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Nobody can build Ghana through armchair criticism

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, February 13, 2012

A group calling itself “Ghanaians living in the diaspora” has circulated a letter, entitled “GHANA’S PRESIDENT PROFESSOR MILLS MUST STEP DOWN IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST” (See SpyGhana.com, February 12, 2012:

http://spyghana.com/opinion/president-professor-mills-must-step-down/), which has attracted my interest for obvious reasons.

Endorsed by 22 signatories resident in several countries, this letter was copied to many in the international community, including The President of the World Bank and the Chief Executive of the International Monetary Fund. Carrying their idiocy further, this group also served the Russian Kremlin, the Central Committee of the Chinese People’s Republic, the State Department of the United States of America, the President of the European Union, and the Secretary General of the United Nations. A glance at this list quickly tells me how uninformed these so-called Ghanaian residents in the diaspora are. I will return to this issue soon.

The group questioned the basis for the loans being contracted by the government, saying that “We have noticed that Ghana since 2009 has borrowed over 600 million from the IMF, The People’s republic of China intends to borrow the current Ghanaian Government 3 billion Dollars. There are huge questions as to how a country like Ghana, already suffocating under huge debts with our public debt now 30 billion Ghana Cedis (6 billion dollars) is going to cope with more borrowing. What is the current government doing with the huge sums it has already secured from financial institutions?”

Among others, it made serious allegations such as the President’s opening of offshore accounts in South Africa and Belize; money belonging to the state being stolen by government ministers in collusion with some officials of our country’s civil service; and the theft and disbursement of over 500 million dollars using the judiciary and carrying out bogus negotiations with a view to defrauding the state.

On top of it all, the group accused President Mills of drinking “from the deep well of corruption” and “actually supporting, colluding and sanctioning these serious financial crimes against our children.” They claimed that there were serious allegations that President Mills personally benefited from the payment of judgement debts.

What makes the group’s action more disturbing is its call on the international community to examine the facts on the ground and suspend all financial assistance to Ghana, including all financial transactions. They called on President Mills to resign and his position taken over by Vice President John Mahama “for serious government to continue.” Their stance is that Mahama is “credible and has not been implicated in these scandals.”

I take issues with this group’s line of action and will say upfront that it is misguided and contrary to common sense as far as Ghana’s fate is concerned. However genuine they may think their concerns are, the manner in which they’ve conveyed their sentiments and serious allegations is unacceptable.

If they had any common sense, they would realize that those to whom they copied their rabble-rousing gibberish aren’t those to solve Ghanaians’ leadership problems for them. Are these addressees so naïve not to know where to draw the line as far as their relations or attempts to interfere with a sovereign country’s administration is concerned?

Do these signatories not even know that given the efficient intelligence-gathering mechanisms, enabled by modern technological advances, the addressees already know of what is happening in Ghana or that they might even have more accurate information on the situation than what is being peddled in that rhetorically wayward letter to them?

A cursory reading of that letter portrays it as a hurriedly written material with only one objective—to whine! Apart from its being shoddy and sloppy, it lacks persuasive elements that should do the work for the signatories. Here is just one instance: “The People’s republic of China intends to borrow the current Ghanaian Government 3 billion Dollars.” China to BORROW or LEND money to Ghana? And what is wrong about borrowing money from a country that is willing to LEND it to a credit-worthy needy country like Ghana? Do these signatories even know how much of the United States’ 4 trillion dollar debt burden China is shouldering?

I challenge this group of Ghanaians in the diaspora to tell the whole world what single significant contribution any of them has made toward national development. I piss on them. They represent nobody but themselves and defend nobody’s interests but their own warped parochial interests. They speak for nobody but themselves and won’t influence anybody with their brand of anti-Mills politics.

The vast majority of Ghanaians know what to make out of the situation and will pass judgement on President Mills at Election 2012. Until that time comes, anything of the sort being done by this group and all others seeking to capitalize on the Woyome scandal to do their kind of negative politics will backfire.

A quick glance at the list of signatories reveals one or two, known to me for whatever they might have done to register their images on my mind. I noticed a Dennis Vormawor among them, and will single him out for scrutiny. He strikes me as one of those long-serving national executive officers of the Ghana Trades Union Congress whose tenure spanned the 1980s and 1990s. If it is this self-same Dennis Vormawor, I will be glad to tell him a few harsh truths.

Can this Dennis Vormawor tell us what positive lasting contributions or legacy he left at the TUC to warrant his constituting himself into a judge over President Mills? Let Vormawor tell Ghanaian workers what became of their contributions that he hoodwinked the TUC leadership into investing in a so-called business venture in the mid-1990s. Now that he is out of the TUC, can he tell us where the investment lies so Ghanaian workers can begin looking for the dividends? I doubt if he can.

Such a character lacks credibility and has no justification for poking his nose into the Woyome case, let alone circulating any document to undermine President Mills’ integrity on financial grounds. Not until he openly accounts for what he tricked Ghanaian workers into passing through his hands for that phony investment, he is no better than Woyome.

I am not sure Vormawor knows how he is perceived. If he does, he will know better not to judge so that he be not judged, But he doesn’t which portrays him as pathetic.

I don’t know anything about the other signatories and will spare them; but suffice it for me to say that they seem to have too much time and too little to do; hence, their subscribing to that nonsensical political mischief against President Mills.

We can continue to reduce to absolute absurdity the mischief of these so-called elements in the diaspora but won’t waste any more time doing so. As part of those who deserted the country in search of so-called greener pastures, what have they been able to contribute toward building our country? This is not to belittle those in the diaspora (as I am too) or to suggest that because they don’t reside in the country they have no right to criticize goings-on or to participate in the discourse on national development and the factors hindering it.

Far from that. It is to hammer home to such self-appointed political judges that a country is not built through armchair criticism. It is built through concrete contributions that are informed, shaped, and driven by genuine patriotism, not parochial political interests. If they think they have the expertise to develop the country, why are they not back home, putting that acumen to good use but are wasting it, helping to build other people’s countries?

What they have set in motion is not only defeatist and misguided but it is also motivated largely by a paralyzing ignorance and a morbid decision to draw needless international bodies into Ghana’s private affairs. Such a course of action won’t help us solve our national problems nor will it change the impressions that the international community has about governance issues in the country.

At best, it portrays the signatories as simpletons who should have known better not to bother the international community with their bad temper tantrums. And they will be none the wiser in the end. What a wasted effort!

Who knows them for making any serious and meaningful effort to support the efforts of those left behind in the national development process?

I write them off as bad debts because that is what they are. We don’t know them as people making any concrete contribution toward national development and they shouldn’t “bring themselves,” as the soldiers say. What will Ghana gain if President Mills resigns before Election 2012?

• E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.