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Opinions of Sunday, 3 August 2008

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Questions The NPP Must Answer Or Face The Wrath Of The Electorate.

1) Can the NPP in all fairness, just tell us how much it cost when the president travels? What is the tally so far? We found out about the medals but not the president’s travels. Why is the latter such a secret? Will the NPP volunteer this information to show how well the president has managed the country by traveling all over the place? Some of us feel as if this president is arrogantly robbing us by using travel to milk the coffers. I don’t know about you but there is nothing more humiliating than a robber telling you to shut the f#$% up as he or she robs you. I believe that is what this president is doing and until I see otherwise, I am hanging on to my belief. As taxpayers and the employer of Kufour, why do we have to beg to get this vital information? In a democracy, people need information to make informed decisions. Democracy is not just about voting every four years!! Sadly, why is it such a crime to know how much it cost us to fund the fun-filled travels of this president? There is nothing more nauseating than to hire somebody and have him arrogantly tell you that you can’t know how much he or she is spending to do your business. If the NPP believes in democracy and has respect for the intelligence of people of Ghana, it must release immediately, how much it is costing us to fund the misguided and self-centered travels of this arrogant president even as our kids study under trees and walk around infested with unforgiving worms. Please ask Nana Addo if he thinks it is ok to hide the cost of the president’s travel. Will he do the same? Does he think there is a dying need for change we can believe in? Sunlight please!

2) Why can’t the NPP tell us in plain terms why the freedom of information act has been stopped? Why is it wrong for us to find out about how our government is being run? One of the key tenets of democracy is the people’s ability to know what is going on with their resources and how public officials conduct themselves. Transparency is the fuel on which democracy runs. We must and can not wait to address problems after the crimes have been committed and the people have bailed out. This is why the people must know now! The NPP cannot carp about democracy if it continues to insult our intelligence and keep hiding critical information from us. Democracy is not about shouting ourselves sore and sour without any response. We are the final judges, medals or not, and we need information to make the right call. If this government has nothing to hide, why not make it easy for us to access information? How much is it costing to fund the jolly trips of this village chief called Kufour?

3) The constitution as it exists is troublesome to say the least. The President continues to abuse his discretionary wide ranging powers. Parliament is totally feckless and operates at the beck and call of this clueless president. The Judiciary is under resourced and obviously ineffective and corrupt. To say that this constitution must be amended yesterday is to be overly generous. Why has the NPP not primed the nation for constitutional changes? Why is this NPP party not leading the charge to change the Rawlings inspired constitution so as to shoo us towards better governance? It is not enough to weep about the wicked legacy of Rawlings. Instead of speaking up for change, Kufour, rather carelessly, enjoys unfettered powers and continues to misuse our resources while we sit helplessly. Raw power in the hands of a village chief is dangerous and detrimental and the evidence shows! They tell us to believe in democracy. They tell us to vote! They tell us to respect authority. Yet, when we speak, no one listens. If we are not listened to, continue to be helpless in the face daylight robbery and cannot get immediate redress for the crimes that are being blatantly committed against the people, what are we suppose to do? We are against violent overthrows but it seems as though democracy is not working for us? And please don’t tell me about waiting for four bloody years to vote these slimy politicians out. How do we stop bad leadership in between elections? How? There has to be more traction than this!

4) We seem to be falsely tied to the notion that only violent death is real death. Yet should a man not be held responsible for the death of others if his policies and use of resources either denies others of such scarce resources or gradually chokes them to death? Take our energy catastrophe for example! How many people died because of that? How different is it if we marched those same people who died because of the energy crisis to the range and shoot them for doing nothing wrong? Tell me!! How many people lost their business? How many people have died from armed robbery because of a lack of adequate and better policing on the streets? How many people are dying because of a decadent health care system even as these self adulating leaders seek health care outside the system? Is the NPP content with the situation of sending politicians overseas for treatment? Can anyone convince me that Kufour is more human than the waakye seller who died because no one will take her overseas for care? Are we nursing a system of second and third class citizens and does it fit into the royalty nonsense of this NPP killing-me-softly attitude? All die certainly must be closing eye as we say in Pidgin English.

5) When will we receive the report on the widespread bribery of both NDC and NPP officials by Ghacem? When will we see government officials marching off in orange jump suits because they helped create a monopoly in the form of Ghacem? Will the people of Ghana receive refunds from Ghacem for artificially setting high prices just to rob them? And yes, I mean at the governmental level as well as the individual level. Why is Ghacem still a monopoly in Ghana and when will it be stripped of its status and power? When are we going to see prices of cement come down? How does the NPP expect our people to move from thatch and mud to cinder block houses as a sign of economic progress? With cement prices the way they are, how can the average worker afford it? Where is economic justice for the people? Who is speaking for the people? Certainly not King Kufour!

6) Can Kufour tell us if it is possible to live on one’s wage in Ghana and still afford the basics of food, shelter and clothing, without corrupting your soul or singing the praises of his government? Can one live on principles instead of stomach considerations in Ghana? Can a man or woman live honestly in Ghana without robbing or taking bribes? How many Ghanaians honestly live from their sweat?

7) Where is Ghana as a country headed? What really is the vision? We seem to be selling all the viable organizations and nursing the decadent ones? Sell Ghana Telecom to finance the upcoming elections and kept Electricity Corporation to bleed the budget? Hmmm! Oga dey chop am vuga vuga!! We are told to believe in our culture and leaders. Yet everything we eat, drink and wear is produced from outside Ghana. Kufour does not spare a moment to award most contracts to outside firms. From the presidential mansion, building of various stadia, wax print, book printing deals, roads, hospitals, hydroelectric dams, medals for the president, Ghana Telecom, Ghana water and sewerage management, black star coach and anything in between, we call on our colonial masters and their friends to get the job done. How has the latter made us better? What has 51 years of independence taught us? What really is the Ghanaian worth if he can’t do anything for him or her self? We must believe in ourselves but the president and his henchmen can live the good life by believing in the west?

8) Is it true that the government is curbing luxuries in the form of shutting down ministries to help pay for oil? Aha, so the government knew all along that these bloated Ministries were luxuries? If so, how much is the saving if we shut down these unwanted Ministries? Personally, I don’t believe one bit this fat canard. Even when petrol was selling for $2 to $3 dollars in the U.S.A., Ghana continued to sell petrol at $5 or more. If the USA can buy crude oil at the current world price and still sell it for under $5 a gallon, how can the government of Ghana convince any reasonable person that it needs money to import crude when it has been selling petrol for $5 and more? Here is a government that has monopoly on an item whose demand is inelastic. People cannot live without petrol and its sister products. This government is not subsidizing anything for the consumer. Why this lie and cover up that it needs to shut down ministries in order to afford crude oil? Where else can we cut? Again, show us the details of the figures or make unbelievers out of us. The choice is yours! BTW, what will happen to those who lose their jobs? How much will it cost us to keep them fed? Will they have to call their dual-citizen diasporan relatives who can’t vote or run for parliament in Ghana? I have never seen a government toss so much tosh the way this confused Kufour led and lying government has.

9) My last but not the least question goes to Nana Addo! Sir, if you win, how do you intend to lead differently from Kufour? How are you going to lay the foundation for a responsive, well managed, caring, merit based and accountable government? How are you going to lead a government with a keen sense of priorities to reflect the realities and above all, the plight of the people? Will you govern with and among the people or will you behave like a brat living condescendingly above the people that hire and pay you? Will you be a suffering messiah or a conquering one? Will you serve with humility and work tirelessly to shore up our flagging democracy or will you take us back to the dark ages of chieftaincy and its attendant conflicts? Are you a Kufour clone in waiting? Not too long ago, Kufour begged us to vote for him and look where he took us! How will you be different sir? How?

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as the double edge sword)

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think is hell. Harry Truman