and suppress evidence, we should have questioned which officer gave the order for the brutalisation of Mobilla and which politician transmitted those orders to the officer. These should have been sought through fresh and credible investigations before going to court.

If the approach to these murder issues and the refusal to also investigate serious crimes against the people of this nation; if this ineptitude and omissions are designed to destroy the NDC, let me assure them on behalf of the people of this country that they will rather destroy themselves, not the NDC, the party that was born out of the quest for integrity, truth and justice by our people.

I want to make an appeal to the security services and forces to exercise restraint and to uphold a professional approach.

I am also appealing to the Abudus and Andanis to recognise that my numerous calls for an impartial and credible investigation was aimed at ensuring a lasting resolution and prosecution of a criminal act. I have taken no sides except the call for justice and I appeal to you to do the same and not allow political perversions to keep you divided while justice and truth remain suppressed.

Thank you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pointless Accusations

Cote D’ivoire is in flames, thanks to the stupidity of two educated ‘fools’ Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. Both are desperately projecting themselves as presidents of the West African country noted for its rich cocoa production.

Their obsession to become presidents has thrown the country into chaos. And their stupid actions have led to the milling into Ghana of hundreds of their nationals escaping the bloodbath that hangs in the country.

Ghana, a member of the regional body ECOWAS, stands accused for not doing enough to make sure the two fools resolve their differences.

President Mills especially has come under severe bashing following comments he made to the effect that Ghana should mind its own business which has become known as ‘Dzi Wo Fie Asem’ or DWFA. His comments did not go down well with most people who thought it was a slap in the face of diplomacy. Their reason? The president was among ECOWAS leaders who had agreed at a summit in Abuja-Nigeria, in December 2010, to use force to remove defeated presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to stand down after losing the elections.

He is even accused of encouraging Mr. Gbagbo to maintain his stubborn stance.

And as the violence escalates, a so-called pressure group calling itself Progressive Nationalist Forum is putting the can of violence on the head of the president.

The group told Accra’s based Joyfm in an interview on Wednesday 24th March, 2011 that the president’s comment had undermined efforts to get Gbagbo out of power. Spokesperson of the group Richard Nyama said Gbagbo’s actions are motivated by the fact that he believes Ghana is on his side, thanks to the president’s comments.

Personally, I find the group’s accusation very pedestrian and highly unintelligent. How does one blame a country’s president for the stupidity of two men who claims to love their country but are ready to plunge it into chaos? It is true president Mills had joined the efforts of ECOWAS to take a decision to invade that country but on a second thought, he feels any attempt to send troops to that country will aggravate the situation.

There are Ghanaians in that country and whoever thinks sending troops to Cote D’Ivoire to take on Gbagbo will resolve the crisis must be deeply in a state of coma, whilst working on a desert full of rose flower. It is share madness for anyone to suggest invading that country and even taking out Gbagbo could end the rubbish that is going on there. It will not resolve anything.

If the so-called PNF groups think it is really interested in offering tangible solutions to resolve the crisis, it should do so and stop this childish and unnecessary criticism of the “poor Fanti man.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ghana heading to the dogs

When a journalist for the British newsmagazine ‘Economist’ described Africa as a ‘Hopeless Continent,’ most people branded him as racist and a fool who has no deeper appreciation of the continent. Some African scholars even wanted to beat him up, if they had gotten hold of him.

Richard Dowden, the author of the article, did not write the article in vacuum. As of the time he wrote the article, Liberia was busy on fire. Then Cote D’Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny was busy arming the regime of then Sergeant Doe. Charles Taylor who was led a faction of the rebellion was getting help from Gaddafi of Libya.

Somalia was on the brink of descending into chaos. Other African countries not directly involved in the war were busy being mismanaged by their leaders; Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Egypt. The truth is that the mismanagement was from North, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. No African leader even dreamt of working hard to improve the lives of their citizens.

Richard Dowden had travelled extensively across the continent and had seen the hardwork of ordinary people on the continent most of whom had to work the sweat off their skin before they could even have a decent meal for supper or even dinner.

More than a decade after that article and the vilification that followed, Ghana, one of the countries that fell in that article, has not seen any positive change. Apart from turning the page into a democratic era, the country has been on the path of mismanagement, with politicians soiling their hands with money whilst majority of Ghanaians live in penury.

The quickest way to make money in this country is to become a politician whose party is in power. The money will flow with ease. Nobody cares how much one steals because everyone is busy dipping the hands into the coffers. Even the president himself is busy grabbing so he has little or no time at all to caution his people, let alone grab and hand them over to the security agencies. His party will lose should he ever attempt any of such moves.

The trend started with Jerry Rawlings (I’m speaking from his era because that is what I fell into) and after him came John Kufour and now to John Mills tenure. Among the three of them, there is no different. Perhaps John Mills comes across as a man who is not so much interested in dipping his hands into the state coffers. Unfortunately, the same money is not doing enough to check his boys and hangers on who are busy stealing from Ghanaians.

His own former boss Jerry Rawlings has consistently admitted to the increasing levels of corruption in the current NDC administration. Even party foot soldiers have been on rampage for not being given some of the booty party boys are busy looting.

President has not done anything to check that. Rather, he has been busy spinning mantra after mantra anytime he gets the turn. At the beginning of this year he told the suffering people of Ghana the year will be full of ‘ACTION. We are almost into the fourth month of the year and nothing has happened. No major works are being undertaken by his office to bring any relieve to the people of Ghana.

Ghana is at 54 but not behaving as an adult. We are struggling to even crawl. Serious challenges including water, power supply, high unemployment and crime rates have become part of us. Such issues are not important to our politicians. All we hear are politics of insult. And they are flying off from different angles of the political divide.

Sometimes when as a young chap, I sit down and ask myself if there is any hope for this country.
God help us!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Forensic audit needed but what about the others, Mr. President?

President John Mills has ordered auditors to go into the coffers of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly between the period of 2009 to 2011, to ensure every single skeleton is brought out of the public domain and anyone found dealt with according to the law.

The directive to audit the accounts followed comments made by the sacked chief executive Kobina Pra-Annan who threatened to expose the party’s ‘secrets,’ which he said could be damaging to their fortunes in next year’s elections. Obviously peeved by the decision of the president to relieve him off his post, the man went to town and rained serious punches at the president. He even questioned the president’s impartiality and standards as a Christian.

He also wondered if the president had not bowed to pressures from self centred party executives within the constituency who wants him out, because he was not prepared to give them contracts though they don’t qualify. Mr. Pra-Annan’s rantings infuriated party executives and as if a show of where power lies, a forensic audit has been ordered into his administration. Deputy Local Government Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah said the decision to audit the man came from the president. He wouldn’t say much except to say the audit will look into the appropriate use of funds allocated to the assembly during the period Mr. Pra-Annan was in charge in charge of the assembly.

Mr. Pra-Annan has however beaten a quick retreat and apologise to the president for his reckless comments, saying he did not know what prompted him to descend heavily on the president. He even went further to beg that his administration should not be audited and that he still loves the ruling National Democratic Congress.

Personally, I find the whole episode bizarre from both sides. This is the first time that a DCE or MCE had been sacked under this current administration that auditors have been asked to move in and check if everything went right. I find it a bit intriguing that if this is not an attempt to show the man ‘WHERE POWER LIES’ so he shuts the hell up, then I don’t know. So far as I can remember, this present administration has shown a lot more DCE’s and MCE’s the door but no forensic audit was conducted into their stewardships.

I remember the incident in Tamale where the chief executive who was even threatened with deaths by stupid party foot soldiers was sacked by the president for no apparent reason. He left on the quiet and nothing was heard. The president’s decision came as a shock to a lot of people especially when he had intimated that he had no intention of taking off the man. But he did.

On whatever grounds that motivated the president to relieve the chap in Tamale from his post still remains a mystery. The refusal of the president to offer explanation as to why the chap was dismissed now opens up speculations that either the man was sacked to satisfy party foot soldiers or corruption. Any of the two could be right.

I have a strong feeling if Mr. Pra-Annan had left without a fight he would have gone to bed with the heft booty he had taken since his appointment. But for him to open his mouth and talk, the mafia inside the Castle surely know what it takes to pipe him down, threaten him with audit.

I have heard him plead that he should not be investigated. That is pretty silly on his part. If he thinks he is clean, then why is he running away from subjecting himself to any financial audit? For a man who was very much determined to expose a sitting president for his clandestine mode of operation to be seen wanting to escape attempts to audit him smacks of hypocrisy. If he has nothing to hide, he should allow the process to take place.

Too many times people ordinary citizens who get into office to serve end up stealing from the people but that attitude must stop. The president must go ahead with the forensic audit and should it come out that the man has skeletons stashed somewhere in his wardrobe, then the security must take action.

