The Woes Of Narku Kojo In Ghana@50 -Part II

Thu, 15 Feb 2007 Source: Dowuona, Samuel

In the first part of this article we rewind to the period when Ghana was 30 getting to 40 and saw the how the blood thirsty military dictators rendered our people weak and timid.

Recently in his opening Golden Jubilee lecture, Busumuru Kofi Annan captured it perfectly when he said "military adventurism left Africa with only big men and dead dreams". The big men being the custodians of the senseless pockets of coup d'etats on the continent, including Ghana.

But we passed on from Ghana@30 to Ghana@40, which was supposed to have seen a country exhibiting wisdom in our actions; made up of people and especially leaders who should have left foolishness and stupidity far behind.

Professor Steven Adae, Director-General of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) once said the 'leader is cause and everything else is effect.? In effect the behavior of the masses; whether it reflects foolishness or wisdom depends on whether they are being led by foolish or wise leaders.

But don't believe the professor; just keep his statement in mind as we try to rewind our minds back to 10 years ago to see if our leaders were wise. It began from 1997. The National Democratic Congress was in its fifth year as a legitimate government voted into power under the 1992 Fourth Republic Constitution; but that was only after 20 years of illegitimacy of its mother, the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).

Former military dictator, elected first president of the fourth republic, had completed his first four year term and was in the first year of his second and final legitimate term. One would have expected that at this stage, this country would have made strides in stepping away from the foolishness of intimidation, victimization, corruption, vindictiveness, cronyism, favoritism, nepotism, tribalism and all the military style governance tendencies. But no!

Even under the 1992 constitution, where there was a free press and freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution, that gave rise to the advent of several private radio stations, newspapers and civil society organizations that took the system on for perceived wrongs and violations of peoples' rights, the culture of fear still lingered on.

Indeed research by the Commonwealth Human Rights Institutes at the time showed that beyond the violation of individuals' rights by their fellow citizens, there were even systemic arbitrary violations of individuals? rights in particular. The police force, military men (they never go away), the law courts, health practitioners and other state institutions were cited as guilty of the violation of individuals' rights.

In Ghana@40 getting to 50, the foolishness of intimidation was manifested in arbitrary and down right foolish acts like the infamous shit bomb, brutalization of anti-ruling party characters by pro-ruling party thugs and vice versa, among several others acts. It was in Ghana@40 getting to 50 that even the head of state himself took a nose dive into the gutter by ordering the toppling of a taxi at Tema, because the driver was reported to have behaved recklessly on the road. One wonders the wisdom in that kind of order from the most respected person in the country then. What was he thinking?

It was not a secret that in Ghana@40 getting to 50, people still looked over their shoulders, for fear of being followed. People were still careful what to say about the powers that be because many a worker lost their jobs for saying something supposed to be harmless in one conversation or the other with colleague workers.

I remember in 1996 when the general elections votes were being counted and results from the NPP World Bank, Ashanti Region started coming in creating the impression that the ruling NDC was losing. One of my bosses then seemed very happy about the initial lead of the NPP and he could not hide his joy so he screamed "we will kick them (NDC) out of power."

But in the end it was the NDC that emerged as winners. The next day that boss of mine was relieved of his position and was given another appointment that made him completely of no threat to the NDC government. That was a very strong warning to us all because that boss of mine was one character we revered a lot and we never thought he could be reduced to almost nothing in that manner. In the end he resigned and fizzled out of the system quietly.

People who had expertise to help the development of this country were denied the opportunity to do so because of their anti-ruling party sentiments. If that is not foolishness, then someone tell Narku Kojo what is. Wisdom would tell you that you can even use your enemies to achieve your goals. In this case however, those persons who were victimized because of their anti-ruling party sentiments were not even enemies of the state but opponents of the government. There?s a great deal of difference in that.

For instance it was during Ghana@40 getting to 50 that the first man of the country (president) told a rally of his party faithful not to buy the products (soap) of a Ghanaian businessman because that businessman was a member of the largest opposition party and was suspected to be using proceeds from the product sales to finance that party.

And yet the same government claimed to be pursuing a privatization policy that supported the creation and growth of private local business. Was that not an irony and foolish on the part of the head of state. Probably that private sector growth policy was supposed to benefit only pro-government sycophants and not all Ghanaian business persons.

The whole purpose and act of national development is about making use of all the available resources, human and otherwise in the country to move the development agenda forward. Any leader who does not realize that even at age 10 of the system he runs, is very unwise. Consider the Singapores, Malaysias and what-have-you. They could not have been where they are today playing foolish politics with something as dear as national development.

