Friday, November 26, 2010

Making our education relevant

Methinks that education should be part of society’s tool of development. In many countries outside Africa that I know, universities and polytechnics and other tertiary institutions are closely linked with industries and agriculture. Of course, since the state’s set the agenda, it also has a lot to say in educational maters and in countries like China, japan and South Korea, the best students are attracted to the civil service. This makes very eminent sense since they have the overall say in setting national agenda.

It is sad to say that in our part of the world we still have not make the decision to transform our education to make it relevant to our society. We continue to derive very little from all our investments in our educational sector as we continue to import virtually everything we consume domestically and industrially. It was only recently that an engineer have to be flown in from South Africa to fix one of the pumps at one of our waterworks.

Sadly the education sector which gulps upward of 40% of our budget contributes little to our development agenda.

Of course, our tertiary institutions continue to produce the manpower that man our very few disarticulate industries. The fact of the matter is that they have not gone very much beyond the ‘chew and pour’ system whereby students are graduated with nothing more in their heads than the re-hashed theories our lecturers have been teaching for eons. We have not yet got to the stage where our graduates will do more than push files to where they will provide real solutions to real problems.

The reasons are myriad and principal among this is that although we allocate huge sums to the education sector, the largest bulk goes into consumption.

“The education sector received the highest chunk of government budgetary support. The actual education expenditure as a share of GDP for the period 2006-2008 based on the findings was above 8% of GDP, increasing from 8.3% in 2006 to 9.9% in 2008. In 2006, the recurrent expenditure as a share of total education spending was about 82%, this was reduced marginally to about 80% in 2007 but went up to about 87% in 2008. This means that in 2008 capital expenditure was only about 13 % of the education budget.” -

What this means is that only 13% of the funds we allocate to the education sector form our meager earnings will go into developing our schools’ infrastructures. Do you now begin to understand why some children in our land in this time and age still get their lectures under trees? Some of them risk their lives travelling in rickety boats to go to school. I do not know how this whopping expenditure is justified.
Oh, we really should not be too surprise as one economist recently calculated that we expend 75% of our budget in recurring expenditure, leaving only 25% for capital expenditure. That means that running the machinery of our government is consuming fully 75% of our national income. That should explain why we continue to lag behind and why we continue to get dizzy when foreigners ‘dash’ us money. That should explain why many of our roads remain unattended; why schools are ill-equipped and why hospitals are mere dispensaries. It also explains why the four-wheel jeeps of our officials are getting bigger, and why you will see more 4*4 Jeeps at our parliament house than you will see at the Dutch parliament. The Netherlands is one of the countries helping us to balance our budget.

If we expend 87% of our educational budget in paying staff salaries, the least we could expect is that we get some tangible results from all our investment. But sadly, this is not the case. Two of the unions representing the lecturers at our tertiary institutions were recently on strike.

Don’t get them wrong, they were not on strike to lower the stupendous percentage of the education budget they are consuming. No, they want more money that should be dollarized. But have these lecturers paused to ask themselves how exactly we are benefitting from our investment in them? Have they met to deliberate on what they can do to help to move our developmental agenda forward? Have they considered asking the government to task them with solving some of the specific problems bedeviling our beloved republic?

There are no doubts that many of our lecturers are brilliant and could hold their own anywhere in the world, but the central question remain how and what are they contributing to help the society?

I cite hereby specific problems that should have engage the attention of our tertiary educational institutions:

Ghana has been exporting timber for many years. We earn pittance when we export our timber in their raw state. Among the by-products of timber is sawdust. Since the beginning of time, we have been burning the sawdust. A little research on the Internet tells that sawdust can easily be converted into briquettes which could serve as alternatives to coal. Whereas coals come from trees which have to be fell, briquettes are made from waste product. Burning sawdust is not only an economic waste, it is also environmentally harmful.

Instead of striking for more pay from our pitiably small national budget, why can’t our lecturers, professors and engineers meet and come out with proposal on turning our tertiary institutions into self-sustaining, even profitable enterprises. The brains are supposed to be there. We have many of them pontificating about entrepreneurship, why can’t they start practicalising what they are theorizing? Why can’t their charities begin at home?

Again, many of our tertiary institutions boast of quality IT departments. Many of the world’s youngest millionaires made their fortunes in ICT. The question then is where are our own people when it comes into translating ideas into fortunes? Facebook and Google are among the IT behemoths that were started by students who today are immensely rich.

There is no doubt that our people knows all the nuts and bolts of ICT, but the question here again is what is stopping them from setting up companies to provide IT consultancy services? We must be among the most IT deprived regions of the world, so our people should come up with ideas to help the society as well as helping themselves. The telecomm companies, the oil companies, movie industries must all need some ICT services.

Anyone who lives in Ghana will know that the effects of the global warming are all around us. This is one sector that should need no urging from the people at our tertiary institutions before they come up with ideas.

It doesn’t have to be altruistic; they can make fortunes from it. In one of my trips to Europe, my girl-friend gave me a gift of solar lamp after I have complained about the erratic power supply in Ghana and lamented about how the ‘simple’ process of generating and distributing electricity remains a big productions around here.
The lamp’s design and implementation was simplicity in itself. You simply take it out in the morning and bring it in the evening and you have lamp to light your house. Clean and cheap (it uses one rechargeable battery which last about three years).

Several questions boggles my mind, among them is: what exactly is wrong with us in Ghana, in Africa? We have sunshine all year round but we still sleep in darkness. Why are we incapable of generating ideas and providing solutions to many of the problems that appear intractable to us? Why are simple, very obvious solutions like the solar lamp escaping us?

Again, it was reported recently that two school pupils in Nigeria have invented a power generator that does not use fuel.

One can only marvel at the ingenuity of the boys in coming up with such a brilliant idea. The same ingenuity must certainly be here as well – waiting to be discovered and tapped.

We yearly spend big money importing pharmaceutical products from all over the world. And foreigners are taking full advantage of our gullibility in believing that everything foreign is best – a Chinese was recently arrested for peddling sanitary pads as medicine. Why do we forget that the world’s first recognized doctor was African? His name is Imhotep.

Why do we forget that we Africans were treating ourselves before there was a European? Why do we forget that many of the pharmaceuticals we are spending fortunes to buy are substances synthetize from our herbs?

Our tertiary institutions should collaborate with Centers like the Herbal Center at Mampong to create a multi-million dollars industry that will not only take care of our health but earn us good fortunes.

I have intimated in several writings that it is time we in Africa change our mindsets into thinking that the western-world paradigm is the only one. Any student of history knows that the West remains an upstart. The Africans mastered several environmentally-friendly sciences before the advent of the Western man whose mind cannot conceive of a non-polluting science.

Many African mystics claim the knowledge of invincibility; recently western scientists prove that it is possible. We laugh at our people who claim to have the power to traverse space. Sadly, our western education makes scoff at such ideas.
Is levitation a science or magic? We would never know unless we research it. Sadly our mindsets is so warped we cannot think of sciences that does easily falls into neat mathematical formulas. The Ancient Africans in Sudan and Egypt did not use machinery in building their pyramids. This should tell us that there are knowledge within and around us that, if unleashed, could transform us and perhaps save the world from the abyss of environmental and ecological annihilation Western science promise.

Again, we have many universities in our capital, Accra. Many of them offer degree courses in environmental sciences.

Once again, the failures of our tertiary education become glaring as we move around our capital cities. Many of the lagoons that used to beatify Accra are dead, dead!

They have all been killed by our unbecoming activities.

Those who have been to Paris or even Amsterdam will see how water could be channel to make a city truly awesomely beautiful.

The Dutch re-channeled the Amstel River and other water bodies into canals to make Amsterdam one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not only that, the canals also provide substantial income as many businesses sprung up to provide leisure cruises on the many canals.

Once again, the question is beggared: what exactly is wrong with us that we cannot think of how to help ourselves? Are we waiting for the Chinese or Japanese to come and help desilt our canals? What do we think that other races think of us when they see us wallowing in such dirty environment without our appearing to do anything about it? That they should give us respect? Forget it.

Methinks that it shouldn’t be beyond the competence of the people at the environmental sciences at our universities in partnership with the Architecture, Economics, Finance, IT and other departments to formulate plans to transform Accra and our cities, towns and villages into beautiful, livable environs we all could be proud of.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology boasts that it is: “The premier centre of excellence in Africa for teaching in science and technology for development , producing high calibre graduates,” I say that it is time it live up to this billing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Can The Chief Justice Spell ETHICAL?

It was recently revealed that seventy-five percent (yes, 75%) of our national income is devoted to servicing the machinery of government -- read concurrent expenditures like salaries and emoluments.

So, our blessed republic is left with ONLY 25% for its capital expenditure -- roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructural projects.

Do you now begin to understand why we are mired in a seemingly intractable poverty quagmire? Do you now know why our leaders need to go around the world with begging and supplicating like common beggars? Do you now know why any announcement by the Japanese and the Chinese about grants always sends our rulers dizzy with excitement? Do you now begin to realize why we are perpetual recipients of "aid?" Do you now begin to know why we command no respect in any part of the world and why the other races keep looking down on us?

That is not all about the sad state of our affairs. Our elite (remember greedy bastards?) are not satisfied with collaring 75% of our budget for their comfortable upkeep, they still want a share of the paltry 25% left for our development.


Remember that it is from the 25% that government must pay compensation for lands acquired for state's use. So, when our greedy bastards (sorry elite) started parceling out these lands to themselves at simply ridiculous prices, they are literally stealing what belongs to the commonwealth.

Methinks that it is this culture of entitlement by our public officials that must be disabused. Why do our public "servants" think that because "I have served my country, so I am perfectly entitled to loot her meager resources."

We had a departing speaker of parliament, not satisfied with his whopping ex-gratia award, literally and figuratively stripping his bungalow of every item his thieving hands could grab. No sanction was imposed on him. A departing minister also bought his official residence for a song; today he chairs one of our major parties!

Our MPs "serve" for four years and believe that they deserve ex-gratia to the tune of 800 million cedis.

According to Madam CJ: "In order to protect the high office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, I would like to relinquish my interest in the plot of land under reference."


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nigeria's 2011 Elections Logic-Defying Permutations

The Nigerian factor is a little-known, little-discussed, and little-researched sociological phenomenon that is believed by many Nigerians to be the greatest impediment to their nation's march to progress and prosperity.

In many (let's not use "advanced" here) countries, elections have become so routine that citizens cannot conceive of silly hiccups that would make them lose sleep. Ghana, Nigeria's tiny neighbor and greatest rival in West Africa, has burnished her electoral expertise so much that it is called upon to assist other nations. But in the country that its citizens like to call the Giant of Africa, the simple act (art?) of compiling an electoral list, conducting credible elections, and announcing the winners remains a very serious major production.

Like in most things in their national life, Nigerians officials will wait until the proverbial eleventh hour before rallying themselves from their stupor. Planning does not appear to exist in the lexicon of Nigerian officialdom. Foresight and vision is sorely lacking in a nation that has ambitions to become one of the world's 20th wealthiest countries by 2020.

It was no surprise therefore when the body charged with managing Nigeria's elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced that it would require an extension of time if it were to conduct a credible poll in the 2011 elections, originally slated for next January. Ironically, the body (with a budget of US$585 million) whose announced electoral results have always drawn so much laughter of derision has as its motto: "Transparency, Impartiality, and Integrity."

The Commission, in a communiqué issued at the end of its retreat in Calabar and signed by its secretary, Alhaji Abdulahi Kangama, insisted that the time was too short to conduct a reliable voter registration and maintained that it would engage all the relevant stakeholders with a view to exploring all legal avenues for an extension of time.

Nigeria lacks credible statistics, and voter registers, like census figures, are often bloated.

We can lay the blame for this squarely at the feet of British colonial officials who, in order to appease their Hausa/Fulani friends, skewed Nigeria's population in favour of the North. Nigeria remains the only place on earth where arid desert (North) is supposed to compose of more people than space with lush vegetation and rain forests (South). The British gave the North a numerically superior census figure, and it is this crooked figure the country has been using that is the cause of much of the nation's palaver.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Europe no be Paradise (a story)

One of the attractions of the former SWISSAIR is their Visual Display Units (VDUs), the television-like gadgets that informs passengers about our geographic positions as we cruise far above -in the skies.

I prefer the information provided by the VDUs to the second-rate Hollywood trash with which the other airlines entertain their clients.

I had a windows-seat on the Zurich-Lagos-Accra flight and so could see the ground when the clouds permit. It was a wide-bodied MD-111 jet. My seat was close to the wings and I fascinated myself watching the ailerons flap in response to commands from the instrument panels located in the cockpit. When the clouds clear sufficiently enough to see the ground, I could see the gorgeous landscape that was mother earth racing slowly beneath us. I scribbled some notes in my reporter's notebook.

According to the instruments we were cruising above the snow-capped Alps Mountains. It was a truly magnificent sight - the Alps. The more I watched the awe-inspiring mountains the more I marveled at the logistics prowess of Hannibal, the great African general, who had to move through them with elephants to launch his attacks on Europe.

My seat-mate, a middle-aged man with a handsome Ghanaian face, was munching bread and cheese with abandon; his mouth made primitive noises.

We had barely lifted up when the guy tugged at my shirt and asked how to summon the steward.

"How do you call them?" He asked in thick Twi.

I told him that I don't speak Twi. He didn't understand why I am on an Accra flight without speaking Twi; I didn't explain to him.

I taught him how to operate the buzzer. He pressed the button and he seemed impatient when no one materialized immediately. I explained that it would take some time. He seemed ill at ease.

Finally, a pretty stewardess in a chic uniform came and smiled. The smile seemed too natural for an airline hostess. My seat-mate beamed back, "Mepamechau, ekom dimi."

The stewardess' processed smiles disappeared for a moment - just a moment. It reappears and she asked the beaming passenger what he wanted.

My companion's smiles widened just so, "I fit get blead and butter?"

I had to restrain myself from laughing. Cupping my hand over my mouth, I pretended to be looking out the window. The lady smiled back, "Sorry, I don't understand you." She replied with that thick accent with which the Swiss speak English.

The guy smiled back, "Blead and butter." He repeated, gesturing wildly.
The lady could still not comprehend him. He was agitated. He pulled at my shirt again? Why can't he just say 'Excuse me?'

"You fit tell am?" He demanded of me.

Of course I can tell her, but I wish he would be a little polite to those he asked to be his translator. I told the lady that the guy wanted bread and butter.
Ignoring him, she told me that he should exercise patient, as lunch would soon be served.

I translated but the guy shook his head sadly. "I no fit wait. Tell am say he for find me blead, even if na one wey dey chop remain."

I translated that my seat-mate suffers from ailment which made it imperative that he must have something in his stomach as soon as possible. She won't like to have a sick passenger on her hand, would she? She shook her head and left promising to see what she can do. That's my good girl, thank you very much. She re-appeared moments later with a tray of bread with generous slices of cheese. The guy grabbed it with both hands, his mouth already salivating.

I do wish he would eat his food without making so much noise, but would it not be rude to tell him? I continue to suffer in silence. The price we pay for being social! He watched me scribble in the notebook and he seemed fascinated.

"You be journalist?" He wanted to know.

"No. I am a writer."

He seemed dis-oriented by my answer. "You dey write and you no be journalist!"

"Precisely." I answered, enigmatically. I did not want to encourage a discussion with him.

He took the hint and continued to attack his bread and cheese with gusto. One of the stewardesses hurried past, my seat-mate took a good look at her disappearing flat buttocks and he seemed to melt.

"E fine, paa aa!? He smiled at me.

I managed to avoid his beaming eyes. He tugged at my shirt again, "You no tink sey de girl e fine?" He'd finished his meal and was rubbing his hands on his corduroy trousers. I pray that he's not going to ask me to play his pimp.

"I like dem girls? They fine, so. They also like me. What I did to dem, dey no fit forget. But three months now, I no get girl." He said sadly.

Curiosity got the better of me and I asked why he didn't have a girl for three months. It was like opening a hornet's nest.

"Koti hold me." He replied with a chuckle.

"Koti?" I wondered.

He looked at me anew. "You no be Ghanaian," he concluded. "Dem police hold me."
I considered him afresh. He was a funny character. He made his declaration as though it was the most natural thing in the world. There was no hint of shame, sadness or irony.

"So you're a criminal." I didn't mean to injure his pride, but he didn't seem to me like one to take offense easily.

"No, I no be criminal. Mankine no steal. Dem say I be illegal, that's why dem Koti hold me. My eyes see pepper."

"They say or you were illegal?"

He looked pained. "Na de Surinam girl wey mankin go find na im go report me. Dem crazy, eh. Those Surinam girls are crazy." My companion railed like a rejected prophet.

His eyes misty with sadness, he bellowed, "I paid plenty money to get my paper, but the girl, im eye open for money too much. Na so so pay pay mankin dey pay. As you e be reporter, you for write am tell our people make they no make the mistake wey I make. Make dey no marry Surinam girls, oh! They for fin better Dutch girl. Dutch girl dem be good. When they collect their money, dey go wait make you get your paper finish before they go divorce you. But Surinam, dey want too much money. They don't like work, ehn. Na so so dem go siddon house they watch television - 'Bold and Beautiful,' Oprah Winprey or what they call dat American woma wey always dey talk talk - while mankind go dey slave-slave for them."

Consuming food like a famine victim and drinking beer like it was going out of fashion, my seat-mate spent the next three or so hours telling me the story of his life.

He was born about thirty years ago to a poor family in a village in Brong-Ahafo region that I'm not about to name. Kwame (he didn’t tell me his surname) described his family to me and painted a grim picture of poverty and deprivation. His family could hardly afford dinner, their only meal of the day.

Kwame grew up thinking that having only one meal a day was the natural order of thing, until he started seeing other children eating regularly. His cobbler father's business had collapsed when the old man contracted arthritis. Kwame was barely three when he started hustling for his own upkeep. He managed to get to Accra before his eleventh birthday and got all his education on the streets of the Ghanaian capital. Carrying load at markets; picking pockets; renting himself out as a trotro mate; and later as a bouncer at nightclubs. He did them all until he garnered enough money to go to Lagos, which was then a Mecca.

Kwame 'Jammed luck in Lagos,' to use his own word, by taking a crash-course in shoe-shining and shoe-repairing. The manager of one of the big hotels smiled on him and allowed him the use of a shed in the hotel. He soon combined money changing and pimping to his booming cobbling business. Saving every kobo, aside from what he sent home to his mother - his father was now deceased, Kwame got enough money to dream big time. He acquired a Nigerian passport and had it visaed to three European countries.
"Nigeria never spoil den. You fit get visa easily." Kwame said ruefully.
He spent time in Spain and Italy doing mostly agricultural works. Neither country jelled with him.

"Dem poor pass Africa sef. Italy, Spain, tchwee, dem poor proper. We dey Africa, we think every whiteman e get money. Some Italians poor pass church rat sef. Some of them dirty pass gutter. Dey bath only once in a week. For two years, I laboured in vain. I no fit save kobo."

So was it until a friend suggested they try their luck in Holland where people were boasting of plenty riches.

"E be easy, then." Kwame said describing movement within Europe in those days.
Holland was, for Kwame, a paradise compared with Italy and Spain. He managed to acquire the passport of a EU country he didn't tell me, he was able to hustle and saved money. In a short while, he decided to regularise his papers. The only way to acquire a residence permit was to marry a Dutch citizen.

Kwame has no qualms about those things. "If the whiteman is crazy enough to want you to marry his sister before he will allow you to stay in his country, that's his problems, not mine."

Kwame implored me to tell 'my fellow Ghanaian' that 'Europe no be paradise as people are thinking.'

He had slaved in Holland for four solid years and he was returning with only the shirt on his back to the country he left almost seventeen years ago. The Dutch police arrested him at the flower farm where he was slaving following a tip off from the Surinam lady he had married to get his papers.

"The bitch," Kwame wailed to me. "We marry for almost three years. It remains only four months for man to catch three years. Then man for be free." From the farm, the police bundled him to their station; they wasted no time in sending him to the detention center pending deportation. They had all the incriminating evidence they needed.

Here he was - a betrayed and embittered man enroute to a country he loves with passion but, which sadly, still cannot take care of her less-privileged citizens.
I asked him what he did to antagonised the woman for her to betray him.

"Me! I no do am anything. Na so dem be. She wan marry another man so she go get more money. I paid ten thousand euros for the fake marriage. The contract was for one year. After one year, she already started pestering me for more money. She had eight children from eight different husbands. I continue to pay until I lost my job with KLM. She threatened me. I have to borrow money to pay her. The new job I get, I for pay back the money I borrowed for her. But she will not listen. One day, I dey for work when the koti came and took me away. You for write everything down. Make our people no make the same mistake."

I don’t want to be saved, period!

“Religions are the cradles of despotism.” - Marquis de Sade.

What manner of arrogance made the Christians believe that they have the right to disturb my sleep? Is it not presumptuous for them to arrogate to themselves the right to intercede between me and my supposed creator?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of religions in the world, have the Christians pause to think of what bedlam it would be if the other religions are arrogant like they are - waking people up to listen to ‘good-tidings’ in the middle of the night.
What would our towns and cities look like if the Moslems, The Hindus, The Buddhist, the Traditionalists and the rest of the religionists wake up every night and start peddling their versions of piety? Were they to so do, our villages towns and cities will be nothing but hospitals for the insane.

“Religion is a fraud, but it must be maintained for the masses.” - Frederick the Great.

After much reflection, Karl Marx said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

If opium is a sedative, then Karl Marx was only half-right. Religion has become, at least in Africa, the amphetamine of the people. It has also become big, very big business. How else do we explain the hypocritical fraudsters who tell their malnourished congregation that ‘everything on earth is vanity,’ and yet tool around in the latest hi-tech cars and live in posh houses?

These damned parasitical priests are living the most decadent lifestyles one could imagine; yet they shamelessly tell their congregation the ungodly untruth that they have to wait for their own paradise after death!

It seems as though Africans now need a dose of spiritual injection in order to draw breath. Our land is dotted with every description of churches. Ill-fed ignoramuses, who believe that their god in heaven has answer to earthly problems, accost us on the roads. On the streets, in the trotros, the Christians are everywhere, falling over themselves in their bid to take us to ‘alujanah.’ The hypocritical, sham charismatic charlatans leading them are crowding our airwaves with their fake American accents, pretending, in the words of Robert Ingersoll, to stand between our helplessness and the wrath of the gods. The ignorant congregations are shouting hallelujahs to their false claims of ‘miracles.’

Why does any normal being needs a miracle? If these tricksters can heal the sick, cure blindness and barrenness etc, etc, why don’t they simply build hospitals? We will be grateful to them for it.

Anyhow, I know, as any thinking person should, that all miracles, all magic, are essentially fakeries.

“It is not God that is worshipped but the group or authority that claims to speak in His name. Sin becomes disobedience to authority not violation of integrity.” - Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

We have to be thankful that most modern states are now secular. I shudder to ponder what it would be like to live under a theocratic rule. Why can’t these men and women who go about preaching love and tolerance practice what they preach? What is more intolerant than shoving your religion down someone else’s throat? What’s more intolerant than believing that your god would damn someone who only asks to be allowed to enjoy his sleep? There are, at least, six churches near where I live. If I need to go there, I can easily find my way to them. No, it is not enough for the Christians to disturb our sleeps with their constant drumming and singing; they have to come right into my house and try and shove their nonsense down my throat.

I believe religion to be a private thing. Every human being should be able to find his or her way to the creator. If my father is in heaven, why does he have to talk to me through another person? If I need to talk to my son, I talk to him directly and not through another person, not even his mother.

I believe in live and let’s live and I wish the Christians would learn this elementary courtesy. I believe that I’ll be ‘saved’ through my own efforts and not through some ‘holy’ book of dubious origins filled infantile tales of pornography, absurdities, massacres, mayhem and false astronomy.

I am fully prepared to face my creator and account for my actions. I don’t need any Christian to teach me anything about morality. I need no one to tell me to love my fellow-being because common-sense tells me that I cannot expect love from those I hate. I don’t need a religion to tell me not to steal; I’m fully contented with my station in life and I’ve trained myself not to want anything I cannot afford. I don’t need a preacher to preach to me about fornication; I am not only afraid of AIDS but I know that there’s much more to life than horizontal jogging. I don’t need eternal life; one life is simply enough for me. I don’t want any paradise in the sky; I want to build mine right here on earth. The nature of my work calls for no prayer: I cannot find lost hard disk clusters by reading the bible; neither could I fix a modem, motherboards or any computer hardware problem by supplicating to my almighty father. Religion has nothing to offer me, so the Christians can take their pie-in-the-sky lies and sell it to whoever will appreciate it. Kindly leave me alone.

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” - Thomas Paine

A great mind has opined that we Africans are in the fine mess we are because we spend more time preparing to go to heaven than on improving our material lives here on earth. While other people are slicing genes, interacting with one another thousands of miles apart through electrons and doing their utmost to improve their physical and material environment, we are busy wallowing in our ignorance-engendered poverty.

We occupy our days and nights with useless religious rituals, chanting futile hymns, and we pretend not to know why we are as poor as we are.

Instead of parading our streets with ramshackle followers purporting to teach a religion they barely understood, I will be glad if our religious leaders can mobilize their followers to plant and harvest. What a beautiful sight it would be to see a Methodist’s Corn Farm or a Presbyterian Yam Farm or a Catholic Cattle Ranch or an Anglican Cocoa Plantation!

Are there biblical injunctions against the establishment of Electronics and Computers Academies, instead of the plentiful Bible Studies schools we have? Is there any reason why our numerous churches cannot build factories and help alleviate our chronic unemployment? Many churches are built right inside dirty swamps, violating the injunction that cleanliness is holiness, why are our preachers not interested in improving their own earthly environment instead of sermonizing about a glorious, beautiful heaven?

The Christians should not be too emboldened because some of us are not countering their outrageous lies; it’s simply because we have better employments for our time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Inspector General Of Police And His Convoy

We live in a society where things are becoming increasingly comical. The other day I was pleasantly amused, surprised, and angered when I saw the head of the police, the inspector general (IGP), in his GP1 vehicle, sirening his way through dense traffic in Kasoa.

First, I was amused that the Oga police did not see the irony in his peculiar situation. The IGP is the head of the police force, right? The Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) is part of the police, of which Mr. IGP is the boss, right? MTTU is charged with ensuring hassle-free vehicular movements on our roads, right? How could a whole IGP miss the irony in his trying to cut corners by beating snarled-up traffic with his siren-blaring convoy?

I was angered because as I have lamented several times in this column, we are suffering in great sufferation (let's borrow Rasta-speak here) in this country of ours mostly because people who get paid to get things done do not perform. They are not only failing to do their jobs, but rather look for ways to make it possible for them to beat and cheat the very system they are supposed to manage.

And most galling of all is that there are no checks in place to ensure that this system-bursting bigmanism does not exist. Equally infuriating is the fact that there is absolutely nothing we citizens can do about this obscene abuse of power. No matter how irate I felt about the spectacle of the IGP patently cheating the system, there is not a darn thing I could do about it. I knew it and he obviously knows that no bloody civilian will dare open his mouth.

Who born dog, indeed?

Several questions become pertinent here: Does the IGP have authorization to use sirens or is our number-one law enforcement agent breaking the law? If a common IGP can travel in a siren-blowing convoy, what is there to stop the other service chiefs from doing the same? The heads of the navy; army; air force; Customs, Excise and Preventive Service; prisons; and forestry could also start using sirens. And what about our parliamentarians -- are they not also worthy enough? And the directors at our Minitries Departments and Agencies, are they also not worthy enough? And let's not forget our district chief executives; they also have their apushkeleke (Ghanaian slang for ladies of easy virtues) and other part-time girlfriends to impress, don't they?


Monday, October 11, 2010

The death of Allan Koomson

According to news of September 25, 2010, a young Ghanaian residing in the Netherlands was killed under suspicious circumstances by Dutch Immigration Police, the dreaded Merachauese.

According to Myjoyonline, “The Circumstances under which a Ghanaian resident in Holland died at the hands of the Dutch Immigration in February this year are yet to be unraveled, as family members of the deceased are being kept in perpetual darkness.

Failure on the part of the Dutch authorities to tell the cause of death of Mr. Allan Koomson, after he was arrested by the Dutch police and handed over to their immigration counterparts for allegedly working without a permit, has sparked confusion and discomfort among family members, who are waiting to have information on the cause of death of their relative.”

The case which was said to have happened in February of this year is yet to be unraveled with the Dutch authorities, as usual, dallying and dallying and given one silly excuse after the other.

