By Shmuel Ja’Mba Abm
Certainly, every patriot should abhor every bit of corruption in public service, even though it is nursed from our communities. But the attempt to direct this thrust of corruption burden on the shoulders of a particular people, a set of politicians (instead of politicians and public and civil servants) is the revulsion. The disgust of bigotry makes the claims morbid.
It is not as if one is running to shield a corrupt public officeholder. Rather, this attempt of wholesale branding of the government of H.E. John Mahama as corrupt is a political leverage to woo an already gullible society on critical national issues spoiling the broth of our multi-party democracy. This, asit turns out, is eventually meant tocrowd out the agenda of government in continuity and to deepen our democracy. Accusation of corruptionagainst government in power has turned into a political culture and identified as what finally buried workings to develop and build Ghana into a nation.
The President of Ghana, H.E. John DramaniMahama, for instance, has been emphatic with his policies to change the current structure of our national economy. He used it as a platform to address differentials that have caught up with our economy. Except one is playing the ostrich, or a classical cynic, this statement of giving it a final knell of death is welcome.
The fundamentals of Ghana’s economy were founded under British colonial rule, when it was then the Gold Coast. Much so, the economy of Ghanahas remained unchanged, since independence on March 6, 1957. Thus, basic infrastructure, such as the rail system, is a typical reminder of how the British Crown colonial rule was particular only about the extraction of mineral resources and other commodities for England under a guise of The Commonwealth. How common has been the wealth distribution to improve the livelihood of the colonies? The rail system has since remained the same without a relative improvement.
Also, Ghana’scivil service was a colonial tool to complement the business of taking as much as possible resources from the Gold Coast, Ghana today. That explains the poor quality of civil and public service attitude to work inherited. Besides, matching social infrastructure and utility services quality, such as schools, health facility, water, electricity, telephone penetration, etc.,which was in a deficit, when compared to developments in Britain at the time,elucidates this observation. The irony is that the government of the day was run from the British Crown.
Resource exploitation was of paramount interest to the benefit of Britain, in the judgement of British Governors who run Ghana at the time. The only time that separates such observation is the tenure of Sir Gordon Guggisberg. It was the only regime that saw massive investment in public and social services, particularly the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. It is one monumental edifice to his credit. Also, he built the Weija Water Project.
Until recently, banking in Ghana was also in the hands of the British. Virtually, the economy of Ghana was managed through compulsive selected imports through British and allied foreign businesses. This is confirmed, often, when big powers still lay claim of territories, when any former colony comes under civil unrest or terrorist attacks. The lingering hold on former colonies is for control of these economies. Ghana is a former British Colony.
Ghana’s economy has never been in the hands of Ghanaians. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown and murdered for his attempt to take the commanding heights of the economy. And his arch enemies are again scheming to do the same thing they did, when he was constructing the Akosombo Dam, establishing VALCO, building Tema Harbour, or establishing GIMPA, MDPI, Ghana Army, GNTC, GIHOC, Ghana Airways, The Blackstar Line, and many feats he achieved whilst in office.
Since Ghana became a Middle Income Country, the reflection of this country status is lost on the lifestyle of the people. The case is exacerbated with incremental levels of unemployment, lack of credit to facilitate development in entrepreneurial investments, and many more. The narrative can only change, in the direction of the policy embarked by President John Mahama.
President John Mahamachristened his economic programme Home-Grown Solutions. Indeed, a home-grown approach makes sense far from the 1928 Guggisberg Economy Structure. Snippets of his programme tell of producing sugar, salt, rice, cotton, starch, pharmaceuticals etc. in large quantities locally for local consumption and/or export, to stem an ever widening Balance of Payment deficit. In other words, it is the trend of import substitution. Much as it will check import-export relationship, it will address other domestic challenges, including unemployment, skills development, technology transfer, etc.
The opposition, mainly the NPP, is still stuck in a mould of invectiveness and glorification of indiscipline on the labour front as a complete example of incompetence of the government. Probably, the list would be incomplete without mentioning their sense of politics aboutWoyome, GYEEDA or SHUBA. One would have thought the path of multi-party democracy embarked in 1992 was to cross-breed ideas through cross-fertilisation of the political space made available to unleash multiples of energy in policy drive bursting in the seams from outside government. But the NPP will not budge.
We sat through a sullen period of Positive Change, Zero Tolerance on Corruption, Golden Age of Business, and Property Owning Democracy. It is the era that saw massive grab of public lands, demand for evidence when allegations of corruption are mentioned, the funny fall of Ghana Airways, the renovation of the President’s personal residence with public funds, the acquisition of Hotel ‘di waawaa’, and countless other such gross abuse of public office, when the NPP was in power.
A whopping 3.5% of Ghana’s share of exploits of Jubilee Oilfields at the time was dished out under mysterious circumstances to a certain E.O. Group. Under the same mysterious circumstances E.O. Group has sold its share in the Jubilee Oilfields, immediately the NDC won power. A painful reminder is how Ghana was turned into Cocaine Coast. It was so embarrassing such that cocaine under police vault and CCTV surveillance got missing. In the same embarrassing circumstances, a vessel, MV Benjamin went missing on high seas with large quantities of cocaine on board.
