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Opinions of Saturday, 26 February 2022

Columnist: Abokobi Thomas Paine

Coronavirus, fuel price hikes and other politicians’ lies

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

A wise man once said politicians would do anything, including telling the truth, if it suits their agenda. Perhaps that’s true for other parts of the world.

Our politicians, on the other hand, grow fat on a primary diet of narcissistic solipsisms and would rather commit suicide than go anywhere close to telling the truth.

Whereas in other jurisdictions, statesmen enter public service to make legacies for themselves, our political elite, it would seem, are driven primarily by an agenda of grift and graft, and every lie that scaffolds this agenda becomes a precious tool that they hold on to with religious zeal and fanatical vim.

With a few marginal exceptions, Ghanaian politicians’ understanding of the concept of legacy is illustrated by their effete value systems and an incomprehensibly obsessive focus on expensive toys acquired at the expense of others. This is evidenced in the obtuse materialist acquisitions they make; the soulless mansions and the vehicles that they ravenously snatch and wear awkwardly like giants’ robes on dwarfish thieves.

Take, for instance, the current conversation around the coronavirus pandemic. It would seem as though if the outbreak of the pandemic had been delayed beyond 2020, our leaders would have been most willing to fast-track it into being because how useful it has become as the be-all and end-all argument.

So conveniently has the pandemic enabled a panoply of impish acts and rationalizations by our seedy politicians, sometimes one cannot help but wonder what the Squealerean spokespersons of the current administration would have fallen on without it.

Whereas the often lowly regarded Togolese government—I don’t need to go beyond our next door neighbor for an example—is actually distributing financial aid to citizenry affected by the pandemic, the leaders of our country want us to believe that we have become so impoverished as a result of the outbreak and subsequently, every act of political brigandage has been justified under the solemn aegis of the almighty pandemic.

Ask why the potholes on the Motorway have gotten worse and literally extract blood every day from motorists and they’ll tell you it is because of the virus. Inquire about the state of our health care delivery and the Solomons of state would tell you to ask the virus. Ask why thugs are getting away with looting our coffers and they will blame it on the virus.

Dare to question why we need that famous jet or why parliamentary committee meetings now must take place in Dubai or why Ghanaian citizens travelling through our airports must be subjected to acts of daylight robbery by officials under the guise of regulations, and of course, that horrible virus would be cited, pronto.

Because of the virus, we are told, these self-designated wise men and women even insist, beyond all that they have already taken and not accounted for, that we now must pay levies on even the mini mobile money transactions we make on our phones.

They found out, apparently belatedly, that the miracle cure that the apothecary recommended was actually not the revenue from the gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, cashew, oil, etc. exports that we have been making all these years, but rather a good cut of the one hundred cedis that the hustling, orange-hawking Ama Kweiwaa makes at Madina market and sends to her mother in Gomoa Okwawu village to prevent her from starving.

With e-levy, they tell us, all the problems of this country will be solved overnight and we may even acquire tickets for those tourists who want to go to heaven with some of the change. And perchance any person dares say they don’t want to go to heaven, then they can get that parallel ticket to hell and rot or burn, as they choose because as for the e-levy, it will be imposed by any means necessary.

Just when you start thinking that corona has probably furnished our vampire republicans with too many reasons to suck us dry, then comes the sucker punch: The Russia-Ukraine war.

Who would have thunk it?

As is often the case, it all started as some sort of joke. Some mongrelized riff-raff came up with the idea just over a week ago that contrary to previous assumptions that gave corona the credit, all our problems were actually caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Now the echo chamber mechanism of the propaganda brigade is in full flow. As if we are not hard up enough, we are being told by the nokofio experts to prepare for all sorts of extra hardship because of the Russia-Ukraine war, because of the rising prices of fuel on the world market, blah blah blah.

If the market prices of oil are going up, then it only makes sense that we pay up and shut up…and it all makes sense until you begin to realize that this piece of real estate we call Ghana whose supposed managers seem to take special delight in torturing us the tenants actually happens to be a petroleum exporting country too.

Yes, I am not an expert, but exactly why is it that rising prices of petroleum products on the world market never translate into any tangible benefits for the citizenry of this country? I mean, why is it that the managers of our economy never make the effort to use the profits in a boom oil market to cushion off local consumers from a harsh, unregulated regime of prices? Let me ask that another way: why is it that the kenkey seller’s children suddenly cannot afford kenkey because customers now pay more for a ball of kenkey?

I don’t expect any response but the usual gas-lighting and circular whataboutery from those who think their job on this earth is to steal, loot, and make war on the livelihoods of others who have placed their trusts in them. To steal, loot, and make war…and then calmly assure us that all was done in the name of peace.