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Opinions of Monday, 6 August 2018

Columnist: Dr. Valerie Sawyerr

Why do the heathen rage? (Part I)

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed saying - let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” Psalm 2:1-5

I heard the incessant barking and howling of clusters of dogs on the twenty-eighth day of June when President Akufo-Addo dismissed the Chairperson and two Deputy Chairpersons of the Electoral Commission in one fell swoop.

Wooof … Grrrrr … Hrrrrrr … Wooow … Aaarf!

Alsatians, rottweilers, bull dogs, dobermans, greyhounds, pit bulls, labradors, great danes, dalmatians, chihuahuas, chow chows, miniature pinschers … not forgetting the good old mongrels!

They calmed down on the third day of July when a court process was initiated challenging the removal of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, and on the 18th day of July when an injunction process was filed.

Growling and baying were the order of the day, as ominous clouds gathered on the twenty-third day of July when the Chief of Staff issued a press release that the President had, on the nineteenth day of July, submitted the names of nominees to the Council of State for advice.

The NDC had made its voice heard at a press Conference on the twenty-eighth day of June, protesting the President’s actions and objecting to the nominee for chairperson. The funeral of a man of stature, H.E. former Vice President Amissah-Arthur, was in the offing, so all bowed to the twenty-seventh day of July, waiting to exhale thereafter.

Then came the twenty-seventh day of July and, lo and behold, stories all over, indicating that the Council of State had approved the President’s nominees!!!

Baying – sound of deep throated prolonged barking!

The sounds would not stop. In our local setting, they say that when various dogs at a location bay in consonance, they have seen the spirit of a dead man.

Even as I pondered over these happenings, I heard a still small voice saying

‘Fear not! Archangels Michael and Gabriel have unsheathed their swords to do war on behalf of this nation, because the cries of the fatherless have reached the ears of God.’

Chai! Chai!! Chai!!! So long as my buccal cavity participates in mastication, I will ask the questions that trouble my mind.

Why the indecent haste Mr. President? Why the indecent haste? The nineteenth day of July was a Thursday. Does it mean that the Council of State used Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, to convene all necessary meetings, deliberate, investigate, consult widely, conclude and communicate their position on a matter of such national importance? This is simply unbelievable!

So, I am forced to ask -
•Was the decision taken by a caucus of the Council of State or by the Council of State as a whole?

•When did word go out to all members, both within and without the region, to convene?

•Was the Council of State asked to convene before they received the President’s letter or after they received it?

•Did the Council of State delve into the issue, conduct any investigations, consult widely, including security checks, before approving the President’s nominees?

•Was the Council of State aware of the injunction process that had been initiated in this matter before a court of competent jurisdiction?

Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution provides that in appointing the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and other members of the Electoral Commission, the President shall do so ‘acting on the advice of the Council of State’.
There are other constitutional appointments that the President does ‘acting in consultation with the Council of State’. Examples can be found in article 70(1) regarding the appointment of the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Auditor General, the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator and others.

The 1992 Constitution therefore makes it crystal clear that in making appointments to the Electoral Commission, the Council of State takes full responsibility in determining the caliber and/or suitability of persons appointed.

So, I ask, with deep respect - Council of State, what exactly did you do please? Why the seeming ‘haste’ please? Did you consider that in such situations, perception is as important as reality?

Woof! Wooof!! Woooof!!!

Let us call a spade a spade, and not a digging tool or an implement for excavation. Whose idea was it for the decision to be released to coincide with the day H.E. Amissah-Arthur was being buried? Was it a political strategy? Was it a communication strategy? Was it an effort to divert the nation’s attention? Was it simply a sign of disrespect for the dead and the high office he held?

Once again let me ask you Your Excellency President Akufo-Addo – who told you that you could take over this country in rambo style in this day and age? Does the blood of Niccolo Machiavelli run through your veins? With all due respect, the seeming wanton disregard for rules, laws, conventions, courtesies and processes is simply unacceptable in a nation that prides itself on its democratic credentials.

Grrrr! Grrrrrr!! Grrrrrrrr!!!

I am not really a dog person. When I was in Antigua years ago, one morning my landlord called to ask if he could come over. He said he had something for me. I wondered what he could possibly have for me. Was he coming over to discuss a raise in rent or some renovation of the house? I waited. He came. He was holding a puppy. A very cute puppy! His dog had delivered six pups and he brought me one of the pups as a gift.

‘Aaaaaba’ - I said to myself - ‘what is all this high-level stuff? Doesn’t this man know that I am from Ghana? Doesn’t he know that I am barely managing to survive on my budget?’

I was from a home in Ghana where stray dogs would come visit and never leave because they would be nicely fed. It was the same with cats. They would stroll in and never leave.

My youngest sister went for a school entrance interview when she was four years old. She was asked the name of her dog. Her answer was ‘Gbee Sawyerr’. ‘Gbee’ means ‘dog’ in the Ga dialect. We generally did not have names for the dogs even though some individuals named their favourites. I was not one of those individuals.

So, the four-year old responded with a serious face to the interviewer – ‘my dog’s name is Gbee Sawyerr’. All she heard at home was that the ‘gbees’ had to be fed? Obviously, we were not a sophisticated dog family.

After much consideration premised mainly on what I thought was the landlord’s caring nature, I accepted the puppy and immediately started playing with her.
With the help of my wonderful friend, called Vynn, I named the puppy ‘Bubulupuu’ shortened ‘Lupuu’.

Then started drama in my life – ‘Lupuu, Lupuuu, Lupuuuu!’ Imagine a ‘serious Ga woman’ going round her house calling ‘Lupuu, Lupuuu, Lupuuuu’. Hmmm, how for do?

It was not long before I understood my landlord’s gesture. His ‘mother dog’ was some kind of cross breed between an alsatian and a number of ‘buga buga’ dogs. She was apparently uncontrollable. She had delivered six pups and he was in a state of severe panic, looking for innocent unsuspecting victims to offload the puppies on. Ha ha ha!

Within two months Lupuu could coolly ‘sail’ over the front wall of the house, which meant she was always on an outside frolic anytime I left home. She was wild and destructive. As soon as I got home, without fail, she would ‘fly’ in from wherever she was within seconds of me getting out of the car and ‘throw’ herself on my poor self no matter how tired I was.

After ‘hitting’ my vulnerable body she would then start clawing anything in sight – my clothes, my face, my arms, my legs, anything she could get hold off. I would plead with her - ‘Lupuuu please behave yourself, Lupuuu calm down, Lupuuu Lupuuu Lupuuu’ - while I found the quickest route to scuttle into the house. Of course, by this time, I was not letting her into the house because she had played with and broken everything she could get hold off.

I had tried everything the experts advised. Anytime I got out of the car, I would stop for some minutes to ‘play’ with her. After a few weeks when I had just a few un-torn trousers left, I decided the ‘playing’ was too expensive, unless I put on protective covering like the cricket players.
I had tried talking to her sternly with a wagging finger to see if she would understand limits. The sterner my face was, the wilder and higher she jumped to claw my face or my eyes out.

I tried going home every day with something she liked so it would divert her attention but (even if it was her favourite food) she would take a look at it, drop it, play the clawing game with her tormented owner, and go back for it after I had entered the room. It is nice to be loved but this love was a deadly love and I had torn clothes, deep scratches and aching joints as proof thereof!

Soon my friends refused to come to my home if I had not secured Lupuu to ensure she was immobile. Even immobility meant she would jump and weave around frantically and with serious dance moves within the space that the length of the chain would allow.

They would wave to her from afar and say ‘how are you Lupuuu’, ‘good dog Lupuuu’, and then ask me if the chain was secure. Ha ha ha!! It was hell for a long time. How the situation was resolved is a story for another day.
As I heard the President refer to himself, on air, as a dog that cannot be hanged, I remembered my dear Lupuu and the torture I endured from her and I asked ‘who let the dogs out? Woow, Woow, Woow, Woow!’

I still hear the growling and howling noises made by the NPP Party, when they were in opposition, about the AMERI agreement. This was an agreement signed in 2015 between the Government of Ghana and AMERI Energy to supply 10 TM2500 power turbines to produce 250MW of electricity.

Despite all the whimpering and yelping at the time, Price Waterhouse Coopers, in 2016, released a report which indicated that -

1.Compared to seven (7) comparable plants in Ghana, the composite generation tariff for the AMERI project (USc14.59kWh) was lower than the average approved composite tariff for the seven plants (USc14.94kWh);

2.Compared to seven (7) comparable plants in Ghana, the levelised tariff for AMERI was the lowest (USc11.46kWh);

3.Compared to similar power plants that had been contracted or constructed over the previous two (2) years, AMERI had lower installed cost per kW [AMERI (1,723 US$/kW), Jacobsen Jelco Ghana Ltd. (1,769 US$/kW), Cenpower Generation Co Ltd. (1,923 US$/kW); Amandi Energy Limited (2,322 US$/kW)].

The Report pointed out that there were three options – outright purchase, rental and BOOT (Build, Own, Operate & Transfer).

•The cheapest option was the outright purchase option, but Government could not choose that option due to lack of funds to purchase.

•The rental option was cheaper than the BOOT option, but at the end of the rental option, Government would not own the plant.

•Choosing the BOOT option meant that Government could spread payments over a period and would own the plant at the end of five years. This would help develop the capacity of the country’s power generation company, Volta River Authority (VRA), and increase the portfolio of generating plants in the country.

Come January 2017, Government changes hands. Addison is brought in to head a committee to investigate alleged corruption in the AMERI matter. Then we hear howling sounds about the Addison Committee members on a trip to Dubai sponsored by the very company, which was being investigated.

We hear about heavy per diems. We hear about shopping money and gifts exchanging hands! Then hey presto, we hear of a new agreement between the current Government and AMERI that has been given Executive Approval by the President. Then we are told the terms of the new agreement. What a bomb!

•The original agreement concluded was for a five-year term at US$510million, after which the plant would become the property of the Ghana Government.

•We have barely two and a half years left to conclude with the original agreement, with about US$300 million outstanding.

•The NPP Government is seeking to extend the term for another fifteen (15) years by handing over the contract to a company called Mytilineous International Trading Company.

•Ghana Government will pay Mytilineous (the name is too much of a mouthful, so I will call it Myti Myti, pronounced ‘maiti maiti’) over US$1 billion for the next fifteen years, during which period the plant will NOT be the property of the Ghana Government.

Chai!!! I am thinking deep thoughts!!! Who represents Myti Myti in this deal? Why is President Akufo Addo doing this to the people of Ghana?

Lupuu calm down, Lupuu behave yourself, Lupuu why are you doing this? Lupuu keeps clawing, scratching, gnawing, battering with no sign of hope in sight.
The Senior Staff Association of VRA and the VRA Public Service Workers Union (of TUC) released a statement indicating that:

“The proposed new agreement before Parliament would be more expensive than the current arrangement and does not make any financial and economic sense to the nation. The nation has surplus generation capacity and does not require any new long term take or pay arrangement, more so when it is inimical to the interest of the nation”.

Then we woke up to whimpers and yelps that the President says he was misled. Misled? By whom and by what please? If the NDC had not risen to draw the attention of the people of Ghana to the path being charted, what would have happened?

We do not accept your excuses Mr. President. Did someone put a collar and leash on you and lead you down this slippery slope? Does that mean the same person can hang you with or without your consent or knowledge? Didn’t you read the documents or at least an executive summary thereof before giving Executive Approval?

After leading the howling charge against the original agreement under the previous government, did you not think it was essential to read every detail about this before issuing Executive Approval?

So, can we ask -

•Were you misled on the Free SHS and the ‘double-track’ system?

•Were you misled on the firing and hiring at the Electoral Commission?

•Are there any other matters on which you were misled?

Do we need dog collars, leashes, poop bags, pee pads and safety harnesses?
Chai! Chai!! Chai!!!

Your Excellency JJ Rawlings, are you hearing and are you seeing what is going on? With all due respect, are there specific red, blue and white rainbow times when you cannot hear or see?

Did I really see a video circulating in which you said we are fortunate that somebody like President Akufo-Addo has emerged to rule this country, and that you respect the President for certain principles and values?

Papa J, if you really said that, can you please tell us which principles and values you respect Nana Akuffo-Addo for that you could not find in President Mills or President Mahama?

Would these principles and values relate to any of the following please:

a.BOST scandal

b.US$2.25billion bond scandal

c.Missing cocaine scandal

d.GHC 5million Ghana@60 celebration scandal

e.$2.5million Ghana Post GPS scandal

f.$1.25billion GhanaCard /NIA scandal

g.$178m KelniGVG scandal

h.GHC800,000.00 website development scandal

i.Deputy Minister for Trade cash-for-seat scandal

j.Australia visa scandal

k.Agyarko Parliamentary scandal

l.Korlebu / Deputy Chiefs of Staff scandal

m.Ghana Football Authority US$ 5:3:2:1:1 million scandal

n.AMERI scandal

o.Karpower scandal

The fumes from these transactions are hanging so densely in all environs. Why are you not smelling what we are all smelling, please? Indeed, I think I am beginning to see a rhythm, a pattern, some form of synchronization between your booms and the disgusting happenings in the Akufo-Addo Government.

I do not want to believe it, but the timing of your utterances seem to accompany times of significant difficulties for the current government. They seem to be in sync. Or is it that the Government is blundering so much that any rendition of your booms would seem to be weaving a web of some sort?

Why am I seeing emerging patterns? Or is my eyesight blurred?

•NPP in trouble, Founder booms?

•NPP coming up with bad news, Founder pre-empts with a boom?

Is it a game of cross-booming to divert attention from NPP’s problems? Does any hatred you may have for President Atta Mills, President John Mahama and the NDC exceed the disgust you should feel for the stomach-churning things that are happening under President Akufo-Addo’s regime?

Sir, with all due respect, there is still time to make it right. Even the President’s closest friends are criticizing the untoward behavior of the Government. Have you been to Abossey Okai Spare Parts market lately please? Just walk through one of these days and ask them what their problems are. They are singing one tune ‘Nana adaa daa y3n aaaaaa’ (Nana has deceived us aaaaa).

As the howling and growling continues, I expect that in the coming week the Government will release some ‘suggestio falsi’ to throw the scent off the AMERI scandal. This seems to be the modus operandi. Who knows? Maybe Papa J will help them by throwing in some unfounded scandalous boom, which will divert attention from the current happenings.

Wooof! Woooof!! Wooooof!!!

Grrrrrr! Grrrrrrrr!! Grrrrrrrrr!!!
Hrrrrrr! Hrrrrrrrr!! Hrrrrrrrrrr!!!
They say I am for war, but the truth is …
I am for peace ... Shalom

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