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Opinions Sun, 20 Sep 2009

Are We Ghanaians Such Simple Souls that:

‘We deh sit down make them befuddle us every day?’ by L. Kojo Yeboah

Does anybody remember “WE NO GO SIT DOWN MAKE THEM CHEAT US EVERYDAY, the AFRC slogan of 1979?” Obviously, that is faded memory for in 2009, we Ghanaians, have become so simple minded that we are sitting down to make them befuddle us everyday. How else can the following be explained:

• Ex-President Rawlings uses convoluted logic and selective amnesia to attribute all the ills and woes of mother Ghana (past and present) to Kufour’s eight (8) year rule.

• Ex-President Kufour belittles complex International Credit Negotiation, reducing the transaction that extended Ghana’s Credit by millions of dollars to mere Chit Chat. • • The Ghanaian media including Websites like GhanaWeb, Myjoyonline, ModernGhana.com feed us substance-less sensational headlines like “Yar'Adua Prevented Kufuor from Rigging Polls” and none of us, not even the mouth pieces of the NPP, cry foul.

As Ex-President Rawlings tells it, “Kufour and his bunch of crooks” are the Alpha and Omega of Ghana’s troubles. In eight (8) short years, he claims, they have bankrupted the country, orchestrated armed robberies, murders of local rulers (Yaa Na) and political opponents (Mobila) with impunity. He (Rawlings) makes these wild accusations while conveniently forgetting the atrocities that characterized his almost twenty (20) long years of Revolutionary and Pseudo-revolutionary governments as well as his indelible contributions to the country’s low psyche, mismanagement and huge indebtedness.

Granted, nobody can stop Ex-President Rawlings from speaking his mind, but do we have to endorse his utterances by granting him international audience as the representative of our government? The man had almost twenty years to mold Ghana; not even Dr. Nkrumah got half of Rawlings’ time. With twenty (20) years of continuity, Rawlings could have set us on the path of greatness. After all it took about twenty-five (25) years for Taiwan and S. Korea to transform their economies from backwardness to prominence as world economic powers.

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What does the soldier Rawlings want the civilian Mills to do about members of the Uniformed Service whipping poor Mr. Mobila to death or shooting someone in the back? Set up a civilian Ghana @ 50 type commission to Probe? Doesn’t the military the World over have structures in place to investigate and punish such breakdown of discipline? Assuming Rawlings’ allegations are true, what is preventing the military from conducting an investigation now that the Kufour government is out of power? And is this the first time that the military in Ghana have exhibited such gross indiscipline? What civilian commissions did Ex-President Rawlings set up to probe military atrocities under the SMC, AFRC, PNDC and NDC rules? And by what convoluted logic does Rawlings attribute indiscipline in his party’s cadres to past misdeeds of the Kufour government? Does he, after the NDC’s latest triumph at the polls, see Ghana as spoils of war to be distributed to his faithful cult worshipers? We, Ghanaians recall his first outburst against the Mills government in which he posed the question “ARE WE NOT IN POWER?” And how about his latest claim that the Mills government is not ‘Revolutionary enough?” Isn’t the word Revolution synonymous to dictatorship, an antithesis to democracy? Does he not know that Revolutions have no traction in the World of 2009 and he only gets international nods for his peaceful hand over of power to Kufour and none for his revolutionary take over of Ghana’s governments? Some have hailed Ex-President’s Kufour’s Twi interview on NET2 TV as revealingly brilliant, but is it really? Did he purposely over simplify issues? On his negotiation for Nigerian Oil Credit, for example, he informed us that he travelled to Nigeria, met President Obasanjo and said, “I just arrived in government, if you don’t have Petrol or crude oil, the nation will not rise, and no work can be done; you are the one with the oil so give me some and give me time to work and pay.” Obasanjo, we are told responded “my brother, this is very difficult for me but would you give me a note?”

A promissory note for 30,000 barrels a day supply of Crude Oil, how easier can it get? This was easier than negotiating with a local vendor for “Apio” or “Yokogari” credit. Is International Credit negotiation really this simple or was Ex-President Kufour subtly pointing out the ineptitude of Mills’ government’s at a time the country was beginning to experience long Fuel lines again?

Ever since leaving office, Ex-President Kufour has decidedly taken the simplicity of our Ghanaian souls for granted. Consider his pronouncement on the disgraceful Ex-Gratia package his government cooked up. While keeping mute on the glorious one million dollar ($1,000,000) Seed Money and other goodies for himself, he told us that Ghanaian MPs work very hard so a $60,000 (sixty thousand dollar) pay off package for 4 years of their HARD LABOUR is not excessive. He asked Ghanaian workers, farmers, drivers, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, nurses, doctors, traders, businessmen, journalists etc. who according to him, only “pretend to work, to stop making noise.”

What is hard about the Ghanaian MP’s work when most of these folks don’t even open their mouths on the House floor? Being World savvy, the Ex-President knows too well that none of the rich advanced nations of Europe, North America or Asia give members of their Legislature, $60,000 retirement packages after 4 years of public service. Why then is he advocating that for HIPC Ghana, a country he rightly described in his Twi interview as “poor but proud”?

Unfortunately, our media have joined the ranks of those who seek to befuddle us. They are feeding us substance-less sensational headlines that offer nothing but unsubstantiated hearsay. Some do so consciously, not wanting to be outdone by the histrionics of our politicians. Others do so unconsciously, seeking to attract more readers. Both are distasteful. One glaring example of such distasteful reporting is an article titled “Yar'Adua Prevented Kufuor from Rigging Polls” which originated from THISDAY, the Nigerian News media. This useless piece of Write-Up went viral on the Internet after being featured prominently as “News” on GhanaWeb, Myjoyonline and ModernGhana.com.

Using one of the many disjointed pronouncements from Ex-President Rawlings, in which the NDC founder said Yar’Adua intervened to pull “the plug on Kufuor and Nana Addo’s intended adventure,” THISDAY supposedly set off to investigate and uncover the truth. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THISDAY:

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• Yar'Adua was worried about Poll rigging in Ghana so in December 2008, he invited Kufour to Abuja.

• Yar'Adua sent a high power envoy to Accra between the December Elections and January’s runoff.

• Conclusion - Yar'Adua prevented Kufour from rigging Polls in Ghana. Wow! This is magic!! How did Yar'Adua who cannot prevent the senseless religious killing in Northern Nigeria or the blatant militant humiliation of the Nigerian army in the Niger Delta, prevent President Kufour from doing what he (Kufour) wanted in the sovereign nation of Ghana? How did he do it when pressure and International Sanctions from the US and Europe did not stop Mugabe from rigging elections in Zimbabwe? How did he do it when the heavy presence of the United States finest fighting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan could not stop election rigging and voting fraud in either country?

Folks, it is shameful that our Ghanaian media carried this sensational wishy-washy nonsense as Front Page News. It is shameful that no Ghanaian journalist, politician or personality challenged or has exposed the fallacy of THISDAY’S assertion. It is perplexing that the Mills government has kept mute on an issue like this. This transcends party politics. It touches on the sovereignty of our nation. No wonder Nigerian officials are quoted to be bashing Ghana as a tiny winy country of no consequence. After all, their president, made ours do his (Yar’ Adua’s) bidding in our country.

Written & Submitted for publication by L. Kojo Yeboah, Raleigh NC USA on September 17, 2009

Columnist: Yeboah, L. Kojo