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Opinions of Thursday, 18 February 2010

Columnist: Adamu, Tanko Balik

Ghanaians are not as stupid as you think!

Open Letter to Mr. Craig Murray – Ghanaians are not as stupid as you think!

Mr. Murray I feel compelled to respond to you if no leader in Ghana whether past or present is willing to do so after reading the discussions that followed your blog on the topic “The UK and Corruption in Ghana – The British Government are the biggest hypocrites” which you blogged on February 08, 2010. While I agree with you on the broader input of your blog, I do think there are much bigger holes in your assertions than you would personally admit. Before I go further to try to point out the discrepancies and if you will, your insults to Ghanaians through your insinuations, I must say that if all your claims are true and factual, then somebody needs to go to jail for being that stupid. I don’t care about his/her political affiliations or connections.

I saw from your blog that you have had a lot to say about Ghana since March of 2006. Kudos for liking Ghana that much! I commend you for at least being interested in the welfare of Ghanaians for such a long time. I have to however break it you that I am convinced your hatred for the British government probably due to the fact that they fired you for meddling into the domestic affairs of Uzbekistan instead of doing the job you were sent to do is clouding your judgment and if care is not taking, you will destroy the little credibility you probably think you have. To begin with and without any attempt to speak for Mr. Westcott the current BHC to Ghana, I don’t understand why you will assume he was not sincere to Ghanaians when he said in an academic setting that incoming governments must respect the contracts signed by outgoing governments (that is if he even said that). I read the entire speech the High Commissioner delivered and I must emphasize at the University of Ghana and frankly unless it was an off-speech comment, the particular statement was never made directly in the speech. I will for the benefit of doubt grant you that he did say such a thing, what is wrong with that statement? Now you sounded like a mind reader in your blog when you said that “we all know that Dr Westcott did not mean it as a general point. He meant that investigations into contracts including Kosmos and Vodafone must be stopped”. You might know that from whatever voodoo reasoning you have but nothing in his speech alludes to your understanding of your made up speech but even if he did, how could you miss the most obvious warning he gave Ghanaians when he said that he was not arguing for “Ghana to imitate our great success, but to avoid our mistake” by having a “national economic strategy, not necessarily an elaborately written one, but an agreement on the broad economic framework for stimulating growth that is shared between both parties” and by “making the use of human resources of the country through education, training and policies that allow people to use their inherent enterprise” (http://ukinghana.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=Speech&id=21743864)? As a lawyer and a faculty, I assume you understand what you are saying and I can only impugn malice on your part for such a blatant disrespect for the intelligence of not only Ghanaians but also the hundreds of people who visit your blog.

Mr. Murray, you asked a series of questions in your blog and demanded to know the answers from whom, I don’t know but my question to you in this respect is on what capacity are you demanding to know the answers to all the questions you had? What makes you think Ghana as a nation owes you any explanations for what we do and how we do it? Reading your blog just makes me think you actually think Ghanaians are stupid, you went out of your way to not make any allegations against anybody in your write-up. Could it be that you are scared of a potential law suit if you maligned anybody? In your attempt to earn some credibility, you echoed the NDC’s talking point of the Vodafone deal by stating that it lacked “transparency”. You can go ahead and spew any nonsense and conclusions that you want but the Ghanaian Parliament rectified the deal and as far as I know, nobody was locked out of parliament including the public gallery. If this is not transparent enough for you, then am afraid no government will survive or get anything done under your reasoning and perhaps that was why the British government fired you in October of 2004.

I find it disturbing and frankly academically dishonest on your part to try to subtly insinuate fraud in the VRA turbine deal by implying that since the project is not yet completed, then fraud must have taken place. I do not see the correlation between the time the project is taking and fraud. It is one thing to argue that the project is taking too long to complete or even for Ghanaians to demand access to the facility to ascertain the progress of the project but it is totally insane to assume that fraud has taken place because the project is taking too long to complete without even bothering to hint at the terms of the agreement. Am all for the elimination of corruption in Ghana in particular and Africa in general but I will not destroy the reputation of people simply because things haven’t been done the way I want them done and I hope you adopt the same mindset.

While on the face of it, it sounds stupid for anybody to lease any property out to anybody at $10 million a year and in turn have to pay the lessee $40 million to use the benefit that is derived from the use of said property. I am not one of the people who will fall for your simplistic reasoning which you intended to reinforce through your example on joyfm in Accra. How much Ghana pays to Balkan Energy is and should be determined by what services they are going to provide to the government of Ghana and nothing else. The fact that Ghana owns the property and is leasing out is of no consequence. The choices Ghana had in this scenario was to either develop the capacity to use the barge at a cheaper cost or let it sit idle while Balkan Energy brought in their own barge and charge us whatever the total cost was going to be. You don’t seem to think that the total cost of providing Ghana with a capacity charger could have been $50 million and the fact that we had our own barge reduced it to $40 million. Whereas this is unconceivable to you Mr. Murray, it is totally possible that this is what happened. Using your own example, it as if I wanted to manufacture fertilizer and sell to you at $50 which will cover my cost of building a plant, paying my employees and making a $5 profit from my operations. However, if you have a facility that I can use for say $10, I will be selling the fertilizer to you at $40 still covering the cost of payments to my employees and my $5 profit. Which part of this is hard for you to understand Mr. Murray? I chose to indulge in this speculation because that is the exact same thing you did and had a good majority of people fooled. Am sorry but you can only fool some of the people some time……

Mr. Murray you are free to state your opinions on issues whether they are Ghanaian issues or British issues but I plead with to declare to your idiotic followers that you are merely stating your opinions so they do not end up taking them as facts and become disillusioned in the political process. Something you hypocritically say you are guarding against. You are not entitled to your own facts and frankly fight your government in your country and leave us alone to solve our problems the way we know best. I want to remind you that it is not by accident that Ghana is an oasis of peace in a region where dissent can easily be confused with hate. We struggled for the peace we are currently enjoying and will do whatever it takes to protect that tranquility and it is important that you find a new country to try to divide. Ghanaians will not fall for your disrespect for our intelligence through your populist right wing nut job ideology. Please leave us alone. We love our country and you can choose to love yours or hate it, that is your business!

I will like to conclude by urging all readers of your blogs to aspire to look at both sides of the story and decide for themselves instead of relying on the crap that you feed them. I will like to emphasize the conclusions that the British High Commissioner came to for Ghana to develop and avoid the mistakes Britain or the USA made. We have the benefit of hindsight and we must seize the moment. If you are as transparent as you want others to be, I dare you to publish this write-up on your website. I will do my part by copying the Ghanaian media on this and hopefully people who read your BS get the opportunity to read mine. God Bless Ghana! Thank You

Yours Sincerely

Signed

Tanko Balik Adamu 3801A Logans Ferry Road Pittsburgh, PA 15239 tankobalik@yahoo.co.uk