Smockless JDM on Water Day

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Critical News, 24th March 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

A case from my Grandfather’s archives caught my attention and set me on an aerial trip to Ho in the Volta Region. It is not a very nice city when you look at it from the Google skies and I will make a trip there soon to see if Google have the right place located on Maps.

The story. From the Daily Graphic of July 11, 1958, a person was said to have told the Assize Court that he was informed by a fortune teller at Atakpame in the Ho District, that one Bukari, his half brother, was bewitching him, and as he did not want Bukari to kill him first, he was influenced by the devil to kill him. He acted on heresy and without any proof as to the truth of what he had been told by the Fortune Teller, who might have been paid by another, he killed his brother. Notwithstanding Defense Council’s plea that his client acted under “insane delusion”, he was sentenced to death. The Fortune Teller still lives after destroying two lives. A Ghanaian bench adjudicated this case.

Roll back to 1918 in another case where the Yabonwura Mahama of the Gonja State was said to be collecting men to fight the Colonial Government. Telephone lines between Kintampo and Bole were cut by his opponents to justify the accusations and the Gold Coast Regiment were dispatched to go and deal with him at Senyon, where he was said to have encamped. On their arrival they arrested Yabonwura Mahama and took him to Tamale, forcing him to walk all the way. He was not allowed to ride his horse. Tried in open court and found not guilty, two persons, the then Bolewura and his brother Asumani who was the court interpreter at Bole, were found to be the trouble-causers. They were removed from Kumasi and the Yabonwura was released. It was at the end of the First World War and that was British justice.

The reason I bring this up at this time is that in Ghana, rarely do you find the trouble causers arrested for an eventual criminal outcome. Many times, Fetish Priests as well as dominant religious leaders have misled congregants to accuse others of disrupting their lives. Rarely do you hear that any of them has been indicted for planting a discordant seed.

Speculatively, should the NDC and President Mahama lose the Election Petition, will we go further and investigate persons who would be at the root of a fraud on voters? Will we extend the case and charge, prosecute and sentence anyone guilty of treasonously redirecting the future of Ghanaians? Nana Addo and the NPP have exercised their right to a petition. Will the outcome, if they lose, be determined as a waste of the Court’s time? This is a serious constitutional matter and we expect total fairness. If there is one thing we must take from our Colonial Masters, it is their justice system. It works, without fear or favor. Freedom and Justice.

The National Health Insurance Scheme announced proudly that it has paid claims to the end of November. Government finally found some money to sort out its outstanding liability. But, and a big BUT, the contract conditions with service providers is that claims should not be more than sixty days outstanding. We are in March, claims for December should have been paid as well. And a gentle reminder to the Authority, now that they have caught up somewhat, all providers must receive a processed claim cheque every month, without fail. That would be right.

My knight, Sir John of Sakrawonor created some political mayhem and would have been no gate-crasher to the BNI March party if the police had not got a tip-off from his own team to the Labadi garage. This article from the Vibe website has so much detail on the whole episode, it is revealing by source. End of this story, the car has been found, the MTTU in Accra are hoping to muscle in on the traumatic event and some politics is playing out whether it was an assassination attempt or as suggested by Asiedu Nketia, a suicide offer by the NPP running mate, when Sir John forgot to sleep in his treated mosquito net. Logically, on a road, how does a car bust two rear tires passing the same route as the front and those forward tires remain intact? NPP Communications frontline Nana Akomeah mired the controversy by doing the right thing, personalizing the Knight from Kwabre East in his outburst. The unnecessary accusation of a murder attempt scored political points with the foot-soldier genre, but ended there as commonsense took over and now we must determine whether the media conspirators are right that the NDC would like nothing best than to eliminate Mahmudu Bawumia. The petition case is looming large in all our minds, he has been the lead collator and the EC had to quell a fire from an air condition unit during the week. There are no coincidences in life. The seven days given by the Supreme Court for the two parties to sort out their procedure is ended and we might? Might see a start to the real case.

Oh, Kpegah, Kpegah? What would have pushed the man to come out at this time with an accusation that lawyers in this country have taken as a personal affront to the challenge on Nana Addo’s lawyerly credentials? The logic of this case baffled me. Will he go ahead with this just for nuisance value?

I think the John Mahama prayer camp responded to the Reverend Owusu Bempah prophecy and tried to arrange this trip to Israel to offer some appeasement to whoever; divine intervention or other, to hopefully avert what they believe might come true. Noticeably absent from the group that met with the President was Mensah Otabil, who was the center of the NDC v Religion fight in the election run-up. That could also be a reason for the trip, a way to get back in step with the Christian caucus. But I prefer my first conspiracy theory. Now me too am looking for a philanthropist, preferably one who has paid his taxes and I can name openly in public as my benefactor and who will give me support to start a Capital Fund for companies ready to quote on the Ghana Alternative Market (have you heard of the GAX?). I can do a lot with six hundred thousand cedis, or is it still two million? Can someone facilitate? I have no qualms about whether (s)he be gay.

Last week we celebrated Water Day. I felt the pinch hard, had to buy a tank load of water on the same day, paid five times more than I should. We have not had any water in the pipes for two and half months and I am still counting. But listening to the President on the day, I wondered whether JDM should continue to leave his smock at home when he makes these speeches. He is coming to us naked. Let me lift a piece of his speech for this purpose. “I have charged the minister to look at the whole structure. There are best practices across the world. I don’t see why we cannot look at some country where the water system is working and adopt the practice they have and come and do the same thing here”.

Here is my worry. First the problem with our water system is not the structure at Ghana Water. We also do not need to go and borrow someone else’s process and plunk them in the Districts and Regions. I have worked with the managers at Ghana Water on several occasions; they know what they are doing. The challenge is funding and Government is the root cause of all the funding shortage. Budget allocations are never met and even when we have project funding, Government is slow to implement and provide counterpart funds. All that the President said is politics. This is not how we will solve the problems of water and electricity and many other institution problems. Find the money and allocate the funds. Please. If the President seriously believes that the solution is management and structure, he has not been paying attention. As recent as this administration, Bagbin, ET Mensah, Bissiw should pipe up. It is about money. He should look in the lining of his smock, we have many proposals for decentralized water systems, Independent Power Producers for electricity and a whole decentralization law that is not implemented. Lets start from there. We don’t need more hog wash.

I must remind VRA, GRIDCO and ECG that this April is when they have promised all this “dumso” will taper off. I also have to remind the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company that we expect gas to flow through the repaired pipe and we will fire up TICO and Asogli and all the other gas-dependent systems by all means. We don’t want promises that will not be kept while we have to pay more for non-existent services.

Chinua Achebe created a vacuum and parted my world. I worked with him at Heinemann Books in Oxford, he was a fine gentleman with an abundance of advice. I will miss his humor, may his soul rest in peace. But Denise Williams caught my attention with a deliverance session, claiming any man who slept with her ended up progress-less. So TB Joshua cured her. Men, you can now line up, it is safe, unlike the food at Legon, which contains fecal matter. Ugh.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney