Opinions Mon, 6 Aug 2012

9 Graves and Two Veeps

Critical News, 5th August 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Ghana could not get any more exciting before the funeral of our late president so I went to see a play at the National Theatre on Friday. A Slave’s Story. It was only when the stage credits were mentioned that I realized the cast was mainly from the Asiamah family from the UK. I was not impressed with the play and it added nothing to my knowledge about the souls of our ancestors. There was some music talent and some acting talent, but overall, it was a less than mediocre performance for me and I relegated it to the annals of an end of term performance by some high school students.

So I went to the Home Coming of my alma mater, Bleoo!, Saturday. A refreshing encounter with old class mates, letting your hair down with friends you spent seven years of intense rivalry and competition, observing the young ones who just cannot believe that I left Accra Academy before they were born. So superior! My year group is now the true “Old Boys”. I can recount amusing and interesting stuff and in those days totally revolting. But that was then and here is now.

Sunday, I was privileged to be at the Ghana Association of Writers presentation in honor of President Mills. I heard some wonderful talent and music and I came back charged with new hope that Ghana at least can manage its creative talent and develop beyond Azonto.

Now, me and Martin Amidu, we are still waiting for the Supreme Court to announce when they will hear the case he filed against Woyome, Vamed and Waterville, to establish the legality of the financial engineering that probably never was. This week, Mr. Amidu filed another case against Isofoton and others including the Attorney General, again in a judgment case previously determined and a second payment from the people’s purse. I am yet to meet Mr. Amidu, who is fast becoming my favorite Ghanaian and I hope he at least reads some of what I write. If Martin can do this, where are the other Ghanaians who are privy to the corruption pockets and have access to information that will help unravel some of the detail? We have a Whistle Blowers Act in place and surely, there must one or two public servants spirited enough to spill some beans?

Before the Freedom of Information Bill is made law, shouldn’t we (Civil and Public Servants) in the spirit of true democracy start releasing some facts for the Public Accounts Committee, The Serious Fraud Office, Police, BNI, CID etc. to help with investigations to establish truth? And curb corruption?

President Mills’ death should not be an excuse to postpone things we need to do to establish a strong democracy. This past week has been one of apologies to Ghanaians for omitted deeds, which could have spurred a better resolution of conflict. This collective compromise we are asked to agree to, is anathema to my civil senses. I respect the honor of the dead, but I do not subscribe to the message that we should all stay mute in order not to offend the soul of the departed. Rather I say we create a means whereby we galvanise ourselves to meet the demands of a testing vote in the next elections. If President Mills died with a peace message on his lips, let us be fair to his memory and ensure that we have a clean contest, and may the better candidate win on merit and peacefully. Not only in December, but forever in Ghana. That will be the most significant memory of his death.

The Daily Guide newspaper reported sighting Chinese nationals digging about nine graves at the Flagstaff/Jubilee House during the week. I am not sure whether this is true, but the evidence suggests that it is. Were they graves? The story came on the back of President John Mahama suggesting very early in the day that the building would be a decent burial place for the late President and subsequent ones. Sarcastically, the NDC Government had offered “fowl” language for the building. A chicken coop. Previously, in April 2010, Veep Mahama had stated categorically that Government would move into Jubilee House. As it turned out, he had no say in the matter. Now he has the authority, he chose to make it a burial place. So why were there Chinese persons digging “graves” in Jubilee House? I know many grave diggers in Osu and Awudome. So I discarded the news item and I think we should all ignore it. I see no reason why President Mills should have nine graves, unless the plan is to exhume all the other past presidents and bury them all together?

Anyway. Finally, the late president’s Funeral Committee has come up with some direction. For posterity sake, the President will be laid in State on Wednesday 8th, viewed in public on the 9th and buried on the 10th. The burial ground will be between Castle Drive and Marine Drive and maybe other presidents will be buried there. Friday 10th is a public holiday. We had to create a huge fuss to come to this conclusion. I think the new Prez has to do a bit more consulting before he makes these announcements. I have started counting his recent gaffs, adding to his previous ones. They are mounting up. We will confront all this after we have buried Egya Atta.

I have no first hand experience as a departed soul. Our culture believes that the souls of the ancestors and that of President Mills should not be disturbed and his sunsum and ntoro should have a good resting place as he proceeds to the next life. I do not know what to do when confronted with such deep supernatural beliefs. Did President John Mahama not know the thoughts of the late president not to move to Jubilee House while he was alive? Would his soul rest in peace if he was buried there? Would it matter?

Victor Smith does not care whether we all heard that he thinks little of Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur as a good support candidate for John Mahama. But he is worried about his post in Government. Worried enough to make apologies to the new president after he had done a complete circuit of most radio stations to state his case. I listened to him on both CiTi and Joy, and in both cases, he was very emphatic. He has little confidence in where Paa Kwesi is from in the politics of Ghana. Some cynically suggested that he thinks he is a better candidate. How long will he be Eastern Region Minister?

By the way, have you wondered whether President Mahama will shuffle his Government? You have to think about this. Will he appoint a brother to some position? Kuffuor did, Mills did. JJ has no brother, but he had Michael Sousoudis, and Nkrumah had Joe Appiah. Did Limann have a brother?

I read a piece about Paa kwesi Amissah Arthur and his fund raising ability for the NDC party. Apparently, he has played a significant role in many capacities in finance and the suggestion is, he is one of those quiet strengths in the party, who has the ability and opportunity? to build the coffers of the party. Victor Smith appears not to know this side of the man. I also wondered whether the rumors that Late President Mills had managed to get some financing from a Nigerian backer in 2008, someone linked to the Energy Bank, which was awarded a license very quickly, even though the bank has no history as a bank in Nigeria, and this was done during Paa Kwesi’s tenure as Governor? The Daily Guide published this piece a few days ago. So there, Mr. Smith, our future Veep got some manna from somewhere.

But there are suggestions that some Electoral Law could have been violated with this deal. I think I need to talk to CHRAJ. If Paa Kwesi pulled off this great funds raiser, he shames Victor Smith but in doing so, he sticks himself right in the middle of a corruption scandal. This would be corruption, right Martin? I am reaching out to Martin Amidu on this one too. Could this be what President Mahama referred to when he mentioned that President Mills had left a list of follow throughs? Is Amissah Arthur’s appointment on the wish list of the late President?

In honor of the President’s demise we suspended fact finding at the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC). When they resume sitting, I expect to hear some stuff from some former executives of the Serious Fraud Office. I am telling you, we will get to the bottom of the corruption paradigm once and for all.

So, we transitioned one Veep to President and we will vet another Veep in an unprecedented historical double. But where the nine graves at? Did Liang Zhi Yong, Zhang zhen Ying, Wang Shao Kung, Wu Dao Wei, Yuan Yu Bei, Zgang Shui Wen, Fu Gao Yang, Wu Ping An and Wang Xiang Jin mistakenly think they would find some galamsey gold? On the Jubilee grounds after they left Manso Nsiana?

Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!
Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney