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Feature Article of Sunday, 7 October 2012

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

President Mahama: Act Before It Is Too Late!

By Kofi Thompson

In a nation in which altruism has virtually died out, people are always suspicious of the motives of those whose actions are guided by altruism.

Over the years, some of us have given creative and original ideas freely, to those at the helm of affairs in our country - because we love our nation passionately: and believe that there is enough wealth within Ghana to ensure a good quality of life for all Ghanaians: if our country is governed well and justly.

When the fate of Ghana Airways was finally sealed by those who wanted to asset-strip it with perfect legal covering, it was set up for the corporate equivalent of murder-by-contract-killing.

At the time, whiles the would-be asset-strippers' co-conspirators in the media were busy pulling wool over the eyes of Ghanaians disseminating endless dissimulation, on their paymasters' behalf, some of us suggested that a joint-venture with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airlines, would revitalise Ghana Airways and make it a profitable airline.

Needless to say, that advice fell on deaf ears - and the rest, as they say, is history. Sir Richard Branson, of course, is someone who famously refuses to pay bribes in his business dealings - so there was no way a joint-venture Virgin Atlantic Airlines and Ghana Airways, could have occurred.

Just a couple of days ago, I was railed at, for close to half an hour, by someone who telephoned me after reading an article of mine entitled: "To The Ghanaian Feminists Forum - Power To Ghanaian Feminists Worldwide!".

Incredibly, he did not understand why I had suggested that linking up with Alhaji Asuma Banda, in order to approach Ryanair's Michael O'Leary to set up a joint-venture with Antrak Air, to rival Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's Fastjet using the low-cost carrier business model, represented a business opportunity for brilliant female Ghanaian entrepreneurs in the diaspora. Amazing.

To that furious chap, I was a "big fool" for not approaching Alhaji Asuma Banda myself. Did I not realise it was a "golden opportunity" for me "to become seriously rich"? Why do some people not realise that not all Ghanaians worship money, I ask? Such is life.

What that concerned gentleman risking a heart attack with his fury, did not know, was that long before Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou dreamt of setting up Fastjet, I had suggested to the geniuses now ruling us, to liquidate Ghana International Airlines (GIA), and invite Sir Stelios to set up a low-cost airline with Ghana, as a joint-venture to replace GIA.

Needless to say, sound advice that today could enable them point to a profitable national carrier as a tangible achievement of their hard-of-hearing regime - had they paid heed to that piece of free advice - was ignored by the exasperating Mills administration.

As it happens, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou also famously refuses to pay bribes in his business dealings. Alas, loving Mother Ghana passionately, can be a very frustrating experience sometimes.

That is why it is to the eternal credit of those in the Ministry of Information and that of Local Government and Rural Development, that they immediately grasped the gem of the idea for what eventually became the Local Enterprises and Skills Development Programme(LESDEP), when I outlined it in a number of my previous articles.

Their confounded party owes them a huge debt of gratitude indeed - for were enough of the teeming underclass of unemployable youth to get to know about it nationwide, it could end up becoming a game-changing narrative for President Mahama.

The pleasure one gets when one's humble ideas, offered freely in one's writing, help improve the lives of one's fellow citizens - because our leaders take them up - is immeasurable.

For the information of the furious gentleman who called to insult me for being altruistic, that is reward enough for a "big fool" like me. God give me patience.

Finally, dear reader, it is still not too late for President Mahama to listen to those of us who say that he must publicly publish the assets of both himself and his wife.

Had he done so when we first suggested it to him, today, he would not be the target of the sustained and vicious attacks, by the hypocrites now destroying his chances of being re-elected, by constantly questioning his integrity.

And whiles he is at it, let him also act finally to rid himself of the power-broking self-seekers who held our late leader hostage at the Osu Castle and went on to destroy President Mills' legacy with their selfishness.

Above all, let him bring back Martin Amidu to signal to ordinary Ghanaians that he is indeed determined to fight high-level corruption in Ghana. The added bonus in so doing, is that It will put clear blue water between him and his party's main opponents, the New Patriotic Party. But he must act before it is too late. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

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