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Opinions of Sunday, 14 February 2016

Columnist: Kb2014gh@gmail.com

Ghana slides into Statelessness

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall

Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none,

And some condemned for a fault alone

(Shakespeare, Measure for measure)

Nations are described as ‘developing’ when there are verifiable and broadly and systematic improvements in the lives of the people in facets of human lives. The needs of a people are both found at the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, individual needs vary from individuals or groups to individuals and groups. School children need good school buildings and qualified teachers and teaching and learning aids so they can learn better. Market women want very decent infrastructure to ply their trade, and drivers need very good roads to deliver their services to the public. At the macro level, all of the individuals and groups want good drinking water, security for themselves and their families and good education as well.

These are all the responsibilities of the state in as long as the citizenry meet their obligations towards the state by way of offering their labour in all facets of the society and pay their taxes no matter how killing those taxes might be. The biggest requirement from the state by the citizenry is security. Citizens of modern societies have offered their individual defence systems to the state in order not to create chaos. When the state fails to offer that security to the citizenry, then the individual citizen has the right to defend himself or herself as a human being. Should that happen, the nation degenerates into the jungle era where the survival would depend on the fittest and not the wealthiest.

It will be very unfair for anyone to make a claim that it is only under the Mahama administration that this nation has witnessed, such murders which, as occurred last Tuesday, has shaken the very marrows of the ordinary citizen as to the level of security available to us as a people. Shakespeare was right when he said ‘there is no art to find the mind’s construction from the face’. Such murders occur even in the advanced countries since the murderers’ intents cannot be observed from their facial expressions before the act. However, the good news for the citizenry in the developed country is that even when it takes a century for the criminal to be arrested, justice would not only be done but openly seen to be done.

We live in a country where events as occurred on Tuesday happen, families are traumatized, children are orphaned, their sources of livelihood are curtailed and nobody is punished for it. The society complains, security agencies offer assurances of tracking those who had committed those heinous crimes, but time puts the issues in the dustbin of history, good only for reference when another of such crimes have been committed years or months later.

These kinds of crimes attract public angst because of the victims who in many instances are in the public eye and also the fact that the perpetrators of the crimes do not go away with any material assets of monetary value. What then motivate the criminals in their acts? I will not attempt to hazard guesses for the criminals’ motives until the security agencies have done their work to the public’s satisfaction.

This nation is gradually descending into an abyss of insecurity that will warrant individuals seeking to own arms to protect themselves or recruiting people to protect them in a very unprofessional way. While the security and safety of individual citizens in the hand of the state is questioned by the day, the nation itself is under serious threat. Illegal gold miners popularly called Galamsey operators have been given official blessings to wantonly destroy vegetation and water bodies needed for our collective survival while the security agencies either look on unconcerned or helplessly.

. There are instances where military personnel have been dispatched to deal with galamsey people, confiscate their equipment and brought the equipment to base at their peril just to be called by an anonymous big man instructing them to release the equipment to the illegal operators. The recent occurrence at Obuasi which led to the accidental death of my good old friend, John Owusu, is an example of official complicity in the illegal activities of the galamseyers, as they come to be called.

Chieftaincy conflicts and its attendant land disputes have taken and continue to take lives of citizens in this country. People get displaced and their normal lives distorted and destroyed and the perpetrators of these acts are not punished by the state. There is an incentive then for others to engage in the worst forms of these acts in the future. Lives and property are threatened everyday and those involved are emboldened because they are not punished.

The biggest threat to this nation is the level of despondency, hopelessness and helplessness among the youth of today. Job opportunities do not exist for the teeming young educated population. There are still the millions of poorly or uneducated youth without any artisanal skill to deploy for decent survival and existence as human beings. Their energies can therefore be easily mobilized by individual power seekers and brokers for selfish and mischievous purposes once a few hundreds of Ghana cedis are offered them. Youth unemployment is a major security threat to this nation. The state is doing nothing seriously to address these issues to protect the country’s future.

Did it have to take the Italian Prime Minister to tell African leaders to create job opportunities for the youth so they can stay and work and make decent livelihood back home? In the midst of these difficulties facing the youth, a few public officials opulently display their ill- gotten wealth oblivious or contemptuous of mounting poverty among the majority around them. Such people are publicly exposing their safety and security to a section of the public who believe they are poor and hungry because the rich made them poor. At a certain point in the political history of this country, a government made it a policy to eliminate the rich and substitute them with the poor, a very dangerous mindset which divided the society into classes.

Over the past eight years, government has kept quiet while crimes are committed to serve political party interest. When foot soldiers vandalize public property and all the security agencies can do is to prevent further destruction, the people are encouraged to move a step further in their next action. This is officially sanctioned lawlessness. Worst still, some individuals and political parties would want to go a step further to play one religious groupings against the other, a phenomenon which has destroyed some nations. Ghana is in trouble and the state has a responsibility in halting this menace.

WHO IS BEHIND DESIMONE?

Don’t get worried, Desimone is not just a fruit juice as you see on the shelves, it is also a major Italian construction firm now operating in Ghana. It is interested in the US$7 billion ENI contract at Sanzuri in the Western Region. Yours truly is informed from an unimpeachable source that the contract, as part of the grounds preparation of the main ENI project has been tendered and evaluation done after the bids were opened.

Desimone, am told was the worst among the three companies selected for the tender evaluation, the other two being WBHO and one Bilal. Desimone’s bid was US$25million for a job estimated by the consultants at US$16million. It placed last at the technical evaluation process and yet an unseen hand is pushing for Desimone to the detriment of the Ghanaian tax payer. GNPC is very livid at this background manipulation to overprice the contract but more worrying is the track record of Desimone in that field of operation.

The questions being asked are; is the recent visit by the Italian Prime Minister part of the efforts to ensure that each dollar of the US$7 billion contract to ENI finds its way to Italy? Who in Ghana has interest in Desimone such that it is pushing that company through to the chagrin of GNPC and other interest groups and the state of Ghana? Can something right be done for once to save this country? Hmmmmm, only time will tell.