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.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Another African ‘liberation’ day

To those among us celebrating 'ALD,' I say sorry for playing the Killjoy! This was written few years ago.

“How good and pleasant it would be
Before God and man
to see the unification of Africa…
Africa Unite, unite for the benefit of your children.”
– Bob Marley

Another May 25th is upon us. And African leaders are girding their loins to celebrate another day marking Africa’s liberation. Our leaders are going to be attired in their best to do what they do best: make boring, tendentious proclamations.

Our leaders are going to make the same pious statement they have been making since the dawn of time. They are going to pontificate. They are going to vociferate. They are going to berate. They are going to cajole. They are going to blow hot steam, making the same dreadfully nauseating statements they ritually every year.

Let us make a blanket condemnation here: All African leaders, safe for Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, are complete sell-outs. They are without exception agent of the neo-colonial powers. They are all puppets of the globalizers. They are leaders who are leading their people to nowhere except deeper in to the clutches of the vultures of the IMF and the World bank.

Among the dictionary definitions of ‘liberation’ is to ‘set free.’

Let’s be honest, have we really been set free in Africa? Maybe the physical chains of slavery and colonialism have been removed from our necks, ankles wrists but what about our minds?

Not only do we not feed ourselves with our own foods, we also do not clothe ourselves in garments of our design. And what idea do we consume in Africa today that belongs to us? In the name of globalization, we have taken to foreign ideas the ways dogs take to bones. Neither the political system we practice nor the economic systems we have are indigenous. And sadly, those mis-ruling us continue to appear baffled when the badly-understood foreign ideas failed to work.

Let u stake the neo-colonial economic system we practice as an example. It shouldn’t require too much intelligence to know that a situation whereby buyers dictate the prices to producers will only result in a dependency. Those with the power to dictate will forever super ordinate themselves on those that allow themselves to be so dominated.

In a recent interview, former President John Kufuor, admitted that he fought tooth and nail to secure a ten percent (yes 10%) share for Ghana in the oil deals. It say so much about how thoroughly comprised Ghana has become when there were no angry protests to greet this rather insulting revelation.

Imagine the situation whereby someone will have the temerity to offer you a ten percent stake in something that should, as of right belong to you!

Our ex-president did not only pat himself on the back for a good job done, he managed to craft for himself a special gold medal. In addition he got a ludicrous ex-gratia package. Today he is up there as an African elder statesman, dispensing wise counsels.

Apologists of the rotten system will argue that the investors bring their money and their technology.

Me I say that that they still offer to us these neo-colonial jazz shows the great contempt they still have for us.

Those who offer these types of jejune arguments should take the time off to go the depleted gold mines at Dunkwa on Offin, Prestea and the diamond mines at Akwatia and other places.

No one told us what percentage the government of Ghana collected for the exploitation of our gold and diamond, but given the sorry state of our economy, it couldn’t have amounted to much. Today the mines are depleted and we are left with devastated environment.

Today, the vultures are after our oil wealth and they are offering us the same stupid arguments of investment and transfer of technology! And we continue to believe them!
What technology did those that mined our gold and diamond transferred that is today useful to us?

The chains have been removed from our necks; it now hangs firmly on our minds.
“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steve Bantu Biko.

Sadly, it was a Ghanaian that wrote the seminal work on neo-colonialism. It was the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, who in his “Neo-colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism,’ wrote the definitive work on the insidiousness of imperialism, which unlike colonialism, relies more heavily on subterfuge than direct physical confrontation.
Today African presidents behave more and more like rentiers acting on behalf of the imperialist countries. The colonial powers can sit comfortably at their capitals rest assured that their hirelings in power in Africa will ensure that the neo-colonial status quo will be maintained at all cost. And Africans continue to be the losers.

Any African who spends a stint of time in Europe will only be left wondering if our leaders in Africa are not truly totally infirmed.

He or she will question what the attraction Europe continues to hold for our rulers in Africa. For some very strange reasons African leaders continue to be enamoured by Euro-America. They continue to believe the stupid lies that the West has the interest of Africa at heart. They continue to delude themselves that the West has hoarded some serious money they are going to give to Africa as soon as we fulfill some conditionalities.

Three decades of listening to the same stupid, darned lies have not dampened Africa leader’s enthusiasm to be fooled? How on earth can any intelligent person continue to think that the US is coming to bail him out of some economic mess?

For crying out loud, Uncle Sam itself is groaning under a debt burden that will soon hit the 13 trillion dollars mark. The US is a bankrupt (I didn’t say virtual) country kept afloat by Asians loans. It is an Emperor that continues to trots around even when all the cloths are long gone.

