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Opinions of Friday, 21 February 2020

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

A matter of eminent domain – Part 2

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

In the wake of the perfectly legitimate demolition of some 20-odd businesses that were allegedly illegally squatting on land belonging to the state-owned Ghana International Trade Fair Company Limited, the Chairman of the GITFCL Board has been speaking to both the media and the general public.

According to Mr. Daniel McKorley, who also doubles as CEO of Mac Dan Shipping Company, the decision to demolish the aforementioned businesses became extremely necessary because the illegal occupants of the Trade Fair Site were making it virtually impossible for the Government to bring in direly needed global or transnational business enterprises worth far in excess of $ 1 Billion (USD), which also meant that highly connected squatters like Mr. Raymond Archer, who owned a company called Color Planet Limited, a printing press, were illegally and economically regressively preventing the Government from opportunely achieving its targeted policy of facilitating the creation of hundreds of thousands of well-salaried jobs for highly qualified and professionally well-trained Ghanaian citizens (See “Raymond Archer’s $ 10 M Business Blocked a Billion-Dollar Investment – Trade Fair Board Chair” / 2/19/20).

Mr. Archer is widely known to be closely connected to the Ahwoi Brothers, a familial corporate force in the vanguard ranks of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and once even edited a muckraking newspaper that was alleged to be owned by Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi. The newspaper, which appears to have long gone under or become defunct, used to be a thorn in the side of the John Agyekum-Kufuor-led erstwhile government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). But Mr. McKorley is quick to point out that the decision to demolish the structures erected by the squatters was taken purely on the basis and strength of the long-term economic prosperity that will redound to the benefit of Ghanaian citizens at large, rather than on the flimsy or indefensibly shallow basis of political score-settling or vendetta.

The GITFCL Board Chairman also adds that development-stalling drawn-out litigation suits spearheaded by Mr. Archer, who claims that his printing press is worth in excess of $ 10 Million (USD), were ruinously fast endangering already signed business deals, including one with a South African-based company that owns and operates the largest shopping mall in the world, a company that was intent on creating hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs for highly skilled and well-trained Ghanaian citizens in dire need of the same and, even more significantly, poised to making Ghana the major commercial hub on the African continent.

Mr. Archer also claims to have been employing approximately 120 workers, although the salary scales of these workers and their numerical strength have yet to be ascertained or verified. The revenue base of Mr. Archer’s business was as of this writing unknown and had not been publicly disclosed by the proprietor.

Mr. McKorley also informs the public that some American entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley have expressed a keen interest in establishing a major presence at the Trade Fair Site and elsewhere around the country. The largest convention center will also be built on the Trade Fair Site.

The preceding promise of an economic bonanza notwithstanding, it was inevitable that the neoliberal and market-oriented Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party would be virulently accused of embarking on a campaign of political vendetta. In the past, though, it was the Jerry John Rawlings-founded and chaperoned National Democratic Congress’ regime that had been widely accused of unleashing its vengeful venom against at least one major entrepreneur, among dozens of others, whose lavish hotel building was summarily demolished on grounds that it was obstructing a waterway.

In recent months, an effectively retired but publicly petulant and incessantly kibitzing Chairman Rawlings has insisted, absolutely with any overt show of remorse, that if he were presented with an exact same situation today, he would not hesitate to repeat the demolition of the aforesaid luxury hotel edifice that had been located near the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) all over again.

That was the picture that flashed through my mind and also why I could not help but guffaw raucously over a very short article captioned “Trade Fair Demolition: What Goes Around Comes Around” ( 2/18/20), in which the author, by the name of Isaac Batowiise Bening, swore to Heaven and Hell that the “callous and senseless” vindictive demolition of the Raymond Archer Factory would be definitely avenged or revenged, the Dear Reader may choose his or her pick.

It well appears that author Bening has so soon forgotten – or perhaps he is too young to remember – that it was actually the Rawlings Posse that first provoked this fit of demolition as a vengeful instrument of political arm-twisting. In other words, it is rather tragicomic for Mr. Isaac Batowiise Bening not to realize that the joke was actually on “Boot-for-Boot” faux revolutionary-minded people like himself.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York