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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Messing Up 1 Thorpe Street

Critical News, 10th June 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford,

Koku Anyidoho is still employed. Betty Mould Iddrissu is still walking free, Martin Amidu did not make a comment about my call to honour the tax-payers investment in his life and therefore his allegiance to the people who have looked after him all these years and educated him and the ECG Director never lost his job as per Koku’s instructions. However, Alfred Agbesi Woyome was discharged and then re-arrested on different charges of causing financial loss to the state through fraudulent means.

What can I say, the saga continues. But at whose expense?

There is a young NDC man yet to become lawyer called Samuel George, who has been doing the rounds on radio and TV and recently in print, challenging some big issues. This week he flayed into Koku and called him a liability to the NDC government and an embarrassment to President Mills. This is a fall out from the Baaba Yara stadium affair. Many are calling it a roll back to the PNDC and AFRC era when you could be fired on radio, even as you were driving to work in the morning. Me, I say this is an internal affair and the NDC should fight it out among themselves. Same way Kennedy Agyapong has started picking a fight with some members of his own NPP party and with the party as a whole. He says he has a beef with the party because they did not join with him to commit “seppuku” on air the last time he discharged some hot air. Now it seems it is between him and Communications Director of the NDC, Nana Akomea, and they have been exchanging some expletives to the chagrin of their NPP executive. Knowing Kennedy Agyapong, this could play on for a few weeks. After all he is up on treason charges. What has he got to lose?

In the following weeks, Agebsi Woyome will finally open his defense against charges of fraud. Both the Nerquaye Tettehs and Paul Asimenu were discharged, - not left off the hook yet, they might have some questions to answer later. But, which way the trial? This case is going to open up a Pandora Box of collusion and corruption. The Trasacco Valley man, Ernesto Tarricone, who appears to have abandoned ship to somewhere outside Ghana might have a lot to answer through his Waterville and Micheletti connections. So far he has not been arrested and there is no hint of his whereabouts neither is there a record of BNI/CID invitations to help unravel this case. If Woyome decides to take the fall and plead guilty, the NDC Government is damned if it does and damned if it does not. If he decides to sing Azonto, there will be some interesting choreography. Songs are already on air and it is only a matter of time, whichever way the chorus is sung, before December 2012 changes the landscape of our politics. Political pundits say this 2012 election is for Nana Addo to lose if he so chooses.

Ah hah, an Allied Cargo plane from Nigeria crashed into a bus, killed 10 persons, injured many and became a major rallying call for relocating Kotoka International to Prampram. The sector Minister even revealed that he had only last month made a trip to Prampram to look at the possible new site for another airport. Then we all waded into the encroachment on Ghana lands again, and the Government sacked the Lands Commissioner and published the Law on National lands for the public interest. Left me wondering why it did not do so in the first place. We are still waiting for the Right to Information Bill to be passed. We have questions that need answers and the only way we can do this, is when we have the information. I would like to see a list of all the persons who have bought these lands, especially the Accra parcels. It should turn up some interesting names. I think the Accra Mall, Action Church and the Casa Trassaco up-market furniture mall have all been flagged as encroachers at one point in time. If not on the Accra Tema Motorway then on the airport lands. Yep! No way we are going to out all these favoured groups. What a mess! President Mills has become pusillanimous on controversial issues in Ghana. We do not punish wrong and we do not reprimand wrongdoers. We have entered a phase in our politics bordering on simply turning away from what is wrong in society. There are two schools of thought regarding President Mills. He either does not have the authority to check his ministers and communication battalion or he is fully aware and yet plays the game to its fullest, pretending he is the soft, pious and gentle soul who expects that God in his infinite wisdom will see that evil and wrong will be punished eventually and he will be vindicated in all that he does. I have no view on this issue. It is just politics.

Which is why the Governor of the Central Bank is still in his seat. Mid-week, we read the Daily papers and all to a voice said the Governor and his economic team had decided that one of the best ways to control the falling cedi was to close all foreign currency accounts. Without exception, all papers and radio stations broadcast this development. The announcement made no sense, especially when we fought so hard in this country to maintain duplicity of currency and even out the black market. It has been a hard slog from the days when we purchased “black dollars” just to import drugs and simple basic items from abroad.

After making this move and causing such consternation in the financial market, Bank of Ghana makes a U-turn on Saturday morning to say it had not considered any such thing and the newspapers had got it all wrong. But read between the lines, someone, somewhere had explained the boo boo to the Governor. When a currency depreciates, it’s a supply demand issue, nothing else. Now we are all worried, not sure which way to turn. Massive uncertainty, the last thing an economy needs.

We are in an election year, the politicians are beating war drums and foreign investors and Ghanaian business are becoming nervous. If there is a chance for it, everybody wants a stable currency. Why not?

There are three things that could be done. One, talk the economy up, two, equalize the supply demand imbalance by either buying more cedis or infusing more dollars, or finally, the Governor does the honorable thing and hands in the towel, let someone else fix the problem.

One thing for sure, he will not be sacked. Not even for abetting the Finance Minister to cause such a mess. So messy the IMF had to say so openly. Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!