Eating cake and all that Jazz

Posted by By at 15 July, at 06 : 50 AM Print

Eating cake and all that Jazz
Eating cake and all that Jazz

(a reply to Minister Fifi Kwetey)

 

ghana presidential jet

ghana presidential jet

One of the things I like about the Mahama presidency is the way the President seems to have tamed his Ministers from making unnecessary noises.

Unlike his immediate predecessor, President John Mahama appears to be running a disciplined ship.

The president’s calm demeanor is another thing that makes him endearing to yours truly. It is good to have a leader who appear to be in full control of himself and those he appointed to assist him.

By taming uncouth and garrulous officials who believe that the act of governance is all about making noises and showing disrespect to all and sundry, President Mahama earned kudos from yours truly.

Under his predecessor, Ministers appear to do little but spent inordinate time in radio and TV studios to deafen our ears with pure noises/nonsense.

Yours truly had occasions to lament in this column where on earth the Ministers find the time daily to make obstreperous noises.

Sadly, under President Mills we didn’t see our paid Ministers doing what they were paid to do. How can they when all that they do was to use the expensive, gas-guzzling jeeps we bought for them to hop from one media house to another, talking gibberish and defending the indefensible?

Rather than sit down in their offices to think and design policies, Ministers become little more than cheap propagandists, even when they have full-fledged PR departments in their ministries.

Under President Mills, infantile youngsters, who have never accomplish anything in their lives, make it a habit to insult people who have made it all in life; people old enough to be their fathers or even grandfathers.

One of these babies with sharp teeth (apologies to President Rawlings) even threatened to show the leader of the largest opposition leader in the country where ‘power lies.’

These young philistines forget that power is transient and that no condition in life is permanent.

Today, the once all-might loquacious mouthpiece has been sidelined. He has been reduced to organizing a remembrance for the anniversary of his departed boss.

If only people will read and learn.

For reasons best known to him, the good professor rewarded these uncultured, ill-disciplined urchins with ministerial and other juicy appointments.

Of course, this emboldened the young ruffians further and encouraged others to join the rank of those that sought to make good living from pouring venom on people, whose only crime was to express their opinions on how [their] country was governed.

As though all the Ministerial thuggery we witnessed were not enough, another department quietly evolved manned by wanna-be-Goebbels.

These lads (haven’t seen a lady among them, yet) called themselves ‘Government Communicators.’

These are mainly political jobbers and other useless ragamuffins with no tangible employable skills or prospects, who formed themselves into a propaganda outfit to churn out useless information they think will persuade us that the government is doing a great job.

I have commented in this column that the work of the Government Communicators’ team will be totally unnecessary if the government does the right thing.

We are not blind, deaf or dumb and we can see good things when they happen. If government is performing well, we will feel the effects in our lives.

It is grossly insulting for some people to come and tell me how good the government is doing. It is even dis-respectful to my intelligence.

Just when we start to breathe sigh of relief for being spare the noxious and nauseating nonsensical effusions from our over-compensated and ill-performing Ministers, came the obnoxious Fifi Kwetey with an ill-thought out insult designed to rub us the wrong way.

According to a Myjoyonline news: “Minister of state in charge of Allied and Financial Institutions, Fifi Kwetey, says Ghanaians cannot expect investments in critical sectors of the economy, without its attendant needs for more taxes and more borrowing. Simply put, Ghanaians cannot eat their cake and have it.

He was speaking on Newsfile Saturday, July 13, 2013 in a discussion in which the importance of the 2012 budget deficit was brought into sharp focus.

The deficit according to the Bank of Ghana was estimated at 8.7billion Ghana cedis and amounted to 12.1% of GDP using the re-based GDP numbers. It is said to be the highest recorded budget deficit in Ghana’s history.

But Fifi Kwetey explained that the high deficit recorded in 2012 was because the NDC government “needed to do what we needed to do politically”.

He suggested that among the things that needed to be done was not to raise petroleum prices. He said the political reality was that no government has raised petroleum prices in an election year.

“When in an election year did you hear any government increase petroleum prices?” he challenged.

He argued that government also needed to pay huge wages under the Single Spine Salary regime.

He said when it comes to this reality, political parties whether NPP or NDC cannot continue to “play to the gallery” because both parties have had the opportunity to govern this country.

He chided both the NPP and the NDC for politicizing economic issues, a practice he termed “the politics of affordability”. He counsels that this political culture must give way to a new kind of politics.

After dealing with the two major political parties, he had words of the Ghanaian public.

He charged that Ghanaians cannot expect government to provide good roads and provide important social amenities without raising taxes or borrowing to fund these initiatives.

