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Opinions Mon, 7 Dec 2009

Dark Days Are Back With Us.

Ordinarily, when two factions emerge in the camp of our political rivals, (the NDC), with each faction using all the ammunition in its arsenal to outwit, and outpace the other, I should be carousing with members of our tradition. After all is it not true that a house divided against itself can never stand? So, if Jerry is pushing his men forward for an all-out frontal attack, and Mills is asking his men to repulse such attacks with equal venom, it means all is not well with the contraption called the National Democratic Congress. The scenario depicted above elicits some excitement and the next few months promise to spark off some lively discussions on the topic. The New Patriotic Party, it appears, is the likely beneficiary of any such bitter struggle in the NDC.

But wait a minute! This is not the time to rejoice when one’s enemy is lying flat on its back. We are not in the best of times and so, we must not jump into hasty conclusions. If all is not well with the ruling party, it means all is not well with the country. And that is the reason why I do not want to pitch tent in the camp of those making merry at the seemingly confusion in the NDC.

Rawlings is partially justified in his attacks at President Rawlings: Former President J.J.Rawlings has not been in my good books. But on this particular occasion, I am tempted to support him on his recent verbal attacks of the President. Ex President Rawlings enjoys 80% support from me, the same way and manner that President Mills scored himself at the end of his First 100 days in office.

We must discuss anything under the sun that affects our lives forThe toad does not run in the daytime for nothing, and no matter how tall the iroko tree is, it must surely come down when the owner wants it. The fact that the deity is kind does not mean that it can be appeased with water. Rawlings as Founder of NDC has analyzed the situation on the ground and realized that unless Mills adopted a proactive approach to governance, his party would be booted out of power, come December, 2012.

Who does not know that the country is ‘hard’ and Ghanaians are suffering? Despondency is written on the faces of Ghanaians, irrespective of party affiliation. I gave a similar warning to the NPP in my article titled, “Let me speak out, Lest I die!”

Not a single day passes without a further tightening of the belt by Ghanaians. On top of all these ‘suffer suffer’, Mills appointees and serial callers live luxurious lives, driving the best and most exotic cars, oblivious of the people’s sufferings. Businesses are collapsing like packs of cards on daily basis, and there are no signs that this trend will come to an end very soon.

Ex President Rawlings sees dashed hopes on the faces of Ghanaians. Where are the “goodies” that were promised Ghanaians in the NDC manifesto? Where are the free uniform promised children in public schools? Can we talk of extension of this facility to private schools, since the public ones are yet to receive theirs? No, the journey appears not to lead us anywhere. What about the free hair cut for pupils in our schools? What about the one lump NHIS payment?

Uninterrupted power supply has now become a “no go area”, for anytime a community has a continuous supply of power for three or more days, such an occurrence will fall under the Grace of God.

Allowances of personnel especially, those in the educational sector has been reduced. The school Feeding Programme is existing just in name. Policemen and women are having a field day arresting and extorting illegal levies from drivers on flimsy and trumped up charges. My information is that One “Sege” or is it “Seke” is the arrowhead of such people collecting these illegal levies at the MTTU Headquarters. And the Mills administration seems to have no clue as to how to rectify or check these anomalies. It appears we have a clueless and inept cabinet being led by a visionless navigator fiddling its way through the gloom and darkness that this country has been plunged into. The question is, “When shall we come to the end of this dark channel and encircling gloom that has been foisted on us? Is there a Channel of Hope at the end of this dark tunnel? Only time will tell.

And it is such insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Ghanaians that ex President Rawlings and concerned members of the NDC are complaining about. They are demanding accountability to the people and purposeful leadership. Nothing more than that! Until recently, Bagbin was not in the good books of the Rawlingses. Attempts were even made to remove him from his position as Minority Leader when the NDC was in opposition. So, Bagbin making a U-Turn to the camp of the Rawlingses shows the depth of his feelings and sense of betrayal by the Mills administration. It also shows the depth of Rawlings character which no one can take from him. He is able to reach out to others including even his “enemies” when the situation warrants it. He did that with Nunoo Mensa and he has patched up his differences with Bagbin.