With the possible of Germany, the whole of Europe is in deep economic shit (what other word to use here?). Greece spectacularly exploded (or did it implode?). Spain and Portugal are set to follow. Britain is living, literally, on borrowed time. The empire is sinking under gargantuan debt burden.

Let’s throw some statistics around:

“More than 13 million people in the UK live in poverty – that’s one in five of the population. Many people can't afford essential clothing, or to heat their homes. Children go to school hungry, or to bed without enough food. It's not just outrageous – it's unnecessary. With enough public pressure for change – and enough political will – our politicians can put this right.”

“The Campaign to End Child Poverty says 5.5 million children are in families that are classed as "struggling" - 98% of children in some areas. The campaign classes households as being in poverty if they are living on under £10 per person per day.”

Britain is a country that is staggering under a debt of some £1.2 trillion. “These are 10 deeply frightening facts on British DEBT:

1. Britain’s total personal debt now stands at a quite frankly unimaginable figure of £1.39 trillion ( many zeros is that?).

2. Collectively we pay out £93 billion (slightly less zeros) a year in interest on loans, credit cards, overdrafts and mortgages.

3. The average household owes £56,234 including mortgages and is paying over £3,700 in interest each year. (If you take this down to an individual level, each adult owes more than £29,000).

4. Nearly a quarter of the population feel their current level of debt is unmanageable.

5. 10,000 people are predicted to go insolvent each month in 2008.

6. The average twenty-something has debts of more than £6,000 with an additional overdraft of £1,500.

7. Brits borrow on average twice as much as their European counterparts on unsecured debts.

8. For the 11.8 million households with a mortgage, their average outstanding mortage stands just shy of £100,000 at £99,690

9. Two-thirds of twenty-somethings aren’t paying into a pension, with nearly 40% saying this is because they simply can’t afford to

10. Britain’s personal debt is increasing by £1 million every 4 minutes (… now surely that's frightened you).”

A classic neo-colonial state is one that does not repose confidence in its own people. The rulers have been badly mis-educated to think that salvation will come from colonial masters. These leaders have been totally stripped of any resemblance of self-confidence. They not only believe intrinsically in their own inferiority, they have been taught and conditioned to believe that they are incapable of self-redemption.

Let’s give specific examples.

What reason, what logic informed Africa’s lack of capacity to feed itself? Ok, many parts of Africa is arid and capitalist’s mindless over-exploitation of natural resources have thrown the world’s weather out of sync, but there is no earthly reason why a country like our dear Ghana should ever go into debt to buy expired European poultry products or Thai rice.

And year in year out, our leaders continue to bemoan our spending about US$600 million to import rice which until few years ago was not among our staple. Today, our so-called businessmen make good money importing pork feet from all over the world
A glance at our streets will only reveal the terrible neo-colonial status of our beloved republic. How on earth did we end up becoming the dumping ground for Euro-America and Arab junks? Who in our ports approved the clearing of the junks that we see on our street corners – disused fridges, ancient radios, kaput computers and, gasp aloud, old newspapers!

Many things we do that bring joys to the faces of our rulers are precisely the things that should make us shed tears for our nation. Next time you see the amount of security we provide for the vans transporting the bullion from our gold mines to the airports to overseas refineries, shed a tear for mother Ghana.

We used to be known as the Gold Coast; today the gold mines are almost depleted. Our officials have not come out to tell us how much we earned from the gold deposits. And over the years, our officials with their neo-colonial mind-sets did not deem it fit to set a refinery in our dear land. Not only would a refinery add good value to our gold, we would have benefited from the technology of refining gold that we could be earning good money even when the gold deposits are long gone.

Of course, the inimitable Osagyefo established a gold refinery and, of course, those were among the first thing the brain-dead coupists, instigated by the CIA, cancelled on their usurpation of power.

Today, our gold is almost gone, we have not benefitted in any tangible way from the sales of raw gold and we have not developed any marketable technology that could have aided us.

Like a child, we seem to have learn nothing from our debacle in the gold industry. If the imperialists, in their infinite kindness, offered us a ten-percent share in our oil wealth, our response should have been ‘thanks, but no thanks.

In the article, “The Descent of the Vultures,” I wrote, inter alia, “Let’s now turn to something very interesting that happened recently in Nigeria that should be taken very seriously by Ghanaian energy policy makers.

The Nigerian newspaper, NEXT, of November 24, 2009 carried a report on the earful the Nigerian Minister of Information, Mrs. Dora Akinyuli, got from the Venezuelan Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Enrique Fernando Arrundell, when she appealed to the envoy to help woo his country’s investors to come and help develop Nigeria’s oil sector.
Taking his cue from his into-your-face bluntness of his president and brushing aside diplomatic niceties, Mr. Arrundell told the Nigerian Minister some very bitter home truth: “In Venezuela, since 1999, we’ve never had a raise in fuel price. We only pay $1.02 to fill the tank. What I pay for with N12, 000 here (Nigeria), in Venezuela I’ll pay N400. What is happening is simple. Our President (Hugo Chavez) decided one day to control the industry, because it belongs to the Venezuelans. If you don’t control the industry, your development will be in the hands of the foreigners. You have to have your own country. The oil is your country’s. Sorry I am telling you this. I am giving you the experience of Venezuela. We have 12 refineries in the United States, 18,000 gas stations in the West Coast. All we are doing is in the hands of the Venezuelans.”

The envoy continued: “Before 1999, we had three or four foreign companies working with us. That time they were taking 80 per cent, and giving us 20. Now, we have 90 per cent, and giving them 10. But now, we have 22 companies working with us in that condition. It is the Venezuelan condition. You know why? It is because 60 per cent of the income goes to social programmes. That’s why we have 22,000 medical doctors assisting the people in the community. The people don’t go to the hospital; doctors go to their houses. This is because the money is handled by the Venezuelans. How come Nigeria that has more technical manpower than Venezuela, with 150 million people, and very intellectual people all around, not been able to get it right? The question is: If you are not handling your resources, how are you going to handle the country?
The envoy rounded up by saying: “So, it is important that Nigeria takes control of her resources. We have no illiterate people. We have over 17 new universities totally free. I graduated from the university without paying one cent, and take three meals every day, because we have the resources. We want the resources of the Nigerian people for the Nigerians. It is enough! It is enough, Minister!”

Luckily for us in Ghana, we have the experience of other nations (Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea among them) to guide us. Whether or not we decide to learn from these experiences is left for us. Thankfully, we now also have some insight about what other people (Venezuelans under Hugo Chavez) have done with their god-given resources.”

In another piece I canvassed that our leaders should publish any agreement they sign on behalf of the republic. We live in a democracy which is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, why then should agreements be shrouded in secrecy?

Whenever I read in our papers how police bosses are arresting gun-smiths in our villages, I never fail to realize how far down in the neo-colonial road we have travelled.

Had John Moses Browning the famous American inventor of firearms been a Ghanaian, he would have rotten in jail thanks to our neo-colonial mentality which punishes inventions and manufacture fifty years after we hoisted our so-called independence flag. Among Mr. Browning better known inventions was the Colt .45-caliber M1911 pistol, a semiautomatic popular handgun that was the standard sidearm for U.S. military personnel until the early 1980s.

The American government supported Mr. Browning with patents and contracts to supply the US Armed forces. That was a government that encourages innovations, inventions and manufacturing. That was a government that knew a great deal when it sees one.
There are many John Brownings in our Ashanti and Volta regions who will never become rich or famous. They will continually live in fear of persecution by our neo-colonial government which continues to spend substantial amount of scarce income on importing arms and ammunition instead of encouraging our local artisans to perfect their trade.
If it made magnificent sense to the colonialists to ban our people from weapons manufacturing, what informed our own government logic to dissuade our own people from doing it?

OK, Ok, weapons and ammunitions are dangerous, blah, blah, blah. But we are spending our own money to buy them when produced by other people.

It is not only capitalist American that knows how to take care of its own. Mikhail Kalashnikov was a Russian who designed the world famous reliable AK-47 rifle that bears his name, and is beloved by armies all over the world. If He had been born Ghanaian, police harassment would have sent Mr. Kalashnikov to early grave.

Today, Mr. Kalashnikov invention is among the best known Russian export. Vodka, the distilled liquor is another great Russian export what enjoys government support.

The colonialists, to protect British distillers, banned our people from distilling their own drink. Our folks nicknamed their liquor ‘akpeteshi’ (literally hide to drink) and continue to manufacture it illicitly. Fifty years after our so-called independence, those leading us lack the vision to make akpeteshi into a lucrative brand which, given its folkoric history, should be an easy thing to do. We have departments of chemistry at our universities which should have been charged with perfecting the distillation of our akpeteshi to bring it up to world standard. The one million or so Ghanaians living outside our shores would have provide very ready market for their home brew.

Many of our traditional medicines also required to be soaked in liquor; another niche market!

In Gomoa Mpota, a village close to our national capital, Accra lives a man whose technological prowess can rival that of either Mr. Browning r Mr. Kalashnikov. Yours truly has visited the technological village Apostle Kwado Safo has built and I can attest to some of the truly wonderful things full-blooded Ghanaians are building there.

Instead of getting encouragement, our western educated elite, well versed in theoretical knowledge that is totally bereft of any practicality continue to sniff at the man and his inventions.

Let these robed academics with all their fanciful Ph.ds tell us what innovations of theirs is currently making life easier for any Ghanaian. Of course, they know all the theories, but the colonial education stuffed into their brains have made them totally USELESS to their societies.

