Ghana Inc. Disarray in High Places

Posted by By at 4 July, at 13 : 53 PM Print

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Ghana Inc. Disarray in High Places

kasoa slum

We shall repeat what we often write in this column: It is no longer anger, but huge sadness we feel about the current sad state of affairs in the republic.

It is like watching life slowly ebb out of a loved one, but powerless to do anything to help.

It cannot be said that some of us did not put in our best efforts, but those charged with managing the nation’s affairs seem hell-bent to pursue agenda that is propelling the country into an abyss.

It is no longer news that while these misrulers make sure that they enjoy every modern amenity money can buy, many citizens go through life in conditions that are unfit for farm animals in many countries.

Few days ago, the IMF came out to tell us what we already know: Ghana is bankrupt.

In few days, we shall mark Republic Day, yet our misrulers has ran economy to the ground, so much so that we cannot, repeat cannot, make any decision affecting our economic development without obtaining approval from the IMF.

Almost sixty years after our ostensible independence, we have lost the sovereign rights to set our own agendas.

Yes, many of us continue to do our best. We continue to hope against hope. To keep our sanity, we reach out and talk with some patriotic, highly-intelligent and passionate citizens. They also share our views and our anguish. For all of us that are committed, it is sad really to watch as a once promising country slowly careens into a gorge, with those in authorities totally clueless to do a thing. The nation is strapped down with unbearable debt burden. Prices of goods skyrocket daily. Electricity is in short supply. There appear to be no direction in the affairs of state.

On several occasions, we have engaged Elder Statesman KB Asante, a former diplomat and aide to Founding President Kwame Nkrumah, in discussions. A committed Ghanaian/Africanist par excellence, the Oldman still glow as he speak about the country and the continent. Rather than sit at home and enjoy his well-deserved retirement, Mr. Asante continue to write, to go on radio programmes, to share with us his rich experience. Best of all, he continue to find the time to meet and speak with as many of us as would listen. He continues to be animated about what is happening to the country that he and so many others toiled so hard to build.

In one of our discussions, Mr. Asante told the story of how Civil Servants attached to the Presidency in Nkrumah’s time came to start working on Sundays. He said one day, he noticed that President Nkrumah had been coming to work on Sundays. The president will summoned aides when he needed them. He said that when he and his colleagues noticed this, they joined their boss and started putting in on Sundays, until it became just the normal thing. No one asked for overtime pay. He narrated that so high was the patriotic zeal in those days that citizens will do anything to help in the nation-building effort. They were all fired by the president’s enthusiasm to build an African nation that will be the source of pride to every African everywhere.

Another Ghanaian from whom we derive great inspiration is another Nkrumahist, Engineer Robert Woode, the owner of the Acapulco Center in Madina. Mr. Woode has an infectious passion to see Ghana join the rank of developed nations like yesterday. This brilliant Engineer always seem like a man possessed whenever he discusses the affairs of his beloved Ghana. He always seem so sad at what we are doing wrong in the Energy Sector. What agitates his mind most is the belief that our sleeping in darkness is ungodly, totally unnecessary and is due only to ineptitude on the part of our misrulers. The man just cannot understand why our rulers could decide to inflict such unnecessary pains on us. Like a man that knows his subject thoroughly, Engineer Woode easily reels off figures to back his claim that Ghanaians possess enough resources to solve the problem of inadequate electricity within six months. It was from this brilliant Engineer, who has built Power Generating Stations all over Africa, that we learned that since Ghana is just three degrees away from the Equator, we ought to be able to obtain the cheapest energy possible with very little effort. “We are surrounded by energy,” is his refrain.

Professor Lloyd Amoah is another Ghanaian with whom we engage frequently on Social Media. To this brilliant Singapore-trained technocrat, the whole problem of Ghana/Africa underdevelopment is due to ‘ideational deficiency.’

These three gentlemen are among the very brilliant and patriotic Ghanaians we regularly consult and interact with to discuss the sad state of affairs in the country.

Like us, they are also baffled by the sheer incompetence and ineptitude that characterize governance in Ghana/Africa.

Many thanks to them for continuing to labour hard, and to have hope that we shall somehow get it right.

We have often maintain that the presidency of a nation is too important to be left at the hands of anything but the best the country has to offer. The sheer incompetence we see at the presidency is a source of deep worry. It is like those at the helm do not appreciate the position they hold or the enormity of the task before them. All we see are ad-hoc measures with no apparent long-term planning of any sort.

We hope that we are not the only citizens concerned enough to ask what exactly is going on when we consider some recent happenings at the apex of the Ghanaian government. It is like those at the helm of our national affairs have lost their bearing. The ship of state is clearly adrift, rudderless, with no navigation and obviously without a purpose.

It could be possible that President Mahama has a vision for the country, but it surely is one which he has never shared with the country. For a touted Communicator, Ghana’s CEO has never properly articulated the dream he has for his country. Our president has stubbornly refused to move from the Gear one in which he got stuck since his inauguration. He has refused to dazzle us with the brilliance of the architecture of his vision.

The President forgotten Speech: We all applauded when during the last election, Candidate Mahama whipped out his iPad and looked modish. Women fainted, men panted as we all cried: “Wow, here is a thoroughly modern man. Young and exciting and technologically-savvy. He is our Man.”

Candidate Mahama’s Techno-savvy posture makes his main opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo, looks positively antediluvian in contrast.

What then are we to make of President Mahama addressing a Summit of Heads of State with parts of his speech missing?

Party and government hacks tried to spin it, but whichever way we throw it, it reflects very badly on the nation when the president fumbled so badly in front of his colleagues. What did Mr. President do on his ride to the venue if he didn’t go through with the notes of the speech he was supposed to deliver? When was the last time Mr. President checked his notes? Why didn’t he use a Teleprompter or even his iPad? What happened to the aide(s) that failed to do their job and subjected the entire nation to such public ridicule?

Honourable Hannah Tetteh spat with the Vice President: Although persistent rumour has it that the Vice President is not in the good books of the president’s men, and has been sidelined and made redundant, government and party officials have done their best to deny that there is bad blood between high officials in the government.

Ghana was treated to the ridiculous spectacle of a government that does not appear to have a firm grip on its own affairs.

Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh was given a speech to read on behalf of the president. The hard-working, no nonsense and ultra-efficient (I personally can attest to her efficiency) lady duly obliged. Lo and behold, enters the Vice President at the same occasion. Protocol was thrown into utter confusion.

Several questions arose from this uber faux pas. Were the president and his deputy not on speaking term? Is there no coordinating between the nations’ first two gentlemen? Is the president unaware of the itinerary of his vice and vice versa? Was the president not aware that his deputy will attend the meeting before he gave his speech to the Foreign Minister to read on his behalf?

Ministers checking fuel stations: On June 3, 2015, the country witnessed the worst natural calamity in its history when a flood and fire accident killed over two hundred citizens. It was believed that the fire that burned the Goil Filling station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and incinerated over a hundred citizens was caused by a leaking pump. Investigations revealed that several filling stations also have pipes that leak copiously. Attendants use bowls to collect these leakages

Few days later, the sector minister was seen running around inspecting filling stations and threatening fire and brimstone.

Question: Why do we in Africa always wait for disasters to strike before we are galvanize to do what we receive good salaries to do? Why didn’t our over-compensated officials take their time to put in place long-lasting policies?

All that they need to do if they had taken their time to craft good policies is us to monitor and appraise.

The trouble with these types of fire-brigade approach to governance is that it simply does not last long. Maybe it is time we send our officials to GIMPA to learn the ABC of Management and Public Administration.

Accra Mayor versus Finance Minister: To accentuate the obvious disarray in high places, the Mayor of Accra and the Minister for Finance had a go at each other over money that was supposed to have been budgeted to fight flood in the nation’s capital.

Concerned citizens circulated the frontpage of the 10 March 2012 edition of the nation’s premier newspaper, Daily Graphic. The headline reads, “Ghana Gets $795m To Reconstruct Accra Drains, Western Rail links,” and it shows the picture of the late President Mills with a foreign envoy.

Ebola Vaccine Fiasco: It baffles greatly and it boggles the mind that we have highly qualified officials who just cannot get things right.

Our health officials might have meant well with their plan to run a vaccination programme on Ebola, but the inept way they went about it led concerned and not-fully-informed citizens to vociferate loudly against it, that it has to be cancelled – apparently at great cost to the nation.

What would it have cost our officials to embark on proper advocacy and good public relations exercise to make sure that citizens are fully brought up to date on what the exercise was about?

How did our officials come up with the hare-brained idea that offering a cellphone and 200 cedis to citizens is enough to allay fear over a dreaded disease like Ebola?

Since they failed to do the correct thing, our officials must take the full blame for the Ebola fiasco. They cannot blame citizens for asking why they (officials) did not run the test on themselves and their families if the vaccine are as innocuous and safe as they proclaimed.

Kasoa Accra road cutoff: Ten days after the June 3 national disaster, the capital was cut off from the Western corridor of Central and Western Regions.

Readers might recall that we have written that the Aflao to Elubo road forms part of the ECOWAS Transnational Road Network. Every vehicle that enters the country by road is surcharged a tax that was meant to be use to maintain this international road. And to boost revenue, officials erected a Toll Booth at the Tuba junction on the outskirt of Kasoa. Every passing non-government vehicle is made to pay a toll. Citizens were led to believe that the toll was necessary to boost the revenue of the Highway Authority, to be use to maintain the road

There is a hill at Machigeni which used to belong to the Ghana Broadcast Corporation (GBC), hence the name given to the place, Broadcasting. Few years ago, the whole lot was sold off and parceled out to private investors. The investors put up mighty mansions. That would be bad enough in itself, but for some very strange reasons, stone and sand weaners started excavating sand and stones from a side of the hill. The part they choose happens to be the one that directly face the highway and the Weija Lake. They have dug deeply into the hill. Many of the nice houses built on the hill tops now hang precariously.

The situation we have at the Machigeni area now is that whenever there is a downpour, erosions wash tons of mud onto the highway, blocking the international road, stranding passengers and cutting the nation’s capital off from the nation’s most important region, Western.

Ok, we are not champions when it comes to planning ahead. But why did we all remain blind to the fact that some things will happen and that we need to look and plan ahead?


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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