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Opinions of Monday, 17 September 2012

Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa

Mugabe Rejects ‘Havening’ in Ghana?

One man’s poison is another man’s meat as the saying may be so conveniently reversed. What Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has declared as noisome to his country’s socio-economic growth in regard to his programme of economic empowerment to the people of Zimbabwe has been welcomed not only in Ghana but across especially the West African sub-Region who find it as the ultimate socio-economic panacea for fighting poverty in the sub-Region, oblivious to the untold damage these rejects do to our socio-economic progress on such an unprecedented scale even beyond the Victorian era Colonialism of the 19th Century. Though I do not share in Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe’s wild and erratic Stalin-like communist totalitarian political gauche, his approach in dealing with slavery-mentality foreign investors in his country to restore the dignity of his people however poor or rich is in the right direction however, not without comments. These are foreign investors whose only interest is in exploiting and pillaging the natural resources of their victim countries, using their labour like slaves to maximise their profits, whereby their exploited are plunged into` further immiseration rather than bettering their standard of living as reciprocally expected.
It may be recalled that Mr Mugabe reclaimed tens of thousands of hectares of land purportedly owned by foreign investors either through freehold or leasehold ownership for farming, using the Zimbabweans as low-paid farm labourers on these farms and indeed exporting all their produce to their home country where they operate their business account so that the host country does not benefit. This trend dates back to the Ian Smith regime but Mr Mugabe as President, sees progress neither in the livelihood of his people nor in the national economic growth. These rejects are in fact predator capitalist investors. Although expelling them was neither the better nor the best option, Mr Mugabe’s anger and disgust at Colonial Britain might have ruled over his rationality to renegotiate on fairer equiparate beneficial terms for both parties. Having been expelled from Zimbabwe, these predators, well aware that their amoral economic activities may not be accepted anywhere except by economically ignorant evil-may-occur dirtier-handed corrupt politicians, have sought to establish their pernicious colonies in Ghana and West Africa, with yet a few displaced others knocking on the doors of the corridors of power in some East and central African countries where they smell the stink of fetid dirty hands.
Jobs creation and economic growth have become such a hackneyed phrase on the lips of all of Ghana’s political parties. Such cliché phrases are presumably used as pre-election promises to attract voters however in most or all cases, such promises either become outrageous unachievable cons because the promisors have no clue as to how the jobs so promised could be created to occasion economic growth or that they are simply pep talk. Having no clue, the commonest hope for creating jobs has recently been ranting the influx of foreign investors whiles hapless Ghanaians know not on what terms these crooks come in to Ghana to do business and how they would benefit from them.
Under NDC, Ghana telecom was once run and managed by Malaysians who invested nothing except their presence in Ghana, built their own bank of Malaysia at Makola market as a medium for transferring all their lawful and unlawful gains to Malaysia, thanks to the courage and ingenuity of ex-President Kufuor who rescued GT and Ghana from the tentacles of Malaysian neo-colonialist homo economicus.
It would be an over-statement to state that Ghana’s domestic and national economy cannot grow at a reasonably faster rate unless there is hard cash to be invested in projects that will benefit both investors and stakeholders. This however doesn’t give cause for randomly inviting and involving predatory and pillaging rejects whose unconscionable bargain and exploitation leaves the self-same people needing help and economic empowerment assistance rather worse-off simply because our political leaders breach the vested trust and confidence expected of them. Instead, they portray themselves as common-sense egoist stomach politicians as most of them in the current administration prove to be.
Exploitation of African resources is pandemic. In many cases, it is the supposed leaders who lead the way for others to heartlessly exploit. Ken Saro Wiwa was murdered by the Abacha regime for campaigning to secure the rights of his Ogoni tribesmen against the oil giant Shell’s epinosic operations in the Niger delta of Eastern Nigeria. About a month ago, South Africa’s police opened fire on miners on demonstration, fighting for fairer entitlements in which 34 were gunned down in cold blood leaving others injured at a time when Jacob Zumah, an indigenous South African is President, not an apartheid foreigner. In fact, observers are persistently worried as Barbara Jones of Britain’s Mail on Sunday worriedly writes in the 5th August edition of the paper concerning the indigence of the Angolan people whiles their politicians swim and bask in untold riches. Richard Dowden of the Royal African Society, writing in the Times of Friday 28th August also bemoans the unacceptable rate at which Africa’s resources are being drained away by soi-disant investors.
African countries including my own Ghana suffer from an acculturation syndrome. In attempting to make giant socio-economic and development leaps abreast with the advanced countries of the so-called Western world who not only woke-up to the light of day several centuries ago by making their wealth through industrial and technological pioneering but also through heartless exploitation across the globe, we only risk breaking our fragile legs to becoming perpetually crippled. It would be best instead to make haste slowly according as our strength and stamina can reasonably sustain us to the destined goal. We can compete, keep abreast with the advanced countries and even ‘Usain Bolt’ them if and only if we can protect our rich resources from being exploited at will, stop the unfettered pillaging, stop the culture of corruption and build strong economies through financially empowering our local micro-economic contributors.
I am personally not a Robert Mugabe fan, however I whole-heartedly endorse his approach to stamping out slavery-minded predator capitalism, an example to be emulated by all concerned African leaders yet I think he could also have educated them to think better with a possibility of opening fresh negotiations with those who would comply to bettering the lives of their stakeholders whiles the non-compliant make their exit much because the cash-handling investors are needed as much as the African resources are also equally needed. It mustn’t be forgotten that African goods are always treated by the international world as raw materials to which the lowest value tags are attached, ‘thanks’ to World Trade Organisation’s racist bias against Africa. Bear in mind that even if Western world’s nuclear waste are found to be useful in Africa whereby it would even undergo further processing, they would be exported and valued as if it were a finished product with a high value tag. Africans are always projected by the rich international countries to be in the lurch. All these treatments notwithstanding, the African soil remains richer and grows even richer with what the so-called West would want most. It is therefore up-to us to identify and appreciate our identity and be proud of it to evoke our human dignity with a capability to standing up to all overt and hidden negative challenges to emancipate ourselves from indigence into prosperity, dignity and equality.
Ex-President J A Kufuor envisioned the Savannah Accelerated Development Programme to foster socio-economic empowerment and spread economic justice to the communities in the savannah regions lying to the middle and northern parts of Ghana, With the least hesitation, the NDC proposed their equivalent version which ‘gullible’ Ghanaians settled for. What we see today under the NDC version is a sell-off of our savannah arable land to foreign predator investors still harbouring colonialist slavery mentality with sole interest is in exploiting not only the richness of the land but the labour of Ghanaians as well to their personal exclusive gains. Economic justice, best achievable only through economic empowerment as a socio-economic just, as it has been championed by American philosopher John Rawls has been the bed rock of the policies of ex-President Kufuor and his NPP. The Party’s sense of achieving equal earning power for all Ghanaians without being disadvantaged by any climatic and vegetation zones for being where the communities find themselves to be with especial reference to the savannah-dwelling communities especially to the north of Ghana has been prominent in NPP thinking so as to evoke the community’s dignity. The SADEP in the projections of the NPP would occasion a making of these regions equally attractive to people of all walks of life.
Soi-disant investors from across the world swarm into Ghana today on a mission not only to exploit and pillage but also to do environmental damage to our soil from which neither the ordinary Ghanaian nor the Government may have any reasonable level of advantage. A case in point is the activities of predator foreign investors in Ghana who have acquired several hundred square kilometres of land for themselves with heavy machinery to establish jatropha curcas plantations, a biodiesel plant. The environmental effects of these plants (if any) as massive plantations have as yet not been fully assessed. The so-called investors exploit our rich soil and Ghanaian labour in unsecured jobs just in the name of job creation programmed by the NDC administration. Biodiesel cultivation in Ghana was an economic programme initiated by ex-president Kufuor in October 2006 to combat poverty amongst our subsistence farming communities so that they would be directly involved in its cultivation not for them to be used as labourers, but here we are with the NDC in government who would hurriedly pick up their bowl to be served upon hearing someone say thank you. NDC have literally sold off Ghana to foreigners yet these are the likes of people who rant most against capitalist investments, whiles the blunt of their inefficiencies is borne by their most loyal supporters.
It is rather paradoxical for the NDC as extractions of Nkrumah’s CPP to be so embracing to capitalist investors whereas during his lifetime, amongst his commonest catchphrases in all his stentorian speeches against so-called Western influences were imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. However, there is no wonder that in his phatic application of these numerous ‘isms’ reverberating in the ears of Ghanaians, whereas the Osagyefo was angrily expunging imperialist and colonialist British and American super-power interests in Ghana, the Russians and members of the former Soviet communist fraternity, another breed of free-loaders were off-loading their equipment and settling in in their numbers as accepted alternative neo-colonialists.
As a concerned Nigerian grocer succinctly commented to me a week ago in London: ‘Ghana is now an ideal place to do business but I dread Ghanaians stand to lose out because everything is like a freebee ‘take-away’’. As a nation poised to succeed socio-economically, we need caring able leaders who can stand up to and defend our property, our rights and dignity but not able treachers who would condone with others to knowingly take away everything or give away everything for their selfish ends as we witness in the NDC government. Ghana is for Ghanaians and welcomes all who wish well for the country and its people in fairness as a congenial place to be and also to do business but not for exploiters of our communities, our natural resources and plunderers of our economy be it by native Ghanaians or otherwise

Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, (London UK)