The role of education is to enable a community to use its resources to improve its well-being. But in neo-colonial setups, this role has been reversed: education exists only to produce elite who are totally alienated from their societies and has absolutely no interest in furthering the interests of their community.

What do our intellectuals do apart from parroting the same nauseating lies their masters in Europe and America are concocting?

There are more than twenty universities in Ghana today, why hasn’t anyone of them take the time to study how we could use say, the cocoa tree, to its full potentials. Why is it beyond them to let their students research the coconut or the palm oil trees? How do we benefit from the useless Term Papers they are forcing their students to produce every term?

How dare we claim to be liberated when nothing on our land belong to us? Apart from Robert Mugabe, may the gods continue to protect him; none of our leaders in Africa is making any meaningful effort to ensure that African tangibly benefitted from their resources. Alas, the imperialists have demonized the old African patriot without his brother presidents lifting a finger in his defense.

Africa shall be liberated only when Africans have totally liberated their minds.

As Prophet Bob Marley wailed: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves could free our minds.”

“How can you be sitting there
Telling me that you care
That you care
When every time I look around, the people suffer, people suffer
In great suffering?” –
Bob Marley

Helping Apostle Kwado Safo

“Colo mentality e be sey, dem don release you now, but you never release yourself.” – Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” Bob Marley

“All emancipation is from within. That is to say, real emancipation. As a man thinketh so is he.” Marcus Mosiah Garvey

In the article, “Another African Liberation Day,” I wrote, among other things, “Had John Moses Browning the famous American inventor of firearms been a Ghanaian, he would have rotten in jail thanks to our neo-colonial mentality which punishes inventions and manufacture fifty years after we hoisted our so-called independence flag. Among Mr. Browning better known inventions was the Colt .45-caliber M1911 pistol, a semiautomatic popular handgun that was the standard sidearm for U.S. military personnel until the early 1980s.

The American government supported Mr. Browning with patents and contracts to supply the US Armed forces. That was a government that encourages innovations, inventions and manufacturing. That was a government that knew a great deal when it sees one.
There are many John Brownings in our Ashanti and Volta regions who will never become rich or famous. They will continually live in fear of persecution by our neo-colonial government which continues to spend substantial amount of scarce income on importing arms and ammunition instead of encouraging our local artisans to perfect their trade.
If it made magnificent sense to the colonialists to ban our people from weapons manufacturing, what informed our own government logic to dissuade our own people from doing it?

OK, Ok, weapons and ammunitions are dangerous, blah, blah, blah. But we are spending our own money to buy them when produced by other people.

It is not only capitalist American that knows how to take care of its own. Mikhail Kalashnikov was a Russian who designed the world famous and reliable AK-47 rifle that bears his name, and is beloved by armies all over the world. If He had been born Ghanaian, police harassment would have sent Mr. Kalashnikov to early grave.

Today, Mr. Kalashnikov invention is among the best known Russian export. Vodka, the distilled liquor is another great Russian export what enjoys government support.

The colonialists, to protect British distillers, banned our people from distilling their own drink. Our folks nicknamed their liquor ‘akpeteshi’ (literally hide to drink) and continue to manufacture it illicitly.

Fifty years after our so-called independence, those leading us lack the vision to make akpeteshi into a lucrative brand which, given its folkoric history, should be an easy thing to do. We have departments of chemistry at our universities which should have been charged with perfecting the distillation of our akpeteshi to bring it up to world standard. The one million or so Ghanaians living outside our shores would have provide very ready market for their home brew.

Many of our traditional medicines also required to be soaked in liquor; another niche market!

In Gomoa Mpota, a village close to our national capital, Accra lives a man whose technological prowess can rival that of either Mr. Browning or Mr. Kalashnikov. Yours truly has visited the technological village Apostle Kwado Safo has built and I can attest to some of the truly wonderful things full-blooded Ghanaians are building there.

Instead of getting encouragement, our western educated elite, well versed in theoretical knowledge that is totally bereft of any practicality continue to sniff at the man and his inventions.

Let these robed academics with all their fanciful Ph.ds tell us what innovations of theirs is currently making life easier for any Ghanaian. Of course, they know all the theories, but the colonial education stuffed into their brains have made them totally USELESS to their societies.

India got its independence in 1947, just ten years before our beloved Ghana. But while India is today counted among the up-coming world powers, we have sunk lower into an abyss.

Sixty three years after gaining her independence, India is a global technological powerhouse with expertise that cut right across the whole spectrum of science and technology.

Indian scientists have successfully launched satellites; they have built inter-continental ballistic missile. Indian software engineers are the best in the world. And India’s pharmaceutical prowess is globally recognized.

Today, India is a first rate military, political and economic power and the country is far ahead of her former colonial master, Great (?) Britain.

Fifty years after we gained our own independence, our newspapers are still full of news of whether or not we should ban the importation of used underwear! Our media are still busy debating whether or not it was right to ban the importation of unwholesome turkey products! We still cannot raise the level of political discussion beyond bandying insults and calling one another zoological names!

Fifty three years after we regained our freedom, we are still begging our ex-slavers and colonialists for economic aid.

It is galling sometimes to see how unserious we really are in this country. How on earth do we want the rest of the world to look at us when the major news in our land is whether or not we should be adorning ourselves with discarded cloths from Euro-America! Wherein lies our sense of shame when our men can come on TV and proclaim to the world that they like their wives to wear second-hand panties and bras?

At Independence, the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru advised his people to go naked if they are not capable of making their own cloths. He also told his people to trek if they cannot build their own cars.

For years, Indian leaders wore made-in-Indian dresses the most famous of what is known as the Nehru Jacket. And until few years ago, Indian officials including the Prime Minister drove around town in funny looking cars made in their country.
We are, of course, familiar with the material condition of the father of the Indian nation, Ghandhi, who made medieval monks looked positively decadent.

The post-independence leaders in India believed in themselves and, above all, they believed in their country. They reposed confidence in their own people and believed in carrying them along in their quest for nation-building. They knew that their country was once great before the perfidious albinos came to colonized them. They also knew that they could brush off the yoke off colonialism and redefine themselves. They dedicated themselves to reconstructing their lives that were shattered by the colonialists.

Post-independence Indian leaders did not begin political life by looking at their country the way a general look at a conquered territory whose wealth must be looted with haste. They didn’t award themselves fantabulous salaries and emoluments to world cripple their nation’s economy. They didn’t go for foreign loans to build a presidential palace. They didn’t allocate give themselves fantastic loans to buy four-wheel jeeps.

With the exception of the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, we have had no leader who believed in himself or in his capacity to be an agent of positive change in transforming Ghana for the better. And the truth be told, no Ghanaian leader since Nkrumah have put the interest of the common people of Ghana far above his comfort. His enemies might deride him all they could, but the man simply did not steal Ghanaian money for his personal use. And no leader has since him come out with any blueprint on how the national development agenda can be moved forward.

Sadly since his demise, we have been saddled with so-called leaders who continue to treat their own country like a conquered territory whose paltry wealth must be looted with abandon. None of them have a clue on how to move the nation forward.

Our last president went all the way to India to borrow money in order to build a presidential palace. A better investment would have been to borrow the money, invest it to build (like I suggested) a rail link from Accra to Kasoa and use the generated income to build whatever palace we fancy. Today the palace, a white elephant project if you ask me, is sitting there not fully used whilst they tell us that more money (to be borrowed) is needed to upgrade it to presidential levels!

Is it not time we ask ourselves if we are really serious at all?

At the end of the day, our ex-president pat himself on the back for a job well done, crafted for himself a golden chain to go with a national honor he conferred n himself – a la Emperor Bokassa. To crown it all, he had his cronies award him an ex-gratia that would have brought tears of joy to the face of an Arabian potentate.

I say that it is time we start to express strong outrage about the way and manner our so-called leaders in Africa continue to mess up our lives. Whilst the pictures of starving Africans continue to adorn UN pamphlets on hunger, our leaders are among the fattest cows around. While many Gabonese are starving, their new insane ruler reportedly splashed over a US$100 million to buy a mansion in France.

Instead of using our god-given resources to feed and clothe us and use them to develop our economies, our leaders continue to connive with multinationals who continue to loot these resources at thieving prices.

Could it really be true that the contract the former government signed gave oil companies the right to export our CRUDE OIL for twenty years while our own refinery will rely on imported crude? We should demand urgent answer to this very pertinent question.

Let no one fool us about any market economy nonsense, no economy has ever been developed without strong state support or intervention.

It was an American President (Truman) who said that the business of government is business. It is only in Ghana, nay Africa, where we are daft enough to believe the lies the apostles of globalization are peddling about a mirage called Market Forces.
The truth of the matter is that governments all over the world have always intervened to support national economies. It is only in Ghana that we allow our economy to go waste in the name of market forces. When the Financial tsunami hit the West, we see western governments pressing their printing presses into overdrive in order to shore up their failing banks. We are told that they are too big to fail!

In the aforementioned piece, I mentioned Kalashnikov and Browning as inventors that were helped by their governments. I say that the government of Ghana should do the same for the Apostle at Mpota.

Apostle Kwado Safo, no matter what we think of his religion or his tribe or his politics is a strategic national asset and should be treated as such.

It is time we realize how far behind we are in relation to other societies. It is also time we start to do the concrete things that would allow us to join the rest of humanity in mastering science and technology. The foremost issue in the world today is technology. It is those who master it that are controlling the world today as they will also control the future. The simple truth is that we are doomed if we fail to join the rest of the world.

We can dance all we want because oil has been discovered in our shores. But verily, verily I say, unless we master the technology of exploration, extraction, refining and the logistics of distribution, we are going to be nothing more than bit players.
Already, our ex-president (mentioned above) has revealed that he signed a contract that will give us an insulting 10% of our oil wealth. It means that those who came with their machines to extract our oil will garner a whopping 90% of the revenue.
And we say that slavery and colonialism is over!

Specifically, the government should begin by contracting the Apostle as a Consultant to the Ministry of Science and Technology. Scientific and technological innovations are not pushed by book-long, jacket and tie theoreticians esconded in cozy, air-conditioned offices.

Bill Gates built his Microsoft Corp. into the world’s largest technological company without earning a college degree. Microsoft’s rival. Apple Inc. was founded by two undergrads that tinkered in a garage.

Our Apostle is at Gomoa Mpota building cars and electronic gadgets, and I say the least we can do is for the government to come and make him part of a national committee of science and technology. If there is none, one should be created immediately with the remit to give us a roadmap on how we want to participate in the world of science and technology.

It is said that failure to plan is akin to planning to fail. Our founding president recognized this when he started with his Five-Year plans. If we want to start building bicycles in Ghana, we have to start planning how to go about it.

Luckily the Apostle has already proven that he is a doer. I do not have a figure on how much we spend yearly on buying vehicles for our military and para-military organizations. But with a good plan and strong government support there is no reason why within five years these organizations should not be equipped with Made-in-Ghana vehicles. If we put our minds to it, there is no reason why our children should not be riding Made-in-Ghana bicycles to school within two to three years. The multiplier effect will resound throughout our economy.

It is time we reconnect to our past and remember that we were doing things before the slavers and the colonialists dastardly intrusion into our lives.

Our ancestors built the pyramids in Sudan and Egypt; they built the stone cathedras in Ethiopia; they built Great Zimbabwe. I direct readers to get the new BBC series on The Lost Kingdoms of Africa – a very insightful documentary about the proud legacy our forebears left for us.

The future they say belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. I say that it is time we in Ghana/Africa also start to dream big.

The naysayers who ask where we are going to get the money from to do all these things should ask themselves where those who did it yesterday and those that are doing it today got their own money from. No one came to the world with a pesewa; everything was created here.

It is time we start crafting out own future. That would only be possible when we compel our leaders to give us vision and direction and to try and live at the same level they set for the rest of us.

Rawlings is getting his comeuppance

Any doubt that there is deep, very deep division within Ghana’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) party was finally dispelled, when the party’s founder and former Ghana’s President JJ Rawlings upped the ante in his incessant criticism of current President John Atta Mills.

What the former president called the sitting president was ‘Konongo Kaya,’ a very offensive term that means someone who cannot do something, but is preventing others from doing it.

The place was Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region and the occasion was the commemoration of the June 4 (a pivotal date in Ghana’s political history) revolution that propelled the then Flight Lieutenant Rawlings to national and international prominence and the iconic place he enjoys today in Ghana’s icononography.

Actually this was not the first time the pugilistic Rawlings have fired heavy artillery in the direction of his former protégé and deputy. He had on one occasion lambasted Mills’ Ministers as ‘greedy bastards,’ who would not have gotten away with the whiff of corruption that surrounds many of them when he Ghana’s Maximum Ruler.
Rawlings expression: ‘Who born dog?’ has since entered Ghana’s political lexicon.

Now we have the NDC Young Turks replying the once sacrosanct Rawlings in kind. This ought not to have happen had President Rawlings been heeding the advices from people like yours truly.

Few years ago, I wrote a piece where I advised the ex-president on how to curb his verbal utterances. For the benefit of those that missed the article, ‘When an elder loses his head,’ I am republishing it hereunder. Enjoy.

“There is no medicine to cure hatred.” – African proverb

One of the things I cherished most in life is the strict disciplined upbringing that I received from both my parents. My father was almost martial in his self-discipline (he never ate outside his house); my mother was less austere, but she did her best. I learnt a lot from my parents for which I am eternally grateful.

And among the things African I cherished the most is our reverence for old age. Disrespecting an elder is a big taboo that is heavily frowned upon. In our culture, one’s material station in life has nothing to do with this veneration of old age, hence the saying that a child might have more cloths than the elder, but he can never have more rags. You might have all the new Ghana cedis fighting in your pocket, but you’ll be considered uncultured, even boorish, if you should show disrespect to someone older than you.

