The STX deal and other jazz

Posted by By at 30 July, at 15 : 00 PM Print

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.

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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Femi Akomolafe




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