Ghanaians Deserve Better

Sat, 21 Sep 2013 Source: Thompson, Kofi

By Kofi Thompson

Our ruling elites get a pretty good deal from the enterprise Ghana. They are paid well, enjoy many perks and when they retire, are given what some argue are overly-generous retirement benefits.

In exchange for such handsome compensation packages, Ghanaians expect leadership that is world-class.

Sadly, over the years since the overthrow of President Nkrumah in February 1966, some of the decisions made by our ruling elites have been hard to fathom.

The controversy generated by news that documents covering the sale of the Ghana National Petroleum Company Limited's (GNPC)drilling rig, Discoverer, apparently cannot be traced, illustrates this perfectly.

At the heart of that controversy, is the fact that for some extraordinary reason, those who were in charge of our nation at the time, decided to withdraw a case in which the GNPC was suing Société Générale in a UK court - against the advice of lawyers acting for the GNPC.

The bizarre thing, is that prior to the withdrawal of the case, the GNPC had won a judgement in its favour in a similar case in the US.

The question is: Why did the regime in power then, choose to withdraw the case from court - and opt for an out of court settlement with Société Générale instead: a decision clearly not in the national interest but obviously favourable to Société Générale?

One doubts very much that were the matter in the UK court that they chose to withdraw, one that was of concern to their own private businesses, the very clever men and women then running Ghana, would have chosen to withdraw the matter from the UK court - especially if, like the GNPC, they had secured a verdict in their favour in a US law court.

Yet, for some curious reason, the government of President Kufuor ignored the fact that the GNPC had won a similar case in a US law court against Société Générale - which the GNPC sued for giving it bad hedging advice that led to the loss of substantial sums.

Why do our ruling elites take such strange decisions that are clearly not in the nation's interest in such instances, one wonders?

Why, for example, did the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mills not consider asking the government of China for interest-free loans for infrastructure projects - instead of the billions of dollars in commercial loans it took from Chinese banks to fund such projects?

And would there not be a dramatic change for the better, in living standards in most of rural Ghana, for example, were ordinary Ghanaians able to elect district chief executives - as the concerns of those living in districts across the country, would have priority in the agenda of every district chief executive in Ghana: not what favours those at the centre of power in Accra?

Yet, our ruling elites continue to deprive grassroots people of the opportunity to elect district chief executives.

Clearly, if they are to justify their handsome compensation packages, our ruling elites must be more protecting of the national interest - which at any given point in time is what benefits a majority of the ordinary people in Ghana.

Our ruling elites must work harder and be more creative at all levels: so that Ghana's economic growth benefits a greater number of ordinary people in our country. Ghanaians deserve better.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi