Opinions Thu, 13 Feb 2014

Can Tony Aidoo Pinch-hit for Busia?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

At long last, the white elephant of a policy monitor that was Dr. Tony Aidoo has been given the heave-ho to the Netherlands. I don't know that posting this brash and garrulous anthropologist, or some such academic specialist, as Ghana's ambassador to one of Europe's most liberal and enlightened nations serves any profitable purpose for our country. Nonetheless, I am elated for him in one respect; and it is the fact that Dr. Aidoo now has the chance to tour and, perhaps, even learn something substantial and meaningful about the outstanding scholarship which the immortalized Oxbridge-educated Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia was privileged to foster and nurture in that leading Western-European citadel of great and enviable learning.

If he is humble enough, he may even learn about the seminal contours and foundations for an organic postcolonial African educational curriculum conceived and developed by Ghana's greatest sociologist and cultural anthropologist in the twentieth century.

What brought me to this particular write-up, as it were, though, was a media report alleging Dr. Aidoo to have rather haughtily asserted that those well-meaning Ghanaian citizens who have attributed the precipitous downward spiral in the value of the Cedi, our monetary currency, to the gross incompetence of the Mahama-led government of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) lack the requisite "intellectual foundation" and capacity to be able to credibly make such an "outrageous" claim (See "Attributing Falling Cedi to Mismanagement is Unintelligent - Dr. Aidoo" MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 2/8/14).

The ambassador-designate to the Netherlands, however, is quite accurate in chiding the managers of the country's central bank, the Bank of Ghana, for instituting "panicky" measures that may well not register the desired effect of stabilizing the Cedi against the major globally traded currencies in the long term. Among BoG's most recent policy edict is that "all transactions in the country should be conducted in Ghana(ian) Cedis."

The problem with such edict, whose flouting the Governor of the BoG is hell-bent on criminally prosecuting, is that the bulk of the transactions in question involves manufactured items and commodities that are not produced in the country. In effect, this policy is apt to further complicate an already troubled economic situation.

Nevertheless, what makes Dr. Aidoo's tirade against critics of the government's policy rather bizarre is that it is at once contradictory and self-serving. For starters, the former presidential policy monitor clearly acknowledges the gross incompetence of the Mahama government in the economic sector. He even goes on to accuse key operatives of the central bank of "living in a fool's paradise," if Dr. Wampah and his associates really believe that they can effectively manipulate a system whose purview lies well beyond the control of Ghana's fragile economic base.

And yet, curiously, Dr. Aidoo seems loath to honestly come to terms with the fact that it was the gross managerial incompetence of the Mahama government that got our country into this Stygian economic bog-peat or morass. At the same time, however, the former Cape Coast University sociologist/anthropologist likens the precipitous depreciation of the Cedi to a "cancer patient" in dire need of a thorough clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Well, even as a more economically savvy critic recently pointed out, the current economic crisis is one largely created by an acute shortage of foreign exchange. The latter, in turn, has been caused by such shockingly poor labor policies as having foreign-owned companies operating in the country import their own workers, often from the country of origin of these entrepreneurs, who are paid in such relatively scarce currencies as the dollar and the pound sterling. It hasn't also helped any remarkably that the government would unwisely convert itself into some sort of fiduciary Santa Claus a la judgment-debt capers and the SADA grand-scam artistry, among others.

And so wherein lies the "unscientific, unintelligent and dishonest" ratiocination of those who, like Dr. Aidoo, squarely believe that the cause of Ghana's raging economic crisis is systemic and managerial? Then also, what really causes this supposedly "recurrent [economic] phenomenon" that Dr. Aidoo is talking about?


*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

Feb. 8, 2014

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame