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Opinions of Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Columnist: Atawura, Philip

Best Frinds Could Be Worst Enemies

About five decades ago a country was created to be ruled by its own indigenous folks. What we call independence but since then, its independence is yet to be fulfilled. Though the papers have it that Ghana gained its independence in 1957 and in 1960, it regained the status of becoming a Republic; the question is very unclear to know whether Ghana is still “free forever”. The legendry Bob Marley has said it all: Your worst enemy could be your best friend and your best friend… Let’s not forget that power as it is, is a concept of rules and that power given to a people also comes with its own rules. This country in my opinion has not gained the kind of independence it deserves with regards to the definition of the word. Many a time we think about the right thing to be done but forgetting that the right thing could only be defined as right depending on the sociopolitical demarcations of the people involved. To the Arabian world, ladies must be in veil: that is the right thing! To the French recently, a lady must not be in veil: that is their way of defining right. But what becomes of Ghana in her means to define the right thing? Most often than not, we see what is right to be right only when the G-8s or 20s say so. We talk about development and regard Europe and America to be more developed. We do a lot of things basing on what some people in their own native way think is right without considering the African factor: without thinking about our race, believes, motives and abilities. We are selling our intellectual independence! We are a people of reason and I pray that should something take away your freedom of movement, that thing has done you a great lot of deal than taking away your God-given intellectual freedom. Not long ago, some brave few and a majority understanding of the people led to us gaining what we now boast about in sub-Saharan Africa. But that does not end there. Something happened which was very controversial: The exile of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was these same people who we call friends together with few brothers that ended the vision of this leader. Let no one forget that our independence is still meaningless because it has not followed the cause of real freedom. Now that Ghana has found her oil reserve e, what do we make of it? We must take care of who manages and controls our oil. What do we hear about this “assassin” in town? I mean K. Riva Levinson. Let’s have a look at these issues with regard to Riva.

In Washington, Riva Levinson is seen as a hatchet woman, who takes controversial jobs to ‘assassinate’ opponents of her clients by turning their success stories into spectacular failures, using a close knit of gullible media led by Forbes magazine. She is a commentator on CBS, CNN among others.

The LA Times, describe her as: “K. Riva Levinson, a Washington lobbyist and public relations specialist, who received federal funds to drum up prewar support for the Iraqi National Congress. She has close ties to Bartel and now helps companies open doors in Iraq, in part through her contacts with the Iraqi National Congress.”

Not too long ago, Menas Associates, a UK based research group stated in a report that ”Levinson…was hired in the 1980s by Angola's UNITA rebel movement (then part-funded by the CIA and apartheid South Africa) to persuade the US Congress to maintain financial support to UNITA, which was then led by Jonas Savimbi who prosecuted one of the most brutal civil wars in Africa against the professedly-Marxist MPLA regime”

In Equatorial Guinea, following discovery of vast oil reserves, Riva Levinson led a lobbying campaign on behalf of US Oil companies, for the US government to re-instate diplomatic ties with the brutal regime of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. (Ghana Business News)

So already what I said is now turning out to be a story. It would be bad if Ghana allows herself to be exploited I this 21st century. Long ago we were deprived from development in all ways for over 200 years but still bow to issues that do not help us. I should say that if there has been anything to make me happy this year, it would be the move by the Ministry of Energy. They have upheld the tenets of our system of governance by making the constitution the highest order of the Ghanaian community. We cannot sit in our own country and allow some people to dictate to us in the name of superiority. After all, who owns the right to right? Who can boast of perfection in terms of scale for measuring quality and development? What might favour Tom might not favour Tiff so the earlier we think of managing our own resources, the better for us all. It only saddens me when grown up men for that matter sit in studios and argue among themselves about which government owes the oil exploration. I can say that these people are bringing nothing to us than self destruction. Others also show consent about westerners having the biggest share. I am not against their conceptions but what I am afraid of is that we might end up been northerners, ashantis, ahantas etc and not Ghanaians. What would happen if Oboase says its minerals should only be for the people of Oboase, and shear nut and cotton to only favour the Northerners, and gold to favour only Ashantis etc.? I bet you what has been happening in the Niger Delta would be a better thing than what would happen in Ghana. It is about time we realize that not all that glitters is gold and so the western world does not hold the key to rightness. We have little to gain from this oil as a country if we consider the percentage we are making. I pray that we leave this oil for our children to drill. If we don’t have the personnel and capacity to do so, why can’t we have patience to train our own people and set up a company of the IOCs and of cause the African’s standards to manage this oil? We can drill our own oil if we want to. Let us not forget that where there is a will, there is a way. Our fore fathers have said it all: before the animal would bite you, it would definitely come from your clothing. It is only those that are closer to you that know your secret. Why didn’t Kosmos inform the government about its move to sell its shares to ExxonMobil? I would find it hard to believe that Kosmos is a bigger institution as compared to Ghana. The constitution has made it clear under Section 22 under Part III of the law regarding the rights and obligations of contractors and sub-contractors provides: "A contractor or sub-contractor shall not assign, enter directly or indirectly, his rights and obligations under a petroleum sub-contract, in whole or in part, to a third party without prior written consent of the secretary.” This is a serious breach of the law and I thank God the Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa did not hesitate in making the path straight in calling Kosmos to attention. We must stand for due process and that is why I am so happy today. But the journey does not end there. We must continue to fish out all traitors who put on friendly clothes. We must be curious and respect those we sign contracts with for every person is capable of harm. Best friends can be worst enemies. This is our land! We set our own rules!

Atawura Philip

Ghana Institute of Journalism