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Feature Article of Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Wanted: Political Growth Hormones

Critical News, 6th January 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

The beginning of every year comes with pledges and platitudes to do better than the previous year, change your life, crossover to the new one with all faculties in tact and hopefully be wealthier by the end of the year. Effectually, we “Otabil” the new year in. We yardstick our lives this way, in order that we might measure our progress year on year, achieving more and better from one to the next.

Which is why when TB Joshua advised that we all get into agriculture as the next best evangelical success, I embraced it wholeheartedly. TB has recognized our failing agriculture policy and he is predicting a bumper financial opportunity for all who want success to abandon all they are doing, wives employed elsewhere should give up their jobs, young men should re-focus and go into farming, this is the year of alfalfa grass and soya beans. My only disappointment is that TB will not be joining us on the farms; he has to stay focused on the predictions. There is so much to predict this year, with all the changes coming on. We are not yet sure whether we will have sanitized governance.
I did not write the State of the Nation Address. Nobody asked for my service, but I think I can offer one under “Free Speech Rules” in Ghana. I neither listened to the address, nor did I watch it on TV, but I read the full delivery in the papers and it was exactly the reason why I did not audio-visual the propaganda session. Shortest delivery ever, and short on the nation of Ghana’s status, I thought. I don’t agree with what our leaders consider the State of the Nation to be, so my opening address would read like this.
“Fellow Ghanaians, I am proud to say we have had a better and violence free election this year. Ghanaians have shown their maturity in democracy and we continue to lead the path of peace in Africa, of which we should all be most proud. As I speak, this country is not at war with any other. As a nation our armed forces are in various countries supporting peace efforts around the world and we maintain civil order and calm with all our neighbours. If for nothing at all, let the world see that Ghana is truly a nation of peace, by peace-lovers, for peace seekers. We have achieved this because of political, religious and social tolerance. I am proud to be a Ghanaian and so should you all”
“We do however have some hurdles to jump. My election as President of the Republic is being challenged in court, we have some systemic failure in our industries and infrastructure, we have some governance issues, especially in freedom of information and we have some legal cases pending in the Supreme Court that might affect the course of our history, but could give us a chance to get a handle on corruption once and for all”. And we still have a dumso-dumso canker to be rid of, despite all the promises that this stage of our advanment is over”.
Then there is the good news. Our economy is on a better footing now than ever before, our oil capacity and findings are growing, investment is increasing and we are seen by the rest of the world as a place to do business in Sub-Sahara Africa. This is Ghana and Ghana has an enviable reputation to protect”.
Now the President could have gone with this tone and broken it down into its many facets. Education, Health, Local Governance, Law and Order, etc., not forgetting that we are on the verge of blasting our way to the top of Africa football. This is how I understand what the State of our Nation is today. Others might disagree, but certainly the state of our nation is not about schools under trees, feeding school programs, LESDEP and others. Those are budget programs and safety net solutions. The State of the Nation must feed us a balance sheet of position. Not the Kuffour address in 2006, which was more a budget speech than our “state” and not President Mills’ 2010 speech that could have been a religious call to sustenance.
The NPP will boycott the Swearing in of the President of Ghana on January 7th. The Minister of Information says private press will not be allowed close enough to take pictures and they have to park a mile away and walk to the State House. Why? This (P)NDC feud with the private media continues even under a progressive John Mahama? How do we fix this paranoia?
It is very much a Jerry John mentality. There is no threat here, but heighten the tension, create fear, cower the people and then finger someone else such as the opposition with culpable destabilization. It makes no sense in today’s Ghana. But of course JJ went ahead and celebrated his December 31, distorted historical facts again and followed up with a visit to our bastion of democracy in Parliament for the State of Nation address. Habah!
Our politicians need some help. I know a few doctors and I would ask if there is anything that can aid cerebral cortex development. I suppose if it were possible, we would put all our children on such medication. But could that prescription have been “Free SHS”? If Mahama is to continue as President, will he maybe rise above mediocrity and take a critical look at the policy? Voting rhetoric aside, there are some things that are just common sense. Can the NDC genuinely say that the time is not now for us to really grapple with the poor education standards and radically revamp what we are doing now? Find the money, educate all the children equally and raise the bar of thinking in society? How much longer do we have to live with some of the bad logic and crass statements from persons who have made it to Parliament or become ministers, not because they are smart or more intelligent than others, but because they are better liars, thick skinned and have figured a way to beat the system? Knowing how to survive better than the rest. Those kinds do not necessarily make better legislators. Our system breeds this type from quad-year to quad-year, and gets us no place.
The NPP petition is firmly before the Supreme Court. We wait the outcome. Everybody has a view. Each one of us owns a probability that what we say will happen will end up as such. I have mine. There is a Yiddish expression called a “Kulikov” trial. In a small town in Poland, which boasts only two tailors and one shoemaker, the shoemaker one day went berserk and committed an atrocious murder. They held a trial and he was found guilty and sentenced to hang. But this was the town’s only shoemaker, so they decided that they should hang one of the tailors instead to preserve the state of the village. Ghana has only one Electoral Commissioner, let’s hope we do not hold a Kulikov trial, which, in modern times has come to mean a trial, made for political reasons rather than on legal or judicial grounds.
With this going on, some group in Africa somewhere, judged the Ghana Stock Exchange the 7th best performing bourse on the continent. I am nonplussed how we can grade a bourse which cannot add a single listing in a year and could not even launch an SME exchange after two years of talking about it, even though it touts how important the SME market is to creating access to capital for these struggling businesses, can be ranked at all. Pity Africa, pity Ghana. The watchman has gone to sleep.
So, Michael Casely Hayford (no relation of mine, his name is not hyphenated) was caught in flagrante delicto with his girlfriend having a go at it in a school building in Gbawe. Certainly a public place, it was dark, must have been exciting and adventurous, but some supposedly good citizen took advantage and robbed him of his cell phone and some cash and the incident found its way to the police station. Damn, Michael, next time don’t get caught. When I called the police station to ask about the case, there was a lot of mirth and chuckling. They said they could cite many of such incidents, so I think time is, we have a nudist beach or camp in Ghana someplace. That should give the new age Christians a new crusade; all night prayers and deliverance for all starkers caught? Ah, the Church just behind my wall has left. After complaining to the Ga South Municipal Assembly for three years, something finally happened. Maybe they went broke? That too happens.
Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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