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Opinions of Sunday, 6 April 2008

Columnist: Manful, Kweku

Patriotism And Ghanaian Leaders: Can We Learn From Botswana?

If one can give credit to General Kutu Acheampong’s regime, one thing that stands out apart from “Operation Feed Yourself” is the introduction of the National Pledge that in part reads “I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland” and ends with “so help me God”

Even non-religious people know that God’s name cannot be mentioned in vain. So what on earth makes people who take the oath of elegance betray themselves, their country, and makes a mockery of the oath sworn? Don’t these people fear God?

Allow me to refer you to our Constitution: CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR - CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS:

284. A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.

286(7) Before entering upon the duties of his office, a person appointed to an office to which the provisions of this article apply, shall take and subscribe the oath of allegiance, the oath of secrecy and the official oath set out in the Second Schedule to this Constitution, or any other oath appropriate to his office.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are no other people on the African continent so patriotic to their country than the people of Botswana. If anything at all I have read and seen in the news media. I have also heard firsthand account from my cousins who have taught for decades in that country of less than 2 million people. Botswana has heavily relied on Ghanaian Professional Teachers to lecture and educate the citizenry since the 70’s. Ask anybody who has lived in Botswana and he or she will tell you that the people of Botswana are patriotic and very incorruptible people. The people of Botswana love, respect and cherish Kwame Nkrumah even to this day. Kwame’s ideas and ideals have become an integral part of their socio-economic and political thinking. Nkrumah wanted the same allegiances from us hence the ideological institute, which was meant to instil discipline and love of nation in the youth. Must we be surprised that couple of weeks ago the Botswana government successfully negotiated for the establishment of Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana on the night of Tuesday18th March 2008 in the country? This has brought to an end the shipping of Diamond out of the country for cutting, polishing, marketing and selling. Botswana the leading producer of Diamond in the world stands to gain in many respects.

The Economist reports in its March 19th 2008 print edition:

”Keeping the sparkle at home” “African diamond producers want to extract more value from their stones”

“At The new Eurostar diamond cutting factory in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, hundreds of workers in neat rows are labouring over tiny stones. Eurostar, an Indian-owned diamond cutting and trading company headquartered in Belgium, set up in Botswana in 2004 and has been training locals to polish and cut diamonds. The factory, which employs 456 people and shapes about 1,000 stones a day, hopes to expand to over 1,000 employees. Another 15 big international diamond firms also have operations in Botswana, the world's largest diamond producer”.

The creation of DTC Botswana reflects a desire by the government, agreed to by De Beers, to establish an industry relating to diamonds that involves more than just mining the stones.

A consequence of the agreement is that 16 of De Beers’ clients, or sight holders, which include such brand names as Tiffany, Graaf and Steinmetz, have set up a presence in the country. Their cutting and polishing operations would, by the end of next year employ as many as 3300 locals, De Beers said. Botswana, which supplies 25% of the world's diamonds and is home to the world's richest diamond mine, is keen for a downstream industry to create jobs and teach skills. Beyond the business of sorting, cutting, polishing, marketing and selling diamonds, the government has set its sights on becoming a diamond centre.

Mr. Akolang Tombale, permanent Secretary of Botswana's Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ministry said "We are a diamond mining country, but we wish to be marketing diamonds, we want to be selling jewellery, we want to dovetail diamonds with tourism,". "The hope is that bringing these together will facilitate other developments like banking, technology, security and related industries."

Similarly, De Beers group MD Gareth Penny praised the move as "one of the largest transfers ever of commercial activities from Europe into Africa". De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said "there is no doubt the centre of gravity of the diamond world is shifting".

Ladies and gentlemen when is centre of gravity of the “Gold World” going to shift for the benefit of Ghanaians?

Before the overthrow of the CPP regime, Kwame Nkrumah in his wisdom had built a Gold Processing Plant in the Western Region and it was almost 95% complete. As I speak the investment and foresight Kwame had and embarked on, lies in ruins because these so called Ghanaians who overthrew CPP Government were told by their colonial masters and financiers to abandon the plant. One will ask where their brains were.

At this moment when Gold is selling for over $900-$1000 per ounce on international market, wouldn’t it have made moral and economic sense to have controlled our national asset? Currently Ghana makes only 3-5% of income generated by sale of Gold. What a travesty!!!! No wonder over half of our national budget is sourced from outside Ghana with a roaming bowl in the hands of our current leaders. How can we educate the youth who are to take over from us and continue with economic development?

Do our leaders lack the judgment? Where are their allegiances? Should public servants who refuse to put the nation first in their judgment be removed and tried? Who negotiated the buyout/takeover of our national assets like the Asante Goldfields, State Fishing Corporation, Nsawam Cannery, State Hotels, GIHOC and many more?

Ghanaians need apologies from military juntas and failed governments of the last 40 years who have supervised the demise of our socio-economic foundations: They have also not honoured the oath of allegiance they swore when they took office legally or illegally. Again, they have not placed the interest of the nation first but rather their respective Parties and certainly their individual interests.

Let not the oil discovered slip into yet another diabolical deal.

CPP is a nationalist Party and we will abide by the ideals that set us apart from the rest of the Parties in Ghana. We laid the foundation for Ghana’s prosperity, but saboteurs have destroyed the plan: We are about to lay yet another foundation: Yes there is work to be done and the CPP will show leadership and service to our motherland.

God Bless our Homeland Ghana.

Kweku Manful Vice-Chair: CPP North America Akokonini@yahoo.com

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.