Business in Ghana

We Understand the issues that make the News

Critical News, 18th October, 2010

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 18, 2010

By Sydney Casely-Hayford,

I took a break to re-group.  I have been back home now for a year this December and I wonder whether we can really change Ghana.  The politicians are our worst nightmare.  Then last week, Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa started to describe he and others in the Mills Government as “the political elite”.  This is at the time when school re-opening has become a complete mess.  If you have followed the news closely, you know that the NDC Government decided to revert to a 3-year term for the SHS period after the NPP had changed it to 4 years during their term.  Wonder Madilo writes a very good piece on this.  But what has happened this past week is just appalling.  First year students have no beds to sleep on, no desks, no chairs.  Government promised with gusto that they would have everything in place before the school term starts.  Now the Ghana Education Service has advised the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS) to charge a Ghc100-300 fee for all new admissions and convert other facilities to dormitories while the government gets its act together.  But I heard all the advice for the dos and don’ts of 3-year to 4-year as far back as March this year.  Much ado was made about previous decisions by the NPP government and in the end it all came down to a manifesto decision by the NDC and therefore they changed the law.  Now we have a major mess on our hands.  Sorry! The NDC has a major mess on its hands.  This should be a political game-changing event.  If the NDC comes out of this and wins in 2012 we have to do a lot of analysing.

Nana Baafi Darkwa was freed.  He suggested that the Rawlings family had set their own home on fire. He was charged for causing fear and panic.  This past week, the court found it fit to let him off the hook because the prosecution was yet to file a case.  Then the police tried to re-arrest him outside the court.  No basis!  He is lucky, he has a smart lawyer.  But this is all crazy and lazy legal practice.  The AG still says they will bring charges against him.  Don’t hold your breath.  The police were ready to arrest him on “orders from above”.  Time to say BS!!

University Teachers are on strike because they are owed some backlog in allowances.  Government says they don’t have the money to pay, but they had agreed to pay on a negotiated scale.  After waiting long enough, UTAG says enough is enough.  President Mills meets with UTAG and promptly sets up a 7-person committee to look at the grievances.  I love UTAG.  They simply said pay us!  Why on earth should we have a committee to look at paying lecturers their allowances?  There is Fair Wages Commission, Labour Commission and arbitration clauses between Government and Unions.  The committee members have to be paid every day they meet.  As my ageing, now very wise mother says, “it is all about drinking more “tea””.  UTAG is still out and with a lot of support from the students.  Oh! POTAG, Polytechnic Teachers Association Ghana is also on strike.  Same issue.  Salaries, allowances and conditions of service.

Why do we have governments who negotiate contracts with vendors and contractors and then do not pay them?  Re-Group!

Late in the week, traders and hawkers migrated to downtown Accra to sell more on the streets.  Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s fight is a tough one.  The AMA task force, in an attempt to enforce the law, ended up stabbing one of the traders and vice versa with a stone to someone’s head.  Both victims are in intensive care, not clear whether they will both survive.  Might we have a murder charge on our hands?  Thinking back, we are still waiting for the prosecution of the Agbogbloshie market murders.  Remember?

Still, President Mills is not known as the real President of Ghana.  A small girl (name withheld) caused a major furor when asked who was the President of Ghana, said “Nana Akufo Addo”.  Now the prophets say that God works through children and that this must be taken as a prophetic statement.  So panic sets in and now we have to hang President Mills’ portrait in every public place.  Except we do not have a definition of what makes a public place.  On air we were told that even the Accra Mall must hang the Prof’s portrait.

Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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