Opinions Mon, 23 Jul 2012

Campaign Waiver

Critical News, 22nd July 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I am weary this week. The Woyome case is not moving at an adequate pace, and because I am hoping that some big names will be dropped so we can move the democracy process ahead, I am weary with the slowly developing case. The Supreme Court is also yet to fix a date to hear Martin Amidu’s challenge on the illegality of the case (Woyome) and it looks like we are heading for a limp Parliamentary recess. Parliament rises next week, due back in October, and we do not have too many calendar days to voting day. I love it when Parliament recesses with mega issues to close the year so when the Minority in Parliament created a big palaver this week to do with a Constitutional Instrument regarding the creation of 45 new districts, I kind of perked up a bit. But I am weary. Water issues, electricity dom so, dom so, judgment debt here today, challenged tomorrow? I am feeling the grind of non-deliverables.

I have refused to comment on the supplementary budget laid before Parliament on Thursday. The smirk on Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor’s face as he distorted one economic story after the other was enough to convince me that this was just an avenue to release some campaign cash into NDC coffers. The less said about the supplement, the better.

Information Minister Fritz Baffuor and me, we have been friends for a long time. We grew up as childhood friends in Kumasi, when our parents worked at KNUST. I loved the dignity of their generation. I imbibed most moral and ethical principles from then and listened avidly to debates and decisions of their generation. What rational thought process prompted the Minister and his team before they mounted a public platform to attempt a smear campaign against Nana Addo that was debunked within a few days by Abdul Malik Kweku Baako? There are some names in this country, which were acquired through principle and hard work. Ghanaians show deference for good names and good posture. “wodi nokore daa a, eda wobedi atoro no, yenhunu”. If you tell the truth every time, the day you lie, we do not notice. It is a very good Asante saying that reverses well with lying. For Fritz to allow his better judgment to be doused in “Ablakwabbish” is so disappointing. Soon after he was made minister, I sighed a big relief. In my world, Fritz would bring some sanity to the propaganda nonsense and we would see a new face of public information. Four months to voting day and I realize I thought wrong. We deserve better from an educated person with such good stature.

Kofi Wayo had his day on the front page of The Daily Guide. He labeled Okudzeto Ablakwa “stupid”. This must be a new low for Ablakwa. Kofi Wayo is known for making outrageous statements, but local sentiment went his way as one radio station after the next, piped his message. Maybe ……

Betty Mould Iddrissu had another encounter with the Parliamentary Action Committee (PAC). This time without the NDC cartel who ganged up against Chairman Kan Dapaah, when they last got together. Most NDC committee members ran off to listen to how much Kwabena Duffuor would supplement. Betty had made some statements and comments about information and documents she may or may not have seen regarding the CP case. In particular she dragged in the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and those guys at the SFO are serious peeps. I can say that if the SFO has prosecutorial powers, you would see very little judgment debts in the country. What I now know is that our investigative branches do a lot of good work. Some of it politically tainted, but in a majority of cases, straight up good investigative work, which never ends up in court because one politician or the other favors a crook or two. And let me state categorically here that this interference from politicians cuts across the divide. Both NPP and NDC are guilty of either short-stopping charges or burying case files. It is rampant all over and with collusion from Civil and Public servants.

Betty “objected” to PAC calling executives who she believed would not agree with her “factual” recollection of the events leading to the CP settlement debt. She is still on the hook for claiming that she had other team members from various ministries with her at all times when she “saved” Ghana millions of Euros. That confrontation is on its way, because someone is lying. Either Betty or the others who have already said they were absent from squad duties.

Do not be surprised if you hear from the SFO very soon. With so much pride and credibility at stake these days, I expect the SFO to hit back. When they do, it will be a very important turning point in the corruption fight.

There are Chinese “Rambo” types digging holes in our land looking for gold. Gold we have kept underground for so long, waiting for a chance to harvest when no one needs it. This same gold we are destroying the rivers and polluting the water tables and dying for in the name of Galamsey. This past week, the Chinese Rambos were caught on the front page of our dailies, carrying pump action shotguns, bare-chested, looking fit with Bruce Lee managed muscles, wearing stretch mini shorts and wielding the guns with the practiced grip of combatants not too long released from the Cambodia and Vietnam wars. They looked like they had trained for such eventualities, well militarized, some of them working the operations network with cell phones, maybe calling big men at the Castle, we don’t know. They are engaged in a fight with local Manso-Nsiena operators in the Ashanti Region, not clear whether it is about theft of property or misuse of concessions, or just pure jealousy from the Ghanaians, because maybe the Chinese are finding more gold? Or are they cheating the regulations and doing more than Galamsey allows? Are we serious? Galamsey is ILLEGAL! So we cannot address the illegal Galamsey problem and the environmental pollutants with good law enforcement? It has become another one of those illegalities, where conspiracy theory is rife and everyone is whispering that there are “big men” behind or part of operations and so it will not be sorted out soon. For real? Coming week, we will know more. The police moved in to stall the bloodshed and we hope we have averted a crisis. Sounds like Blacks v Yellows. Cribs v Bloods.

Campaign revelations. President Mills is the “chosen one for Ghana”. So goes Ablakwabbish and some other NDC spinners. In the latest twist, The Daily Guide newspaper carried a story with statements from Koku Anyidoho, (where is he working from?) Richard Quashigah and others stating that the President would mot need to campaign for votes in the coming elections. His work precedes him and that will be enough for voters to see the worth of the Party’s achievements, so he need only wave at the teeming crowd when he mounts a podium. Of course this statement immediately fueled speculation about his health again, and now the President cannot go anywhere without Ghanaians looking for signs of frailty and disability. His voice has become resoundingly coarse, and he has said in public that he has a small sinus problem, so we are okay with that. But his voice is more croaky with each passing. If he therefore will not be saying a word on the campaign, we all wonder. He already marred the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) debates by refusing to attend and now he wants to ruin the election campaign by refusing to engage the NPP? He also is denying Ghanaians an opportunity to hear him tout his achievements openly in the run up to December.

This is blatantly unfair and pretty risky. Totally out character, since we all know the President is not a gambling man. His whole political career is built on exercising caution and only doing what will inure to the benefit of all Ghana. Is this the best? The President will waive the talking for a wave?

Togbe Gadasu is still looking for his paraphernalia. Sri III and Afede IV are still pleading for the stool trinkets to be returned and now the NDC and NPP are fighting over stolen slogans. “People Matter, You Matter”

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