Stop This Government Policy Of Selfishness

Mon, 3 Oct 2005 Source: Ampofo, Ofori

The Minister of Private Sector development and President?s special Initiative (PSI) Mr. Kwamena Bartels, on Wednesday 21st September 2005, Infuriated the people of Ghana with the announcement at a weekly meet the press review in Accra that, the Government has decided to allocate up to 100 acres of free Land to Ministers and MPs to go into large scale oil palm and cassava plantation. The Government will also support the Ministers and MPs with clearing the land, seedlings, planting, and maintenance of the farms.

There are numerous complains from Ghanaians of all walks of life and I can understand their concerns and anger. This is what Miss. Salamatu, a contributor on Ghana web say it loud, Discuss this column; had to say. Quote. The Minister should offer the lands to the communities, so that as a community, they unite, work a strategy of achieving good yield. The Minister could then set them off like competition so that communities compete with each other to see who is cultivating more yields and selling their produce for the development of their communities. In this way, everyone within that community benefits in one way. Awards could then be given to that community on farmer?s day. Giving lands that belong to the state to your colleagues is not only totally but morally evil. THINK; THINK; THINK she continued, if you help the poor and vulnerable within our society through the community elders, the Government would be praised; not any one. Unquote. If ordinary people can come up with thoughtful ideas like above, why is the minister Kwamena Bartels not suggesting a better alternative to the Government?s unpopular decision? I don?t think he was confirmed a minister to only says. YES SIR.

The same day that the Minister revealed the decision, I featured an article on the Ghana web captioned, Ghana?s priorities; In part, I suggested Government investment in the idle youth on our streets in productive settlement farms, as another priority over the peduase lodge renovation, to show the unemployed youth that there is real dignity in labor, while feeding the nation and returns consequently go to renovate the peduase lodge.

A learned Professor, criticized the idea on the same medium; say it loud, express your views column claiming, quote, Agriculture is not a profession of convenience or expediency; thus any such idea must be deemed as rather obsolescent and unimaginative. Regardless of ones station in society, not all people are agriculturally talented. People need the highest form of training and enskillment to practice meaningful agriculture. Un quotes. I don?t want to be critical on the professor; because, those who supported the idea did not agree with him however, I would want to educate him because; no man has the monopoly of wisdom. I am a successful farmer with oil palm and cocoa plantations without any agricultural training. Cocoa has been the backbone of the country for many years but our peasant farmers have never attended any agricultural colleges. They are guided by extension or field officers who are paid by the state.

If investing in our unemployed youth on settlement or collective farming ventures is deemed as obsolescent and unimaginative by the professor, how should investing in Ministers and MPs, who are already well placed in the society, be a good proposition by the Government of Ghana? Is it good for them but not good for the unemployed youth, who have no hope for their future? Why don?t we have to help these unfortunate citizens on the streets to build a future for themselves? Why do Ministers and MPs want everything for themselves at the expense of those who voted them into office? It is very sad and I really can?t make any comprehension at all on why people in political power in our part of the world, don?t think about others but themselves.

100 Acres of free land can settle five (5) or more unemployed youth to give them hope for the future instead of giving it free to ONE affluent Minister or MP in the society. Collective farming during the 1960s under the workers Brigade on State farms was very productive. The only problem then, was the politicization of the unit. Therefore, if Government can organize and invest in the unemployed youth on collective farming and depoliticize its operations, it will definitely be a success for the nation immensely and with abundant food and other crops for local consumption and possible export.

MPs WELCOME FREE LAND FOR FARMING. I do not think anybody expected the Ministers and MPs to reject that kind of Multi Million Cedis free project which they will contribute absolutely nothing to set up, but will reap hundreds of millions of profits eventually. As long as it?s going to favor both sides of the isle, it will pass through a vote the same day; if it is submitted to parliament. Fellow concerned Ghanaians, let us assume that what the Honorable Minister Kwamena Bartels revealed at the forum, was a slip of tongue, or he said it by mistake and continue to register our total disagreement before it becomes a reality.

Unequivocally, article 78, claus3 of the constitution reads; A Minister of state shall not hold any other office of profit or emolument whether private or public and whether directly or indirectly, unless otherwise permitted by the speaker acting on the recommendation of a committee of parliament on the grounds,

a) That holding that office will not prejudice the work of a minister.

b) That no conflict of interest arises or would arise as a result of the minister holding that office.

Similarly, article 98 clause 2 states the same for Members of Parliament. Unless Hon. Kwamena Bartels reads above from the constitution and understands it differently, how can he or the Speaker of the national assembly convince the people of Ghana that the multi million Cedis farming project envisaged for their compatriots, will not be in contravention of articles 78 and 98 respectively?

If by the constitutional authority vested in the Speaker, he overlooks this crime perpetrated against the people of Ghana, WE WILL SEEK CONSTITUTIONAL REDRESS IN THE COURT OF LAW; on behalf of the people. If it doesn?t work, we will lodge official complaint before the G8, and the world body, such typical behaviors of African Governments that destabilizes the continent. It is my thoughts that any political decision that raises high tension and controversy amongst the mass of the people should be either withdrawn or extensively debated upon for popular consensus.

Fellow Ghanaians, this decision by the Government is totally unacceptable; but, in the interest of peace, harmony and stability, let us be very cautious. If they ignore popular demand to trash that selfish policy, we will tell them that popular power was given to them to serve the people and not to enrich themselves at the expense of the people. These are the kinds of senseless decisions we have witnessed since 1966,which have brought Ghana to its knees with leaking bowl in hand, always begging other countries for Loans and financial assistance whereas we are endowed abundantly with all the God given natural recourses that you can think of.

Our politicians after 1966 haven?t showed any love for Ghana because of GREEDYNESS, CORRUPTION, and MATERIALISM AND SELFISHNESS. How can the Deputy Minister of Finance Dr.Osei Akoto go before Parliament and couldn?t explain how 27.6 billion Cedis of the HIPC funds was disbursed? Saying his ministry couldn?t establish a project for which such amount was disbursed on. IS IT A DREAM, OR IT IS REAL. A Ghana web Chronicle source indicated 199.3 billion Cedis was set aside as contingency fund therefore, there was no reason why the 27.6 billion Cedis should also be classified (and others).That raised questions from the Minority spokesman for communications Mr. Haruna Idrisu and called for a probe into the 2002-2005 disbursement of the HIPC funds.

What is happening in Government today went on for twenty years under PNDC/NDC Government so when will true accountability and sincerity take roots in Government functions in our Ghana? We should make it hard for economic criminals to get away with their activities else we can never ever uproot these kinds of unpatriotic criminalities from within all sectors of the economy.

Fellow countrymen, with all the Privileges they enjoy and the waste in Government, we should definitely make it difficult for politicians not to get away with their crimes against the people of Ghana. They think of themselves but not the good of the country. They need to be straightened up. That is why some concerned Ghanaians have formed Save Ghana Now Association; A pressure Group to pursue them for change.

Ofori Ampofo (Save Ghana Now Association)
Register and join us. We are a non Political Association

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Ampofo, Ofori