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Opinions of Friday, 4 December 2015

Columnist: Africanus Owusu-Ansah

Potpourri of Events

Oh that my head were waters, and

Mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I

Might weep day and night for the

Slain of the daughter of my people!

Jeremiah 9:1

IT WAS A WEEK in which events scampered like lightning, and the nouveau scripto-grapher had his mind jammed with a plethora of thoughts like the phantasmagoria of a fevered brain.

It all began the week before with the Paris attack in which suicide bombers stormed the Bataclan theater and in the end 130 people lost their lives in a bloodbath. Peace-loving people were forever grateful to Salim Toorabally, the 45 –year old Mauritian immigrant who as a security guard at the Stade de France prevented Bilal Hadfi, 20, from entering the Stadium, where President Hollande was part of the 80,000 –spectators in a francaise-allemagne football match. If the bomb had blasted inside the stadium, what chaos! The Stade de France is too close to Sister Agnes’s residence at Saint Denis, a banlieue proche, where I used to enjoy my vacance. When condolences poured in, Brother Mugabe would not spare President Mahama for mourning with those who mourn (France) while being reticent about events close at home, including Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria.

When Mo Ibrahim came to Ghana to deliver a speech, he expressed dismay at African University Students being made to read Shakespeare in a modern age. Agriculture provides food for the table, not Shakespeare. The question leaves one questioning Abraham Maslow’s ‘Theory of Human Behaviour’, the pyramidal order of ‘human needs’: physiological (basic), safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem, Self Actualisation/Self Transcendence. To give meaning to Mo Ibrahim’s edict there will be no Shakespeare today.

The fall-outs of the NDC primaries place the activities on the top-notch of issues worth commenting upon. There were the initial hitches of some NDC members not finding their names in the biometric register, the most significant of which were those of Sam George and Dr. Zanetor Rawlings. When the chips were down, these two young aspirants caused the exit of veteran E.T. Mensah and Nii Armah Ashitey of Ningo-Prampram and Klottey Korley Constituency respectively from Parliament. With the stunning blow dished to E.T. Mensah by Sam George, the latter is being touted as the NDC Presidential candidate in ten years’ time. Sam would like to call E.T. his father, but E.T. says Sam should get off his back. Oh Treachery! Sorry, no Shakespeare today.

Dr. Zanetor was favoured by the gods to win the primaries. As the daughter of J.J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, she enjoyed the open and clandestine support of her parents. And you know the king-pin of NDC, J.J. Rawlings, literally signed the NDC Constitution with his blood. With the shabby treatment of Nana Konadu Agyemang at the Sunyani Congress of the party, she broke away from the party and formed the National Democratic Party (NDP).

Dr. Zanetor Rawlings was in a dilemma: should she go to her father’s party or her mother’s to vie in the primaries. She was lucky where others had been unlucky, especially those whose future were blighted when the regime headed by J.J. Rawlings sent their fathers to their early graves.

Joe Frazier thinks “This century belongs to the young ones. Never mind that they may lack experience, considered brash and sharp-toothed. They are the winnable candidates rather than the bored old politicians who manage to waffle through Parliament with no striking record.”

And Herbert Mensah put a damper on the celebrations which would have crowned Dr. Zanetor’s success at the polls. Herbert is going to court to seek an order for access to two kids he has had with Zanetor. To those who would blame Herbert for bringing this ‘personal matter’ into the public domain, he provides the answer: “ I believe that litigation should only be a last resort after you have tried and indeed foretold on more than 20 occasions. What do you do when you have been wronged and instead of seeking a legal route for settlement you choose dialogue, and it is ignored? This has happened to me and since the beginning of the year I have made 48 attempts (still counting) to communicate for resolution and only spoken seven times (ignored, disrespected or selectively answered on other occasions). It is truly sad when people allow bad advice, pride and arrogance to determine their present and future”.

This is certainly ‘personal matter’, but on the face of it, it seeks to explain the alleged cold relationship between father B.A. Mensah and son Herbert Mensah. Rawlings seized B.A Mensah’s ITG (cigarette) company, and left bitter taste in the mouth of B.A. Mensah; Herbert seems to have gained (2 kids) where his father lost (ITG Company).

On the presidential side, President John Dramani Mahama got an overwhelming 95%, beating his phantom opponent, a Mr No who could garner only 5%.

Then came reports of a bizarre raid of the NPP Headquarters at Asylum Down and its annex at Kokomlemle. According to Freddie Blay, acting National Chairman : “Our findings so far suggest that what happened last Monday was a wickedly orchestrated attempt to turn this head office into a bloodbath and with one aim only : To score a political point against the country’s largest opposition party as we draw closer to the next general election”.

In a sharp rebuttal to the accusation against the government for complicity, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, NDC’s Squealer said the NPP “… failed to provide a scintilla of evidence to back the claims”. He had some useful advice for them: “The NPP must pause and sip from the cup of wisdom and peace that preaches that constantly peddling falsehood about the government and seeking to foist blame on it at a time when the evidence of dysfunctional leadership within the NPP is glaring will not suffice”.

And Parliament failed to debate the new Terkperic budget, because certain portions of the earlier budget presented had been amended. Too bad. So there are two presentations of the budget in Parliament now: which one is the base document for the debate? Any new thing in the budget apart from increases in taxes? People switched off their system when the budget was being read. Was that patriotism? Perhaps, negative patriotism.

So, the Power barge has now landed! Let’s celebrate and jubilate. No, hold it. What does the Power Minister now say? Karpower ship will not bring an end to load-shedding? “It is not the total solution to the chain, but rather when the AMERI Plant, Asogli expansion, MW Kpone Thermal and, MW TICO come on stream then can we say load-shedding would end”. But what had he said earlier? If his Ministry did not solve the power crisis, by the end of this year he would resign as Minister. ‘Power sweet’, and I’m not talking about electric power; rather political power which one does not throw away so carelessly – at least, in our part of the world.

Who says politicians learn any new lessons from an opponent’s past mistakes. The new list of appointees to the DCE position includes Yamoah Ponkoh, the former DCE of Ejisu. His people are protesting, but who will listen. Samuel Fletcher Kwabi, the Suhum MCE has shown the way—by resigning after losing the parliamentary primaries. Or, perhaps the Ejisu area cannot boast of eligible contenders to the position? The NPP would not listen when the elections were getting close: chasing hawkers away, especially by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, arresting drivers and getting them jailed, et cetera, et cetera.

And who says Ghana is poor—when an authority like GNPC, with its chequered history can dole out GH¢ 5m to players who were made to go home—fifteen years after their home-going, after a disastrous management of that authority! Did Tsikata and company apply for ex-gratia? “Four legs good; two legs better”! That was from George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’; it was not Shakespearean, so I have passed the Mo Ibrahim mark. I deserve one millionth of his wealth, don’t I?