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Where Is Our Turkey Gold Impound?

Thu, 20 Feb 2014 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Since the arrest of the Deputy Director of the Ghana Minerals Board, or some such statutory organization - I forget the exact name of the concerned institution - and one or two private "Galamsey" operatives, or local fronts for some foreign "gold diggers," in the wake of the impounding of a Ghanaian gold contraband at the Istanbul International Airport, not much else, by way of judicial prosecution, has come of that case. And so I am hereby assuming that somewhere along the line, somebody highly placed in government decided that enough time had transpired for a short-memory afflicted Ghanaian populace to forget all about the matter.

Well, fortunately or unfortunately, some of us are well-endowed with more than adequate memory capacity to remember the aforesaid incident. And here must also be briefly recalled the fact that the cargo jetliner involved in the scam had reportedly originated somewhere in Arab-dominated North Africa. Libya, to be exact, and had been scheduled to unload its precious mineral cargo at Tehran airport. The bullion were allegedly being airlifted to Iran for some sort of assaying, or scientific validation, in some laboratory thereabouts.

What further complicated the criminality of the entire scam was the fact that the humongous value of the bullion had been woefully and deliberately understated/underquoted to customs officials at Ghana's Kotoka International Airport (KIA). It also well appears, as already noted above, that some well-positioned Ghanaians in government were unpatriotically fronting for some hardnosed and reckless foreign "bounty hunters," and I mean the latter quote literally.

At any rate, what brought my attention back to the infamous Istanbul Affair was a news report alleging President Mahama to have scandalously told a plenary gathering of the membership of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Ghana did not have a jewelry industry (See "President Mahama Speaks on Mining" Ghanaweb.com 1/27/14). What Ghana's chief-of-state would have been more accurate to have observed is that Ghanaian leaders, including himself, have, to-date, not been intelligent, patriotic and foresighted enough to be able to significantly boost employment capacity in our local jewelry industry, by radically modernizing and supporting disadvantageously placed indigenous entrepreneurs in the global jewelry market.

Instead, our leaders have curiously, albeit predictably, preferred the primrose path of permitting Arab migrants and immigrants, largely Syrians and Lebanese, to effectively dominate this very lucrative industry. In the process, indigenous Ghanaians have been scandalously rendered mere avid consumers of the very mineral resource for which their ancestors had distinguished themselves and their region of the world throughout the European middle-ages and even long before that, the known ancient world as a whole.

Mr. Mahama was also excruciatingly eloquent in underscoring the fact that his country has had to export raw and cheaply priced bauxite to the industrialized West, and then zanily import alumina to feed her sole aluminum smelter, "and then export and re-import [some of the same] aluminum to feed our industry." The President was dead-on-target to tersely add as follows, "It just doesn't make sense."

Well, this is the fundamental essence of President Kwame Nkrumah's much-touted industrial revolution. But what is amusing here is the fact that President Mahama has been actively engaged in our national politics for at least two decades. And so when did the Bole-Bamboi petty chieftain come to such progressive realization? And even more importantly, what concrete steps and / or plans has he enacted to radically reverse this horse-rider trade and industrial relationship - in Achebeian parlance - between Ghana and our so-called partners abroad?

You see, no "wise politician" can support a government whose leadership is criminally unwilling to advance the economic status of its people. And this is precisely where our beloved nation stands today. And such intellectually and entrepreneurially regressive and morally undisciplined leadership is indisputably what is wrong with our nation today.

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

Feb. 16, 2014

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame