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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

Our Estranged Ghanaian Politicians

Sunday, the 28th of November, 2010 Dr. Capitalist Mole Simple-man who happened to be on a short business trip to the UK, decide out of his tight schedules, to have a brief tit a tat with the PPC (Party that Care for the People) members of the UK Chapter, in London. On the magnanimity of my fellow Ghanaians whose daily struggle to redeem every Ghanaian from the shackles of our abject pathetic state of poverty, I happen to be among the few to listen to the former presidential candidate and currently the shadow Finance Minister of the PPC party. In deed most of those who were present at the august gathering are innocent individuals who are tired of life outside their beloved state of Ghana and longed to help in building a kind of Ghana that will be worthy of returning to. The meeting with the doctor is therefore an opportunity to ask him about why nothing is working in the highest echelon of the party’s stratum and the reason for the party’s big shots continuously letting their ever dedicated flocks down.
Prior to the event a very good friend of mine with whom I coincidentally arrived at the venue of the gathering, spent time probing and joking about our pathetic plights. We amused ourselves with trying to make out how the big guys have been playing on our intelligence as a people. In fact we spent endless time laughing at how a network of interest that cut across nations are clearly fiddling about with our destinies the world over while we are so helpless on how to get ourselves out of it. One thing that was clear to both of us is that this clique of individuals are operating by their own interest that is now assuming the law of life that guides our destiny and thereby shaping the kind of justice we have to daily live by. We then concluded that the man we are religiously on our way to listen to is as good as any other member of this global mafia and listening to him might be an insight as to how these oppressors think. In all honesty, that was truly the case after the end of the session.
Like a messiah whose life depends on how much he is able to convince his fickle minded flocks of how innocent he is in an action he took in the past, Dr. Capitalist Mole Simple-man poured out his heart to his audience accentuating on his innocence regarding his role in the party’s past decisions. He made it clear that the decision to mortgage the principles of the party by going to bed with the other two major political parties in Ghana, NDC and NPP, was out of his hands. He disowned the responsibility of the decision made with him as the party’s flag bearer and disregarded the act as a clear betrayal of the trust of the innocent people that made up the mass membership of the party. In fact, the question as to whether lessons were learnt from those actions and that there are practical evidence to prove that measures are in place to avoid the same mistakes, the doctor camouflaged behind time constrain to evade the question but rather had ample time to make it clear that he still nurse the ambition of standing again as the flag bearer of the party. Our guest then went on to tutor us on how to stop blaming individuals as leaders for their actions, even when such person is clearly the leader we knew, for mistakes made under his/her stewardship but instead, he implore us to blame the collective body. He informed us that all the decisions he took as the presidential candidate of the party were not by his wish but rather the wish of nobody with a name than in the name of the party. Once again, our VIP guest drove home his lessons on Collective Responsibility by beseeching us to desist from blaming individuals like him for things that goes wrong in the party but rather to learn to hold the party as a whole responsible.
The doctor made it very clear that there is a power wrangling in the high places of the party, which in most cases, are not in the interest of the party. In fact, he vowed this time to go all out for the dodgy colleagues within the party with questionable motives, which he dared not to do when he was the flag bearer, as that could be damaging to the party. He even claimed to have evidence of pictures where important and respected party members led opposition members to him to trade off the interest of the party for other favours.
On all fairness, the kind of politicians I like associating with are those who preach the act of daring any form of injustice in defence of the people’s interest but I will always have a problem with my conscience regarding any solder that turn out to be telling people stories after having all the opportunity to shot but did not, only to be pretending that this will never happen again. Solder, nobody has forever! Just take a closer look at yourself of what you were at that time and what you are now!
The clear impression the doctor made on me personally, Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin, is that his principles as a person falls far short of being responsible for his actions. Individuals are known to relinquish their position on principle so that they do not end up finding themselves in a position of having to explain to the people in the future that the decision was not made by them, even when the action is by them. Resignation from a political position due to conflicting principle or interest is not in the dictionary of the doctor but rather to stick to it all like a lice only to end up defending a wilful action of personal interest feigning innocent under the guise of collective decision. The big question is what then does the doctor stands for?
Fellow Ghanaians, it is important for me to emphasize that it is not my place to judge or in any way, engage myself in tarnishing the image of the doctor or any person. My intention is far from that. All I seek to do is to try to provide answers to certain abnormalities in the actions and behaviours of our political gurus in Ghana and the African Union in genera that seems to be so evasive and defying all solutions.
In his defence of why the party performed that bad under his leadership as the flag bearer, the doctor was heard saying “Those who promised us money changed their minds when they saw us being divided and indiscipline in the party”. What the doctor did not tell us is who these benevolent people are? Were they Ghanaian or his business partners from the other side of the Atlantic? The doctor as well did not tell us why these people in the first place wanted to give us their money or the motive of spending their money on us? Are these people the powerful American money bags that use their money to buy the freedom of other people of far away lands only to turn them into living but dead people? Are these people the so called “foreign investors” that invest in other people “democracy” as they innocently seek for justice but ending up with injustice? Are these the kinds of people who buy desperate people freedom and replace them with slavery? Are these people the kind of people who trade in advance purchase of unborn children to sustain them in perpetual slavery over generations? Are these the kind of desperate financiers who resort to investing in arms to induce conflicts as an alternative means of getting their way when democracy fails? Could this be the reason why every one of our political parties in Ghana sings the foreign political language that is different from our own political tunes? Could this also explain why our politicians seem to be insensitive to our plight as they rather engage in acting than actually solving our concerns? Does this explain why our politicians are behaving like a shadow of real politicians than the politicians themselves?
One thing that is certain was that the doctor had a nice day. He was able to play on the intelligence of individuals among the audience of whom were those boosting of all sorts of academic and professional credentials before the arrival of the doctor. In deed the experience with the doctor was a clear proof that there exist a big difference between academic attainments and human intelligence. By this I mean there is a difference between the level of information a human being is capable of absorbing intellectually for regurgitation when requested, to be adorn with all sorts of academic titles and the ability to practically put such information into solving life real challenges for tangible human enhancing results. Probably some were only quite just to allow the sleeping dog to lie, which they should have done better by staying away in the first place than turning up to waste space. What is the relevant of being present at where you actually are not present?
Come to think of it, by his appearance, the doctor is as meek by any standard for a man with banking and financial interests across all the ten regions of Ghana. The doctor is also said to be in charge of fleets of international classed hotels and other financial interests across the length and breathe of the nation. In fact we forgot to recall the relevance of the fact that the doctor is in the UK for business related concerns, which in itself make the people he was meeting a secondary case that only become relevant when the Ghanaians’ ritual act of face saving “democratic” election is at hand. We were also aware that the doctor flies more across the ocean for business with his American counter parts who are all part of the interest of the doctor across Ghana.
One main concern that arose in the course of the night was the interest of the doctor and that of the political party. When the doctor was challenged as being the architect of division in the party during the 2008 election for locating and operating his campaign office from outside the main secretariat of party, the doctor’s response was that, how could he operate from the party secretariat without air condition, computers and the general unhealthy state of the building? So rather than putting his money into refurbishing the party secretariat for the general use by all, he chose to take up a small Cinderellic magical type of structure outside the secretariat, even at a relatively higher cost. Interestingly, the doctor could have even mention that the office went back to its owners after the whole show and all the staffs paid from his own assumed personal pocket. The doctor then went on to justify his action with frivolous references that even Bill Clinton and Barak Obama also did run their election campaign from structures outside their party head quarters. He however forgot to tell us that the party secretariat that Bill Clinton and Barak Obama chose not to use were fully air conditioned and equipped for others to comfortably use, thereby making the reason for the two motives different and incomparable. In fact, Bill Clinton and Barak Obama were fully aware that the said party office they chose not to use for the campaigns was far from a place meant for dog and goats, and if this has been the case, they would rather have invested resources in getting the party office into the best shape than lodging themselves elsewhere. How does it add up for the money bags to have their own associating with individuals in derelict “socialists” secretariats of PPC? How posh is this?