However if it is being done to humiliate him because he made unsavoury remarks for which he had apologised for, then I think it is unfortunate.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kobby Acheampong unworthy of ministerial job

President John Mills is a decent man. That is a fact. Even his critics struggle to smear him with anything untoward. But some of his ministers are dragging his name in the gutters-and one of them is Deputy Minister of Interior Kobby Acheampong. He does not merit the position he occupies but for the sake of party politics, he is enjoying from the taxpayers purse.

His conduct has been nothing but without respect. Rather than concentrate on his job of improving security in the country, he spends the least opportunity he gets to insult his political opponents, purely over ideology. The latest person he has insulted is New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Akufo Addo, describing him as ‘fruit cake’ or a crazy person.

Somewhere last year he created a storm when he described members of the opposition from cocoa growing areas as ‘primitive. His foul mouth created serious uproar and when he was called to apologise he refused, insisting his comments were not in bad taste. Sadly, the government did not take any action against such a character whose expenses are taken care of by the ordinary masses.

Mr. Acheampong who was speaking to party supporters at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi said: “I wonder why the NPP selected Nana Addo as their flagbearer because the man is a fruitcake. We cannot do anything good with him,” he was quoted to have said, adding, “He keeps on going and going and I tell you give him two weeks, he will come up with something else.

It is rather unfortunate that Kobby Acheampong, a deputy minister of state, should be speaking as if he is sitting on a chamber pot in an open market. He may not like Nana Addo but does that mean he should rain insults at him? It is sad the direction Ghanaian politics has gone. It is no more issues based but insults and acrimony.

On my way to work this morning, as I see all the time, lots of people were carrying yellow gallons (formerly Kufour gallons but now Mills gallons) in search of water.

Water supply in the capital has not been flowing for months and every morning school children, parents, husbands etc have to carry gallons in search of water. People walk miles from their homes in search of a single gallon just to cater for their home chores. Some are lucky others are not.

The supply of water was one of the major themes for the campaign and the NDC promised to resolve the issue. So far nothing has been done in that respect, though we are often told ‘measures are still in the pipeline’ to make sure people enjoy water.

Rather than tell the party people about what is being done to resolve the issue, Kobby Acheampong finds it worthy to insult a man who can easily become a president of this country.

He may think Nana cannot be president but the electorates have become very discerning. How many people even in NDC thought Mills will be president? A lot of those party faithfuls who are today singing the president’s praises never believed he could even become president. But he won against every odd, including Nana Addo’s own arrogance. The victory was enough evidence that the ordinary voter has become very much sophisticated. Kobby Acheampong is full of arrogance, thanks to the position he occupies and instead of being humbled, he is talking ‘byheart.’

He went on to accuse the man of dressing improperly to a recently held thanksgiving service.

“Didn’t you see that Nana Addo appeared at the national thanksgiving ceremony at the Independence Square in Accra, the nation’s capital in an untidy manner?

Kobby’s foolishness and foul mouth was again directed at the NPP’s General Secretary Sir John whom he had earlier described as ‘villager.’ He said “As for Sir John, I will no longer refer to him as a typical villager from the cocoa-growing area but will rather call him a messy villager who is not ready to learn the rudiments of civility.”

It is unfortunate that a man who is asking for civility from his fellow politician will behave in a completely different manner.

It is important for the president to develop the thick balls and call Kobby Acheampong to order. He has become an embarrassment not only to government but Ghanaians.

The electorates want to hear positive plans about how jobs can be created, water supplied to every home, security improve and the construction of roads properly done and on time. this insult will not help anyone. President Mills should have the balls to call this guy to order or fire him else the impression out there that he is just a ceremonial head, according to the news out there, will continue to linger in the mind of many.

Not too long ago, party footsoldiers were all over the place grabbing virtually everything simply because the party failed to employ them. Most of them have created mayhem across the countryside, threatening to even kill deputy ministers. And we all know threatening somebody with death is criminal and yet Kobby Acheampong as the deputy minister of interior has not seen that.

If he thinks the insults will help his party stay in power, then I wish him the best of luck.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Glorify God Mr, President but…….

Firstly, I must say that I’m opposed to those who often accusing President John Mills of turning the castle into prayer camp. Nobody has been able to submit any evidence to that effect. In any case, those making the allegations especially from the opposition New Patriotic Party were the same persons who hailed a statement made by opportunistic Methodist Bishop Rev. Asante Antwi who alleged that the castle during the era of Jerry Rawlings was turned into the worship of idols.

He had no proof but for want of his stomach he had to concoct something in order to please the then sitting president, so he’ll get something small for his stomach. It is only reasonable that persons who criticize the president should be happy the castle has been turned into a prayer camp, where President Mills, rather than get to work, is ‘praying without season,’ living his boys to plunder the state kitty.

The president has responded to the critics, saying he has no regrets about his penchant for worshiping God. Speaking at a religious thanks giving service on Sunday 13th, March 2011 at the independence square, he said: “As a nation, we should know that it is God who is the president of this nation and indeed I owe nobody an apology for giving Him His due.”

It is true God is the president of Ghana, at least if we are to interpret the message on the face value. It is God who installs a king and in one could say the president’s appointment was certainly by God. That notwithstanding however, the president must accept that inasmuch as God has given him the opportunity to become president, the same God expects him to use the opportunity to improve the lot of Ghanaians so his name will be constantly glorified.

God expects him to be a wise man, a unifier, loving, compassionate and above reproach. God also expects him to make sure those who flout the rules of governance especially his boys who are busy plundering are brought to book and punished.

In all fairness, I can say that the president’s is very humane, something his strong critics even admit-and there have been several respectable persons in this country who continue to attest to that. Unfortunately, the president has not been able to put his foot down to check the many corruption allegations in his government. Though we are told perception of corruption in this current government has gone down, nobody in his right mind can say officials within the government-including party hangers on-are not busy plundering the state kitty.

We know those struggling to make ends who today are driving in flashy cars, thanks to their position in government. It is important for such persons to be asked questions; how much are they paid in a month as government officials or even party workers, what other businesses are they involved in etc. But in a country like ours, any attempt to probe such gluttonous behaviour will be branded ‘witch-hunt,’ so for such persons it’s business as usual.

Their opulent lifestyle contrasts that of the many Ghanaians who are struggling to make earn a living. The attitude of their own party foot soldiers who continue to invade state owned entities because of ‘unemployment’ is enough evidence about the sufferings people are going through in this country.

When the president promised a ‘Better Ghana’ in the run-up to the 2008 elections, many people were confident he’ll be ready to offer a leadership quality unparalleled since the days of Nkrumah. I guess how many people still believe the ‘BETTER GHANA’ has been anywhere better. Those who are more than confident the ‘Better Ghana’ agenda has been more than impressive are those close to power who continue to enjoy the goodies.

Their positions contrasts that of the various masses like teachers, civil servants etc.It is a fact the divide between the rich and poor continues to grow.

Again, the president must understand that the provision of basic social amenities such as water and power are still a challenge. At the age of 54 in this country we are still rationing power. Just when I was on this article than the electricity in my office went off. That is the Better Ghana the president wants us to believe in. I’m not sure God really wants that for his children.

Ordinary water provision has even become a headache as on daily basis people continue to carry gallons in search of water. I’m not sure God wants that for his children.
He delights that his children will have the best things in life and though that does not come cheap, he shows them the way. President Mills’s government has however failed to provide the needed ‘enabling’ environment to do that.

For example, how does a business owner in Ghana with counterparts abroad explain to them that he is unable to meet a certain target because there is no power to work with? Such a businessman will lose his business and the workers under him will also lose their jobs.

God does not want such a thing to happen and it’s important for the president to admit that. His performance has not been the best, and it’s only appropriate he concedes and work very hard to improve that. The slogans around economic performance are becoming irritating.

The president is behaving like the chap in the bible who was given a talent by the master and instead of using it, went to hide and blamed the master for being wicked, as documented in the book of Matthew 25:14-30.President’s Mills attitude could be likened to that gentleman. He has skillful talents but I must admit he has not been able to multiply it, as things stand now.

He himself admitted so much water had passed under the bridge when he said, at the beginning of this year, that Ghanaians are going to see an ‘ACTION YEAR.” We are heading close to the fourth month and I’m wondering how many Ghanaians have seen anything close to that promise.

God deserves to be given reference and President Mills has every right to do that. At the same time he must also bear in mind that God has given him special talents as leader of the country to improve Ghana and failure to do so will only amount to opening God up for mockery.

I hope he’s listening.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where in heaven are the REWARDS FOR TEACHERS?

In Ghana, being a teacher is a curse-not just an ordinary curse but a strong one that hangs loosely on you for the rest of your life and even your generation who decides to become teachers, unless something drastic happens. And such an unfortunate thing has come about because of the incompetence of our political leaders-the ruling elites over the years.

Simply put, they lack common sense and direction, so the teaching profession to them is as useless as their worn out shoes. It is unfortunate but that is the truth. Barely a week ago, Ghanaian teachers started raising agitations of wanting to vacate the classrooms after it emerged that monies meant for them had been drastically slashed. The government says it was putting the teachers on a Single Spine Salary scheme with the hope that teachers will see remarkable improvements in their salaries and allowances. But when the figures were released, it was rather the opposite.

