For those of you who dislike going through technical issues, I?d humbly plead your indulgence to bear with me this time. I promise to try as much as possible to make it so concise and simple that even a layperson can comprehend what we are about to discuss. Thanks for your time.
On March 14th 2002, at the Inter-American Development Bank seminar in Washington, DC the then new president, George W. Bush, called for ?a new compact for global development, defined by new accountability for both rich and poor nations alike. Greater contributions from developed nations must be linked to greater responsibility from developing nations.? In effect, President Bush advocated for a different type of Foreign Aid for developing countries. He understood that the older method, whereby Rich countries continued to pour their money in Aid into the leaking coffers of poorer countries had not worked. Hence, there was the need for a complete overhauling of how Aid was given to poorer countries; a paradigm shift, if you please. He pledged that the US ?would lead by example and increase its core development assistance by 50 percent over the next three years, resulting in an annual increase of $5 billion by FY 2006. These funds will go into a new Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Because sound policies are an essential condition of development, the President announced that the Millennium Challenge Account will be ?devoted to projects in nations that govern justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom.? ? ? White House . So the Congress of the United States, in January 2004 passed this program into law.
Folks, that?s how the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was born. The 3 criteria for qualifying for this great program are listed in the White House?s website and also at www.mca.gov/. It?s there for everyone to see. And these criteria are: Governing Justly, Investing in People, and Promoting Economic Freedom. So on May 6th, 2004 the Board that manages the MCA invited 16 countries, including your own beloved Ghana to apply for assistance under the program as they had been deemed to have satisfied the criteria that had been set. Every country is reassessed yearly to determine if they qualify to be invited to apply for assistance in that year. So qualifying for one year does not guarantee that you will qualify for the next. In 2005, 23 countries were deemed to qualify. Again, Ghana was one of those countries. But understand this clearly friend, this is free money! It?s not a loan. It?s a grant that the generous citizens of the United States have agreed to ?dish out? to poorer countries that are fighting nobly against poverty; to help them break the vicious and entangling chain of poverty. The money comes from the coffers of the American tax-payer. So it?s a gift. The American tax-payer is under no obligation to foot any development project in Ghana or in any other countries. But as human beings, we have morals. We are not animals, despite what Charles Darwin would want you believe. And it?s through our sense of morality that we realize that if you are well-off economically or financially, it?s appropriate for you to stretch forth your hand to assist the needy. That?s the basis for which the Rich Western countries took it as their moral responsibility to assist poorer countries. I?ll grant that sometimes these Foreign Aids come with strings attached. But overall they are not a bad idea.
(I kept my promise, didn?t I? It wasn?t that technical, anyway. But read on! It gets juicier.)
Often when you analyze the strings attached to most Foreign Aid they are not bad in themselves. We black people sometimes behave in a very peculiar way; call it idiotic, if you please. You have an over-bloated civil service which you can?t pay decently, amongst a plethora of economic problems. As a result, you end up with budget deficits, inflation rates which can go ?as far as the eyes can see?, yet you keep printing money and spending it ?like a drunken sailor?. So you go to the IMF for a bailout. They tell you ?friend, trim your civil service big-time, cut down on unnecessary public expenditure, etc.? You tell them: ?Yessa Massa!? Then after you have taken their money you turn around and preach to the vulnerable people how evil the IMF is. But shouldn?t that advice be commonsensical? In fact, it makes total economic sense. There are many things we should be doing on our own accord and not wait for the IMF to tell us. For instance, in our country, the civil service is grossly over-bloated. And so people go to work, and there?s really not much to do. So what do they do? They pull-out their newspapers and read them on their employer?s time. They work the lotto papers to figure out next week?s ?sure banker? (the winning numbers). They lay their heads on their tables and snore out loud, or they leave their offices to visit their buddies? in order to catch up on the latest gossip. And at the end of the month, they get paid. And so we remain poor. So in such a situation if the IMF tells you to lay people off, so you can re-allocate resources better and in the course save your country some money, you shout ?buei!? like a fool. Blackman with black mentality! God save us. Wonder why we remain poor? Go figure!
When we were invited, the first time, to apply for assistance under the MCA, the Kufuor Administration presented a plan that the Board did not approve. It was a bold plan that needed a lot of detailing. So we were asked to review that plan and present it with more details. So in 2005 when we were invited the second time to apply, the Administration submitted a better detailed and ambitious program. The goal of the program was to completely overhaul and modernize our agricultural industry. It aimed to introduce serious mechanization to our agriculture to replace the hoe-and-cutlass-type farming. At the moment, barring any unforeseen problem, we are to sign a 500 million United States Dollars agreement with the MCA Board to make that money available to us so that we can revolutionalize our rudimentary agricultural practices to a modern one. And let me remind you again that this $500 million is free money. It?s not a loan for you to pay back today or ever, or for the generations yet unborn to foot. It?s totally free. And trust me, free is good!
All that the Americans are asking you, ?bibini? Blackman, is: to Govern Yourself Justly (via Rule of Law and Democracy and not butcher yourselves); to Invest in Yourselves and Your Future; and lastly to Promote Economic Freedom (so that like their own people in the United States, you can also break out of the curse of poverty). Is this an insult? What?s so offensive about their requirement? Is it an insult if when you give your money to an alcoholic who comes telling you he is hungry, to require of this alcoholic that he uses your donation for ?banku? and not for another round of ?akpet?? That?s all the Americans are doing. So for a group of representatives of the poor people of Ghana (MPs), who are paid to sit on their butts in an air-conditioned building to talk, debate, and pass laws to help move our country forward; for this group of people to come out in public on the national airwaves, and threaten that if they do not have their own way, they are going to sabotage this money that our American friends our willing to release to us to help us improve our own lives, speaks volume about the character of this group of people.
Now listen to this incredible report from JoyOnline, coming from the NDC minority MPs: ?The minority in parliament says they are considering petitioning the government of the United States to thoroughly scrutinize Ghana?s proposal for accessing the Millennium Challenge Account, MCA.? And hear their spokesman, Haruna Iddrisu NDC MP for Tamale South in an interview with Joy News: ?As a country we have every reason to pride ourselves that Ghana had qualified to benefit from this initiative. In our view the document is not poverty friendly. The grandmother of poverty based on our country?s statistics is in the four regions of Ghana so we [NDC MPs] think that yes we appreciate the intervention of the US government but we think it must be subjected to critical review BEFORE the final grant is made. Even the selection process as to who qualified was not subjected to any public discourse. It was not subjected to any discussion as to what are the issues we ought to consider in determining who benefits or who gets what,? he said.? Blackman! What at all is wrong with your head? Do you need an electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) for you start thinking like a rationale being? Or do you need a craniotomy to help ooze out the filth in your brain, so you can think properly?
Haruna Iddrisu and his fellow NDC MPS are saying that the document presented by the Kufuor Administration to the MCA for which the MCA has approved and is ready to sign a 500-million-dollar program with us is not ?poverty friendly?. In other words, the NDC MPs strongly believe that the Americans did a lousy job in scrutinizing the Kufuor Administration?s program. And so they of the NDC, with their much more ?superior intellect? want to subject this program to deep ?critical review before the final grant is made.? And until they have finished subjecting it to their critical review and have approved of it, they do not want the ?final grant? to be released to us by the Americans. Blackman mentality?Se ebegu a, enngu! For the Kufuor Administration to be entrusted with this huge gift from our American friends to revolutionize our agriculture, to improve on our economy, and to better the lives of over 3 million full-blooded Ghanaian farmers and their relatives, they (the NDC) must work to quash the program. In their mindset, if Kufuor succeeds in making the economy better, in revolutionalizing our agricultural sector to provide jobs for thousands of the unemployed in the agro-industry that will develop from this investment; if he (Kufuor) succeeds in raising the standard of living for the Ghanaian farmer, then the NDC would have lost the allegiance of those who would otherwise be vulnerable to their lies. If the economy were to improve dramatically, so much so that employers would be looking for employees to fill their job positions, the people would not believe them (the NDC) when they (NDC) tell the people that Kufuor is doing a lousy job. For the contradictory evidence to their ?propaganda of lies? would be in the people?s face. And this would mean that they would have to sit in opposition for another 4 years come 2008. So to improve on their chances in the 2008 elections, Haruna Iddrisu and his NDC must work overtime to scuttle Ghana?s chances for modernizing her agricultural sector and improving the economic well-being of millions of Ghanaians. And they must petition our American friends to keep their money and let him (Haruna and members of his National Saboteurs Club) debate on the program and subject it to their critical review. The arrogance of some men amazes me!
Now we thank God that the American?s are not like us. There?s no country in the world that is more detail-oriented than the Americans. (Let?s pretend like the Iraqi Debacle is just a myth, will you?
Sometimes I wonder whether people think before they even speak. A greater chunk of the statistical data collected and analyzed about our country is not done by us, but by our American and other Western friends. So for the NDC MPs to think that the Americans (who by the way are well represented in Ghana) are oblivious to what?s on the ground in Ghana makes them (the NDC) look too ridiculous! The NDC are ?using? the northern regions for political purposes again. Their goal is to sabotage the Millennium Challenge Account that Ghana is about to sign an agreement for, so they are clandestinely using the poverty of the Upper West and East Regions, and the Northern Region as a pretext to sabotage the entire country. Surprisingly, in their eagerness to sabotage their own country so that we continue to dwell under the curse of poverty (which they could be blamed for 50% or more of it, thanks to their long tenure of office and the little they achieved during that time) they forgot that the Americans are well aware that those Regions are the most unstable ones in the country; that as results-oriented people that they (the Americans) are, they are unwilling to throw their money to the wind. And so prefer that a greater chunk of their money goes to parts of the country which are more stable and where a maximum positive effect of their money could be achieved. And it?s not even like districts in the northern parts of the country and the Volta Region are excluded from benefiting from this fund. This was what Paa Kwesi Nduom, the Minister of Public Sector Reform, and CPP MP, wrote briefly in response to Haruna Iddrisu, ?My colleague in parliament has got it wrong! Unfortunately, he has not read the documents I sent to Parliament before it passed the Millennium Development Authority Bill. There are at least FOUR DISTRICTS from the Northern region included - this includes Savelugu, Nanton, and his own Tamale area. The other districts include poverty endemic areas such as Afram Plains, Fanteakwa, Gomoa, Keta and others. I hope this is not just a publicity stunt because it would be a sad commentary of our politics. This is one program that should be above politics.?
I want to assure the NDC minority that they should not worry about the awareness of the Americans of our political and economic situation. They shouldn?t worry at all. For the Americans know of our country and keep a good record of everything that goes on in the country. They listen and record all the conversations made in public and over the airwaves by people who present themselves to the not-so-discerning Ghanaian as ?messiahs?. They keep such good records that they have even found space in their records to save the DNA profile of their (the NDC?s) own Godfather, his wife, and children on their records. So they know who the saboteurs of our country are. They know those who are so eager to destabilize Ghana. And for once, the NDC must trust the American?s to put their money where their mouth is. They (the Americans) wouldn?t waste their money on useless adventures such as ?wahala? or ROPAB demonstrations, but would finance programs that would affect real people?s lives positively. People must be helped to make ends meet. And if our own blood relatives would sabotage such a God-sent help, then too bad!
For political expediency, Haruna Iddrisu and his NDC would sabotage the country. Since their threats of ?mayhem?, chaos, and ?Ghana will explode and burn? was rebuked by all patriotic citizens of Ghana, now they must work to sabotage the MCA so that our farmers continue to be poor. Yet they tell you they are fighting for you, and you believe them. And have joined their National Saboteurs Club. ?Bibini? Blackman? Gosh!
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