Critical News: Single spine Konongo kaya

Tue, 13 Aug 2013 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Gyeeda. I have offered to forward copies of the GYEEDA report I have seen and hopefully let Ghanaians get a taste of freedom to information, if it could only happen the way it is meant. That Parliament rose to a break after not doing anything significant about our right to information is a question we should pose soon as they are back to waste more time (they said, not me). The GYEEDA report is freely available on the worldwide web, so our President can keep his copy in the bosom of PV Obeng. What we are asking now, is this the real deal? I know there is a lot more on GYEEDA than I read in the “draft report” so I am NOT waiting patiently for the final version, which might never be released. It will be another EOCO judgment debt final report.

And we are still out there borrowing money for development. In Turkey this week, our Government is yet again lobbying outsiders for funds to build East, West corridors, and much more. But internally, we can do more with tax collection and creative schemes. When the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) launched its 5th Afrobarometer report, it starkly revealed that Ghanaians are very aware they have to pay taxes to support Government. Even more importantly the survey reported that Ghanaians would willingly and unreservedly pay more tax if they could get good service from Government. They also saw the Ghana Revenue Authority as corrupt. The overarching conclusion is that Ghanaians are not averse to paying taxes, but they want the cedi pro quo.

While NDC, NPP, Peace Councils, Imams and all, were on the peace-making trotro, requesting all passengers everywhere to pay their patience pesewas and wait for the Supreme Court, Jerry John and Konadu joined the goro boys’ trucks making similar noises after causing mayhem for decades. Well, I always say Ghana has its own way of handling conflict and at this time, we do as Ghanaians do. We rally, we support, we call for some time away from work to fellowship and donate our poverty pesewas to the bludgeoning pastors in their large Toyota Prado and Mercedes Benz and in the end we buy the peace required to meet the next hurdle.

But we are doing well. Mahama will accept the decision and so will Nana Addo. Foot soldiers will fall in place; they have no option. I see it this way and I am proud to posit openly that I am buoyed with confidence that the expected doomsday mayhem is already tamed; even before the Action Ministry congregants start their chanting and yelling at the devil. Both political leaders are peace lovers. At this time, Ghana is tranquil and I see no reason why followers will resort to other than cohesion. This Ramadan was one of the least riotous I remember. No youth–riding motorcyclists recklessly endangering theirs and pedestrian lives as in the past. We are heading there.

And yep, the Election addresses on Wednesday, heightened drama throughout the week, fizzled out by 5pm. It was not an address in the way expected, both sides already knew they could not add new testimony and it was a strident attempt to stay within the allotted thirty minutes. What grabbed my attention was the new lightweight argument introduced by NDC Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata. He made an argument that we cannot go back and retrospectively annul votes, because the people had spent time voting. But me a layman, puzzled, confusedly wondered what was the purpose therefore for the constitution to provide for a challenge to the results? If his argument binds, we should never question the results and just accept them, because every time someone votes, it is cast in stone. But I must admit that it is also a difficult wrench to consider canceling four million thereabout votes.

However, if it is the truth and the evidence sways the judges, I say we go ahead and do what is right, even if it means major embarrassment. I do not want someone who cheats on this magnitude to run my country, neither do I also want anybody to come and waste my time with unnecessary trivia. All that can happen is the cheating rotates to the next party, entrenches, and we never get close to fixing this country.

But what about the numbers NPP Counsel put out? I went back to look at the votes cast again, and yes, how did Mahama end up with 447,120 more presidential votes? Based on this statistic alone, we should annul the whole thing, go back and go do it properly. Here is some detail I started looking at because of this. In the Volta Region (because that is the NDC support base), I looked at eight constituencies for Mahama as President and NDC for Parliament.









Afadjato South




Agotime Ziope




Akatsi North




Akatsi South








Ketu South




North Tongu












In each of these constituencies, voters preferred John Mahama for President but did not think much of the NDC candidate for parliament. I have purposely included Akatsi South for Doe Adjaho, Ketu South for Fiifi Kwetey and North Tongu for Okudzeto Ablakwa. Now, sit back and look carefully. Is this the way our voting goes? That in eight Volta Region constituencies 21,000 voters did not want the NDC to represent them in Parliament?

Now famous, “Amicus Curiae” Tony Amekudzi came to waste my time once again, doing a media circuit, speaking English the way it should not. Every time his Ewe accent came through, it coincided with a question he was fumbling. I am not sure CiTifm did the right thing to fritter away quality Eye Witness News prime time on such unnecessary comment. I figured I understood the Constitution of this country better than he did. Richard Skyy certainly knew his Constitution.

But let’s deal with this Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) issue in a very sensible way. The President, some of his critical ministers and other stakeholders, took some time and money and retreated to Ho (I saw Imani Ghana there as Franklin Cudjoe), where to discuss how to handle the SSPP. To seriously paraphrase Seth Terkper, the Finance Minister got it right on the SSPP non-sustainability crisis. I also heard a similar sound bite from his boss Mr. Fiifi Kwetey (is he his boss?). Yet the President is digging his heels in and refusing to abandon SSPP. I agree with him on one score. Salaries are too low in comparison to the cost of living in Ghana. We have become a very expensive country, gluttony fueling our taste for things foreign as we march forward to apparent manufacturing disaster.

I will be a lot more assured if the Finance Ministry comes out with a detailed breakdown of the SS payroll, discloses the real costs, because it is camouflaged with some other payroll. I have heard TUC’s Kwadwo Asamoah make this call several times now and I also say the disclosure is inadequate. Once we have the true impact, we can accept, based on some good strategy that we should phase implementation and allow some time to raise revenues to manage the cost. To stubbornly pledge to carry on with an expense that is drowning national development is not very smart.

From what came on the airwaves, this is “Konongo Kaya”. Crippled from its own election excesses and unnecessary cash spend, Government is in a struggle to raise enough cash to meet obligations. All statutory funds are in a mess and very soon the religious hospitals and some private ones are either going to suspend treating NHIS patients or call a strike and put Government on the back foot again.

This Government seems to relish punishment. Blundering headlong, braking at the wrong places and times, and carelessly mortgaging future generations with no obvious plan to buy back lost dignity. No matter how you explain it, the 2012 budget rape was their doing and has taken away what is left of macro economy rhetoric.

Where even is the starter for netting the informal sector into the formal tax realm? It was in the budget statement. Or was that also just one of those things to talk about and knock around for a few decades, like decentralization?

We are at crisis point, and to carry a load that is clearly straining our cocoa, gold and what little oil and gas positions we have, is to ignore the aged advice. “Eye Konongo Kaya”. Shed the load, take it slowly, we can be there in two years.

But the Supreme Court might have to deal with Sir John and one other. I am still not sure we should spear our justice system where democracy is best championed, on a contempt spree.

I have a wonderful set of “T” shirts explaining the key issues of the petition. “Duplicate, triplicate, quadruplicate pink sheets”, “blank is a zero”, “I put it to you, respectfully”, because “you and I were not there” and “it is on the face of the pink sheets”. What more can you ask for? In every way, we pull off a political apogee through humor and mockery. Sometimes we just get it. Ghanaians are still thinking.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa.

Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney