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Opinions Fri, 7 Aug 2009

People of Ghana: Let’s wake up

By Kwamina Mbra Panford.

I used to be very irritated when in defense of the Kuffour Govt. somebody would say “all Ghanaians are corrupt” I am almost catching myself saying the same thing about the Mills’ regime. It is very disheartening what the politicians are doing to our country. Under the cover of the constitution, the politicians are robbing the country blind. If a minister goes from Accra to Kumasi overnight, he gets GHC1,200 (about $820) allowance. Just imagine the 75 ministers travelling overnight to various cities in the country!!! This should give us all an idea of the systematic rip-off of the people of Ghana.

The dear people of Ghana should stop arguing about the NPP & NDC and start paying attention to what the politicians are doing to them. President Mills goes to Libya for 4 days he gets $5,000 a night allowance. This is $20,000 for the 4 nights. I want somebody in government to deny this and tell the people of Ghana the actual allowance. We are tired of rumors.

Are you all aware that with the establishment of democracy, the politicians are no more afraid of the people. The NDC ‘chopped” the country and handed over to President Kuffour in 2001. The NPP also “chopped” and handed the country back to the NDC, who did not waste any time “chopping”. (Hon?) Muntak Mubarak. (Read about him (?). Ghanaians protested when the NPP gave the parliamentarians $20,000 each to buy vehicles in 2001. In 2005 they were given $25,000. To rub salt into our wounds, President Mils has doubled the bonanza to $50,000 in 2009. It does not end here. If a parliamentarian buys a $50,000 car, he doesn’t pay the estimated $20,000 in custom duty. This $50,000 is a direct signal to the MPS to be to be corrupt. How much does a parliamentarian make in 4 years to be able to repay this loan?

I have never been able to understand the politicians when they state that; the government can no longer subsidize petrol. How does one subsidize a commodity which has 12 government taxes on it? Do these politicians take us for fools? They keep drumming it in our head that they are subsidizing petrol. To start with, the government and her agencies use 40% of the fuel in Ghana!!! This means the rest of the country that use 60% of the fuel pay the 100% of the cost!!! Ghanaians wake up. Granted, the government needs revenue to run the country. Heavily taxing fuel is one of the easiest means to collect revenue. This is lazy governance. This revenue pays for their inordinate allowances and rip- offs. President Mills has directed government to cut fuel usage by 30%. How do we verify this? We have to find a way. How many times do we have to cry over our inability to feed ourselves? The Aveyime Rice Project was initiated by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (God Bless his soul) in the sixties. Up till now we import 80% of our rice consumption. According to the Project Director, Aveyime alone can supply all the country’s rice demand in 2 years? There has never been any country that has developed without being able to feed herself. The successive governments in spite of the noise they make have deliberately stunted the growth of our local industries- that’s how they get their bribes. In the sixties we had 21 textile factories and 25,000 textile workers. At the moment we are down to 3 factories and 3,000 workers! The successive governments have made Ghana a beggar country. 40% of our budget is donor money. How much respect do you get when somebody has to give you 40% of your “chop money” to feed your family every day?

Are we surprised that we have thousands of hawkers on our streets? The Govt. wants to decongest the cities- great. Where do all these traders go? We don’t manufacture anything? The whole Ghana is buy and sell. Have you noticed that armed robbers are getting younger and younger? We have teenagers selling “pure water” at 7 o’clock in the morning at traffic lights instead of going to school.

Now let’s discuss the 1992 constitution the politicians use to blackmail us. According to the “Daily Dispatch” Feb 15th 2009, by 2012 the number of MP’s is likely to be between 250–260 whether Ghana could afford it or not. What kind of crap is that? Was the constitution made to improve our lives or torment us? Have we becomes slaves of our constitution? What has the present 230 done for us that we have to increase their number to 260? So that they we can buy more cars, more “Kakameme” allowances and obnoxious end-of-service-benefits?

Fellow Ghanaians, another statement that doesn’t make sense is “President Mills is good but the people around him…..” This is pure garbage. President Mills is the Leader and he must LEAD- that is why he was voted the President. Ghana is screwed up and we need a leader who can “unscrew” the country. When the Sports Minister, Mubarak(Hon?) stated “he was misled by the personnel at his ministry that was automatic dismissal. A leader has to lead-not to be misled.

President Attah Mills Ghanaians Are Crying To Be Properly Led:

1. We have to feed ourselves. The rice and poultry farmers have been lamenting over the years for lack of government support to make us self sufficient. You have to intervene. Make a change – help our local farmers reduce our foreign dependence.

2. Zoomlion – there are too many rumors about the ownership of Zoomlion. If you are a smart leader, no witch-hunting. Find ways you can improve their performance and efficiency throughout the whole country. Zoomlion is a bright Star and it can make Ghana clean and shine.

3. Stop government officials from making stupid statements. An example “Ghana is going to produce 1 million tons of cocoa in 2010 “.Cocoa is bought based on the forecast. This statement automatically depresses the future price of cocoa. “All government officials and workers are going to declare their assets!!!” We cannot even audit the cabinet ministers let alone all government workers. Select a decent number of government officials (including cabinet ministers) legislate them to declare their assets at the beginning and at the end of their terms.

4. Free school uniforms policy begins in Sept (Daily Graphic – 6/20/09). President Attah Mills you know full well that this is going to be a fertile ground for corrupt government contracts for party hacks. Let the parents buy their own uniforms and free them from directly paying school fees.

5. Stop selling government lands to Ghanaian officials who turn around and sell them to foreigners. This makes nonsense of “yen ara yen asaase ni” – this is our own land.

6. Ghanaian contractors cannot harvest timber but foreigners can! (Daily Graphic Oct 28th 2008).

7. The high price of fish in Ghana is the direct result of the Government’s inability to protect our own fishing waters – President Attah Mills –remember this was a hot issue for the NPP during the 2008 elections – a word to the wise.

8. President Attah Mills – you have to directly attack armed robbery. No amount of political freedom is going to compensate for Ghanaians being attacked on the streets and in their own homes. Nothing hurts individual freedom and human rights more than being assaulted in one’s own home.

9. National Health Insurance Scheme is great for Ghana. It cries for improvement.

10. President Attah Mills what happened to the agricultural tractors the NPP government ordered for the Ghanaian farmers? 11. Fellow Ghanaians, if we don’t mount pressure on the government to genuinely change, the politicians will take us to the cleaners. Let’s us not wait for 2012- it may be too late. It is scary to think about the direction the country is going with these politicians who treat the people of Ghana with disdain and arrogance.

By, Kwamina Mbra Panford
Columnist: Panford, Kwamina Mbra