Feature Article of Friday, 1 July 2011
Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku
In one of my recent write-ups, I made a genuine call to policy makers to fashion out a policy that could overhaul the current educational system so that emphasis could be placed on the teaching of “traditional/natural wisdom” but many a Ghanaian especially those in the current mediocre Mills’ administration took offence to that suggestion. However, I strongly believe that I hit the nail right on its head because if Ghana’s educational system had churned out products like Kobby Acheampong, Kweetey, Ablakwa, Pratt, Baba Jamal, Agyenim Boateng, Tony Aidoo, Bissiw and Benyiwa Doe, then of course as a country we need to go back to the basics if we are serious about developing our human resource capacity.
I have religiously followed the recent pronouncement made by the Acting Executive Secretary of Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Akrasi Sarpong and the cacophony of unnecessary arguments that have followed suit. First of all, many of us would like to know the main functions of that state agency - NACOB and Akrasi Sarpong’s role as the head. I was taken aback when Mr. Sarpong remarked on Asempa FM last Tuesday that he was a card-bearing member of the NDC but he is doing a professional job; his political affiliation notwithstanding. How does Akrasi Sarpong expect Ghanaians to take somebody who beats his own drums and dances to the tune of his own music seriously? Was he in Ghana when President Barrack Obama reiterated his call for African governments to build strong institutions as against strong men? How did he take Obama’s message looking at his recent outburst? Mr. Sarpong, you said you have intelligence report that suggests that some politicians are planning to fund the 2012 general elections with proceeds from illicit drug trade, isn’t it? So whom are you expecting to get those politicians involved arrested? Are you paid with the tax payers’ money to make such unwarranted statements or you are paid to expose people who deal with drugs and get them apprehended? Is the NACOB boss also telling Ghanaians that one could use cocaine money for other purposes barring funding political campaigns? Could Ghanaians also draw conclusion that the $90 million campaign money from Mills’ office was proceeds from ‘cocaine’ business since John Mills has even admitted that his entourage has been carrying cocaine with them on official trips? I personally think Mr. Sarpong should bow down his big head in shame and resign honourably because he has failed to live up to expectation. After all, who doesn’t know Akrasi, Anyidohu, Fiifi and Benyiwa Doe as prolific wee-smokers?
It is regrettable to note that in spite of the successes chalked over the years in our democratic dispensation, people in responsible positions continue to play on the intelligence of the public through unguarded statements, actions and inactions. Why should the issue of drug menace be treated with political lens when its negative effect goes beyond individual and political connotation? We are all witnesses to several noises made by members of the NDC especially in the run-up to the 2008 general elections. People like Fiifi Kweetey, Anyidohu and Benyiwa-Doe moved from one political platform to another and tagged many prominent members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to this social canker yet when they were asked to prove it during their individual vetting, they described such allegations as mere political talks. Are these the sort of people mother Ghana needs to man her strategic institutions? Similarly, these noise-makers from the NDC cannot fathom why some members of the NPP and the party as a whole have questioned the rationale behind Akrasi Sarpong’s public statement and his inability to name the politicians concerned. What is NDC’s beef? Why can’t members of the NDC simply understand that the NPP as a responsible opposition party has a role to play in unravelling the mystery behind the upsurge of drug menace in our country? Again, is this the first time the NPP has publicly come out to demand an explanation to issues of national interest? Did the NPP not talk about the need for electoral reforms after the 1992 general elections? What about the 17% Value Added Tax (VAT) rate introduced in 1995 by the NDC and the “Kume Pr3ko” and “Sieme Pr3ko” demonstrations that followed? Didn’t the NPP show any concern about the serial killings of women that occurred under NDC’s regime when John Mills was the vice president?
Besides, have the NPP members and communicators stopped talking about the high level of corruption and thievery, violence, politics of insults, arrogance and mediocrity occurring under Mills’ watch? Did the NPP keep quiet about the $1.3m tea drinking party, the ‘kyinkyinka’ and pampers saga, the shortage of gas and fuel in Ghana, the killings of four NPP members at Agbobloshie and the paramount chief of Gushiegu, the GHS 4.8 million spent on Nkrumah’s birthday, the donation of a $48,000 wrist watch to Mrs. Obama and the threat against the judiciary especially how Kwabena Adjei and his cohorts intend to kill the cat?
I further challenge the NDC to come out and tell Ghanaians whether the NPP as a party has been tight-lipped on the outbreak of cholera and fire, motor accidents and mining disasters, the M & J scandals, the tractor thievery, the seizure of public toilets and car terminals by NDC foot soldiers, frequent power outages, series of demonstrations and strikes by professional bodies and the fisher folk, the maltreatment of demonstrators by the police, the Amina saga and the unlawful arrest of Nana Darkwa.
Yes, we need to know from the NDC if some of us have not condemned the NDC as an Ewe-dominated government, the ban on public sector employment, the dismissal of 400 army recruits, the reversal of SHS duration from 4 to 3 years, the unlawful celebrations of June 4 and 31st December by the NDC, the 50,000 dollar loan to parliamentarians, the 56 billion cedi renovation of 7 government bungalows, Carl Wilson’s criminality at the port, the profligate spending of the government, the $12,000 free trip to Cote D’Ivoire, the acquisition of $18 billion loan facility from Japan, China, IMF and the World Bank as well as the high increases in all forms of taxes. Furthermore, the NPP has shown reservations on how the District Assembly Elections, the National Identification programmes and the 2010 population and housing census were poorly organised and conducted. The Okudzeto Ablakwa’s so-called ‘1.6 million’ jobs, Stan Dogbe’s GHS 1.6 million on Christmas hampers, the 419 STX Korea deal, the siphoning of oil money into NDC’s coffers, the cocoa smuggling, the daylight robbery by CEPS officials, the clandestine changing of names of national monuments, the upsurge of armed robbery cases and lately the involvement of the NDC government in chieftaincy institutions especially the Ga state have all attracted the attention of the NPP.
What then is NDC’s worry with regard to the NPP members being the first to react to Akrasi Sarpong’ vague statement? I have maintained that members of the NDC need to be caged in a big classroom where a course could be run for them to enable them come to terms with contemporary politics so that the horizon of their numerous uneducated minds could be broadened and broadened very well without being located to Accra. They must be told point blank that the NPP as responsible party has demonstrated over the years that; indeed it is the party that leads whilst the rest follow because its forebears (members of the UGCC) were the first to dream, think and start the struggle for Ghana’s independence. Who in his right sense would deny the fact that the NPP was the first political party to qualify the senior national team – the Black Stars to the World Cup in 2006, the first to discover oil in commercial quantities, the first to have its leader chair the African Union (AU) and the first to implement free education policy at the basic level? We still pride ourselves as the first to roll out comprehensive social programmes to mitigate the hardship among Ghanaians – NHIS, NYEP, free maternal care etc which went a long way in halving poverty in the country and the recent innovations in the NPP’s Electoral College.
As a party that understands true democracy, the NPP has offered pieces of advice to the incompetent Mills-Mahama administration even in the face of the seeming division in the NDC. For instance, the leadership of the NPP recently issued a statement to its members and sympathizers to stay away from the FONKAR–SADAM titanic GAME and that members of the NPP should not use the fracas in the NDC as a springboard to jump to the Jubilee House in 2012. The NPP is even on record to be the first criticize the NDC MP for Lower Manya Krobo – Michael Teye Nyaunu when he described John Mills as a ‘blind’ leader.
In winding down, I will exhort the NDC to be guided by the truth at all times and give credit where it is due. Calling on the chief executive of a state institution which is funded by the tax payers’ money should not be seen as a case of a group of people dealing with drug business. All patriotic citizens have a role to play if the issue of drug menace should be a thing of the past. As a party in opposition ready to form the next government, the NPP has not relented in its effort to keep the government on its tows and offer constructive criticisms. The numerous calls by the NPP on Mills-Mahama government to honour its campaign promises of reducing fuel prices drastically, make armed robbery a thing of the past, bring the one-time premium into fruition, give 40% ministerial appointment to women, abrogate the Vodafone contract, put money in our pockets and better our lives, prosecute government officials without evidence, create jobs, clear the filth in our cities and bridge the poverty gap between the north and the south are cases in point. It is my fervent hope that Akrasi Sarpong will seek tutorials from FONKAR or join them so that he could “BE BOLD” and come out with the names of the ‘ghosts’ who are allegedly dealing in drugs to avoid unnecessary speculations by the Ghanaian populace since bread and better issues matter more to Ghanaians than this ‘rubbish’.
God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!
Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK.
Visit Katakyie’s blog on (www.katakyie.com) firstname.lastname@example.org 07944309859
“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”