Ghanaians need to dump this mindset that “everything must be cheap”, the minister of a social democratic NDC explained. He said Ghanaians should not complain when taxes are increased to fund important expenditure.

“This situation, where it is created that everything must be cheap, government cannot tax meanwhile the people expect more expenditure, they expect roads, they expect better wages, we must come to that reality across the political reality that listen; you cannot eat your cake and have it”, the minister sermonized.

http://politics.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201307/109398.php

Come again, Fifi, what cake do you talk about?

It is one thing for a government to be wrangling with problems of its own creation, it is another thing for members of that government to come out to insult our collective intelligence.

With idealess people like Fifi as members, no wonder the government appears to be totally out of its depth! Little wonder that we have three ministers (or is it four – see here: http://www.ghanaembassy.nl/index.php/about-ghana/ghana-at-a-glance/39-deputy-ministers-of-states.html ) at the ministry of agriculture and still import chicken legs and pork feet and tomato puree and sugar and rice and…

With vapid men like Fifi ruling us, little wonder that we have three ministers at the ministry of education, but continue to use the same chew and our system and the same syllabus the British left behind almost sixty years ago.

Government has over the years increased taxes with the excuses that it is necessary to improve our situation. They have slapped taxes on almost everything we consume, save the air, with the explanation that it was necessary to improve our infrastructure. The current government has increased our debt stock to astronomical levels with the plea that it was necessary to build up the economy.

Of course, all these are baloneys. They are outright lies. Our infrastructures remain in parlous state – exemplified by the poor condition of the road linking our two biggest cities – Accra and Kumasi.

Except to government communicators and the most purblind among us, our economy is in the direst of straits with the cost of living literally killing our people.

Service providers have been allowed to milk us dry with the excuse that they needed increase revenue to deliver quality services.

Of course, this has not happened.

To give just one good example, everyone that lived in Ghana will recall that February 2013 was the worst in terms of dumso dumso. In that month I hardly had a single day of uninterrupted electricity. But that was the same month I received the biggest bill from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

It is the same ECG that continues to lavish extravagant pay on its top cats: “Head of Department for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), takes home mouthwatering GHC232,593.00 per annum.” – http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=277540.

This is the same company whose retiring boss was said to have purchased an ultra-expensive car: “The managing director was supposed to have retired last October. Also he is being accused of being a visionless leader who had bought ¢850 million car for his comfort at time the company needed money to improve on its customers’ service.” – http://www.modernghana.com/news/77545/1/ecg-boss-buys-850m-car-ahead-of-retirement.html

And Minister Fifi had the cheek to come and talk to me about eating cake and having it.

What cake, Mr. Fifi?

No, Fifi, it is the inability of those of you in authority to partake in the sharing of the pains you inflicted on the citizens that is the main problem.

Perhaps your education is deficient, but a little of research will show you that Ghanaians have done nothing but make sacrifices for the nation.

Countless time, we have been called upon to tighten our belts to help our country; we did so with little murmur. Even when our elite joined the IMF and the World Bank to impose crippling austerity measure on us, we took it in good stride.

In all these instances, our elite continue to spew statistical nonsense about how well they are taking care of the economy, and how they shall soon land us in the Promised Land.

And in all the occasions that they have called upon us to make sacrifices, our elite has never deemed it fit to partake in the hardship they imposed. Not even once have our elite cut their salaries and emoluments in solidarity with our anguish. We do not see them joining us to tighten belts.

Au contrarie. They continue to increase their own pay and their jeeps keep getting bigger and bigger.

To add insult to our injuries, after spectacularly messing up our lives and bankrupting our economy, the elite will line up to collect their ex-gratia, as though we owe them a dammed thing.

And one of them will stand up to tell us that we cannot have our cake after eating it.

Mr. Fifi will do well to remember that his party has ruled Ghana far longer than any other political party.

He and party therefore cannot and should not shirk the responsibility of accepting full blame for all the mess we see around us today.

Readers will also remember that this column has consistently say that until we in Africa will never see the light until we can compel our rulers to live on the same poverty level they set for the rest of us.

Fifi, you and the rest of the elite should try and show some patriotism, for once. In the supreme interest of mother Ghana, reduce your salaries, cut back on the freebies you get from the state, change your expensive jeeps to cheaper cars, reduce the presidential cavalcade, sell off the presidential jets, and reduce the leakages in government expenditures.

No, we do not ask for the moon; all these measures have been adopted by governments elsewhere that sought to empathise with their people.

If you do any of these things, you will have the moral right to give lectures.

Until then, you can just continue to enjoy your undeserved perks and shut the hell up.

Eating cake, indeed!

 

About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

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Africa: It shall be well: https://goo.gl/KIMcIm

 

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Comradely,

Femi Akomolafe

 

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