By: Kwaku A. Danso
Democracy is a very difficult thing to set up and taste, but once you taste it, dictatorship seems impossible to swallow.
In the early 1980s in Ghana we were told the nation needed to think alike and businesses were not supposed to make a profit and sell goods beyond the means of the ordinary person. Prices for petrol and kerosene were set by government and the Budget had half of it devoted to a table on what transport owners could charge from Abetifi to Nkawkaw or Kumasi to Tamale, and major goods had prices set for them. Market women lost their goods and some were stripped naked and whipped in the open if they sold above this "control price" as it was called. Makola #1, the major African market in Accra was bombed in a previous coup in 1979 by the same leader Jerry Rawlings, due to what the government called excessive prices. This bombing was supposed to be the "modern way" of controlling prices and reducing the status and products on the market to the same level so nobody could manipulate markets and make a profit. Some may be too young and some forget these happened in Ghana.
We should not forget that the current government has some of these same thinkers of the 1980s in powerful positions.
I heard today from Ghana that the ports and customs officials are seizing cloth imported by Ghanaians from China, claiming that they were proscribed because some cloth is being manufactured in Ghana, and the customs officials were setting these seized cloth on fire!! Yes, burning imported cloth! My Gosh!!
Fellow Ghanaians, my dear Lawyer friends, Animdefo, Attorneys and Solicitors of the British and Queens orders, please talk to me! What is going on in Ghana? Already Ghanaians pay an average of 45% duties and taxes and fees on all imported goods, including cars and the average plumber, carpenter, electricians or school teacher has very little chance of ever buying a car in his life.
What is going on in Ghana?
I need your help. I am not going to buy cloth soon, but for the good people of Ghana help me understand! Does our government or constitution have a clause or Parliament has passed a law that stipulates what kind of cloth or goods should be imported, what color, what engine size of vehicles are preferred, and can somebody tell me what year this is just in case I am getting delusions of old age!!
PLEASE talk to me if we still have a democracy now in Ghana or we are back to PNDC era again. I know the constitution gives the President total powers to pick and choose all Regional Ministers, District, City and Town chief executives and there is no election for these. Ghana is virtually a dictatorship with election of one King called president. I am open to learn how such a system works.
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso
President - Ghana Leadership Union (NGO), Moderator-GLU and GLF Forums.