In conforming to the posh dictates of those calling the shots, the doctor was said not to be the only one in this habit but all the other four in the power tussle too. It was gathered that all the big guys seek for personal comfort with their personal wealth in the name of the Party as well. I leant that one of this people is permanently running his party activities from the comfort of the super expensive Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra in the name of the poor party due to the bad condition of the party secretariat. Ironically, the party is said to be struggling even to be able to afford stationeries for its daily business, thereby making it difficult for willing individual that want to join the party to get membership forms at the party’s secretariats.
To cut the long story short, these five individual are those who are using their personal wealth to run the party as the party is poor to run itself. Thus the interest of the party is almost the interest of these people which is making the party more of a private interest than a public one. Clearly there exists a conflict of interest! Sad enough, this is the fate of all the political parties in Ghana and the AU in general.
Like we have in Ghana, almost all the African countries government are designed along the European states model and thus, reference to how political parties are finance within Europe, is a good way of exposing what is wrong with our body political activities and our politicians.
In the United Kingdom, political parties are part of the state institutions and are expected to operate in accordance to the public interest than the interest of some few individuals who could as well be vulnerable and easily manipulated. The financial structures of these parties are also designed in a way that allow the public to sustain their common interest for the good of all as against the interest of some private few individuals through the mechanism of party financing. The parties generate their income mainly from two sources, namely; the individual members of the party and the state. By law, every political party in the UK encourages its members to pay their party dues or contribution, which comes in form of several denominations and the person’s personal ability. In accordance with the law, there is a limit of an amount an individual could contribute alone to the party and any donation to the party beyond certain amount, must be declared to a body in place to monitor the income of political parties. This seeks to relieve the political parties of any monopoly of the party interest by, any single or a group of individuals, for their personal interest. The second amount that is made available to political parties is by the state from the treasury. This is designed in accordance to the proportion of membership a party has, evidenced by the members’ financial commitment to the party. So the more the members a political party is able to mobilize from the citizens as confirmed financially in the party’s records, the more in proportion the amount of financial support the state gives the party through the treasury for their party activities. So the major political parties like Labour and Conservative, relatively get more state funding than the smaller parties as state contribution.
It must be born in mind that any money that the party makes of substantial amount from any individual without having such amount declared, is considered as a crime against the state. By this; the individual, key members of the party and the party at large, are all liable to the law. All the parties concern are subject to vigorous investigation and those found wanting are punished. The state ensures that the motive of the action is always conclusively explored and confirmed to be fully under the state’s control. Equally, measures are put into place to avoid future reoccurrence. This therefore is a clear indication that by all standards, the political party’s business in the European states is purely a state business.
The European states out of experience and maturity have proven to understand very well that the only way to avoid a situation where individuals like the doctor and his four colleagues will be trading the party interest with that of their business partners from outside Ghana is by making the party fund itself; by members’ contributions and by the state.
Another big question at this point is why the average Ghanaian is still incapable of financing his/her own political party by membership contribution and by the surplus of the state? The answer simply is poverty! The state is poor and the majority of the people are also poor except some few people who are richer than the state and the majority of the people put together. How does any sane person expect a population with its majority earning an income of less than one US dollar a day able to pay for party contribution, when such individual is being burdened with endless demand on his/her personal basic needs? Does this not even explain better when some NDC stalwarts were questioning how their foot solders under the banner of TIEN, managed to organize a lecture considered to be against the general interest of their party, with remarks like, “they even have to come to us for money before they can feed themselves and take transport” in an expression of surprise? Is this not an indication on how much written off the so called foot solders are in the eyes of their masters? Are these in themselves not enough indication that there are well designed ploy in place by our big guys in Ghana working in collaboration with their external counterparts to keep the ordinary citizens ever poor, to the extent of not been able to even ask for their basic right than whatever the clique deem the masses deserve? Is this not a reason that the perpetrators of this evil are fully aware that with a little resources available to the Ghanaian, he/she will be in a better place to make a more effective demand for his/her right, such as the right to be participating in the direct election of the Chairman of the AU Commission?
Of course no body will be denying the fact that these individuals made their money before associating themselves with the political party thereby making it senseless for any one to say they used the party to make their wealth. The question still remain as to how does one separate these individuals and their partners’ interest from that of the party’s? Is it even a possible option as on more than one occasion there arose a clear conflict of interest?
This phenomenon exposed the clear fact that the Ghanaian politician cum business man can never exist without a form of flirting with other businessmen cum politicians of other nations. The problem is that of being the weaker donkey in the relationship with powerful socio-eco-political weights where ones strength in the partnership makes a lot of difference. The only thing our big wigs will be good enough for in this partnership is just to make up the numbers and be serving as a mere means of exploiting their weaker people.
If politics and democracy have to really mean what they should mean, as the voice and expression of the people, then how could this be the case when the only people with enough surpluses to fund a political party in this case are the money bags? Who else will be calling the shots than this same people?
I have always believed that the only way the Ghanaian can ever free him/her self from this entrapment is by the AU as confirmed by Osagyfor Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in his reminding the nation, “the independence of Ghana shall be meaningless unless it is link with the total liberation of Africa”. I have always been concerned about why individuals like the doctor and his colleagues, have refused to see and identify with this simple fact. They have all along operated as individuals with more serious problem or agenda to promote, than the true ideals of Nkrumah. They tend to be sustaining a “solemn pact with the devil” than the genuine interest of the people. What could this pack with the devil be than an oath to remaining silent and feigning ignorant on anything Africa Union?
To prove myself right I put across to the doctor one very important concern as to why the abnormality in the democratic practice s in the election of the Africa Union Commission Chairperson and why the PPC is not advancing this concerns to have this corrected? Like a person stung by a mad bee, the doctor’s reaction was so strange and in his defence he replied, “We are the only party in Ghana who make reference to Pan Africanism in all our party speeches”. In fact, hearing this from a person with a doctorate title, seasoned businessman and frequently visiting the USA at the least chance and as well lived in the USA in the past, I just could not believe my ears. “Is it intentional or share ignorance?” I asked myself under my breath.
Now like his colleagues, the doctor is a business man and as well a politician with partners in the USA and the UK. These USA and the UK partners are also politicians as well as business men, like our men. In the so called business, the shares as partner’s contribution are very important. Without doubt, the shares of those from the developed European nations and United States of America will definitely be more than whatever our man is contributing. Equally, if our business cum politician brother is so comfortable in his acts, the American- cum European partners should also be comfortable in their role as politicians cum business men in their nations. The interest of all these people is therefore a combination of business cum politics which is exactly what they all put together into the common venture. Without a doubt, decision making in this relationship is also a combination of political cum economic interest. Therefore the more a partner’s contribution to the business interest the higher their proportionate strength in terms of weight of their decision making, in the common venture. Definitely, our brother’s voice will be the least even if it is about a decision on Ghana. So if a business in Ghana by all the partners is more in the interest of the foreign companies buying the annual cocoa from Ghana at unfairly least price, our men will be in a very bad position to defend our interest than to conform with their business cum political statuesque, worst still as the least of the shareholders? How dangerous will this be for any Ghanaian of such lesser partnership strength as against his partners of the developed nations to stand against their foreign stance intended to sabotage their nations? If a presidential candidate is telling his audience that he could not do much because a decision he was seen to be taking is actually not his but that of some faceless individuals behind him, what else should be expected of these individuals when foreign powerful faceless politicians push the same persons forward in the name of a political party to take decisions? Of course we should be expecting an act of giving Ghana away for nothing.
The fear of the doctor as a PPC stalwart to add his voice genuinely to the call for a free AU democratic practice in which the people in Ghana will be voting and participating in the election of the AU Commission Chairperson, is a clear indication that the political business partners of our party chiefs are those who are actually against the people of Ghana voting in the AU election than those we can actually see.
The very election we are demanding for as a correction of the AU anomaly is the only thing that is stopping the Union from being in a practical position of recreating the kind of member states that will be productive enough for the average person to be able to earn more than $10US a day equivalent and have surplus enough to pay for his party due with which the parties will start becoming the party of the people.
