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Bullet Proof Vehicles For All Previous Presidents- So What?
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Bullet Proof Vehicles For All Previous Presidents- So What?

Fri, 20 Sep 2002 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

These Irresponsible Purchases Must Stop!

With the Ghana news of Monday, 16 September 2002 that the NPP Press office is defending the purchase of 4 Bullet Proof Toyota Landcruisers, we will like to know from the NPP office if they intend to continue all the bad practices of the previous governments that led Ghana to HIPC?

According to the news report, Kwadwo Afari, NPP Press Secretary asked:

    "We are Ghanaians and if the presidency thinks they need protection or the presidency thinks they need four bullet-proof cars, is that wrong?? I don't have it off hand and I am saying that the bullet proof vehicles are not a big deal and that we have had bullet proof vehicles being imported by every government since independence because it is routine?"
With all due respect, I think it is extremely silly for any mature adult to justify the wanton misuse of public funds by such childish statements as "NDC or PNDC did it, so we have to do it to". It is routine? Isn't it such routine spending without limits that led us to HIPC? It seems the Press Secretary, and his NPP folk, does not have the slightest idea that the money in the coffers of Ghana does not belong to the President, or a group of members of the executive to use as they please. So far the NPP is completely failing in their money management, and it won't be long before inflation stirs up again to ruin whatever economic gains they have made so far. Wanton disregard for simple common sense budgeting, as well as siphoning of moneys through corrupt means, plus escalating government spending, are what led us to HIPC.

The NPP must learn to be prudent and use the people's money wisely. One bulletproof vehicle or limousine is all the President needs. Why 4? Are the manufacturers giving them away for free? Do you guys know where the money comes from? The sweat of people who don't have even trucks to bring their products to the market, nor have clinics in the villages to take care of them when sick! The money also comes from the seat of people overseas who pay exorbitant duties and taxes on entering Ghana.

In addition to that if the NPP leadership saves on such purchases and live a little frugal and order only 1 instead of 4 or 5, the savings of say $300,000 can be used to help the nation and the poor a little bit. One can assume that the President will ride in one vehicle at a time with his family, even if the NPP wants their name in the sun also. Let the President sit down and think what $300,000 can do for his fellow countrymen?

Let me make a few suggestions what $300,000 can do for others or our nation in Ghana:

    1. Purchase a telecommunications switch for the Ministries, and have them wired to their offices. Currently they have only 4 or 5 phone lines per Ministry building with 200 or more employees. Doing business with any government office is extremely difficult and takes 10 times what one expects in any developed nation. One has to drive every day to an office when a phone call could have resolved the issue. This why the traffic is so bad in the cities like Accra. The problem of course comes from poor road design as population increase, lack of adequate phone lines, plus of course poor distribution of commercial zoning in our residential developments (sold by the Chiefs) with no governmental supervision.

    2. Again $300,000 can build a Database for the Ministries and in fact for the whole government of Ghana, to store information and data, and make doing business with government easy. (We can save 50% by stopping the corrupt bidding process. Just give the money to an expert and they can hire people in Ghana and build the system).

    3. Again $300,000 can supply drugs and medicines for all the clinics and hospitals in Ghana for perhaps a year - where the really poor can be taken care of, and the others can at least get needed drugs for surgery without waiting for others to purchase them, from a retail store before service is offered.

    4. The water supplies for all hospitals in Ghana can be upgraded with reservoirs such that they do not ever run out of water. There was the story of a hospital in the North where doctors could not find water to wash their hands after surgery.

    5. With $300,000, at least Korle Bu and maybe a couple more regional hospitals can afford their own stand-bye power generators. I have met people who testify of patients dying during surgery because of power cut off.

    6. Again if the President can live with only 1 limousine instead of 4, the savings of about $300,000 can purchase more than 350 computers to share among our Universities.

One can give many examples of what $300,000 savings in spending can do for Ghana without our President and his Ministers thinking of their daily comfort only, with spare luxury cars on standby.

One question must be asked as to why every new President needs a new fleet of vehicles? What money have these Presidents contributed to the national coffers to start spending as they please when they come to power? If you buy a $65,000 vehicle, why do you need another one in 4 years? We don't have anybody who knows maintenance? If that were the case then the people of Ghana must have second thoughts as to whom they voted for in the new dispensation.

Why Bullet Proof?

It is hard to justify the need for a bullet proof vehicle in a country where even murderous and obviously corrupt ex-Presidents are roaming about speaking their minds, and especially in a culture where death is so revered and the idea of assassination is one of the most improbable statistical things to happen. Since the 1950s to 1960s when there were numerous bomb attempts at Nkrumah's life, we have not seen any such attempts in 36 years. Even Mallam Tula, alleged to have been hired by the Busia and Danquah opposition elements to kill Nkrumah, could not do it. It's just our culture as Ghanaians!

Prudent Spending:

Prudent spending is not any new advise for a nation with a begging bowl all around the world. The NPP has signed an agreement for hard money loan for $1Billion. We are not rich yet as a nation. So far many have criticized, and justifiable, for the President and his Ministers to cut down expenses, such as the per diem of $500 and $1,000, in addition to the airline and hotel bills, on so many flights per year. The renovations on houses for Ministers and staff, costing several billion cedis are also imprudent spending. If that's the way the NPP thinks and wants to manage Ghana's funds when we are in national bankruptcy, then many people are disappointed.

Many are disappointed that nobody seems to be looking at the bottom line, as we bleed and government asks people to pay more and more taxes. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. Every year this happens, in order for such excesses to continue from one government to another for the "dysfunctional elites", as our friend Dr. Mensah- Biney calls them, to continue living their EU lifestyles. It is a shame we all wanted to get out of Colonialism, and now we can?t seem to balance and manage our money, when they did a good job, but we want to enjoy all the exploitative benefits such as per diem. To even raise it to $500 or $1,000 per day when Ghanaian workers are making less than $1 per day is criminally unconscionable!! One day these will all end. But let those who are abusing their power and spending outside limits to know there will be a reckoning day!

Kwaku A. Danso,
Fremont, California.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.

These Irresponsible Purchases Must Stop!

With the Ghana news of Monday, 16 September 2002 that the NPP Press office is defending the purchase of 4 Bullet Proof Toyota Landcruisers, we will like to know from the NPP office if they intend to continue all the bad practices of the previous governments that led Ghana to HIPC?

According to the news report, Kwadwo Afari, NPP Press Secretary asked:

    "We are Ghanaians and if the presidency thinks they need protection or the presidency thinks they need four bullet-proof cars, is that wrong?? I don't have it off hand and I am saying that the bullet proof vehicles are not a big deal and that we have had bullet proof vehicles being imported by every government since independence because it is routine?"
With all due respect, I think it is extremely silly for any mature adult to justify the wanton misuse of public funds by such childish statements as "NDC or PNDC did it, so we have to do it to". It is routine? Isn't it such routine spending without limits that led us to HIPC? It seems the Press Secretary, and his NPP folk, does not have the slightest idea that the money in the coffers of Ghana does not belong to the President, or a group of members of the executive to use as they please. So far the NPP is completely failing in their money management, and it won't be long before inflation stirs up again to ruin whatever economic gains they have made so far. Wanton disregard for simple common sense budgeting, as well as siphoning of moneys through corrupt means, plus escalating government spending, are what led us to HIPC.

The NPP must learn to be prudent and use the people's money wisely. One bulletproof vehicle or limousine is all the President needs. Why 4? Are the manufacturers giving them away for free? Do you guys know where the money comes from? The sweat of people who don't have even trucks to bring their products to the market, nor have clinics in the villages to take care of them when sick! The money also comes from the seat of people overseas who pay exorbitant duties and taxes on entering Ghana.

In addition to that if the NPP leadership saves on such purchases and live a little frugal and order only 1 instead of 4 or 5, the savings of say $300,000 can be used to help the nation and the poor a little bit. One can assume that the President will ride in one vehicle at a time with his family, even if the NPP wants their name in the sun also. Let the President sit down and think what $300,000 can do for his fellow countrymen?

