Feature Article of Thursday, 8 November 2012
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
I have said this several times before, that what Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa needs right now is a solid graduate education in Critical Thinking, hopefully from a reputable academy here in the United States. I am hereby making this observation, once again, with direct reference to the fact that in the wake of Nana Akufo-Addo’s quite laudable campaign promise to build low-cost housing facilities for the virtually homeless female head porters, popularly called Kayayei, the rambunctious young man’s gut reaction was to accuse the main opposition New Patriotic Party leader of abject hypocrisy.
In essence, Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa claims that affordable housing projects undertaken by the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party government (2001-2009) largely got distributed among NPP cabinet members and their cronies (See “NPP Housed Themselves Instead of the Vulnerable in[sic] 8 Years – Ablakwa” MyJoyOnline.com/Modernghana.com 11/2/12). The objective here is not to blindly defend the NPP’s approach to public housing distribution; there is, perhaps, every reason to believe that Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa may be partially correct. But this is mainly because the flagrant example set by the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the massive and unpatriotic dismantling and divesting of the seminal industrial properties of the Nkrumah-established Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation (GIHOC), may well have understandably tempted some NPP operatives into going the cynical way of the notorious “Social Democrats” and the Avaklasu-fangled “Probity, Accountability and Justice” pseudo-revolutionaries. You see, what is interesting about Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa’s largely dump salvo is the fact that at least the loud-talking young man is honest enough to acknowledge the fact that, indeed, the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party followed up on its Election 2000 campaign promise of building affordable housing for middle-class and lower-middle-class Ghanaians. The critic’s major problem squarely hinges on the distribution protocol – or formula – adopted by those charged with distributing those low-cost houses built by the Kufuor government.
It stands to reason, therefore, that were Nana Akufo-Addo to solemnly promise to remarkably improve upon the method and/or formula used for affordable public housing distribution by the Kufuor administration vis-à-vis the proposed hostels for Kayayei all across the country, the Deputy Information Minister would have absolutely no qualms, whatsoever, about the same.
If the foregoing observation has validity, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that it does not, then what Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa clearly appears to be implying is that relatively speaking, an Akufo-Addo-led NPP government is far more likely to deliver on its affordable-housing campaign promise than the Mahama-led NDC government, except, of course, that the distribution of such housing cannot be necessarily guaranteed, or trusted, to reach the targeted population.
Now, the foregoing is principally not the same as reprehensibly and unpatriotically handing out billions of dollars in housing-venture capital to a foreign real-estate construction firm, without any qualms, whatsoever, about the fact of having summarily and unwisely denied and deprived more than equally qualified and viable Ghanaian real-estate firms the prime opportunity of facilitating the healthy development of our local real-estate industry at a far cheaper cost.
In other words, for the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress, what the construction of affordable housing for the poor and destitute means is the massive boosting of the South Korean real-estate market and industry at the expense of its Ghanaian counterpart. Needless to say, we all shamefully witnessed this epic outrage in the condignly failed STX episode. I have also once or twice suggested that maybe the charlatanic key operatives of the National Democratic Congress ought to pacify the deeply aggrieved Poltergiest or nomadic ghost of the slain chairman of the erstwhile National Redemption Council (NRC) and the Supreme Military Council (SMC I) juntas, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.
For those of our young readers who may not know him, including Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa, of course, the late Gen. I. K. Acheampong is the architect of the sub-regionally famous Dansoman Housing Estates, completed in the mid-1970s. Gen. Acheampong also, it was, who built the world-famous Kaneshie Sports Complex, now renamed the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex, as well as other real-estate facilities located in almost all the regional capitals in the country. Yes, the REVOLUTIONARY BUTCHERS of the so-called National Democratic Congress may do well to consider definitively laying the ghost of Nana Kwasi Kutu Acheampong to eternal rest with a fitting national memorial or cenotaph of some sort, in order to cure the NDC and themselves of their pathologically nihilistic tendencies which have inescapably and inexcusably contributed massively towards the developmental regression of Ghana.
It is also not clear why Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa expected the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party government to have totally and thoroughly cleaned up the ossified slummy mess created by 19 years of abject misrule by the coprophilic Rawlings-led governments of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in just 8 years!
Needless to say, what Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa’s anti-Akufo-Addo tirade on the Kayayei housing dilemma succeeded in doing, and the Deputy Information Minister may hate to hear this, is to actually vindicate and endorse the housing track-record of the New Patriotic Party. In other words, Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa just effectively resigned his post and membership of the Mahama-Arthur-led National Democratic Congress. And on the latter count, we unreservedly welcome our prodigal brother back into the noble ranks of the party of the property-owning democrats!
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture” (iUniverse.com, 2004). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.