Feature Article of Saturday, 23 June 2012
Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.
By Kwaku A. Danso
I feel compelled to write this to explain to some of you younger ones out there why Ghana’s dual citizenship laws were written they way they were, with restrictions, and why it may never be reversed in the current generation.
Many Ghanaians may be aware that for the past several years Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare (aka Kwaku Azar) has championed the cause to allow Ghanaians who have taken on the citizenship of other nations to be considered of equal status when they return home to Ghana and to participate as all others in the development of the nation without restrictions. That is not the way the power brokers in Ghana see it. The Supreme court of Ghana voted against this idea.
On a topic: Subject: Re: Summary of Petition to Stop Discrimination Against Dual Citizens
Initiated by Kwaku Azar, a member of the GLU forum wrote:
The benefits to the country of giving external citizens the ability to participate in governance (whether through running for domestic MP positions or the creation of Diaspora constituencies or absentee voting) are pretty clear - the arguments against it seem to be based on hypotheticals. I don't quite understand the basis for the opposition. (Nana K., Friday, June 22, 2012 11:09 AM)
I wrote this response and publish to share with the general audience:
Do you guys put yourselves in the position of the framers of this dual citizenship restrictions, the Ahwoi’s and others who feel that being in government was their chance to also chop and enjoy the privileges that they were denied as citizens or even lecturers in the 1970s? In the 1970s these lecturers could not afford a car! Yes! In the 1960s at Prempeh College, any of our teachers, even those without BA and BS degrees were able to afford a car. Now in the late 1970s Kwamena, Ato and Kwasi Ahwoi, the Tsikatas, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey and others were walking to lecture students! The Ghana cedi that was at par with the dollar had changed to about c700: $1. A car that was say C1,000 in the 1960s and a lecturer salary of C500 now had changed to car price of C700,000 and the salaries had only jumped to say C800 per year.
It was out of that frustration that these lecturers in Law and Economics joined and supported Jerry Rawlings in the coup!
Desperation politics set in. Some forest fires in early 1982/83 added to hunger and the exposed neck bones was named “Rawlings chain”. People were dying of hunger! And yet a few private men and women were doing okay, driving cars! Please don’t forget at that time owning a phone was considered a luxury. Owning a car was being “super-rich” and almost impossible for these brilliant minds of the time! The framers of the 1992 Constitution and powers in Ghana today are mostly the same people who took peoples’ vehicles from them for so-called “special duties” and seized other peoples properties who they felt had acquired them illegally by doing business such as charging more than “control prices” to make a profit. Some may remember the old African market called Makola market was bombed to the ground by these military hooligans only two years earlier! Perhaps we should not forget that Ghanaians overseas at the time were sending millions of dollars to their relatives in Ghana. Even as a scholarship student I was able to send some $50 per month to family. As Mark Antony said of Caesar, “the good is oft interred in their bones”.
There is no doubt that envy and hatred oftentimes takes generations to be wiped out. Until and unless all such men who took over Ghana illegally and justified their atrocities and human rights violations as revolution whiles taking from public funds are dead or in prison, or until and unless such mindset is swept out completely from the society, Ghana will not change.
Some of you, including Kwaku Azar, were perhaps too young, but I remember everything like yesterday! People selling things at the market were told that they were selling it to make a profit and hence illegal! The word “profit” was a dirty word. Ever heard of the words “control prices”? Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, a man educated in the USA, and others would increase the price of kerosene and petrol and other goods and would set the prices at which products should be sold and transport owners should charge. And these are people with Law education? They called it a “revolution”! Don’t forget current President, Professor Atta Mills was an adult lecturer at the time! Don’t forget in 1989/90 then Finance Minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey imposed a 500% duty and taxes on vehicles and items they considered were luxury, including video recorders.
These are the people surrounding President Mills in 2009- 2012 as party wise men, advisers, Chairmen of commissions today collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual undocumented remunerations, whiles also acting as financiers for their part. In the mind of this writer, these form the core reason why Atta Mills was destined to fail as President, no matter how good he may be personally as others claim he is. For our friends in their camp, we don’t hate Mills at all. No. He just is in a lion’s den he did not create.
I have fought and written on these issues for over 30 to 41 years as I can remember, and I am tired! The only way to change greed and selfishness and envy and jealousy is to have a Bible in one hand with love, and the Spear and principles of Chaka Zulu in the other. Totally new leadership!! And I am not sure is Paa Kwesi Nduom, JOY2012 or any member of the newer generation mindset have the halo of God delivered already so the people of Ghana will vote for them to lead.
Why do you guys think some are giving up on Ghana and selling their building in the cities in Ghana where even reliable electricity has been denied them! I admire Kwaku Azar tremendously but I think he may be wasting his time. Those of you behind should listen very carefully to what some of us are saying – we have used all our lives to focus on Ghana and we are where we are. Yes, veteran journalist Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng may be right that a different strategy is needed, but the people also have to want life and liberty so bad they are prepared to stand up and fight and die if need be to live as Americans did and do every day! To paraphrase quote President Mills, I am not a Pastor to change the hearts of these people and wipe out the envy and jealousy and hatred.
I am out and wish you all the best!
Kwaku A. Danso, M. Eng., PhD (Organization & Management/Leadership)
President - Ghana Leadership Union (NGO), Moderator- GLU Forum.
Author: Leadership Concepts and the Role of Government in Africa: The Case of Ghana