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Opinions of Friday, 10 July 2009

Columnist: Tamakloe, Kojo

Akwaaba Prez Obama

Wo ezor Brother and Sister Obama . Welcome to Ghana . We are especially proud that you chose the land of the Philosopher and innovator extraordinaire Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah . I hope you know that because of his efforts even Blacks in the USA benefitted. Ghanaians had the vote before African Americans did. Please open your eyes to see the long journey especially of your wife and chief counselor. I do not mean the physical distance only but from slavery to being the first lady and your confidante.
We want to assure you we are with you on your new journey that aims to transform your own country, the West and the rest of the world. I know this journey is part of that plan. You have stated this is the NEW DAWN. The continent of your father and your kilns folks shall not continue to be marginalized. You and your wife are here to sound a new clarion call. The eagle should spread its wings and fly. It must take its rightful place among the nations.
You already have made a statement by not going to Nigeria or your fatherland Kenya. You eschew CORRUPTION. I hope fellow Ghanaians will listen and back Prez Mills to remove this cancer from our midst. This I got from your speech in Germany and you mentioned Kenya as an example. We grapple with it as some want double standards. Jail drivers for over speeding but let go of Mpiani and others as untouchables.
I am sure you will listen to our Plea for a Marshall Plan for Africa. We fought alongside the West for freedom and to preserve their values and culture but they turned round and destroyed ours and continue to colonize us economically. Can we start with a bit of reparation for the millions of slaves that represented our youth and labor that created the wealth of the “free world”? Not content you used to raid us through a program called ASPAU in the 60s and 70s that took our brightest to the USA. No compensation was ever paid. In 1966 on a fateful February morning your intelligence agency under the mistaken guise of fighting communism removed our dynamic president Dr Kwame Nkrumah and replaced it with a group of retarded personnel and stopped short our march to progress . We have not recovered since. They shut down all the factories and projects that were in progress and some of which had money borrowed from your institutions that still needed to be repaid. We are still paying for these by way of interest and capital. This is a loss of revenue that could go to our development effort.
Fair trade not Free trade. We thank you for the aid and grants you continue to give us. God bless you. But as the Chinese say, “Give me fish and I eat for a day; teach me to fish and I eat for a life time” It is time we are treated as adults. We want fair trade whereas you subsidize your farmers you instruct and punish us should we do the same. Trade is when you tell us how much to pay for our products but then you tell us how much we must pay for your products and services .Can we call that free trade or fair trade? I can tell you we were on the verge of rice self sufficiency before the coup but now have to import everything. Our seas have also been fished dry so that is also a problem. Can you help change the rules so we can also industrialize? We import tooth picks, sugar, milk, toilet paper and many. Soon we will import water and air. How can we support our growing population? You have an immigration issue, will it not be a solution if we keep our people home and you can trade with us. Will that not make us better fight on your side rather than Africom? How many should die before we realize that is not the solution? Poverty and hunger creates radicals and militants. Let us prevent it.
It was said “if you are not for us, then you must be against us” Nkrumah was never against you. He loved the West, but Loved Ghana and Africa more .This can be said of leaders like Sankara, Mobutu, Ben Bella. Do you remember Mandela was only removed from the terrorist list last year? He wanted freedom for his people. My Prez, can you describe that as a crime or anti West? So we can be pro West but use instruments of development that suit our local conditions. Being social democrats is not against the West. I am glad you are one yourself. So will you allow Africa to adopt other developmental methods without the doctrinaire approach of capitalism? Is it not time to restructure and change policy positions of the Brettenwood Institutions . We neither have the capital nor the enterprise, so allow us to use what we have to get what we need.
African Market and Union: This has been a sore point. From the accounting point of view it makes sense as any enterprise will have a lower cost per unit instead of the small units of operation we are forced into and the duplication in all African countries with the attendant overheads costs making these companies unprofitable as they have limited markets . I guess the biggest stumbling block is the French. We need big markets and we will make better trading partners. In this economic downturn can you imagine the effect of the construction of new roads, offices, houses, water works, hospitals, schools and new factories on the world economy? This is virgin territory so let us give it a try. Let us put the words “the land of the free and the land of the brave” into action. Can you imagine the amount of progress despite the corruption that the $10bn a month spent in Iraq could have made to our wellbeing and developmental effort instead of the 12 million mosquito nets? Does that not make us feel insulted? In this context we need solutions to conflicts in Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya all a direct result of poverty translated into clan and tribal wars
I am sure the world will be a better place with some technology transfers to Africa, and solutions to energy crises that also put us back in the ‘70s and the war of the West with the Arabs over their support to Israel. We can benefit from developments in solar power, wind, thermal, oceanic and aquatic forms of energy production in spite of the oil discovery. I am sure with less demand on the continent due to the use of alternative sources of energy, oil prices will be stabilized and will be less an effective tool in the armory of radical Islamists.
“There is no Blue America, nor Red America, but United States of America”. I am sure this will be a message you want to resonate all over the divided Africa. In Ghana we do not have an Akan -Ghana or a non -Akan Ghana but one Ghana. In Africa we neither have an Arab Africa or Moslem Africa nor a Black Africa nor Christian Africa but one Africa. Together we are one.
Mr President , You and President Mills have a lot in common, having been University professors and both of you display humility . I see the strength of purpose and resolve binding both of you. President Mills may not be a communicator like you and probably not as speedy but I am sure together you will change the vision of the world. Always remember it was the tortoise despite its slow pace that won the race. Good luck.
Kojo Tamakloe An Nkrumaist who believes African Unity is the real solution to our under development. Forward ever, Backward never. Nkrumah never dies.


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