In Ghana@40 getting to 50, the ruling party did well to sabotage businesses belonging to members of the opposition parties and on the other hand the leaders of the largest opposition party which also came into power when Ghana was getting to 50 and is still in power today did some unwise things too. They went as far as to our development partners (apologies to civil society) to sabotage the effort of the government to get loans for our national development.

Narku Kojo cannot imagine the Democrats in USA for instance going to the UN, NATO, The G8 or even the other members of the allied forces to sabotage the efforts of the Republicans attempt to seek support against terrorists. That childish act cannot happen even if the democrats do not fully agree (which they really don't) with the Republicans policy on anti-terrorism (I stand to be corrected).

It is only in Ghana that learned politicians who are privileged to be given the mandate of leadership could descend into such levels of childish, stupidity and foolishness just to sabotage the effort of the other. That kind of act, which I am told is still happening today in Ghana@50, is far from wisdom.

Narku Kojo has a question " do you remember the "I don't fear God?? saga; When the former president of Ghana, who apart from stating his disgust for democracy as a system of government was also bold to state that he did not fear God? As much as he and his propagandists tried to explain that reckless statement, he could not make us forget the biblical scripture which says "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom".

If the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and in Ghana@40 getting to 50, the president (leader) says he did not fear God then in Ghana@40 getting to 50, our president was not wise and an unwise leader could only take unwise decisions and in effect ?unwisdom? was our lot as a nation. O! na wow oo!

Was it a surprise therefore when in a few year for Ghana to get to 50 years our former president was caught trying to scandalize the ruling government with all kinds of allegations, calling for positive defiance and in the end when he was asked to prove his allegations he initially asked for a lie detector test and later asked to go to a fetish shrine (antoanyamaa) with the sitting president before he speaks. How unwise could a leader of his caliber be?

That brings to mind one of the issues the former president was ranting about at the time. It was the serial killings of women in Accra. At the time one Quashie, a self-confessed perpetrator of the killings was in police custody. The sitting government was being accused of being behind the killings and the former president claimed to have the proof, which he was ready to share only at antoanyamaa or with a lie detector.

In their bid to exonerate themselves from that allegation, the ruling government promised to get to the root of the killings of women. But till date nothing else has happened after Quashie's arrest. I don't know how to describe that promise by the ruling government, but it is definitely not a smart move, especially since nothing has been done about it since.

I forgot to tell you that part of the time from Ghana@40 getting to 50, the NPP took the driving seat to run the affairs of this country. In the midst of the six years before Ghana became 50 quite a number of memorable things have happened, which for Narku Kojo did not point to wise leadership.

The IFC loan saga is I believe your first pick just as it is mine. This was a loan from some IFC different from the World Bank?s IFC we all know. This one billion dollar loan was supposed to turn around the fortunes of this nation for good, and as we were told the World Bank, IMF and other traditional financiers and creditors of Ghana were not too happy because if that loan went through Ghana would have been free of their clutches of its creditors for good. Ei! Charlie, did you know that Ghana is no more under IMF clutches, thanks to the HIPC move y the sitting government.

The term "due diligence" became very popular at the time of the IFC saga for two reasons - one because the largest opposition, the NDC did a lot of due diligence and found out that the supposed offices of that IFC in London was rather a hair dresser's shop. Can you believe it hair dresser?s salon!? The government, led by the famous minister of Finance, Osafo Maafo, now seeking the mandate of his party to lead them in the 2008 president elections, did not do due diligence and kept misleading this country.

Press secretary of the president Kwabena Agyapong, who is also seeking the presidential slot of the party now, became the major mouthpiece of the government and defended the empty chase for the one billion IFC loan. Indeed everybody in Ghana, including even illiterates read in between the lines and could tell that, that IFC was fake, but the learned Osafo Maafo and Kwabena Agyapong kept defending their claims and debunking the findings of the NDC.

In the end their foolishness hit their own faces like a rock because they refused to listen to the voice of wisdom - probably because that voice was that of their political opponents, whom they consider as enemies (we have seen this before, haven't we?). The NPP threw to the wind the old adage which says that "whiles you try to chat a straight path you can't possibly see behind you so it takes another person to tell you that the path you are chatting in crooked."

How about the CNTCI loan from China, need I talk about it. It was down right foolishness wasn't it. Ask KSM.

Hay! People, do you also remember the Rawlings style Isaac Edumadze macho behaviour when the latter ceased someone's taxi because the driver was reported to have driven recklessly? People clamoured for his sack from office as Central regional minister but he was kept.

Well, thanks to the gentle giant, who has a reputation for keeping even womanizers in offices, how much more macho man Edumadze. We'll get to President Kufuor and more in the third and final part of this article, when we get to talk about Ghana at 50 proper.

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

Columnist: Dowuona, Samuel
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