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Feature Article of Monday, 14 January 2013

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

I Want To Be Mayor

Critical News, 13th January 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Of Accra. But before I start making the case, the Supreme Court opened the NPP petition challenging the election results and possible cheating by the NDC and the Electoral Commissioner. The NDC has filed to be joined in the fight because they believe the future of President Mahama is tied to the fortunes of the Party and they want to argue that case before the court with no other lead person than Tsatsu Tsikata. That choice is quite symbolic, meant to scare the NPP defense. Tsatsu carries the reputation of a jurisprudence expert and previous encounters with the Supreme Court have been a bruising challenge. And he is the top gun in their legal petition for this.

Whether Tsatsu is ready to come back to combat the legal system is a conundrum. The last time he engaged in this testosterone fight, he ended up in jail and nearly died. I thought he had retired to enjoy some hard earned money as an oil and gas consultant, but, he did get paid by the NDC Government soon after they came to power for services rendered to MODEC and the Jubilee partners. The Daily Guide reported the Parliamentary proceedings in July 2011. So I suppose he owes them back favors. The history of pay to and pay back in our political circles is so interwoven. There was a time in our history when we were going to become a socialist state, even Marxist if the revolutionary neophytes had found enough cash to support that cause. If we had oil then, the result would have ………
Damn, the lights just tripped off and back after fifteen minutes. I had not saved up to this point and I am re-writing a creative piece, which adds so much meaning to my life. During the week, and even as I write now, there is no water in the house. After this, I have to go figure out how and where I can find water for the week, uncertain when the supply will be back. The frustration of waking up early to get a bucket of water to bath, leaving for work to engage in foolish traffic antics by trotros and taxis; you spend a whole day in the office with unnecessary challenges, get back home, no power; you have work to be delivered the following morning, and I refuse to own a generator, is too much. I clearly heard and saw John Mahama hold up his right hand to Ghana and tell us the dumso-dumso would be over by 15th November, 2012.
This is mid-January, 2013 and we are still going through this. I have heard VRA’s Kwaku Awotwi make promises, I have heard ECG bosses for the last two years, say this will be over soon, deadlines have come and gone and now I hear sound bites of maybe sometime in 2014. Then some strange company is telling me they can create a solar farm that will generate 155Mw of energy. The facility will be developed by Blue Energy (link to their website here), and built in Nzema. They have built one solar farm, generating 5MWp of energy in Wiltshire, UK. In Ghana they will generate 155MWp. Why not, they can join the bandwagon. In Ghana you can promise anything, no need to deliver, you can always find one excuse or the other. Bear in mind they do not have a solar farm like this in the UK or anywhere else. It is like the cassava plant we mooted under Alan Cash’s Presidential initiatives and many others.
So for JDM to be accused of cheating his way to victory kills my spirit. I don’t know how other Ghanaians manage, but I am fed up with all the everyday impediments and the many promises not to be delivered. And I am not saying anything new.
There are very few inexperienced politicians in Parliament now, except of course Ablakwah and his new crew. He was on the floor of parliament to make a point about NPP MP’s names needing to be recorded in Parliamentary proceedings whether they attended JDM’s swearing in. Ugh, when will we be rid of all the pettiness? There are important things to do. Irrespective of all that is going on in court, we need this country to move along.
We are numbed into trivial-mindedness and Ghana has stalled. The only persons enjoying these moments are politicians who think there is very important tit-for-tat they can wield.
Before the Supreme Court could even start hearing the petition, the NPP objected to the composition of the judges for the hearing. Everybody knows it had to do with Justice Atuguba, yet Gloria Akuffo on the NPP side, was at pains on all radio stations to tell us they had not fingered any particular person. Fact is, JDM has named Raymond Atuguba (cousin to Judge Atuguba) as his executive secretary. The NPP thinks this will bias the judge’s view in the case. Is this a fair challenge? There is a rule for this. Let the court decide. Now the NDC’s view is, they also can raise many objections to other judges if that is the precedent. So, let the court decide. But they should rule on the matter soonest and proceed to the real case. We should hear this case fairly. It will be a good thing if the Supreme Court ensures that we get a speedy and true decision. I am sure Ghanaians want to see an end to this matter so we can get on with life.
JDM named his first team. Four persons with various backgrounds. Chief of Staff Mr. Prosper Douglas Kweku Bani, Secretary to Cabinet Mr. Roger Kwesi Angsomwine, Executive Secretary Dr. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba, Senior Policy Coordinator Dr. Sulley Gariba.
The radio stations in particular, have been agog looking for labels they can fetch for the quad. Technocrats, International and experienced, Not of NDC material and tons more of such. At one point callers started wondering about ethnic background. Mostly cheap shots, even though true, but all of them seem qualified enough. We will know what direction JDM is taking us soon. Right now, he is promising Ghana he will not fail us and he will be a fair President. I don’t want to say “President for all”, his former boss used that and created much a furore.
New Ministerial appointments too. Hannah Tetteh is designated for Foreign Affairs. This is a good appointment. The woman can talk, she did a lot of that at the Trade Ministry. Ablakwah will not be Minister of Information. That position is taken and Seth Terkper is nominated for Finance Minister. Here is a full list.
Now with all the turmoil and suspense the Black Stars must bring home the AFCON 2013 cup, just round the corner. After the Ayew brothers were both axed, we look to see what Coach Appiah is planning.
EC’s response was filed and matched the NPP petition in its weak presentation and errors. The NPP’s case highlights administrative blunders, coding errors and blatant manipulation of data. The EC dismisses most of this as frivolous and even admits that in some cases, they “picked the wrong number”. I think they fail to see that this case is not only about fraudulently presenting results; it is also about administrative inefficiency that has led to a possible error in someone else usurping a win. The most important question on every Ghanaian lip today, is, if President Mahama loses this decision will we do a Gbagbo in Ghana? Meantime, we swore him in and the NDC will hope that with time Ghanaians will let matters be.
I can easily do the job of Mayor of Accra. What do you have to do to get rid of filth? the stench of rotting garbage? hawkers on the side roads? Traffic indiscipline and poor street naming and house numbering? Nothing to worry about. People protest and threaten demonstration everyday, they do nothing and eventually the noise dies down. Oko Vanderpuye has managed this easily for four years, giving away toilets via radio on his birthday and blaming everybody else for gross failure. The after-election billboards are still up, I even see some boards talking about Paa Kwesi Ndoum as CPP candidate for 2008. The city is de-faced, which he can’t see from his fully tinted 4x4 with blaring sirens. Even where it says “post-no-bill”, the churches, promoters and various businesses willy-nilly paste their posters and I thank the seemingly unstable gentleman who sits at Lapaz traffic lights and spends all day scratching and scraping them off. Piece of cake.
This week my mood is downbeat, tired and barricaded by legal game play. But STILL …
Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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