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General News of Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Source: Palaver

While Ghana 'Burns', Kufuor Holidays

It is said of the Emperor Nero who ruled the Roman Empire from AD 54 to AD 68 and was noted for his excessive cruelty and tyranny that while Rome burnt, he fiddled.

Substitute ?Ghana? for ?Rome?, ?President? for ?Emperor?, ?Kufuor? for Nero, ?Holiday? for ?fiddling? and you will not be for from wrong in saying that while Ghana Burns??Kufuor Holidays?.

This is really what we implied with our front-page story of last Friday, which we headlined, ?Kufuor Cares less for Ghanaians?.

President Kufuor left Accra last Wednesday, 31st May 2006, on his 25th foreign trip since he entered the second term of his Presidency and the 114th since he assumed the Presidency on 7th January 2001.

President Kufuor will be gone for 17 days ? two weeks and three days! Where is he going and what is he going to do?

First stop, London, UK. It is reported that the President will be addressing a meeting of the International Cocoa Consultative Organisation (ICCO). This is a routine meeting of the Organisation and no major policy position shifts are expected for which an address by a Head of State is required. Our information is that the ICCO address is only an excuse for President Kufuor to make a purely private holiday visit look like an official assignment.

Second stop, Boston, USA. The official Government announcement does not say what President Kufuor is going to do in the USA, from where he returned from an official visit as recently as 16th April 2006, only six weeks ago.

In fact, this visit makes it the fifth time that President Kufuor has been to the USA since he started this second term on 7th January 2005.

He was in Washington DC, USA from 11th June 2005 to 17 June 2005 to attend the Meeting of the G8.

He was in New York, USA, from 9th September 2005 so 16th September 2005 to attend the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly.

He was in Washington DC, USA from 22nd October 2005 to 30th October 2005 for a Trade and Investment Promotion Tour.

He was in Washington DC, USA from 6th April 2006 to 16th April 2006 for an official state visit.

From 3rd June 2006 to 6th June 2006, he will be in Boston, USA for an undisclosed private visit (see Chart published below for summary of President Kufuor?s Second Term USA visits).

Even though the reasons for the President?s USA visit have not been disclosed, the usual Ghana Palaver moles in the Presidency have made us very much aware of why the President is in the USA. It is a purely private visit.

  • On June 4th 2006, the President is attending the Graduation Ceremony of his son Victor Kofi Kufuor, from Harvard University, Boston,

  • President Kufuor has arranged to have a secret encounter with ... [censored]

  • President Kufuor plans to do some Presidential strings pulling for ..[censored]
Third stop, Hanover, Germany. President Kufuor will be in the German city of Hanover to watch the national soccer team, the Black Stars, play their first match against Italy in the World Cup Tournament. We are informed that but for the programmed visit of the Chinese Prime Minister to Ghana in mid-June, President Kufuor would have staged on to watch the Black Stars subsequent matches against the Czech Republic and the USA and possibly for as long as the Black Stars remain in the Tournament.

Whilst President Kufuor is gallivanting and junketing around the World, Ghana is burning. Virtually every critical sector of the country?s economy is witnessing one strike or another.

In the Health sector, a strike began by the junior doctors had spread to engulf the entire Ghana Medical Association by the time of President?s Kufuor departure. The President met with the leaders of the striking doctors in an attempt to convince them to call off the strike. He failed, but abandoned them and flew off.

In the education sector, Polytechnic teachers of the POTAG are on strike and have been on strike for the past two weeks. Workers of educational institutions who constitute the TEWU are also on strike, complaining that there have been no negotiations on their conditions of service since the NPP came into power in 2001.

In the local government sector, sanitary labourers are threatening to go on strike.