And rather than address the issues soon as the teachers started with their agitations, government officials were busy trying to play smart. Even a meeting between the finance ministry and the education ministry together with the teachers did not yield much, as the government officials were rather unconcern about the issues raised by the teachers. Highly unhappy with the attitude of government, the teachers issued a warning they will boycott the then independent celebration. Betty Mould Iddrisu, minister for education, rather than say something sensible, told the teachers off. She claimed the celebration was for the children and the teachers’ presence will change nothing.

he was wrong; the teachers taught her a bitter lesson when they disrupted a debate organised for students at the second cycle schools as part of the celebration. Then the government officials appeared to be wising up. And even before they could go any further, the National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT, issued a statement asking its members across the country to vacate post. It was pathetic to see deputy minister of education Mahama Ayariga desperately attempt an explanation. His comments did not do anything right to assuage the anger of the teachers.

Not even the words of President John Mills during the 54 celebration parade that government will rectify the ‘anomalies.’

But his words did not strike anything meaningful to the striking teachers, who saw his seemingly ‘I CARE FOR YOU’ speech as déjà vu or better still business as usual.

It is unfortunate but the refusal of NAGRAT officials to even heed to the president’s appeal shows how the man has chipped the trust most Ghanaians have for him. This was the same president who said during his tenure teachers will be smiling to the castle to thank him for giving them more. Events on the ground however are the direct opposite; teachers are rather upset with him and even questioning his sincerity. It is unfortunate but the president’s sincerity is now a charade to many people in this country.

Those who are smiling to the castle are his boys grabbing the brown envelopes and lying to the rest of us they are sacrificing to build a ‘BETTER GHANA.’ The government has spent more than two years in office and basic things like teachers’ salaries should not be an issue to the extent that they will have to boycott classes.

I’m not one of those who endorses the actions of the teachers but I think the incompetence of either the ministry of education, the accountant and controller’s general’s department and the so-called FAIR WAGES commission, are responsible for such a mess which the government is not handling well.

And as the government struggles to find antidote to the incident, you have silly officials from the ruling new patriotic party trying to make political gains out if it, as if their reign did not see anything of such magnitude. The administration under John Kufour, who still walks about beating his chest for living a so-called healthy economy, also messed up big time.

The incompetence of the president’s himself was very glaring. Now in opposition, members of the party are not offering anything constructive as to how to resolve the impasse. Their leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, is too desperate to become president to the extent that anytime he opens his mouth; a lot of foolish comments come from there. There is no alternative regarding the direction of the economy. He is desperate to come and loot for himself and cronies. Ghana remains absolutely zero on his list.

When a country that is 54 years has an opposition that is as desperate to come back to power in the same way the ruling government is desperate to stay in power, what you get is the mess we are all grappling with.

At the beginning of the year the President promised an ‘ACTION YEAR’ but events on the ground show it is the usual rhetorics from a politician who talks too much and does very little.
I’m still wondering where one can point to me the exact spot in heaven where teachers can go and collect their rewards.

God help us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oxfam rubbishes Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

Not that we don’t know, the truth is that the national health insurance scheme, running for five years, has been poorly managed. Politicians from both the then ruling New Patriotic Party and the now ruling National Democratic Congress have separately turned the scheme into a milking ground, where thousands of dollars are stashed into personal pockets by officials. The latest report by Oxfam that the scheme is poorly managed is just a confirmation to what has been happening on the grounds.

When you live in a country where silly politicians, rather than commit themselves to providing solid and efficient healthcare to citizens, are busy exploring avenues where they can steal and also stash their incompetent party supporters, then the scheme will not work. I know friends who subscribed to the scheme when it was first introduced but are yet to benefit from it, as the tenets of the scheme stipulates.

They have had to pay for their drugs though they carry registered cards from the insurance scheme. One of them had a slight headache and when he reported to the hospital with his card, he was told to pay for the drugs. He was shocked. Again, those managing the scheme at the time also turned the scheme into money making venture, looting every single fund that came through it. No wonder the ruling NDC is also doing same.

Irritant party foot soldiers have been on rampage, locking up offices of the scheme in some parts of Ghana because they claimed the NPP officials who were employed used the scheme for their personal benefits, so it is their turn. It is rather sad that a fine scheme has been turned into a vulture fund, where politicians stash their cronies so they can loot.