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Opinions of Saturday, 2 October 2010

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

Ghana: The CID, Jake and signs in the sky

By George Sydney Abugri

The weatherman may not be overwhelmed with confusion yet, but I would stake a modest wager, Jomo, that his faculties have been badly shaken by the bizarre phenomenon of torrents cascading down over our capital toward the last quarter of the year!

As I pound frantically away at the keyboard of my PC this morning like a maniacal pianist in a frenzied bid to beat the editor’s deadline for my manuscript, the skies outside are overcast.

Glancing through the window I have spied moisture-laden Nimbus clouds floating across the sky and it looks like rain!

It means the heat will blaze like searing waves from a giant blast furnace and roast the 25 million of us alive during the coming warm season! The thermal elements will reach a merciless peak by March next year and barbecue us until we are thoroughly done, as in the vocabulary of the restaurant chef’s cookbook.

How did I come by my meteorological prognosis? The strange phenomenon called global warming drives the elements towards two extreme opposites, so that heavy floods are followed by severe drought and extreme cold by extreme heat.

Atmospheric temperatures have taken a suspicious dip and the weather remained uncharacteristically very cool, nay, cold at a time when it is usually warm and atmospherically stuffy.

Are there really 25 million of us..? The Government Statistician Dr. Grace Bediako is busy taking a head count of the great republic’s population and many estimate her final tally will be in the region of 25 million.

I hope the lady gets her figures right, because any gross inaccuracies will throw development planning completely out of gear and send the already appalling deficits in housing, employment, waste disposal, water supply etc. shooting for the blue sky.

On second thought you cannot blame the Government Statistician if many go uncounted: Many among the population have fallen into such a state of despair and apathy that they do not give two-and-a-half hoots either way, whether someone counts them or not.

Some have actually asked to be left alone to get on with the complex business of daily survival. What difference would a census make to their dire circumstances? They have no access to water electricity and shelter and they are in no doubt whatsoever, that a census won’t lead to an improvement in their welfare any time soon.

The census has thus unexpectedly revealed something that should be of more than a passing interest to all social psychologists in town: A large section of the national population is trapped in despondency and a sense of crippling hopelessness:

It is taking a toll on the sanity and emotional balance of low-income earners, and the unemployed and driving sections of the population to depression, emotional turbulence and alcohol-fueled tragedies every day. The newspapers keep reporting them by the day.

Family violence and wacky behaviour are not new but they now appear to be occurring with alarming frequency -the bizarre daily reports of husbands taking machetes to spouses, mothers roasting children alive for very minor transgressions or trying to sell them for cash! Even children in troubled families are committing suicide!

Since even many gainfully employed people are feeling the sharp pinch of economic hardship, it is understandable that the unemployed and under-employed are often so wired to high levels of anxiety and stress, that the least emotional strain is enough to make them snap.

There are very large numbers of them struggling to make a living hawking petty goods, carrying heavy head loads, pushing carts, digging road side trenches, working as labourers on construction sites or sitting around mentally plotting all manner of strange survival schemes.

Anyhow, I was commenting on the most harmless of subjects-the weather, wasn’t I? The weatherman might dispute my forecast with contrary scientific evidence but there goes my forecast for all it is worth.

The very hostile and loud conversation across the political divide threatens to up atmospheric temperatures some more in coming months.

The Tit-for-tat machine in Ghana’s politics which I introduced to you a couple of weeks ago is ticking away with even greater steam than I initially accorded it: the latest episode has been an amusing overspill from the case of NDC Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei’s recent “cat killing” remarks about the judiciary, which the opposition interpreted to imply a threat to harm court judges perceived to be sympathetic to the political opposition.

The opposition screamed for the NDC Chairman’s prompt arrest and prosecution on charges of treason, and was advised to lodge a formal complaint against Dr. Adjei with the police.

Enter an opposition group called the Alliance for Accountable Governance, which lodges a complaint against Dr. Adjei. I have not heard or read anywhere that Dr. Adjei has reported to the police.

That was the tat. Then came the tit this week: An NPP activists claimed on radio stations during the violence at the recent parliamentary by-election at Atiwa, that three NPP activists had been killed by NDC activists.

NPP Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Secretary General Owusu ‘Sir John’ Afriyie were later quoted as having corroborated the claim. A pro-NDC group called the Media Analyst Group this week took the not-so-funny game to the NPP’s play yard.

The group insisted that the untrue allegations could have led to reprisal attacks and bloodshed. It lodged a formal compliant with the police against Jake and tow leading members of the NPP.

The cops have invited the three for questioning. Will they honour the invitation? I don’t know. Sometimes the police, the judiciary and the politicians appear to be laughing at us, Jomo.

The other time we heard in the news that a bench warrant had been issued for the arrest of the Inspector General of Police. I said hey, who has just escaped from the nuthouse with this tale? A warrant for the arrest of the IGP? In Ghana..?

It turns out Fast Track High Court Judge U.P. Derry had indeed issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the IGP and the Attorney-General for refusing to appear before his court to answer a charge of contempt. Were they arrested? To ask the question is to imply that you just arrived in Ghana from one of the celestial bodies far out in outer space.

President Mills was in China last week and sealed a deal under which Ghana is to receive a loan of US$ 13 billion form China. There are those who have raised their brows over the Chinese loan.

Others say cash is cash is cash and it matters pretty little if it is coming from the Japs, the Yanks, the Oui Oui people, the Limeys, the Germs or the Chinkese. {I was the subject of attack by abusive cyberspace tramps the last time I referred to Chinks, so now, there…}

In the 1960s, China showed an interest in supporting development projects in Africa because they wanted to advance their own brand of communism at the time.

Today, China is interested in trade and development partnerships with African countries more for the direct economic benefits to the Chinese economy than anything else. The massive penetration of Chinese consumer goods, construction firms and Chinese professionals is evidence.

That is all fine with me old chap, as long as the benefits from our dealings with them are visibly, mutually beneficial! Email: www.sydneyabugri.com Website: www.sydneyabugri.com