Let me make a few suggestions what $300,000 can do for others or our nation in Ghana:

    1. Purchase a telecommunications switch for the Ministries, and have them wired to their offices. Currently they have only 4 or 5 phone lines per Ministry building with 200 or more employees. Doing business with any government office is extremely difficult and takes 10 times what one expects in any developed nation. One has to drive every day to an office when a phone call could have resolved the issue. This why the traffic is so bad in the cities like Accra. The problem of course comes from poor road design as population increase, lack of adequate phone lines, plus of course poor distribution of commercial zoning in our residential developments (sold by the Chiefs) with no governmental supervision.

    2. Again $300,000 can build a Database for the Ministries and in fact for the whole government of Ghana, to store information and data, and make doing business with government easy. (We can save 50% by stopping the corrupt bidding process. Just give the money to an expert and they can hire people in Ghana and build the system).

    3. Again $300,000 can supply drugs and medicines for all the clinics and hospitals in Ghana for perhaps a year - where the really poor can be taken care of, and the others can at least get needed drugs for surgery without waiting for others to purchase them, from a retail store before service is offered.

    4. The water supplies for all hospitals in Ghana can be upgraded with reservoirs such that they do not ever run out of water. There was the story of a hospital in the North where doctors could not find water to wash their hands after surgery.

    5. With $300,000, at least Korle Bu and maybe a couple more regional hospitals can afford their own stand-bye power generators. I have met people who testify of patients dying during surgery because of power cut off.

    6. Again if the President can live with only 1 limousine instead of 4, the savings of about $300,000 can purchase more than 350 computers to share among our Universities.

One can give many examples of what $300,000 savings in spending can do for Ghana without our President and his Ministers thinking of their daily comfort only, with spare luxury cars on standby.

One question must be asked as to why every new President needs a new fleet of vehicles? What money have these Presidents contributed to the national coffers to start spending as they please when they come to power? If you buy a $65,000 vehicle, why do you need another one in 4 years? We don't have anybody who knows maintenance? If that were the case then the people of Ghana must have second thoughts as to whom they voted for in the new dispensation.

Why Bullet Proof?

It is hard to justify the need for a bullet proof vehicle in a country where even murderous and obviously corrupt ex-Presidents are roaming about speaking their minds, and especially in a culture where death is so revered and the idea of assassination is one of the most improbable statistical things to happen. Since the 1950s to 1960s when there were numerous bomb attempts at Nkrumah's life, we have not seen any such attempts in 36 years. Even Mallam Tula, alleged to have been hired by the Busia and Danquah opposition elements to kill Nkrumah, could not do it. It's just our culture as Ghanaians!

Prudent Spending:

Prudent spending is not any new advise for a nation with a begging bowl all around the world. The NPP has signed an agreement for hard money loan for $1Billion. We are not rich yet as a nation. So far many have criticized, and justifiable, for the President and his Ministers to cut down expenses, such as the per diem of $500 and $1,000, in addition to the airline and hotel bills, on so many flights per year. The renovations on houses for Ministers and staff, costing several billion cedis are also imprudent spending. If that's the way the NPP thinks and wants to manage Ghana's funds when we are in national bankruptcy, then many people are disappointed.

Many are disappointed that nobody seems to be looking at the bottom line, as we bleed and government asks people to pay more and more taxes. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. Every year this happens, in order for such excesses to continue from one government to another for the "dysfunctional elites", as our friend Dr. Mensah- Biney calls them, to continue living their EU lifestyles. It is a shame we all wanted to get out of Colonialism, and now we can?t seem to balance and manage our money, when they did a good job, but we want to enjoy all the exploitative benefits such as per diem. To even raise it to $500 or $1,000 per day when Ghanaian workers are making less than $1 per day is criminally unconscionable!! One day these will all end. But let those who are abusing their power and spending outside limits to know there will be a reckoning day!

Kwaku A. Danso,
Fremont, California.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.