It is time to pick the pieces; and make Ghana work again, especially when it is not easy to talk on national issues without being branded as either NPP or NDC. This is as if Ghana must cease to exist for this divisiveness to eat everyone up! It is time to stop gutting the country with fires, arsonists! Public servants, media practitioners, businesses and clergymen with sympathy only towards the opposition and not Ghana First, should lay down their tools and go into mainstream politics to prove their point!
It is sickening and wearying as a country to continue to live with thisKorle Bu and POTAG push-pull attitude. The list includes the tragedy of defending suspected criminals such as was with the Tobincoexpired drugs import case, Kesben money laundering, and Amoateng’s return home from US jail. People hide behind all thatto trigger Apollo 568 pronouncements.By doing such and other unscrupulous things at post in public institutions certain individuals are hailed by the opposition as heroes; fully aware that should Ghana crumble, it falls on the head of everyone.
Ghana can work again, if we wish it by acting in every capacity to realise this dream. It will be wrong to pray for the NDC administration to fail, so the NPP wins election 2016. Or think genuinely that President John Mahama and the assembly of great brains in the NDC are that clueless.
How can it happen that by fate all those who belong to the NDC have no inkling of good governance, rule of law, or respect for human rights? And by that same twist of fate, the best brains ever created are all assembled in the NPP? Wow! What a fantasy!
Ghana can work. In reality, every plotted graph will never rise forever. Every curve peaks at one instant, and falls somehow sometime; no matter what. That is reality check! Except in paradise, every human activity on earth has its ups and downs, else the economy of Japan had no way of ever staggering, or Germany’s ever faltering. The rise of China is another strong indicator.
Where are those proclaiming they believe in Ghana? And, where are those chanting that Ghana will work, again? Or these can only happen, when they only have the reigns to power? That assertion is a farce! And a pure lie! Each from his or her corner with dedication, honesty, devotion, commitment, desire, discipline, determination, persistence, perseverance, sacrifice, patriotism, can affect the future of this beautiful country positively, starting now.
The contrary is what is dragging away the efforts of the few. It can be likened to a principle in thermodynamics. It says, the hotness of a body has the propensity to change the coldness of a body in contact, through the exchange of their individual energies.Thus, if the energy required to bring about this transformation is not overly sufficient, it would be like throwing a cube of sugar into the ocean, thinking to affect the overall taste of it.
President John Mahama is both lucky and unlucky. He is lucky to leave a legacy parallel in its own category from the achievements scored by his predecessors. His investments are a clear indication of someone with passion to see Ghana work again.Atoabu Gas Processing Plant is another of this narrative.I doubt President John Mahama directs his appointees to rob the nation, or instructspublic officials to scheme to bring down his administration. It will also be suicidalfor him to appoint subordinates who are incompetent.
He is unlucky, because the period of the ebbing of the curve just occurred at his location in office. Again, he is lucky for taking the bull by the horn; so Ghana wins, and not the NDC or H.E. John Maham. Next time think Ghana, if you believe in Ghana.
It is a tall order, and a different era. What Roosevelt could do in his time, Obama cannot. Unless Obama has similarcharacteristics of ruthlessness found in Bush and Blaire. The current dispensation of world politics is cleaner and leaner, in respect of several well noted criticisms.
The promises of Ghana Gas should push discerning Ghanaians to believe that another major project of such stature has the magnitude to save the country similar pruning now perched at US$500min per annum, plus the supply of 75% of domestic gas needs.
Government should use this as a rule of thumb to generate investments programmed to increase revenue, instead of a drain. The tradition of government subvention to state corporations should cease forthwith. Of course, one does not expect, for instance, the Psychiatry Services to rake in profits.
But it makes much sense to expect VRA, COCOBOD, GBC, etc. to be sustainable public businesses in their own right. Ghana Rail can do it and build tracks to every corner of this country. Unless the rail sector receives adequate attention, cost of production in Ghana would continue to be very high. And Ghana would remain outside the competition of same imported goods.
Unbalanced development growth theory stipulates that sectors with promising returns be given priority to raise badly needed revenue to roll them over to other portfolios with slow returns. I bet, though capital intensive, it is also worth investing heavily in the extraction of salt, processing into chlorine and eventually coupling this to bauxite processes into alumina.
Given that Ghana will hit the target of 5,000 MW of electricity envisaged. It will certainly vindicate the IMF technical support so much decried. Going nuclear is no longer speculation as the country braces itself in readiness for deadlines and programmes of action. Already, thermal plants would soon be breathing a sigh of relief, with the Ghana Gas salvation foresight. But the Feed-in-Tariffs for thermal generation is still high.
Nuclear for power production is no longer an option, but an imperative. Nuclear energy for electric power generation will certainly produce the needed 12,000 MW electricity required for Ghana’s industrialisation realisation. Rail construction can no longer be reneged to the background. Salt mining and processing would bring the money.