Yes, there are mediocrities in Mills Government: Some top gurus in the NDC have spoken against mediocrities in President Mills administration. Spio Garbrah called the Cabinet Team B whilst the Chairman was his true nature by referring to some as greedy bastards. Spio Garbrah and some others who spoke did not mention any name, because they did not want to rock the boat or to be termed “bad team players”. But, I have elected myself their unofficial spokesperson, even though I do not belong to the party.

Attempts by Hanna Tetteh and Others to punch holes in the accusation: I regard Hanna Tetteh’s attempts to refute the notion of Team B Cabinet by making reference to some Ministers who served in the Rawlings administration and are now part of Mills Cabinet as a ruse attempt to circumvent the real issue at hand. The fact that they served in Rawlings Government does not make them better candidates for Ministerial positions. That was then. Some of them might have lost touch with realities or might have outlived their usefulness. We should also not lose sight of the fact that there were some of those Ministers who were with Rawlings, but for plates of porridge or pottage have parted ways with him just as Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother. How many of those serving in Mills administration have spoken out against him? He, who pays the piper, dictates the tune. I am going to mention names, but before doing so, I would like to remind Ghanaians about an aspect of human nature which makes it impossible for Africans to speak up their minds they way they truly see things.

Yes, Rawlings meant what he said: Yes, indeed, the ex-President was right when he referred to some of the Ministers as Greedy bastards. I would like us to see the use of the expression ‘bastards’ in its figurative sense. It is only then that you will understand the context under which it was used. I am not his spokesperson and cannot attempt to know exactly what he meant. But I am buoyed by love for my fellow suffering Ghanaians that any one who comes out to speak against the pain the Mills administration is inflicting on us will enjoy my total support.

We in the NPP have been there before. You see, most Government appointees are there to prevent others from gaining access to the powers that be. They prevent those who offer constructive criticism to the Government from gaining access to the seat of power. I cannot recollect the number of e-mails I sent and the letters I dropped at the Castle gates appealing to ex President Kufuor to reduce fuel prices when prices at the world market were getting lower. I doubt whether those letters were delivered and even if they were, were they brought to the attention of the then President?

During the elections last year, some top members of the party were given monies to perform certain roles to ensure the success of our party. But what did we see? Such people, instead of thinking about the common good, thought only of themselves. The party lost in the end. But it was their gain.

Some of Mills appointees, like it happened in our time, do not look beyond their nose. They do not care whether their action or inaction will make Mills a one-term president. Their main agenda is focused on themselves. Such appointees do not stretch their hands beyond their reach to ensure that the people get the best form of governance. They engage in extravagant spending and personal aggrandizement with the hope that even if the party loses out in the next elections, their future would have been secured.

The Nigerian Experience: Dr Doyin Okupe, who was one of the numerous secretaries of former Nigerian President, Chief Matthew Okikiade Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo gave us a vivid description of some of the things that went on during Obasanjo’s presidency. He states that the Nigerian Labour Congress had declared a total strike throughout the entire Federation. It was a stay at home strike and every aspect of the people’s life were affected including vehicular movement. Obasanjo was spending the day at Abeokuta, Ogun State capital. Many of the Ministers called while others came personally to inform him that the stike had been a total failure for almost the entire working population was at their duty post.

According to Dr Okupe, he summoned courage, took Obasanjo to the window and asked him to look down the streets to see whether there was any movement. Of course, there was none, and the then President became much wiser. This situation does not prevail only in Nigeria. It prevailed during the period of the NPP and Mills Government is of no exception. Some members of the President’s team are not willing to tell him about the true state of affairs for fear of losing their positions in the government.

The true state of the matter is that there is pain, anger and agony in the country. The people are crying and yearning for sweeping reforms and pragmatic policies to ameliorate their sufferings. Will such appointees take this message to the President that indeed, the people are not happy with the way he is handling affairs of the country, or they will pretend that nothing bad is happening? Will they act like Hero the Mad Emperor of Rome who played the fiddle while Rome was on fire?

Whoever will come out publicly to tell Ghanaians that all is well and that there are no sufferings in the land has no love for this country. It is such appointees that ex President Rawlings refers to as Greedy bastards. The truth of the matter is that Ghanaians are indeed suffering!

(Please, look out for the second part, of this piece titled “Greedy Bastards and Mediocrities in Mills Government”. I don’t want it to be all that lengthy).

Daniel Danquah Damptey

E- M ail address: danieldanquah_damptey@yahoo.com

Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah