The Ultimate U Turn

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Critical News, 22nd September 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Accra seems subdued. It is quiet all over. Election fever is yet to catch and we are all fed up with at-variance politicians. There is nothing said by one side that is not countered by the other side as wrong or evil, and I am pointing at the NPP and the NDC parties, whose perennial promises and disagreements just seem to weigh heavily on the daily toil. No consistent water, on-today-off-tomorrow electricity, poor communication services, call drop out, no internet access and definitely no access to finance. You struggle to keep an everyday domestic front only to get to the office and fight even harder to get a rhythm in business. Ghanaians are not struggling; we are taking a bashing. My business involves helping clients to find financial solutions to their business needs and currently Ghana is the worst place for providing such solutions.

The entertainment sector is doing ok. The young ones have found a place for the old guard and a lot of collaboration is happening. We had a Legends Ball to celebrate Amakye Dede and last weekend we went “Back in the Day”. Even Sonny Achiba was on the bill. I admire what we are doing in this sector. I wonder sometimes if they re making money, but seeing the BMWs, Mercedes and Hummers they ride, I assume things are going well. I don’t have any singer or actor friends yet, but I am aiming to meet Becca one day soon. I heard her interview on Joy Fm the other morning and what a well-spoken person with genuine laughter. Hopefully one day our paths will cross. I like her music too, but I like Lord Kenya just as well. I just hope their payday comes soon.

While all this was going down, some idiots from Nima decided to start a gang fight. It so overwhelmed the police that they had to call in reinforcements from all over Accra. The reason for the “war” is yet to reach the public, but this is a growing problem. I wrote a few weeks go how I ran into some motorcycle hooligans at the NPP rally and found relief in a bystander who urged me away. I couldn’t help but think that if we had arrested and jailed the murderers in the similar Agbogloshie fighting in 2010, it could have served as a deterrent. We are facing a problem with these gangs who have very little regard for law and order. Every burial becomes an excuse to hold up traffic, every wedding is reason to drive in the middle of the road and every Sallafest becomes a reckless parade of all combinations of Italian, German, American and Chino-Japanese bike display. If the bikes were made in Ghana, who knows, we might be more tolerant. I am sure the Police are aware and very eager to arrest the problem, but why wait till the streets become un-motorable before we act?

In the Supreme Court, the interlocutory injunction by Ransford France against Parliament for “District Four Five” was heard and thrown back. Justice Ansah did not see reason to stop Parliament from carrying through the 21-day sitting rule for C.I.78. The actual detail of the case will be heard on 4th October, before which there might be several other challenges to the creation of the Districts. That legal procedure is clear and the best interpretation of the law will win the day. Former Attorney General Joe Ghartey argued for the plaintiff and current A-G Benjamin Kunbuor argued for the State.

We have about 75 days to Election Day, the voters’ register is yet to be ushered into play, hopefully all will go well and the Politicians will make sure we have no violence pre and post elections. I have been asking myself who is ahead in the race? My small circle of friends who are all biased in their own ways are also very conflicted.

Here is my list as at today for issues and events that I think might influence voters.

Corruption scandals of the NDC, Cost of Living, Free School program, Failure of STX deal, Cedi depreciation, Bawumia impact on the economy, John Mahama youthfulness, some sympathy for the Mills administration, all die be die mantra by Nana Addo.

John Mahama has tied his campign to the late President’s vision of a Better Ghana, managing a thank you tour as part of his campaign. Well, some persons might have been fooled into thinking he was going round to really say thank you. I do not think trying to deify the late President is a good idea. The new President made a statement that President Mills made the “ultimate sacrifice”, and I take exception to this. An ultimate sacrifice in my world is where you give up your freedom in order to save another; or an act of defiance against tyranny such as to speak a truth. A sacrifice has more value if it is something dear. Also, if the one giving the sacrifice is willing, it tends to make it stronger. So, one willingly giving their life, being that which allows one to enjoy anything else, would be the "ultimate" sacrifice. Finally, to hold the material thing you wanted most in your hands and being able to give it to someone who needs it would be the ultimate. Death is also a great sacrifice but I think the greater one is freedom, because each day you renew that sacrifice, whereas in death you give it only once. To live with the sacrifice everyday is a reminder of how great the passed-on “gift”. The President’s statement means to me that President Mills knew he was on his last legs and yet trundled on knowing very well that his death would offer Mahama and the NDC a gift they could never hope to accomplish without his demise. Wouldn’t that mean therefore that they were all in a conspiracy against the people of Ghana when they denied consistently with Mills that he was unhealthy and not strong enough? I am having a problem with the honesty of this issue and wondering everyday whether it was proper for all executive and NDC party apaches who knew how bad things were to engineer his end. Isn’t sincerity a concern in Ghana Politics?

The most insincere JJ Rawlings’ turncoat appearance was this week. Still unclear whether JJ and Konadu will be the NDP party, we are also still not clear if JJ endorsed Mahama or whether it was just media sensationalism or maybe the NDC hopefuls believe JJ will add value to their campaign? From what I have been able to learn of JJ, he neither forgives nor forgets. Berating the Volta Chiefs this week, he reminded them of the peaceful demonstrations where many innocent Ghanaians were shot and killed for civilized protesting. He simply omitted to tell them that it was his government who interrupted with gunfire. The danger with Rawlings is he likes to distort truth. The danger for him, he thinks nobody remembers the history.

The NDC have yet again opened a gateway for JJ to get into forefront politics. It is not their fault. Desperation has signed many torture pacts and future leaders will continue to repeat the mistake. This week has seen a classic JJ “U” turn, exploiting that small gap in the tunnel left open for him. In front of the people, manufacturing chaos, re-inventing history, and justifying his return to the fold where he has been insulted and castigated by the same core; just with a new turban.

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

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney