Business in Ghana

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Brand In The Gutter. Critical News, 22nd November 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 22, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

How are we going to get from here to somewhere? Just when you think things cannot get any worse, our Government manages to reach a new low, pulling our value down with such careless abandon, it can’t be proper.

This week was the week for the NDC primaries. Postponed for two weeks for their own reasons, it seemed the country was just tolerating any announcements and excuses we were offered. But the day came, and it did not disappoint.

I have to state that some persons in this country, true patriots and dedicated citizens laid down their lives to achieve a certain standard they felt was adequate for purpose. Even as a small precocious country in Sub-Sahara Africa with very little to show except for plenty gold and many pods of cocoa, we grew an image in prickly speeches and stand-offs against colonial empires in order to demand we manage our own affairs, given half a chance.

Well, we have not managed too well, but we seemed to be coming along with peaceful transitions in democracy and even with a failing national sport, we still commanded a better than worst nation tag.

But now? All this week, the NDC primaries have fed us a diet of ballot box snatching, disappearing names in registers, small boys fighting big veterans, trading accusations and chanting war songs, candidate names not seen at certain polling stations, a microcosm of the bigger general election to come later next November.

And while we are on the subject, how long should it take the EC to read the recommendations her office organized and tell us whether we are on the way to do the sensible thing and compile a new register? Since she received the report, “we are still studying it?” These voting problems? Is it the EC or the NDC who failed? Or did they do it together as always?

I don’t understand where commonsense has traveled in this country. Isn’t there a standard we want to achieve in order that we can preserve the value of our brand? Isn’t there any more pride in securing praise from foreign countries whose opinion matter, but even more so the praise of citizens Ghana?

When the governing party in the country supports (MP Murtala Mohamed unconcerned about the lawlessness) the injustice of beating someone who attempted to snatch a ballot box, and military types think it is their role to beat anyone, irrespective of the crime, I see a throwback to the days when Makola market once again becomes a podium to flog and disgrace Ghanaians, meting out instant injustice.

This is what Mr. Kpataka, Deputy Youth Organizer of the NDC had to say to Joy News when they asked about the Ningo-Prampram voting, a particularly hot bed of inflamed passions between Sam George and ET Mensah, who really is too old to be doing anything in Parliament and beyond anyway.

“During elections, tempers are very high so any slightest misinformation can inflame passions. There were no discrepancies in the polling station and the register, so far as national headquarters is concerned but because of the situation and the temperature at that time everybody would have done what one of the aspirants did yesterday”.

So what are these people looking for? What is in this political palm wine that ET Mensah and Sam George want so desperately to drink that they insult each other and report assault attacks to the police station and everywhere on air?

ET Mensah described Sam George as a “liar” and a “treacherous” person. What kind of political language is that? Is this what we should expect? If Sam George should win the nomination, we will have a “treacherous liar” contesting in a very safe seat for the NDC and he might end up in Parliament? Won’t a treacherous representative from Ningo Prampram treacherously seep bad law in Parliament?

I am befuddled with the entire goings on, but catching up on the issues this Sunday morning, I am not sure where we want all this to head. Fourteen constituencies postponed for voting to Sunday and even the Zanetor Rawlings story that seemed so bad, fizzled out and voting went on in Korle Klottey. But I don’t know what she wants to go and do in Parliament anyway. The woman is a qualified medical doctor and we are desperate in the country for good doctors, so why abandon all that and go and take plenty abuse?

So when the initial stories of mayhem around the country broke out, all the talking heads managed to say in most instances, “oh, it is something new we are trying and there are bound to be challenges”. Oh boy! How many times does one have to vote, before we understand what it takes to place a name in a book and not change or remove it because it is improper and fraudulent?

All this unfolded later in the week, but not before El Presidente himself set the tone to devalue the brand, making it a precursor for foot soldier moments, and they waded into the filthy gutters, denting our Ghana image.

JDM had a go at NPP Vice candidate Bawumia, whose repeated attacks on the economy is grating rather menacingly at JDM’s craw. As an aside, Minister Terkper is singing a different tune. Seems to have accepted that they have messed up the economy, but lets not talk about that; lets focus on what Government has put in place to salvage the lost cause and look at how significant our 15-year term borrowing, the first ever done for “Brand Ghana” will solve all our woes in the medium term.

It is clear though, after JDM went “gutter” that he still has not grasped how the economy works and even as a Parliamentarian of long-standing, is not familiar with what loans Parliament approves and not. His arithmetic is so poor I am inclined to say he needs to talk to some of his kids often, to get a better explanation of how to disaggregate numbers to do better analysis.

I am willing to spend a little of my “dumsor” time to sit with him in his air-conditioned car to unravel this “mystery”.

But since Power Minister Kwabena Donkor now distinguishes between “dumsor” and load-shedding, I need him to provide the English translation of “dumsor”, because I always thought it meant light out due to load shedding. Why, he doesn’t want to resign? He will. We have 39 days to the end of “dumsor” and we are waiting for his resignation.

But JDM did not hear this. His statement that only qualified presidents can judge the competence of his tenure, effused a lot of public jokes, but an angry rebuttal from the opposition. Me, I know JJ doesn’t think much of him, he has said so in many ways. As for JAK, I have no clue where his mind is. Probably taken away by the final and maybe permanent removal of Paul Afoko as national party chairman.

And see what all this is doing to us. A complete pottage of incompetence, unleashed on the name and brand we have striven so hard to keep shining, despite the fact that we all know it is a bit of a mirage.

And when all is said and done, what did we add to the stock of bountiful praises on Ghana this past week? What did we say or do to enhance the glory we once shared at the top of the ladder?

We succeeded in taking the good in democracy and washing it through the gutters of bad behavior and adapted it to our brand of poor Africans, lost in a maze of inability.

So I focused on what Mo Ibrahim had to say on the podium with JAK Foundation. You want your economy to take off and grow? Agriculture is the answer. He couldn’t have echoed my thoughts any more succinctly.

Ghana, Aha a yε din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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