Imaging my shock and awe when I got to Europe in my early twenties and saw children ARGUING (they call it discussing) with their parents. And horror of horrors, some children were actually calling their parents by their first names! I have to explain to my son that it’s quite unacceptable for him to call my brothers (his uncles) by their names without the ‘uncle’ prefix. It’s simply not done in my culture and he certainly would look like a cultural philistine were I to take him to my village and he start calling his uncles by their first names!

Throughout my stay in Europe I never got used to the idea of sitting comfortably in a public transport when there were people older than I standing up. Many find my behaviour peculiar and pretty old fashioned, but I simply couldn’t bring myself up to start behaving outside my cultural space. And whenever I travel in any of our metal contraptions, I still relinquish my seat whenever an elderly person enters and couldn’t find a seat.

In Africa we revere old age maybe because we hope and pray to get into old age. But like in everything else, our elders evolved a strict check and balances to ensure that things properly balanced out.

Old age carries with it great responsibilities. An elder must comport himself (sorry I am not being sexist here) at all times. He has more responsibilities in ensuring that his conducts, including utterances, are ALWAYS measured and that they are above board and above reproach. An elder speaks guardedly; he dances with more caution and he does not eat with both hands (metaphorically speaking). As leaders, they are expected to show great good examples. That may be the reason why our Chiefs do not speak except through interpreters.

So what happens when an elder violates these age-old norms? What happens when the Chief becomes the village machoman and start to exhibit bolekaja (come down and let’s fight antics)?

Unlike the free-for-all ‘freedom’ we think that we are enjoying today, our elders do not believe in unfettered freedom, and they certainly do not believe that a society needs liberty without its concomitant responsibilities. An African proverb says that it is the elder that decided to ease himself by the roadside that calls for people to come and look at his buttocks.

Ex-President J. J. Rawlings utterances at a press conference early this month and his subsequent speeches left me a bitterly disappointed man.

I am both sad and disappointed that a man that I greatly admired and respected should decide to jump into the gutter with his critics and perceived enemies. What baffled me the most is: what made him do it?

Those who have been reading my pieces will readily agree that I hold no brief for President Kuffuor and his party and government which I consider too close to the imperialists for my comfort. And their slash and burn, Jurassic economic policies aches me badly. And readers will attest to the fact that I have always refrained from personal attacks and insults. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not going to start with President Rawlings!

In an exchange of missives with the editor of the London-based New African magazine, Baffour Ankomah, last year, I opined that Ghanaians appear to be unappreciative of the tremendous changes that President Rawlings brought into their lives.

In my opinion (IMO), with the exception of the incomparable Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, no other Ghanaian leader has performed better that J.J. President Kufuor has done his best in terms of physical development, but the moral turpitude of government makes it score very low on my card.

I told Baffour that given his intellectual limitations, J.J. did his best and performed rather credibly. In the pantheon of Ghanaian leaders, President Rawlings is eclipsed only by the Osagyego, but we shouldn’t forget that Nkrumah was among the foremost intellectual of all times.

“He who hates, hates himself.” – African proverb

I know that many people will be shaking their heads in dismay, and some are probably reaching for cudgels and things, but I only ask that we remember the rot our beloved land was before J.J. came in. No matter how passionate we are about our political convictions, historical facts are simply historical facts which we simply cannot wish away. No matter how hard one tries, one cannot argue away the simple fact that President Rawlings left Ghana in better shape than he met it. That, IMO, should be the yardstick with which we judge those that rule us.

I don’t know about you, but I very clearly remember a pre-J.J .’s Ghana when people were breaking bones in order to buy agbelemo. I remember a Ghana where shops are TOTALLY empty. I remember a bankrupt and totally corrupt Ghana where citizens were despondent, and were massively voting with their feet. It was a Ghana where citizens residing in Nigeria and other lands were sustaining families with packages of Geisha sardines, toothpastes, soap and other hard-to-get consumables. It was a Ghana that was held in utter contempt by the rest of the world.

Many are minds that will point to alleged violations of rights and other things; I do not wish to wish their agonies away. But the only certain lesson we learn from political history is that there is no nation that didn’t go through a baptism of fire in its quest for nationhood. Correct me if I am wrong, please.

The Albinos enslaved and colonized us; today our ruling elite consider them their best of pals. Mayhap it’s time we Africans start to ask ourselves why we are ever so eager to forgive strangers who abused and brutalized us while we are willing to carry the grudges of the slightest slight from our own kind for ages.

No dispassionate analyst can wish away President Rawlings immense contribution to the democracy we all enjoy today. We may shout and cry about the shortcomings we see around us, but the fact remain that many of our institutions are the envy of our brothers and sisters across the continent. OK, we get blackout now and then, but go and ask the Burkinabes or the Nigerians. Those who complain about the dirt in Accra only need to take a trip to Lagos. Our electoral system is adjudged to be among the best in the world.

As I have often written on these pages, no society evolved by man is devoid of its earthly problem. This has been my biggest gripe with those wretched Albinos who leave their tiny, roaches-infested Council flats and come to Africa to pretend that they just landed from ‘alujanahs.’ Sorry for the digression.

What, on earth, then informed a former President to come out firing from all cylinders? I once opined that it is the sad duty of a writer to catalogue the woes of his society. Do ex leaders also have the same obligation? I think not for the simple reason that while many can become angry writer of vitriolic polemics, very few of us will ever occupy the Presidency of our land. That’s what makes the Presidency of any nation so special and so awesome! The American presidency have been occupied by men of the shadiest characters, the moronic George Bush being the latest in the sad parade of amoral President to occupy the White House; yet Americans continue to revere the office of their leader. It shouldn’t be different in our dear land.

If your mouth turns into a knife, it will cut off your lips.” – African proverb.

It saddens me greatly whenever I see the only living ex-president of this country being made the object of crude and not so funny jokes. I feel much diminished whenever I see the ex President of my land been rendered in unsophisticated and not altogether flattering caricature.

I don’t know who President Rawlings advisers were, but in the last few occasions I feel that he has been badly served. Those who get paid to manage his PR should hang their heads in shame as they have woefully failed to do their job properly. In computer jargon, they all ought to be totally DEBUGGED! How on earth could they have so badly misjudged the mood in the country? And the timing, God have mercy!

For Christ sake, there is going to be a general election in a few months and any right-thinking person knows that there are many ‘floating’ voters hanging all over the place. What could have caused our ex leader such aggravation that he couldn’t see the incalculable damage he’s doing to the party that he founded? It could be true that he’s not the Professor Mill’s best of pals, but could Mr. Rawlings be so hateful as to want to shoot his lips in order to spite his tongue?

Dear President Rawlings, I do not know what your minders are doing, but I feel concerned enough to tell you that they are ill-serving you. Please, do not make the life of people like me who hold you in the highest esteem unnecessarily more difficult than it is. I hate it when I see you slinging verbal mud with all and sundry. The office of the President which you have been privileged to occupy is an exalted one, and we would all be diminished if it is to be desecrated by those who take it upon themselves to trade insults with you.

You are a man of undoubted charisma, but the simple truth is that there is no way you can win a slinging match with a newspaper editor if he chooses to go to the gutter with you. Our elders say that the man who pelts another man with pebble is asking for rocks in return. My counsel to you, for whatever it’s worth, is to please simmer down and drink from the fountain of peace. The era of demagogy is finally and truly over in our land; try Pedagogy for a change.

Let me stop here with another advice from our elders: the Wiseman is like a nail; his head keeps him from going too far.

Post mortem: Every patriotic of Ghana should be concerned about the inner wranglings in the ruling party. No, it has nothing to do with whether or not we support one faction or the other. Self-interest makes it imperative for us to show our concerns. As the party entrusted with running the affairs of our nation, it is our concern to know what is going on.

President Mills is a human being and according to biologists the first concern of any organism is self-preservation. Whatever he professes Professor Mills is a politician, period. He cannot pretend not to be concerned about his re-election. This concern will, of course, translate into ensuring that he uses some of his time on tackling the problems besetting his party. He knows that he cannot launch a new party and hope to win the next election. It is also inconceivable that he will join the NPP or any other party. So, he‘s stuck with his NDC party. Given the formidable opposition of the Rawlingses (they won quite a sizable chunk of the party executive posts contested at Tamale), they cannot be discounted.

All these mean that our president will be a very worried man, indeed. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that any time our president spends on intra-party squabbling is time that could have been put into productive use in solving some of the problems facing our nation.

This precisely is the President Mills Dilemma.

How did President Mills got himself into this fine mess? It’s difficult to imagine President Rawlings or even President Kufuor facing the same problem in their party. Unlike President Mills, both men do not come across as one whose authority is open to questioning. Methinks that is the hallmark of a true leader.

Leaving the Young Turks (Rawlings ‘greedy bastards’) in his party to fight his battle for him also portray the president as a coward.

So what are the options open to him? Methinks that he should come out boldly and confront the problem head-on. He should let one and all know where he stood on any of the issues confronting his leadership style and the way forward for the party. He has the whole authority of his office to back him up; it is time he uses it. These are not the times to be meek; these are occasions for decisiveness.

It is said that if you do not stand for something, you will fall for everything. As things stood, no one knows where our president stood. He needs to come out candidly and forcefully to declare his stand. Anything less would not jell.

Alas, I am not his advisor!

Wise saying:

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