Allan Koomsom who was said to have lived and worked in the Netherlands for ten years was picked by the Dutch police and found to be without residence permit.
This has become a big, big offence in the Netherlands, as in several other European countries where racist, anti-foreigners parties are mushrooming like enzymes. Example is Holland where a rabidly racist politician and noted Islamophobe, Geert Wilders, is poised to become the power broker. The Scandinavians, who also like to tout their tolerating characters, are not far behind in the foreigner-bashing game.

The Dutch police was said to have handed over Mr. Koomson to their immigration counterparts after arresting him for not having residential papers.

There was no suggestion that Mr. Koomson suffered any ailments before his incarceration. And died whilst in the custody of the Dutch Police.

I have lamented severally in this column that it is time African governments wake up and start treating their citizens with utmost respect. At home and abroad, our governments should treat us with dignity. It is difficult to protest when foreigners treat us badly when our own officials continue to treat us with disdain. The foreigners also know this; and this may explain why they continue to treat/kill us with impunity.

The scandalous mal-treatment meted out to our citizens in Europe is simply outrageous. And this has been going on for many years. Our officials, having sold their conscience for handouts, lack the courage to lodge protest. They are busy groveling for aids and handouts to be bother with the plight of their citizens.
And what about the shabby treatment meted out daily to our compatriots at Western embassies in Accra? How many times have the outrageously racist behaviours of Western diplomats been chronicled without our officials lifting a finger to sanction the erring diplomats. I guess that they are too busy trying to get their invitation to their cocktail parties to call the racists to attention. There is no way any European country will tolerate Ghanaian diplomats mis-treatment of their people in their land; yet this is the shame we are forced to daily live with.

Our Diasporan community forms a very important part of our population. Conservative estimates put their numbers at two million. Their remittances alone form a large component of our national budget. Yet, our officials continue to treat them with contempt. The average Ghanaian remits more money to Ghana than the average European, yet whilst we roll out drums to celebrate the ‘Obronis,’ we treat our own people with derision.

We love the money they send to us and that is all. For years our officials have been busy debating how to incorporate them into our development agenda. They have talked un-ceasingly about creating a ministry to cater for them.

This should show how screwed-up our brains really are in this country. We have sentenced our best brains into involuntary exile because we lack the wherewithal to cater for them here. And instead of tapping into their huge reserves of brain and economic power, we would rather go to Asia, Arabia, Europe or America to beg for ‘experts.’

I wonder why it never occur to us that these nations also depend on their experts and would move heaven and earth to ensure that they stay at home. We continue to live the fiction that these foreigners love us so much that they would send to us anything but their third-rate experts. And it is these third-rates ‘experts,’ who struts our streets like Peacocks with our officials fawning over them, and our women drooling for their attention. And we say that we are free!

As I wrote in the Essay, ‘The Myths of Tourism,’ the average European tourist has very little left after paying for the flight ticket and hotel accommodation. But that simple fact has always eluded our officials who keep dreaming about building our alujanahs on tourism! In the article, I challenged the proponents of the tourism-leads-to-development hoopla to show the empirical evidence to support their stance.

That should show how skewed our thinking is in this country. Remittances from our brothers and sisters is said to be the second largest source of our revenue, but we are still debating how to accord them the very huge respect they deserve.

What exactly is wrong with us? We spend huge sums to educate our people. Because of failure of leadership, we cannot create enough jobs to employ them. They then decide, like any rational human being would do, to sojourn abroad. They live abroad but their hearts are always with us. Any visit to any of the money remittance agencies will reveal that very many families live on the largesse of their relations abroad. We know their phone numbers when it is time to ask them for money. But when they are in hardship, we do not give them support.

Allan Koomson case was not the first time that a Ghanaian has been shabbily treated in Europe. But what have we done to give our people abroad moral support? Nothing, I would say. We as a people have done nothing and our officials have done zilch.

In the piece, “The sad saga of Ama Sumani,” I bemoaned the humiliation of a Ghanaian nurse, Ama Sumani,’ by British police. I wrote, inter alia,

“Sometime in January 2008, British immigration officials forcibly removed a terminally ill Ghanaian (she suffers from a form of cancer called multiple myeloma) from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and deported her to her native Ghana. There was widespread condemnation. The journal ‘Lancet’ called the action “atrocious barbarism.”

The patient’s name is Ama Sumani. Her age is 39, and she’s among the many Africans who are unable to regularize their stay in Europe – no thanks to European’s bureaucracy energetic efforts to build Fortress Europe.

Whichever we look at it, this action is condemnable. And I am aghast that none of the numerous ‘Human Rights’ organizations in Europe has taken it upon itself to champion Ama’s cause. Of course, they will tell you that it has nothing to do with her being black. But we are all witnesses to the vociferous noises European media made about the same time on the Natalee Holloway lady that got missing in Aruba.

Yours truly have consistently maintained that part of our problem in Africa is that we keep on crediting the other races with our humanism and spirituality. Anyone who has stay for any length of time in Europe will attest to the fact that Europe’s definition of humanity starts and stops with people of white hue. The reaction in the West most certainly would have been different were Ama Sumani to be a white lady. And you can bet your last sinking dollar that the EU and the USA would have called a UN Security council meeting to discuss the matter, were Ama to be a white lady deported from an African country. And we can only imagine the vociferous call for punitive sanctions were that country to be Zimbabwe!

In the 1990s when yours truly was editing the Pan-African journal, ‘The African,’ in the Netherlands, we (not the royal WE) consistently call on Africans to emulate the other racial (a nebulous classification defined by racist European anthropologists) groups and build a Pan African Racial Solidarity as enunciated by the great Marcus Garvey. The strength of the other racial groups is based upon the fact that they see themselves as a unit; a WE against the OTHERS concept. That is why a slight, injury or death of a European outside of Europe is the concern of every European state. And that explains why European forces always evacuate every WHITE person in any trouble spot. And it is the only reason why you will never find an Arab or a Chinese buying from an Africa shop even in our so-called countries.

Alas, in Africa, instead of building a solid Racial Solidarity, we still cling to our tribal and sham national identities. Refusing to learn our history, we continue to see ourselves as ‘Nigerians,’ ‘Gabonese,’ ‘Ghanaians,’ ‘Malians,’ and other identities bequeathed to us by our colonizers and the historic oppressors of our race! And, of course, the other races are exploiting our disunity to further their interests.”

In that piece I employed a Yoruba proverb that says: “Iri taba ri oja la nna.” Which
means that Goods are priced the way they are displayed.

The other races are treated us with utter contempt because they know that we are too individualistic to have any sense of racial solidarity. That explains why even Lebanese, Afghans, Iraqia and now Chinese are rubbishing us even in our own land. I learnt recently that there is a Chinese club somewhere in Accra where Africans are refused entry! My gosh!

Would we dare to go to China and discriminate against Chinese in their country? But because of our love for crumbs, we refuse to get it into our heads that these foreigners are in our land not because of any love but simply because of what they can LOOT from us.

We sit on vast wealth and allow foreigners to get the lion’s share whilst we settle for pittance. Our officials dance themselves silly whenever the foreigners dole out their pitiable ‘aid’ to us. We trumpet the so-called aid they are supposedly giving us, no one tells us how much the companies of the aid-giver makes yearly from our dear land.

Methinks that it is time psychologists begin to explore this peculiar behavior of ours.

The Dutch Immigration Police killed Koomson because they did not see us do anything in the case of Ama Sumani. If our officials have vigorously protested to the British about the inhumane treatment of the sick lady and made it clear to them that we shall, under no circumstances, accept such abhorrent and racist behavious, the Dutch would have taken notice and dare not treat Koomson so dastardly.

But our paid officials are busy drinking their whiskeys with their white ‘friends’ to have any time for us. They are too giddy to be seen with the omnipotent and rich European to bother with our brothers and sisters who are toiling in inhuman conditions to build the prosperity Europeans are so callously flaunting in our faces.

What about our Parliamentarians? What about our Student organisations? Why can’t our students mobilise and march to any embassy in our country whenever there are reports of any form of maltreatment meted out to one of our compatriots. Why can’t we mobilise to boycott the product of any nation that maltreats our people? Are there no NGOs formed to protect and safeguard the lives and interests of our Diasporan Community, if not why not?

We treat Europeans in our mist as decently as possible. And we should demand nothing less than that from them also. Because many of us still belief the fiction that Europeans come from a rich continent, they are even treated like some demigods.
The other races are taking us for granted because they know that they will get away with it. They know that we do not even care enough to be apathetic. We continue to spend our money buying products from racist countries.

This should not be so. Individually, there are things we can do to register our protest in our own little ways. For example, I still do not buy anything from Shell. It has to do with my protest against their pro-apartheid policies of the past. I also do not patronize any Israeli-made product because I find the Jewish state treatment of the Palestinians abhorrent.

Methinks also that our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora should do more to safeguard their own interests. I was there and I saw how timid many were when it comes to forming or joining organisations and associations to foster their collective interests. Many of them will cowardly retreat into the comfy of their homes where they will lament the indignities European authorities are piling on them. It is time they realize that there is strength in numbers.

We do not beat chest with one finger as an African proverb puts it. Another of the sayings of our elders is: it is impossible to break a tied broom.

My advice to them is to join an organization to protect their interests. Racist European police will continue to maltreat and occasionally kill them if they refuse to join national or international organisations to foster and protect their collective interests.

There should also be protest at the highest levels of our government whenever a citizen, any citizen of Ghana, is maltreated anywhere in the world. But we first need to put our own house in order.

After all, as they say, charity begins at home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

On People's Migration

My maternal granny of very blessed memory gave me an injunction that I took dearly to heart, and which continues to guide me today. Never stay in a place where there are no strangers, my grandmother told me.

Looking back some forty-something years later, her words continue to make eminent sense. A reason must be responsible for a community not to have a single stranger in its midst. And indeed one must be a crazy banana to want to stay in such a place.

Two proverbs best encapsulate my Yoruba people's attitudes towards human migration. One is: Omi ni eniyan. The second is Ibi ti aye ba gbeni de, la npe layede.

The first means that human beings are like water, which flows wherever it can find its level. The second one means that it is where destiny leads one that we call home. I shall have more to say about the latter proverb later.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Euro-Africa Relations: End of Lecturing & Hectoring?

Since Europe borrowed Chinese-invented compasses and gunpowder and launched its unremitting aggression against the world, the Euro-Africa relationship has been one of Master/Servant relationship. It was (and still is) a relationship of unequal with Europeans believing that they have the manifest destiny to dictate and control how Africa (especially its people and resources) should be managed.


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Fellow Africans,

My TV programme, FOCUS ON AFRICANS, debuts on the 2nd of October 2010. It is going to be shown on MultiTv (Cine Afric channel).

I am going to present the programme. To those who do not know, I am a passionate African who writes mainly on African-related issues for the London-based New African magazine, the US-based AfricWatch, Accra-based Daily Dispatch and numerous online publications.

On the programme, I will be talking with experts and ordinary people who share passion to make Africa great and build a better Africa for ourselves and our children.


FOCUS ON AFRICANS is an hour talk program delivered in the English language.

The programme highlights the challenges facing Africans and the African continent as a whole.

FOCUS ON AFRICANS aims at addressing these challenges and, better still, try to look for solutions with Africans who can help solve them.


Email address:
Short Code: SMS is 1462
Tel: +233-302-862635,+233-20-6379090,+233-244-261145,+233-264-261145,+233-20-9377324,+233-248-434084

Kindly watch the programme and pass your comments on to us.

Together we can build the Africa of our dreams. No obstacle is too great to overcome for people that are committed

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Na Degree We go Chop?

I am talking about those Super Chickens that keep calling themselves Super Eagles. Those blasted, bloated, over-rated, egocentric, perennial non-achievers who continue to parade tired limbs and continue to disgrace themselves and their country.

Oh, you're talking about football!

Of course, I am talking about football. What, otherwise, did you think I was talking about?

Oh, I didn't not know that you were such a passionate football fan...

Fan? I am a member of the team that did the nation proud at the just concluded Mundial Fiesta in Germany. Contrary to all expectations, we went all the way to the finals. And, my brother, I tell you but for a combination of factors like racial prejudice, the Nigerian factor, poor officiating, pathetic preparation, and inadequate support we'd have easily lifted the cup. And all for what, we were promised a measly scholarship. The president was not even able to come and welcome us.

But he sent his wife and a host of government officials.

Same difference! Do you think he'd have deigned to so ignore the so-called Super Eagles even if they had managed to get through the qualifying stage?

I cannot read his mind.

And do you know how much those boys would have collected even if they had managed to get the fourth position?

I won't know. Times are lean; even governments are complaining.

Governments are complaining...which government are you talking about?


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The un-tenability of Justice Georgina Wood’s Position

“No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been. “- Hannah Arendt

In many other societies the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Republic of Ghana, Madam Georgina Wood, would have resign her position.

To maintain her personal integrity and safeguard the integrity of the institution of the judiciary, Madam CJ should have thrown in the towel.

The CJ occupies such an exalted position that any whiff of impropriety will easily bring it to dis-repute. But we live in a society where people cling tenaciously to office when their position has become simply untenable.

No less an institution that the ruling party, the National Democratic Congress, NDC has, through its regional chairmen seriously indicted the CJ and passed what goes for a vote of no confidence in the CJ, yet she made no reply and she clings to office. This is not good enough.
That she was made CJ in very murky circumstances should be bad enough, but that she should be perceived to be politically biased should be totally unacceptable. What about the allegation that she has taken over the task of allotting cases?

The judiciary is the third arm of government and a very important one for that matter. Perhaps unknown to most people, the judiciary is actually the most powerful of the arm of government.

Civics books teach that the legislature makes laws, the executive executes it and the judiciary interprets the law. This means that the law is what the judiciary says it is. No mortal can challenge the order of the CJ because there is simply no higher authority in matters judicial. Those familiar with the role of interpreters in colonial Africa will know that they are often the most powerful people in the system.

The judiciary is the only arm of government that can actually punish someone. The President, however powerful, cannot order the arrest and detention of any citizen. A mere circuit court magistrate can incarcerate the most powerful citizen by judicial fiat. And whereas the legislature can, sitting collective, condemn someone for contempt, a lone magistrate sitting in a dilapidated room in some obscure place can so do in a jiffy.

But with these awesome powers come some profound responsibilities. Invested with such grand powers, the judiciary is expected to place itself beyond the ordinary plane. It is expected that our Judges operate in a rarefied space that will continue to awe ordinary folks with its majesty.

What also should not be lost on us is the simple fact that the judiciary derives its authority solely by being the only arm of government that required rigorous learning. That might explain why Judges are called LEARNED.

Whilst the executive and the legislative arms of the triad are peopled by every manner of ragamuffin, Judges are expected to be people who have gone through first a university training and then attend the Law School.

Whilst a minister of state might brandish nothing more serious than a bulging bank account and a member of parliament might be a confirmed buffoon, a Judge must be literate and well educated. His\Her comportment must also be above reproach.

Maybe because they hold such awesome powers over us, Judges have always been judged by different standards than accrue to the rest of the hoi polio.

Recent events in our dear land have dented this hallowed image that a judiciary must carry that yours truly will join those that call on the Chief Justice to tender her resignation with immediate effect.

In justice, as in politics, perception is everything. But whereas the executive and the legislature can afford to have their images drag though the mud, it is a price the judiciary cannot afford to pay. The authority and legitimacy of the judiciary is based on the perception that is in an impartial arbiter of the law. Remove that and the judiciary has lost it all.

Whereas a Minister or a MP can survive a scandal, a Judge must always be above reproof. He must always appear sober and with an air of piety. And no Judge can survive been tainted with political biasness. And for a judge to be accused of trading judicial gossip at a drinking bar is totally moxious.

And the situation where we have a sitting judge openly trading political mudslinging with an official of the Attorney General’s office is unwholesome. It shows that Madam CJ is not in control of her turf. There should be no need for a senior judge to come out publicly and open his mouth ‘anyhow.’ Verbal pugilism is not among the credentials we expect from our Judges.

Sans the perception that our judges will deliver impartial justice, there is little sense in appealing to the law to settle disputes. Comprehending this simple logic is what is appearing to me missing in the many jejune arguments being postulated by political jobbers.

Our system of justice is in a very fine mess. What need to be done is recognition of the sad fact and look for ways to rectify the rottenness in the system. Pretending that things will correct themselves is sheer illusion we will do well to avoid.

We need not read unnecessary politics into the issue. The big question here in whose interests are laws made, administer and adjudicate?

If as we all agree it is in the interest of the common man, another important question arises: what is the perception of the masses about our system of justice.

Less us leave hypocritical vituperations aside; unless someone just arrived from Mars, almost everyone knows that our judicial system is corrupt beyond measure. A cursory reading of letters to the editors or the opinion pages on the webspace will show the depth of our people’s disgust with the judicial system currently operating in the country. And the angst of the people is for good reasons.

Wittingly or not the judicial is creating in the minds of the people that contrary to what we are being told, the law is a respecter of well-heeled persons.

“How can law contradict the lives of millions of people and hope to be administered successfully?” Richard Wright

We cannot but fail to notice how poor people are being punished very severely for the least infractions, whilst rich and powerful people are made to go scot free on what the legal people called ‘technicalities.’

“A man's respect for law and order exists in precise relationship to the size of his paycheck.” Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Rightly or wrongly we are being told that the dispensation of justice depends on one’s pocket. I have argued severally in this column that it is illogical for us to continue to operate a system of justice that makes little or no sense to the vast majority of our people. How on earth can we claim to be interested in justice when very few of us understand the mechanics of the legal system? And people in the legal profession will tell us that ignoratia legis haud excuse. To wit: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. In the opinion of our learned judges, we should be punished for our ignorance!

We did ourselves great dis-service when after regaining control of our national affairs from the colonizers, we elected to keep in place the very system they imposed to oppress us.

Why did the simple logic that we cannot use the same instruments\institutions that our colonial masters used to oppress us to build our modern societies evade us?

Our police continue to oppress us like agents of colonial officers rather than friends, with whom the people could feel free and secure. Even a child born yesterday knows that our police officers are uniformed bribe-takers. Many will even tell you that from the lowest to the highest echelon, the whole gamut is riddled with corruption. And yet, it is the same police we expect to be at the frontline of our justice system. And it is the same people we expect to lead the fight against corruption!

How many of us have not encountered police officers shamelessly begging for ‘something small,’ on our roads? How many of us who have had occasions to seek assistance at police stations have not been embarrassed by the open corruption there? And it is the same police we are told will impartially execute the law?

I have had few occasions to visit some of our law courts. If we are truly serious as a people, we will admit that what we call justice system is one huge joke where every manner of charade is played out by those we charge to administer our justice system. Our courts make Arab bazaars look sanctified. Any honest person will tell you that justice is for sale, and openly so. Everything in our law courts has its price and the haggling is done almost openly.

We operate a very rotten political and judicial system and we pretend not to know why there is so much chaos in our society.

Below are some recent headlines (and stories) about how justice is administered in our dear land:

Plantain thief jailed 12 months

Noble Plantain-Thief Jailed 18 Months! Elitist Thieves are Free!

Cable thief jailed six years

A circuit court at Goaso has sentenced Kwame Frafra, a 32 year old unemployed to six years imprisonment in hard labour for stealing a quantity of electric cables

Two brothers pay heavily for stolen booze
Two brothers, Kobina Daffour, 22 and Kofi Sasu, 24, both unemployed and resident at Jukwa near Cape Coast, were on Friday fined GH¢500.00 each by the circuit court in Cape Coast for stealing a bottle of ‘Kasapreko Alomo bitters,’ an alcoholic beverage valued at GH¢1.50 from a drinking spot.

Two remanded for stealing goat
The Akim Swedru Circuit Court has remanded Kwadwo Akpakah and John Kwadwo, both farmers, in prison custody for stealing a goat valued at GH¢100.00, a property of Nana Kwasi Nkrumah who is a fetish priest.

We have the situation whereby our learned Judges find it expedient to jail petty thieves, many of them unemployed, to stiff jail terms. The same Judges will find ‘technical’ excuses to set free those who looted millions and billions from their employers.

Some judgments from our law courts are truly bizarre. Recently nursing mother was sentenced to six month jail term by a learned judge who made no provision for the care of her baby. The poor woman was unable to pay a fine of 400 cedis and for that she has to spend six (6) months in jail. It took the intervention of a kind-hearted Regional Minister to pay help pay the fine and rescue the poor woman!

It is difficult to keep pace with the spate of corrupt cases in our society today, but the most obvious ones are the Ghana@50 secretariat where billions of (old) cedis were allegedly mis-appropriated.

Look at that word (mis-appropriation), again. When educated, well-connected folks steal money from their employers (private or public), they are said to have mis-appropriated it. Whereas a poor Kwame who steal 10 cedi in order to buy for his family their only meal of the day is, in view of our laws, a plain thief or robber as the case might be. But the big man, who sit in a big office and use his pen to illegally divert billions of cedis to his private accounts is said to be guilty of mis-appropriation!

The truth is that it is far easier for the proverbial Camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to see the inside of a jail.

We are all witness to the daylight robbery former Speaker of parliament, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes, perpetrated in broad daylight. The departing speaker looted his official residence and to date no charge has been proffer against him. He is walking free and is probably considered a man of god and a pillar of his society.

“Good order is the foundation of all good things.” - Edmund Burke

“Where laws end, tyranny begins.” - William Pitt the Elder

And consider these headlines:
STATEMENT: Dep A-G Must Apologise By Justice Anthony Oppong
NDC Chairman: We'll Clean Judiciary Of Rot If Chief Justice Fails To Act
A-G replies Judge: Your comments are reprehensible, unprofessional
Chief Justice Georgina Wood is politically tainted – NDC
Feature: Tainted professional conduct and the Ghanaian judiciary
Dep A-G: Go To Hell, I Won’t Apologise Today Or Tomorrow To Judge Oppong

How on earth do we expect untainted, unbiased justice in these poisoned atmospheres?
To call the law an ass is an egregious insult to all asses!

“As President, I have no eyes but constitutional eyes, I cannot see you.” - Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Making our institutions work

The Mirror (Ghana) of Saturday, August 7, 2007 edition carried my letter to the editor entitled: “Deal with alcohol-related accidents.”

Incidentally, the same issue carried another letter from compatriot, James Annan, who wrote from Kumasi and titled his letter, “Ban unworthy commercial vehicles.’

This is what I wrote in my letter:

“Hardly a day passes without reports of gruesome vehicular accidents on our roads claiming lives, maiming limbs and leaving families and the nation disconsolate.

My own observation is that most of these accidents happen over the weekends. The reasons also seem to be clear cut. Most of the ones I have witnessed are alcohol-related. To wit: people journeyed to their hometowns and villages to partake in one do or the other. They get carried away and get seriously drunk on variety of easily-available and cheap liquor. Of course, inebriated brains are not going to observe the injunction of not driving when drunk. The results are that we have people with enough ethanol in their system to power a Jumbo Jet getting behind wheel to ferry themselves and loved (sic) ones. Of course, these drunks think of any highway as a race course and consider any challenge as an affront to their demented macho dignity. These champion drivers will now and then crash with the resulting calamities.

What is baffling is why the police authorities have not decided to take advantage of these recalcitrant drivers to enforce the laws; make some good money for themselves and save lives.

Since we all know that our people love to party, and it is a given that many of us like to get seriously drunk on weekends, the police should rise to the occasion by making the errant among us pay. We can borrow a leaf from the Dutch Police.

Very practical people, the Dutch government did not see reason why they should continue to subsidise the police when there are enough felons around to be taxed. The result was a very efficient police to be found around every corner with breath analyzers and receipt books. The taxes are huge enough to sober up the most hardened felon.

It looks like our police take Sundays off and are mostly off the roads after sundown. This is not very clever. Let them sit up and try to rigorously pursue this idea for three to six months and see whether or not there will be changes on our driving habits.”

Exactly ten days after my letter was published, the newspapers headlines were full of stories of two horrific accidents that occurred near Sege and near Ada in the Greater Accra Region.

HORROR! 19 killed,” was the headline of the Daily Guide (August 17, 2010). “BLOODY MONDAY – 23 Perish in 2 gory accidents” was how the Daily Graphic bannered the stories.

Twenty three innocent compatriots lost their precious lives in the ghastly mishaps in which alcohol and fatigue were believed to have played their roles. The Daily Graphic reported that the more horrific of the accidents had a Mass Transit Bus (MTB) ramming into a stationary lorry parked at the shoulder of the road killing 19 people! The bus was ferrying passengers who had gone to participate at a village festival.

The Transport Minister, Mike Hammah, was reported to have visited the site together with many top guns from several of the institutions that were supposed to guarantee that we travel safely on our roads. One of these was the National Road Safety Commission.

According to the sector Minister, the spate of accidents in the country cost US$16.5 million annually, and is also partly responsible for retarding the nation’s development agenda.

Have we not heard all these before?

Of course, like the sanctimonious hypocrites that we are, we will lament loudly even if only for a few days. And, of course, we would go back to our daily lives, so soon forgetting the latest nasty mayhem. The blood-soaked images will soon fade away; no one will remember the mangled bodies. Prime lives wickedly cut short would soon become a thing of the past. Our officials will puff and they will fume; but nothing will come out of it.

Ah, there are more pressing issues to be tackled. Our politicians are already busy doing what they do best – making lotta of noises without making any sense at all. Elections are still more than two years away, yet our ear-drums are being bombarded with rancorous noises of those who make it their profession to politrick.

Lamentably, in years gone by, idealistic men and women, motivated by a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of their fellow beings, go into politics.

The Yoruba word for politician is ‘Oselu.’ It means literally: ‘A town planner/organizer.’ It was a very positive appellation which in those days must be earned with honest sweat.

Today, our political landscape is littered with every sort of ragamuffins who are out only to make easy money.

Today, politics has become another money-making venture. We now have a new class of entrepreneurs – why not call them politreneurs. These are unprincipled men and women who join politics to pursue selfish agendas. It is not for them to strive to improve their community. No, they want all the goodies of life and believe that politics offer perhaps the only avenue for them to grab all the grabables. Four years of ‘service’ will earn them enough ex-gratia (what should we be grateful for?)
The Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah ruled this country for nine years, he left not even a single room to his name. No matter what his detractors say, no one can accuse him of personal corruption. He was out to make a difference and he did make a difference. Today, a District Chief Executive only has the ambition to build a big mansion within two years.

Sadly for us, we have not evolve a system whereby our leaders can be grown organically. Our institutions are far too weak and far to corrupt to create unselfish and patriotic leaders. The weak institutions are the bane of the society and they are what is causing all the troubles for us.

What is baffling, at least to yours truly, is our capacity for self-deception. We hate to tell ourselves home truth. We all believe in playing the hypocrites. I do not know if this stem from the unwillingness to give offense or from splain cowardice.

If truth be told, our institutions are far too gone for the cosmetic surgeries we are applying on them. Instead of a radical overhaul, we are busy trying to prop up institutions with shaky foundations. Our elders say that the house built with spittle will be fell by dew. Instead of radically re-writing our constitution, we are calling for amendments. We not only operate an alien system that makes little or no sense to the majority of our people, we also pretend not to know that they are not working for us. Our political\electoral system has become so obscene that many of our folks are thoroughly disillusioned. And the sec-Gen of the ruling party was recently sufficiently miffed to take a giant swipe at the judiciary.

I fully sympathise with the NDC scribe. How could a judicial system that could sentence poor Kofi to ten years for stealing fingers of plantain be expected to be taken seriously when it can free treasury looters on what it termed TECHNICALITY?
Let’s take the carnage on our roads as symptomatic of institutional failure. Vehicular accidents happen for two reasons – mechanical failure or human error.

Even a dumb, blind and deaf could see that there are vehicles plying our roads that have long passed their prime. In many other countries, many of the mechanical contraptions that ferry cargo and human across our country will only be found in museums.

Yet they are there. We all see them and those who we pay to ensure that such monstrosities are confined to the junkyards also see them. Our police have checkpoints strewn across the length and breadth of the country. Officers (male and female) manned these checkpoints; they see the antediluvians vehicles breaking our laws and they do absolutely nothing about it.

Sorry, of course, they do something – they collect their bribes (illegal, unreceipted tolls) smiles and wave the law-breakers off.

Which child born in Ghana today do not know that our police are corrupt beyond redemption? Yet, like the great pretenders that we all are, we look the other way – see no evil, hear no evil.

Police officers who are total disgrace to the uniforms they wear will turn up on our tubes to pontificate about fighting corruption and we all listen to them. They are the pillars of society. They are solid men and women who are leaders of their communities and elders of their churches.

And what happen when our policemen deign to arrest a driver? In broad daylight we see officered men and women haggling with arrested felons over what to pay as bribes. The police officer is more interested in how much he can squeeze from a driver than in ensuring that the laws are obeyed. And we all pretend not to notice.

If our police force is corrupt beyond redemption, our judicial system is on a different league entirely. That the law is no respecter of anybody is a fiction maintain only in Civics classes. You and I know that the moneyed class easily gets away with crimes for which ordinary mortals will suffer greatly. No one who has attended any of our courts will not be saddened by what passes for justice in our dear land.

I have argued elsewhere that the institutions we inherited from the colonisers need modifications to suit our peculiar traditions and environment. The system of justice we operate makes sense only to lawyers and the judges who serve there. Even the most educated among us will be truly mortified by our judicial system where cases are left pending for decades on end.

In the letter to the Mirror I advocated our borrowing ideas from the Dutch who very practically ask the police to earn their own keep. We can go further.

In my letter I did not write about the various steps the Dutch police have taken to bring sanity to their roads. One of these is a constant patrol of the highways not only to ensure free flow of traffic but also to ensure that broken down vehicles are promptly towed away before they cause accidents like what happened with the MTB. Of course, the heavy bill is promptly dispatched to the vehicle owner. This ensure that: 1 – people think twice before bringing unhealthy vehicles onto the roads and 2, that broken down vehicles do not cause traffic hold-up or accidents.

We can set up Fast Track Traffic courts whose sole remit is to try, what else, traffic offenses. The Motor Transport Unit (MTU) of the Ghana Police Force should be strengthened with officers empowered to summarily summon offending drivers. Justice at these courts should be speedy and the fines should be hefty enough to make drivers think twice before committing traffic offence.

Of course, all these measures require a well –maintained national identification database. How do we do this in a country where streets are not named and houses are not numbered?

Solutions anyone?

Monday, August 9, 2010

And The Parliamentarians Blink First

According to press reports, the parliament of Ghana spent the better part of Monday the 5th of May 2010 discussing one Mr. Kofi Wafo.

The eccentric politician had called various MPs some unpalatable names and this, reportedly, got the goat of some of them. At the end the day, after blowing plenty grammar, the threat was made to drag the political maverick before the Privileges Committee of the parliament.

Of course, Mr. Wayo robustly (and characteristically) called the bluff of the puffing MPs. And as to be expected the cowardly MPs blinked first.

After wasting inordinate man-hours, these expensive-to-maintain MPs could only spew one silly excuse after the other on why they would not dare invite Mr. Wayo to appear.

But we know better: he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.

In issuing their stupendously stupid threat, the parliamentarians clearly revealed how badly ill informed they were. Had they correctly read the public mood, they would have known that they were being obtusely silly.

Although our MPs singularly failed to read the public mood, methinks that simple common sense ought to have dictated to them that they were embarking on a very imprudent enterprise.

How could our expensively maintained MPs have hoped to win a shouting match with a very loquacious, basket-mouth character like Mr. Wayo, whose every pore is spoiling for a verbal warfare? Even his very imposing physique suggests a man built to fight.

"Bring it on," cigar-chomping Kofi Wayo cried with joy when he heard that he would be summoned before parliament.

Of course, our "honourables" scurried back to the comfy of the parliament house!

But wait a sec... Was it not the same parliament where members boycotted proceedings a few months ago in sympathy with a guy (Darko) that libelously accused former president Rawlings of setting fire to his own house?

How did the Darko case warranted the emblem of "freedom of speech," while Kofi Wayo is to be criminalized for running his mouth? We truly live in a very funny country!


Friday, July 30, 2010

The STX deal and other jazz

What exactly is wrong with you journalists?

What do you mean?

Why do you people always like to pick quarrel with those in authority?

What is agitating you, my broda. What exactly is bugging you, now?

You are asking me what’s bugging me, ehn! What are we to make of all the negative things you nattering nabobs of negativism continue to write about our great president who is a study in intellectual acumen, boisterous humility, irrepressible modesty, unfathomable political sagacity, immeasurable maturity and…

I get the gist, but I still do not know what exactly you are talking about.

Where have you been all this time, where... on Mars, tell me?

No, I have been around.

And you pretend not to know what you and your colleagues have been writing about our God-sent president who is the envy of the world and the toast of Africa.

Oh, we have been doing our jobs, like the rest of Ghanaians and to the best of our abilities…

One would have thought that the government’s efforts to build houses for our people would be cheering news, but all that we hear are sneering snickers with almost every journalist nit-picking and questioning the integrity of the president and his vice. And now the whole project has been put in limbo. What exactly is wrong with you guys?

Oh, you are talking about the STX deal?

Ah, yes and yes, I am talking about it. Yes. What is wrong with our president doing his best, to put a roof over the heads of the men and women, who are doing their best to make sure that you and I and the rest sleep soundly at night? Tell me, what is wrong in that?

Nothing per se, but…

But what now? Why do you guys fail to give Mr. President kudos for his brilliant foresight, illuminating vision, enlightening …

You don’t have to apply all those big grammar; I get the gist of your meaning. But what is wrong in pointing out what we think is wrong with any government decision in general and that deal in particular? By doing our job diligently, we have managed to save our nation a gigantic embarrassment not to mention saving the future of our oil income…

Ah, you guys will never fail to surprise me. So, you common variety journalists think that you know better than our elected president and his illustrious vice and their patriotic officials? You guys think that our hard-working security personnel do not deserve decent housing?

Now, you’re being mischievous. Of course, our security personnel, like the rest of Ghanaians, deserve good accommodation. We support any effort to ameliorate the sufferings of Ghanaians especially in the housing department. Articulating their welfare is why we are in business…

Why then did you guys pilloried the President like he had committed high treason and had him withdraw the deal from parliament? I hope that you are all happy with your torpedoing the best deal our country had in a long time. Thanks to you, our security boys and girls will continue to live in pre-world war dilapidated bungalows.

I wonder why you are picking only on journalists. Very many people and interest groups opposed the deal for different reasons. One of them is that it violates the President’s proclamation to have an agenda for a better Ghana…

Are you saying that building modern houses for our security people violates the principles of a Better Ghana Agenda?

If only you will let me land before you’ll bury me. The President came into office singing the mantra of open government, transparency and all that. But the STX deal was wrapped in huge secrecy with only few initiates understanding what the whole thing is all about. Ghana is a practicing democracy, or so we are being told by those governing us, why shouldn’t we have input into a deal that involves some ten billion dollars loan…

But you guys could have let the parliament do its job without all your jabbering, blackmail and cacophonous noises.

Making noise happens to be part of our job, thank you very much. Are you not assuming that the parliamentarians will not slumber through it the way and manner they did during the Ghana Telecomm deal? Or don’t you think that they could have allowed themselves to be bribed as they were alleged to have done by one of their members? We got involved because the sum involved is so vast, the contract, at least from what we have been able to glean, is so convoluted that it should be subjected to more public and very open scrutiny. Why on earth should a private Korean company be demanding that we waive our sovereign rights to sue them if the deal sower? Why are they demanding that it should be treated with urgency by our parliament? Why should our government borrow money to give to Koreans to build houses for us; why doesn’t it borrow the money and give it to our local builders?

Ah, and you think that our local builders have the capacity to embark on such gigantic project

These are the types of arguments that keep us where we are today – at the bottom of the rung of the ladder.

What do you mean? We have to be realistic…

Realistic, ah! Your government came into power by promising to invest in Ghanaians. You won election on an agenda to build a better Ghana, how do we build a better Ghana by awarding the biggest contract in the history of our nation to a Korean company?
You see, the problem we have in this mighty country of ours is that people cannot discuss issue in realistic ways. Are you telling me that there exist in Ghana companies that could undertake such multi-billion dollars project?

South Korea was established in 1948, just nine years before we gained our own independence. Are you telling me that the Koreans came into this world with capacity to undertake multi-billion dollars projects…?

My friend, you are harping back to history. The fact on the ground today is that the Koreans have mastered the engineering challenges of building truly gigantic projects, and we are getting full value for our money. The government negotiated very prudent deal for this country. And what we have are arm-chair busy-bodies like you bad-mouthing the great efforts our officials put into the negotiation. Do you think that you are more patriotic than the vice-president who did the negotiation and got us such juicy deals?

I made no such claims, but the problems as we also see it from our perspectives is that our elected officials seem to take every criticism as challenges on their integrity. I have no doubt about the VeePee’s noble intentions or personal integrity. The unanswered question remains when are we going to build capacities when we keep calling on foreigners to do things for us? No one was born with capacity to undertake multi-dollar billion dollars contract; everybody learned in his own way. The Koreans won’t have built their own capacity if they have relied on the Japanese or the Americans to do everything for them. If we do not support our own builders, who will?
You failed to understand we truly live in a globalized world and that the world is a very, inter-connected village. Ghanaian firms have won contracts in Angola and in Chad among other places.

That’s where you got it wrong, sir. Ghanaian firms won control in those countries that you mentioned, but the government of those countries didn’t have to go into sovereign debt on their behalf. The countries you mentioned also didn’t have to mortgage their future and pledged the future of their resources

Who is mortgaging the future of our resources?

The available reports indicate that the contract with STX calls for the government to make fiduciary pledges involving the future of Ghana’s oil. It isn’t right that the government should pledge what does not belong to it…

To whom does it belong, then?

It rightly belongs to the people…

And who are the representatives of the people if not their elected government
That’s another thing that’s very troubling about governance in Africa. Our governments across the board seem to have this colonial attitude towards their own people. Why should the government pledge the people’s resources without informing the people?

But the deal was put before the parliament, where it was going to be robustly debated and voted upon before you guys pounced on it. Are you suggesting that the parliament does not represent the people?

You are veering off target, my friend.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Here we go again

We are a nation where anything and everything goes. We are a nation where laws, rules, and regulations are seen as mere suggestions. We are a nation of macho men and women. We are nation where lucid, logical reasoning are not required in debates -- verbal abuse and fisticuffs will do very nicely, thank you!

We are a nation where supposed leaders lack the decent, elementary courtesy to treat one another with respect.

It is not for us to rouse our passions to do something to improve our material well being. We would rather spend our time arguing over inanities than on thinking about some of the problems confronting us.

Of course, those ruling us understand our psychology only too well. That explains the reason why they would rather spend good money to send people to go and watch a useless football jamboree in South Africa whose outcome has long been decided.

The rain has come and killed our people and devastated our land. Of course, our president will visit the sites, he will condole the bereaved. We will wax hot and cold on the airwaves. The newspaper will, for the next few days at least, be filled with nothing but stories of the tragedy -- sorry, the stories will compete with our ongoing football struggle in South Africa.

I say that in this age and time, it is time we see our situation as an affront to human dignity. We deserve a lot better. It is time we citizens stop accepting the low life we are living.

Whichever way we throw it around, there is an acute failure of leadership in Africa and I say that it is time we citizens start to get more involved in how we are governed. Many of those ruling us certainly have no business in national leadership. It is time we design better parameters about how we allow ourselves to be governed.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Licensed To Rip Us Off

If you want to understand how the elites play their not-so-clever games on us, get and listen to another Fela's song titled Government Magic.

There are ministries created to ensure that our children are well taken care of; that they go to school where they are supposed to be fed, and given uniforms free of charge.

Of course, the ministries are manned (womanned?) by people who receive fat paychecks; people who get official cars, houses, allowances, and other appurtenances that go with high offices in Africa. Yet, our children still toil in great hardship selling every junk from Asia, Europe, and America in the hot sun.

And no one cares a hoot. Our president has been reported to pay unannounced visits to some institutions, but he couldn't have failed to see young children who are supposed to be in school hawking on our streets. Why hasn't he queried the minister responsible for youth? What exactly is our policy to take children off the streets and put them in school? Is the policy being implemented? If not, why not?

How do we manage to produce in Africa officials whose consciences have been totally deadened? How do we manage to get people into offices that do not care about anything apart from their fat paychecks and the goodies they receive from the state -- not forgetting the bribes they collect? Are our Ministers too blind to see those children wasting away on our streets? Are the officials in their offices also blind? How could they, in good conscience, collect salaries at the end of every month for jobs they have not done?

If it is said that a people deserve the type of government they have, maybe it is time we citizens share the blame for our current state of impoverishment.

We believe that our civic duties begin and end on election day when we line up to cast our ballots. After which we retreat into our shells only to complain about hardships in the comfy of our bedrooms and our favourite drinking spot.

Most of us believe that the writers that take it upon themselves to catalogue our shortcomings are busybodies, too-knows with more time on their hands than they know what to do with.

That is the only reason we can adduce for our officials treating us with the impunity they have mastered over the years. That is the only reason our politicians make promises they know that they will never keep. That explains why our president can appoint ministers who are totally clueless about what to do. Ok, they are Team B. But even a Team B would be occasionally inspired to show some promising moves.


Ghana’s fanciful employment figures

“There are lies, damned lies and statistics” – Mark Twain

For all the noble efforts of successive governments, the population of the Republic of Ghana remains guesswork, estimate ranges from 20 to 26 million people.

More than few eyebrows were raised when a Minister in the government’s propaganda outfit, Ministry of Information (those in opposition think of it as more of dis-or mis- information), claimed that the one plus year old President Mills government has succeeded in creating one point six million – yep, 1.6m, jobs.

Whilst government mouthpieces went to town to trumpet this apparently unprecedented achievement, those opposing the government scoffed and use some very uncharitable and (unprintable here) words.

Many arm-chair psychologists, who knew about such things, opined that the young minister had imbibed too much from the potent brew common in his part of the country. Many are those who blamed it on his youthful exuberance that comes with childlike eagerness to please authority figure.

To get the low down on things, I went to the ministry at the Ministries area of Accra and spoke with the government Chief Spin Doctor.

“By taming the almost embarrassing joblessness problem, your government certainly deserves a huge applause.”

“Thank you, my brother. I wish more of our citizens show the same patriotic zeal like you. You see, governments all over the world are peopled by human beings like you and I. We also need to be appreciated. We don’t mind to be criticized when we erred, but we should also be praised when we get things right.”

“But one million, sorry one point six million, jobs created within one year, that is hugely impressive. That means you have managed to put about seven percent of our people to work (depending on whose figure we are using). And all within the first year of your administration! That certainly deserves huge kudos.”

“It is not as hard as people thought. The problem here is that our people are so used to governments not performing. They are so used to politicians not keeping election promises that they have become totally cynical…”

“Do you blame them?”

“No, no, it is not a matter of blaming them. We are not in the blame-game business, not at all. I was just explaining that because past governments have failed to deliver does not mean that the Mills Team will also fail. Mr. President is a man of integrity who keeps his words. Don’t forget that he’s also an upright Christian.”

“What is that supposed to mean? I don’t remember that the last time Ghana had a Muslim or a Traditionalist as president.”

“No, no! There are Christians and then there are Christians.”

“Let’s not get into intractable religious arguments, what is the population of Ghana?”


“How many people do we have in Ghana?”

“Why, you are directing your question to the wrong person. I am the PR Chief here and not the government statistician.”


“Yes! I don’t see the relevance of the question.”

“The relevance is that many people I talked with have problem with the figure you released about job creation. Most of them are of the opinion that a nation that does not even know its population cannot make any credible statistical pronouncements.”

“Put that down to the skepticism our people have developed over the years. Not that I’d say that I blame them. Years of unkempt promises by our leaders have deadened our people’s perception of what good governance is all about. Team Mills is set to change all that.”

“With all due respect, sir, we are not in the soap-box here. You haven’t answered the question of how we could know the figures of job created when we do not even know how many we really are.”

“Why should that be so daunting, my friend? It is simple arithmetic, really! My three year old daughter should be able to add it up.”

“Oh, three year old counting to 1.6 million, she might yet make the Guinness Book of Records. That’s just by the way, sir. What figures would your three year old daughter be adding together to get that grand sum of one point six million people put into employment by your government?”

“And with due respect, I must say that I find these inquisition rather juvenile. It is a just simple matter of tabulating the figures provided by all the agencies, organizations, companies and other bodies with which the government has had dealings since the inception of our administration.”

“And they came up with the figure of one point six million created jobs?”

“That and more. You see, the government is focused, very focused on our agenda of creating a Better Ghana. We do not allow the antics of our detractors to shift our attention.”

“Wow! Do you mean to tell me that you have created more than one point six million jobs?”

“We are talking about ancillary and other stuffs. Surely the grand total will be magnificently higher. We deserve great kudos rather than all these endless inquisitions by our political enemies.”

“I am sorry you felt that way, but most Ghanaians find such figures simply fantastic. They also wonder why such massive job creation is not reflected in diminished number of young people braving traffic accidents in scorching sun to sell bric and bracs from Europe, Asia and America. We also do not see any industrial or manufacturing factories employing any tangible number of Ghanaians. And one point six million people earning and spending will also reflect positively on the income, and we are simply not seeing that. Are we not talking phantom figures, sir?”

“You see how people continuously lump apple and oranges together to get pine-apples! Have you ever considered the simple fact many of those young people you see selling on the streets might also have a second or even a third job, and that selling on the street is just supplemental to their main job or jobs?”


“Don’t look so skeptical, my friend, it is known to have happened?”


“Yes, yes sir! I can tell you as a matter of fact that I was doing three jobs during my student days in Britain. I was a cleaner in the morning, transformed into a factory worker in the afternoon and at night yours truly was morphed into a security man and in between winks I had to study for my exams. And please don’t let us talk about doing oral presentation on ancient grannies who have lost all their marbles.”

“Hmm… Why do I have the feeling that you are flying off a tangent. Ghana is not Britain; the question remains what evidence do you have to support your assertion that over a million jobs have been created by your government?”

“Why do I have the feeling that you came here with pre-conceived ideas and that you are simply not prepared to listen? Ask yourself how many infrastructural projects are presently ongoing in the country and how many hard-working Ghanaians are engaged there. You can also strain yourself a bit to find out how many roads are been constructed; don’t imagine that Martians are doing the jobs there either. And certainly it is bona-fide Ghanaians who are engaged in the gigantic rural electrification projects that are taking place across the land. How about the revamped agricultural sector, how many Ghanaians are engaged in striving to provide the foods that adorn our tables…”

“I thought that most of the foods we eat are imports. Rice from Thailand, unwholesome chicken and turkey stuffs from Holland, mad-cow parts from Britain, swine feet from Brazil, tomato paste from Italy…”

“Don’t be such a killjoy, sir. Do you know how many tractors this government has procured for our farmers?”

“I am afraid that I do not have the figure.”

“You see! If only people will do a little original research. And why do people always forget that our beloved county will soon join the league of oil producing country?”
“How does that add to the figure about job creation when it is said that only few jobs will be actually created in the oil sector?”

“Said by whom?”

“Oil exploration and exploitation is a very specialized field and it requires specialists few of whom are Ghanaians…”

“But are you not forgetting about the support staff, cooks, gardeners, houseboys and you don’t expect all the oil workers to hit town with their wives, they certainly will need…”

“Are you really counting prostitution among the your supposedly created jobs?”

“Why are you looking so aghast? What’s so odious about it?”

“You cannot be serious, sir! Counting Ghanaian prostitutes among your much touted job creation figures!”

“So what if those drilling our oil find our women beautiful, comely and are prepare to engage their services? What on earth is wrong with that? Or are you suggesting that our neighbours should be allowed to collar that lucrative segment of the down-stream part of the oil industry?”

“I rest my case.”

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb