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Opinions of Sunday, 30 August 2020

Columnist: Anthony Obeng Afrane

Mahama's plan to cancel Agyapa royalty deal when elected president is justifiable

Former president John Dramani Mahama Former president John Dramani Mahama

Kikikikikiki, folks, I'm not sick, neither am I well. You know very well that I don't start my write-ups with "kikikikikiki", doing it today means wahala dey! Charley, nsem wo ho paa, and I'm getting exceedingly tetchy.

Apart from today, the day I became excessively livid in my life was when some kids messed me up. I'll tell you what happened. I had business doing in Kumasi, and a very good friend of mine was generous enough to lend me his brand new Toyota Land Cruiser car for a week. As you know, most of such vehicles have the inscription "4x4" on them. I parked the car at a suburb of Kumasi to attend to some pressing needs, and on my return someone, probably a child had added "=16" to the "4x4" with a nail, producing some nasty scratches on the borrowed new car.

I was advised by my friend whose car I borrowed to re-spray the portion of the car where the scratches are and put the inscription "4x4=16" so that whoever did it would not have anything to write about; but he was wrong. Few days later I parked the car at the same spot with the new inscription "4x4=16" and went to do business as usual. When I came back, the incorrigible child had written "correct" beside the inscription "4x4=16" with a nail, and that was what irked me so much.

As much as the action of this child is completely wrong and must be condemned, one principle remains correct, that 4x4 = 16, and this is where I think it is correct for Former President Mahama to cancel the Agyapa Royalty deal when elected as president in December, because the whole agreement does not make sense to me, and I will explain:

As it stands now, Ghana gets USD200 million every year in royalties from gold, but through the Mineral Royalties Investment Fund, Agyapa is going to pay USD500 million to Ghana government as loan. In exchange, government will have to give Agyapa 49% of Ghana's annual royalties for 15 years which is USD98 million every year. Interestingly, the USD500 million government will get can be obtained within two and half years from our royalties, so why should we mortgage our royalties for 15 years and pay USD98 every year?

By simple arithmetic, Ghana is supposed to earn USD3 billion within the 15 years, but will earn about USD1.5 billion while Agyapa pockets close to a whopping USD1.5 billion with just USD500 million investment. Abakade, this is what we call "chempe" or "abunu", a complete rip off to the nation; such an agreement certainly can never be in the interest of the people of Ghana. Chiefs and Traditional Councils in mining communities who receive royalties are going to be shortchanged. Their royalties would be halved, that is if they are going to receive any royalty at all. President Mahama's intention is, therefore, a fantastic advocacy for the chiefs and good people of Ghana.

So, there is the need for every Ghanaian especially traditional rulers and the youth to chase out this government out on December 7. Sosket, this reminds me of parts of the lyrics from "Crazy Baldheads," a song by Bob Marley, which goes like this:

Here comes the conman

Coming with his con plan

We won't take no bribe

We've got to stay alive

We gonna chase those crazy

Chase those crazy baldheads

Chase those crazy baldheads out of the town

Friends, I'm sure you enjoyed the lyrics, Bob Marley must have been prophesying towards a time such as this, and I'm exceedingly hopeful that the people of Ghana will stay alive and alert, and will not take any bribe which will certainly be thrown at them, and not allow the dream of these people to pocket USD1.5 billion materialise. A child destined to die will not survive even if he or she is put under the armpit of the Pope. And I believe that is the fate of our friends on the other side. Very. Obvious.

Oya, I have to rehearse my gadindim dance steps for the final funeral rites of the Elephant. You can join me now: gadindim-gadem, gadindim-gadem, gadindim-gadem.