Business in Ghana

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God Bless Our Homeland. Critical News, 21st September 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 21, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Before I get into anything meaty, let me just note that Kirk Koffi at the helm of the Volta River Authority does not have a clue what we expect from him. Last week I regurgitated a story where he said “dumsor” would be over within two weeks, putting the date by the end of this month. This week, we are going through the worst “dumsor” in a long time.

The Electricity Company cannot even give us a schedule of when power would be on or off, a pretty dismal state of affairs, which can only be described with a four-letter word.

I have no faith in what they are saying, I don’t believe any more that those tasked with solving our strategically important needs can do so. Water is intermittent, power is irrational and floods are predictably consistent with any volume of rain.

So Kirk, we don’t need you to come and lie like a politician. Tell us the truth and nothing but. Leave the false promises and permanent postponing of solutions to those who have acquired that specialist skill and give us a small ray of hope that at least our technocrats have some clue.

So. Today is Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday and designated Founder’s Day by the NDC Mills Government. I am by no means an Nkrumahist so the day is a good opportunity to read some history and reinforce my belief that Kwame rolled back any gains he bequeathed to Ghana when he turned on our constitution and created a constitutional dictatorship, which he built for his own purpose and self-propagation. And for the record, it should be a Founders Day.

The for and against arguments have raged in this country for decades, so we can agree to disagree.

But walking along the filthy and possibly contagious back routes in McCarthy Hill on Wednesday morning, I meet Kweku, whose chore to deliver a fufu stick to a next-door neighbour got me reminiscing on my wayward child days.

No more than eight years old, Kweku is average height, sporting a Barca T shirt and shorts, simple black charley wote on his feet and a song to his lips.

He is bent forward so his head is hanging low, and on the back of his neck, a fufu stick, covered one end with simple black plastic, (protection against Ga South Assembly’s cholera potential) balanced perfectly, horizontally as he digs a slow “tonga” with every so many steps, making his way up the slight incline.

I am captivated with his pivoting skills so much so, as the fufu stick pivoted at the base of his neck enhances his dance moves.

Then out of the blue, “Eno Abiriwa” barges out of the gate, yelling and admonishing the future juggler of McCarthy Hill, tripping his moves, destroying his rhythm, making Kweku drop the stick.

Now Eno is angry, Kweku is contrite, his juggling practice shortchanged for slaps on his back for daring to aspire to future juggler-greatness and I am out of entertainment.

Carrying on downhill, I think, I would have challenged my Kweku to see if he could manage the fufu act all the way to neighbour’s doorstep.

And I ask myself, when O Ghana will we see change? When will it change for the better? Is it the education hurdle again? How long before Eno Abiriwa sees creativity and talent as a moneymaker and game changer to her life?

Not by the Brazil 2014 group whose clear intention to thieve as much as they could from the funds is the ongoing matter for questioning. The Commission is expected to wrap up by mid-November and unlike the sole commissioner of judgment debts, let’s hope we see the bottom of the mess by then.

We have a few of us saying we have heard enough and can we kindly end the agony and ask the CID and EOCO to take over and prosecute these people?

It is a doubtful proposition seeing as the former Minister is ensconced in the President’s personal corruption-proof umbrella.

Same also the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) who this week, gave us all a lesson in arrogance and wanton breach of rules and regulations when it comes to official residence and incompetence.

The public admissions of Commissioner Lamptey made so much headline, it is now on the President to show his mettle and find a means to remove her as well as his now close advisor Elvis Afriye Ankrah, famously seen as the trend-setter on tear-jerking when it comes to a lapse of memory in commissions of enquiry.

Having paved the way for all followers to breakdown in patriotic epiphora we look forward to part one, two and threeeeee! of the Brazilian $20,000 saga

If President Mahama does not garner anti-corruption capital out of these two he should forever forget using that hash tag in his political crusade. Even those of us of a simpler order are appalled at the brazen abuse from Brasilia 2014.

But today I am reading history, so let me share a few things with you on education and why I will not blame Eno for her shortsightedness.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, J. Mensah Sarbah and other Cape Coast leaders, increasingly conscious of the need for secondary education on “national lines” founded the Mfantsi National Education Fund, with the support of a few chiefs willing to provide for the “proper education and technical training of the people still under our stool”, by the relatively painless means of contributing 10 percent of their rents received.

The plan was to establish both primary and secondary schools and to encourage local literature. Children were to be taught reading and writing in Fante, as well as the history and geography of the Gold Coast, with special reference to indigenous institutions and customs.

Contrast the issues in Ashanti at the time. 1842. King Kwaku Dua questioned Rev. TB Freeman concerning the danger that education might make the people rebellious. The missionary assured him that, with a few possible exceptions, education had a tendency to make them more dutiful and obedient. Nevertheless, the ruling powers in Ashanti did their best to block the progress of education. In 1876 a later Asantehene told Rev. Picot “we will not select children for education; for the Ashantee children have better work to do than to sit down all day idly to learn hoy! Hoy! Hoy! They have to fan their parents and to do other work, which is much better” (letter published in The African Times, 1st August 1876).

The thoughts in Ashanti were magnified in the Northern Territories who refused to even allow schools to be set up on their land. One reason was “the not unnatural fear that when the boys learn to read and write they will not be content to return to live with them again”. Department reports of the Northern Territories, 1911.

To crown all this, the Colonial empire then were against educating the Colonies and blocked the educated class at all corners, legislatively and financially.

Why all this has become relevant today, is because we are still fighting the same battles but on a magnified level.

Having won independence and significant progress in self-governance, we have rolled back education frontiers and “sukul-fo” have taken the uneducated for a complete ride.

Is it doubtful that the likes of the CHRAJ Commissioner and former Minister of Youth and Sports do what they do because they believe they are better than the likes of us struggling Ghanaians who do not have access to opportunity like they have gotten?

And they as well have protection from cronies who are secure in the comforts of homes provided by the taxpayer? That we should pay them to take money from our pockets at the least opportunity?

I said it last week and I say again, they will get away with it, not because they are fooling us, but because we have created an insincere political class not anything like our predecessors who fought with genuine belief that we could do better.

So let me end with a quote from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on his birthday.

“Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility, and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge – a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve – to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?” Address to the National Assembly, 12 June 1965

And there is nothing wrong with motivation like this.

The problem is we have fallen back and continue to fall back on all indicators. Where did we go wrong? Salute to Scotland, I think they got it right.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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