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Opinions of Sunday, 26 July 2009

Columnist: Amegashie, Felix Mawulolo

Kufour’s Kindergarten Jokes And His Bourgoise Greed!

Our Ex-President, Mr. John Agyakum Kufour, widely regarded more of a liability less an assert to the Republic of Ghana, was at his usual comic self as he beat his chest and proclaimed himself as the best president Ghana has ever had throughout our 59 year old history. These and other comical jokes, he freely cracked, in an interview with Fifii Boafo’s on his half-baked “Today’s Agenda” programme that runs concurrently on Net2 and Oman FM the twin media houses belonging to belligerent Kennedy Agyapong.

I was most impressed that the Ex-President wanting to throw himself out to be noticed after his long sojourns to foreign lands, lecturing people who knew better than they were told, made some cynical comments that he hoped could create public debate over a few weeks but as a joker Ghanaians have always known him to be, those kindergarten jokes were dismissed as soon as they were made. Chief among these comments were the fallacy that his government never took “loans for meat” but rather for investment. The results of these so-called investments were what grew the economy at the “7.3%” (by their vicious propaganda machinery) and plunged the economy neck deep into a budget deficit of 15.8% as of January 31 2009. Again, the ex-president stated that “his nature’ hated an “ostentatious lifestyle”. That certainly can never be true as we were all witnesses to the royal lifestyle he and his cohorts within the NPP enjoyed when they were occupants of the Osu- Castle. I remember vividly, that on his last birthday before he packed out of Osu, he actually organized a birthday bash; invited a youth choir to sing for him in a typical Aminn-style, drank Champaign and proposed toasts in the “interest of the state’ I suppose. This followed immediately by his Award ceremony where he decorated various achievers and questionable characters that supported him throughout his presidency with state honours. The cost of the “bling-blings” and the after-party that followed the ceremony Kufour can still not remember. Available figures suggest that the cost of his “bling” alone could solve the perennial flooding situation in the Accra Metropolis but as ostentatious as he is, he decided to keep all of this to himself. This is even more comical because the man actually created a new award for himself and asked the Chief Justice , Madam Georgina Wood ( the same woman who was a Appeal Court Judge in 2001 who ruled that the ex functionaries of the NDC who bought and were keeping state vehicles “ should pack their vehicles in the nearest available state installation” failure to which she threatened prosecution) to hung this heavy expensive metal around his neck and read a long citation singing his praise while he looked on smiling “sheepishly” at a time when the railway lines were about collapsing, at a time that Korle-Bu had no water and a broken-down lift in the maternity block, at a time when the cedi was depreciating due to his penchant for expensive lifestyle that the state could not support, at a time when University students needed water badly especially in the 5 traditional halls, and this Ex -president want us to believe his jokes of hating an ostentatious lifestyle?

We have not forgotten how he unilaterally took Ghana down the rough and rugged journey on HIPIC and promised us heaven as regards the proceeds of HIPIC. What are the visible achievements of this HIPIC initiative? Are they the toilets built by the District Assemblies and painted in HIPIC colours or the various presidential special initiatives that failed under the very nose of Kufour through the callous management style of his darling boy Alan “Cash” Kyerenmanteng? Was it not the same person , I mean J.A Kufour , who went to Tarkoradi and fooled the Railway workers that his government has secured a $90 million to be injected to “revive” the ailing railway system? 6 months after an audit of the Ministry of Ports and Habours exposed his lies and pointed out that that whole $90 million dollar promise was a scam, just like the CNTCI and the IFC loans that he nearly sold Ghana for.

Again was it not the same man, who printed the new 10,000 and 20, 000 old cedis notes with the unidentifiable pictures of the so-called “Big-Six” on them. If we can all recall, these notes were large and of identifiable colours, making it difficult for one to separate them at first glance. The excuse at the time was that the notes were to check inflation, reduce the cost of doing business and reduce the cost of transporting the older notes to the banks especially in huge sacks. Ghanaians fell for this joke and embraced the idea. Huge sums of monies were used in public education some of which the Ministry of Information has recently discovered were “misappropriated”. The next major experiment came with the re-denomination of the Ghanaian cedi. The excuses again were not different from the earlier ones. Again colossal amount of monies were voted for in pre and post re-denomination education exercises that were captured on every network and available space all over the country. The cost of this project the Bank of Ghana has still not told you and me. At the time, Ghanaians were waiting for the introduction of the WAMI, the new ECOWAS currency that businessmen and women were promised. I was the first to realize that this ECOWAS currency thing will remain a figment of our imagination especially at a time when the sitting president was Chair of Ecowas but dribbled the organization to implement fiscal policies that never brought us even an inch close to conditions necessary for the implementation of this Ecowas dream. As if this was not enough, the man cracked another joke, an even bigger on when he decided to bring in e-zwich, a biometric system of transaction in Ghana. At the time of the introduction of the project, the excuse never changed i.e., cost of doing business, reduction in the time of doing business, interconnectivity of banks, moving Ghana into a cashless society, etc etc. These utopian ideas are yet to see the light of day and the reasons are not far fetched. How could Ghanaians embrace this e-zwich thing when only after a few months, they are yet to be acquainted with the realities and dynamics of the use of the new cedi notes and pesewa in everyday business? How could Ghanaians embrace this idea at a time when almost all banks are busily introducing VISA Card systems and issuing ATM cards that could be used in the next available VISA registered bank? How could we embrace this e-zwich thing, when issues of electricity supply, needed to power these e-swich compliant pay point machines, are highly unreliable and unavailable, especially in remote areas away from the capital? How can this idea work if even the educated ones do not really understand why they should be carrying one or more ATM cards in their wallets let alone the uneducated majority? These and many other questions raise lots of doubts over the ability of the past government under the joker to boast of implementing sound fiscal policies that saw “unprecedented development in Ghana since independence”! As to his other unguarded statements about the sitting president and other functionaries and the BNI, I would not waste your good time with those jokes as well.

Talking about greed, the Ex president enjoyed his huge per diems at a time he cautioned all of us to “tighten our belts” in the face of a “collapsed economy” he inherited from Jerry Rawlings. While workers salaries were slashed and annual increment in salaries aborted during the 8 years of his administration, he continued having his good times all over the world and he did not hesitate to jump on the next flight available to the remotest part of the world even at the expense of important national celebrations like our Independence celebrations. At a time he was promising doctors and other health workers promises he knew were unattainable, he did not slow down his luscious lifestyle. I was taking a close look at President Mills who celebrated his Birthday today. Indeed the man did not organize any party or ceremony but just called a few media houses to thank them for their support for a better Ghana and also encourage them to do all to support the political system to engender peace and development in Ghana. This is a major shift from the usual bourgeoisie activities by the immediate ex-president who will even not keep his mouth shut but continue to criticize the sitting president for a modest lifestyle.

Just yesterday, Monday July 20, 2009, it finally came to light that there was no Chenery-Hesse report that recommended the ex-gratia for Kufour and his Ministers after all. This is Fraud. Again, the report indicated that two different reports were sighted by the Ismeal Yamson Committee that was tasked to review the purported Chenery-Hesse report and the findings are frightening. It smacks of extreme greed, corruption and fraud. How could it be possible that parliament was deceived by the Ex-President and His Chief-of-Staff that there was indeed a Chenery-Hesse Report and weeks , months were spent debating this “sakawa” report in the august house. Again, how come that none of the two the purported reports from Chinery –Hesse’s Committee were not signed by any member of the committee? Again, on what grounds did the ex-president move in to settle in that House in Osu he annexed for an office until he was flushed out by Gbevlo-Lartey’s outfit? On what authority did the ex president keep 6 state vehicles in wait for the acceptance of this fraudulent report? These greedy acts undertaken by the ex-president cannot be ignored. This is highly criminal especially as it had to do with the very institutions of state that the NPP administration desecrated under the mantra of the rule of law.

I am thankful that we have a president who is sober and very intelligent. If he had not stopped the implementation of this fraudulent Ex-Gratia report in the face of stiff criticisms, Kufour and his gang could have raped the nation of these colossal amount of monies and property in the name of ex-gratia and have plunged you and I into further debt.

I congratulate the president for this feat and I encourage him to probe further to determine the sources of these fraudulent documents which until this morning, all Ghanaians thought emanated from the constitution of Ghana.

Kufour, Frank Agyakum, Mac Manu, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Kweku Baaku and all those who vehemently defended this dubious Chenery-Hesse report should bow down their heads in shame. Ex president Kufour can go on to crack his jokes but the end has indeed come to his bourgeoisie greed and the era of “kickbacks” as asserted by his one time chairman, Haruna Esseku. The good people of Ghana will do their bit to protect the public kitty of further looting by greedy politicians.

Long Live Ghana!

Long Live President Mills”

Happy Birthday, Your Excellency!!!

Felix Mawulolo Amegashie

lix_mawulolo@yahoo.com

P/S: Could someone call the Minister of Defence, General Henry Smith, to ask him if the two jet fighters and the flight simulator that Hon. Kwamena Bartels told us they sold Jerry Rawlings’ Gulf Stream Aircraft to the Chinese for, are in the Hangers of the Ghana Air force? If they are not, then Kwamena Bartels surely have questions to answer.