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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Columnist: Annor, Joe

Rejoinder: Apart from Nkrumah, Mills has done better than any president

Rejoinder: Baba Jamal: Apart from Nkrumah, Mills has done better than any president

Not long ago, one of the Deputy Information Ministers, Baba Jamal stated that President Mills has done better than all other political leader in their first two years, apart from former President Nkrumah. Baba Jamal further "catalogued the achievements of the Mills government to buttress his point... The government, has in only two years, built over a thousand schools, built over 600 boreholes and what not, built over 300 secondary schools, constructed many kilometres of roads, paid TOR debts, paid contractors, I mean in two years. It has never happened!"
This is what Baba Jamal is reported to have said, and why not, if he is becoming filthy rich as a result of his position in the government. It is not wonder that he is heaping a lot of praises on the government, after all, no one uses his left hand to point to his village, according to an Akan saying.

Notwithstanding the fact that Baba Jamal is expected to make such a comment, what baffles me is the fact that he could openly implied that President Rawlings did not perform in his first two years, similar to the way he views President Kuffour. For President Limann and PM Kofi Abrefa, I would not discuss them here because: (1) I was two young, particularly during Busia's time; (2) they were overthrown just within 27 months or so into their respective administration; and (3) they only came to power immediately after the military handed over power and given that the military mismanages the economy, they most likely inherited bad economies. For the above mentioned reasons, it will be unfair to compare Dr Busia and Dr Limann with the other Ghanaian presidents.

It is not unexpected that people like Baba Jamal would always proclaim that President Mills has performed better than Former President Kuffour, however, Baba Jamal by making the same unfavourable comparison against President Rawlings, who until recently was their hero shows how treacherous and selfish they are. Now that they are receiving their power from President Mills, Rawlings is nothing to them but filthy rug. After all, these greedy bastards are only at work to promote and protect their egoistic interest and therefore, have to project President Mills over JJ Rawlings, who only “Yesterday”, they considered the best person that had ever come in their way, but today treat him with the most contempt.

While it is possible that John Mills has built more schools in his first two years than what Rawlings or Kuffour built, the important question is at what costs to the nation have those school been built. Very recently, the incompetent Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu went to Parliament to defend the fact that a school building that costs about 80 million cedis to build in 2008, is costing up to 270 million cedis to build just within two years that President Mills have been in power. It was so shameful that the Education Minister only explanations for the astronomical increase in the school building costs were that:
• they are using good materials; and
• consultants have provided them with the estimates.

Since the government has argued in recent times that the Ghana inflation has come down to single digit, for the benefit of doubt, let states that the building costs had gone up about 50%, which is far higher than the cumulated inflation over the same period. An 80,000 cedis building in 2008, should cost about 120,000 cedis today.

But it is now costing more than three times of the price they were built less than three years ago and the only explanations for that are that they are based on consultants estimates and good material are used, then why not build more and make profit for ourselves.
Why not providing such flimsy explanation? After all, the Minister, the consultants and other stakeholders may have their shares in the kick-backs involved in the delivery of the projects. Therefore, it is alright for them to hugely inflate the price. I always ask myself, why is it that the Ghanaian politicians are so selfish, greedy bastards and insensitive to the well being of the people that they are elected to serve?
Further, Betty Mould-Iddrisu gave such silly answer because perhaps, they are using different type of cement, sand, iron rods, roofing sheets and other materials imported from space or heaven. Her answer reminds me of the fact that when Mr Asiedu Nketia, aka, Gen Mosquito was caught selling his blocks from his own factory to the Bui Dam Project, at two times the market price, he also gave the same explanation. His blocks are better quality. Gen Mosquito, who has engaged in corruption for very long time, thinks he is talking to children. We all know that blocks are made of three basic materials – cement, sand and water. From economic point of view, the prices of water and sand used for making cements will not differ material from one manufacturer to another producing block within the same locality. However, while the quality of the cements can influence the price of different types of cement, I do not believe that even if Asiedu Nketia used superior quality cement that should justify Asiedu Nketia to sell his blocks two and half times the market price. In fact, assuming the cement he uses cost him 100 % more than the cement other people use that still does not justify even 100% hike of the cost of his blocks, let alone 150%, because the price of the other ingredients and labour costs will remain relatively the same. It is clear that Asiedu Nketia is using his position to dupe Ghanaians, and no wonder is building mansions, after he has got an “awoof” or a cheap chop.

Similarly, the NDC under president Mills is building many schools because that is one of the areas that they are ripping the country off. Indeed, one of their own ministers (Eastern Regional Minister) has questioned the costs of schools buildings in Eastern Region and the quality of the building. In this regard, when Rawlings alleges that there are 'greedy bastards' in Atta Mills’ government and on the hand, Betty accuses Rawlings and his wife of rather being greedy, which of them is right.

I am not a fun of Rawlings, but surely, what the NDC Ministers and others have said about Rawlings shows the sort of people they are. Betty is now calling Rawlings greedy, because Rawlings wanted to usurp the power from Mills and give to his wife. But hang on, was it not the same Rawlings who overthrew Limann's government, not even by the legitimate means he tried to use against Mills, yet Betty Mould-Iddrisu’s husband served in Rawlings government for 19 good years that Rawlings was in power. Did Betty Mould-Iddrisu not see Rawlings as greedy person at the time? What about when Rawlings was fighting in 2008, to have Betty to become the vice presidential candidate? Did Betty not see Rawlings as greed at that time? Surely, Rawlings has a lot of his short comings, particularly, in the early years of his military, and I do not consider it appropriate for him to constantly criticise President Mills, but were not these same NDC people who were very happy when he did the same to President Kuffour and even likened Kuffour to the notorious armed robber Atta Ayi. You see, there is a saying in Akan that “abaa ye de bo Takyi, enoa na yede bo Baa”, in other words, the rod that was used to cane Takyi, the same rod will be used to cane Baa.

Before I digress from the main issue of this writing, I just want to state that Baba Jamal does not know what he is saying. He is one of the 'greedy bastards' who has become very rich at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaians. They are building school buildings two and half times of the price that was used to build an equivalent building in 2008 under President Kuffour. Baba Jamal has shown how low his thinking is by stating that inflation has gone down to a single digit. Yet, the increase of the cost of the school buildings has gone up significantly and astronomically higher than the inflation rate in proportional terms. Let him explain to us, whether during this period, the building materials have gone up significantly higher than the inflation rate.
It is no wonder that "Jake" Obetsebi-Lamptey had stated that under President Mills, the price of everything has “doubled, doubled”. Indeed, that of the school buildings has “quadrupled, quadrupled”. For if Asiedu Nketia, as silly as he is can justify charging the state two and half times of the market price for the block he produces from the “sky”, then God please have mercy on us, otherwise everything will continue to double double or quadruple, quadruple, when the 'greedy bastards are chopping the money “fuka, fuka”, while the President appears unconcerned.
Just today, it has been alleged that the private jet that the President Mills took to the USA for his one month private holiday has incurred about $165,000 parking fee. What a shame! This amount wasted could have been used to renovate some of the depleting hospital buildings yearning for repainting. And just after one week back to Ghana, he has gone back to the USA and through his spoken man, he has the audacity to give a very irrational and reckless explanation for the second trip. What about Betty Mould-Iddrisu ‘s reckless$58 million free gift to Alfred Woyome for no job done, while some citizens are going hungry. Yet, the visionless President is not ashamed of it but trying to defend it. What they do not know is that they are writing their political obituary on the wall.

Joe Annor – BA Hons, Master of Business in Accounting and CPA