The locally big African politicians are also part of the problem of our common stagnations, which in turn stem from their own state of disability. So unlike the Indian circumstances in which an average entrepreneur is able to mobilize his funding internally due to vast size and nature of the state from which the pool could be sourced, the Ghanaian victim is being handicapped by his state that clearly lack the advantage of economics of scale. So when the citizen of the USA is able to mobilize resources from across the 52 member states of their Union with a common population of 300 million, the resources is then used to rope in the poor Ghanaian constrained by the population of 23 million people dreamer whose main concern is to actualize his ambition and less aware of the fact that he is going to be the tool to get more slaves into the traps.
In fact, 95% of our youths roaming the capitals of Europe and the USA, posing as students seeking for knowledge, are all scouting for who will be recruiting them to exploit their own people. But, what choice are we as the majority who are the victims, giving our self? If the normalization of the AU election is indeed the only way we can be able to empower the AU Commission Chairperson who in turn will be empowering individuals like our poor Dr. Capitalist Mole Simple-man, as the Chinese and the Indians are currently empowering their own people, are not going to be more competitive in this global partnership? If we are able to employ this to start taking our destinies into our own hands by actualizing the developmental promises the Union daily brag about, what choice do we give our self? Is sitting down for those who are actually not in control of their own lives, as proven by the doctor, the way forward? If the doctor by fate becomes the president of Ghana on the wings of his business friends who in turn are fully aware of the threat of the Union to their cheap exploitation of our unfortunate situation, do you think the doctor is the one to be advancing the Union into the life of the people? If the secrete position of these people’s business is anti our Union, what else will the doctor be preaching than the outdate Pan Africanism that he knew very well to lack any structure of authority to be a threat to anyone? Is this not an indication that the doctor is fully aware of the difference of the modern AU and the stale Pan Africanism? Is there any reason to fool our self of thinking that individuals like the doctor will be advancing our interest in the Union even as our president of Ghana? One thing I know for sure, Nkrumah will never be comfortable with anyone using Golden Tulip as CPP party office. Neither will Nkrumah be comfortable with any one shuttling to and fro the colonial metropolitans as a big shot in PPC. Yes, indeed time has changed but, the colonial interest remains the same.
If we have a god leading us to war and it become clear that the hands of the god are tied, do we still leave the crippled unfortunate god as the only option in our war? The doctor is a very nice and a good man but his hands are tied. So are the hands of all the other money bags that are just using the party, like all the other political parties in Ghana, to advance their personal agendas that are the opposite of the people agenda. Like a coagulated blood blocking the vessel, these individuals are stifling the tube of our progress with their toxic waste. By the action of these people, our struggling as democrats to sustain the belief of our people with democratic ideals to the solution of achieving the future we all dream of shall continue to be a dream. Our dream of justice shall remain an illusion due to the incapability of our own money bags to be able to indigenise industries on our land so as to be able to fully add value to our natural resources for immediate and internal consumption. Our brothers pretend to be doing something tangible but in reality, nothing other than facilitating the process of ensuring that our natural resources reach the master in form, when and where exactly they are needed.
There is every reason to increase the income of the Ghanaian and all AU citizens at large. We can change our minimum income up the scale from an equivalent of our present $1 p/d to $10 p/d to every one of the 850 million citizens of the Union. In doing this, we first have to ensure that the goods and services that the increase in the income of our people will be attracting are also in place by producing them locally to avoid inflation. This is the only way we can make any increase in our people’s income worthwhile by making advance provision for proportionate increase in the availability of goods and services to meet up with demand. It is even more dignifying for us to make the people the producers of this wealth to justify the Producer Consumer Right relationship.
Our appeal to the Ghanaians on the street of Ghana regarding his/her right to demand for the voting of the AU Commission Chairperson must be stronger. We do not know when the masters of our masters shall have a change of mind to instruct our masters to do the right thing. But, before then, we have our self to save.

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chair/Coordinator
Action Group of Africa (AGA)
(yekali2002@yahoo.com)