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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Columnist: Aidoo, Prince Junior

Shame on our Ministry of Agriculture

"GSDM will never be satisfied as long as the Ghanaian remains a victim of Injustice".
"I have often been accused of pursuing a `policy of the impossible`. But I cannot believe in the impossibility of demanding freedom and justice any more than I could ever have thought of the impossibility of attaining Justice in Ghana". - Prince Aidoo

?White Zimbabwean Farmers for Ghana.? That was the screaming headline in most of the country?s dailies. What precisely is their mission? Some questions need to be asked, and fast. Will they be bringing angels to till and plough our land? Will they not be using same tractors, harvesters, fertilisers, insecticides, nurseries of seedlings and irrigation methods? Are we sure that Ghanaians cannot be trained to drive tractors, till and plough, use fertilisers, nurse seedlings and harvest their crops? Yes, Ghanaians cannot be taught these skills, and if they are indeed taught these skills, then they will be emancipated and ?we the corrupt leaders? cannot get our 30% cut from them. With the white man, we can easily get our cut and whatever happens to those land owners in the next 50 years we are dead and gone and shall not witness the shoe down. This is the reason that comes to mind when one thinks of the ?importation? of those corrupt Zimbabwean Farmers. Do these unscrupulous leaders think about the future generation? If these farmers had the welfare of Zimbabwe at heart why are they being chased out of their own country? Why should our leaders stop thinking and accept these unscrupulous farmers with open hands?

Even if we need foreign expatriates which, of course, we may need in our efforts to develop scientifically, should it be in agriculture? Didn?t we start this some 49 years ago? How far have we reached in agriculture after 49 years, and because of selfishness, haven?t we destroyed everything that the country invested in and never once thought about the harm we were causing the next own generation. Will the Ghana Government surely not be undermining our nation?s development efforts? President Kufour, after all the hardships Ghanaians have gone through, we thought the experiences you and your advisors have in political, social and economic issues, you will all sit down and think about how our own intellectuals and farmers could be encouraged to engage in serious commercial and non commercial farming so as to feed the nation without necessarily running after corrupt farmers who don?t have anywhere to go, only to come and milk our country dry once again?

Oh my God have mercy on us. What have we learned after almost 49 years under colonial rule? Are we soo poor that we cannot even think about the past? Is it because we are poor, our brains are also poor? What is wrong with our psyche? If I heard it right, the Government is again about to make a deal with the same white Zimbabwean farmers who lost their land in Zimbabwe to come and farm in Ghana. Then, someone out there in Ghana who has the wisdom to think should ask him or herself the following questions: When will the Ghanaian ever think of managing his own affairs rather than always dancing to the tune of our detractors? Ghanaian intellectuals, why should we sit down and allow such backward ventures?

To put my question straight, I will like to make it clear to our leaders that if they have a land for those who have exploited our fellow Africans and are being driven out for it, they should be knowledgeable enough to know the reason for their deportation. They should give the land to Ghanaian farmers for cultivation. Ghanaian politicians should have the courage to plod their own people to be creative rather than always depending on foreign aid. The Ghana government shouldn?t just act just because Ghana is poor. Remember this: ?if we are poor, our brains are not poor,? Mr. President.

Ghanaians always believe the saying above, but yet still we lack the ?WISDOM? for creativity. We teach agriculture in our universities, we have a minister for agriculture and yet we are sit down unconcerned as our precious lands are being handed over to corrupt farmers from another African nation. What are these people going to plant on our soil that Ghanaians can not plant? If Ghana is thinking of going into commercial farming it can do so without cutting a deal with the devil? resettling such wicked and irresponsible Zimbabwean farmers.

We keep on borrowing money from various financial institutions like IMF etc., etc., of which 35% is not accounted for anyway, why can?t we borrow money from the same institutions and buy the same technology and train our farmers and intellectuals who have studied agriculture in our universities to take up the challenge?. Yes the government does not care because those agricultural universities are ?USELESS? in their view. Yes they believe our children were just trained to be unemployed I guess.

Yes, the Government was said to be very tight-lipped over the details of the British offer. It was learnt sometime ago in 2002 that, a stretch of land between Yendi and Yeji has been identified as a possible site for the settlement of the Zimbabwean immigrants. The area covers parts of the landmass of Yendi (capital Yendi) East Gonja (capital Salaga), Nanumba (capital Bimbilla), Atebubu (capital Atebubu), Krachi (capital Kete Krachi) and Sene (capital Kwame Danso) districts. They form some of the most fertile lands of the lower northern, upper Brong-Ahafo and northern Volta Regions, spanning some of the most fertile yam and tobacco growing land on the east and west banks of the Volta River.

The area is also known to have a very high potential for potato cultivation. Since when did Ghana explore this rich area? If it had not been the coming of the so-called Zimbabwean farmers, the thought of cultivating the rich soil never once crossed the minds of Ghanaians.

Won?t it be an insult to Ghanaian farmers who are deprived of basic facilities such as: technology, equipment?s, training, consultancy and financial support from all sorts of past governments, when all of a sudden get the information that farmers who have exploited our African neighbour Zimbabwe and has been expelled are now on their way to get settled in Ghana to take away their land as they did to the Zimbabweans because they have money and equipment?s?. If these farmers are resettled in Ghana one day and they really get their roots firm in our soil is there any guarantee that they will not treat Ghanaians the way they treated Zimbabweans?

Yes why wouldn?t they refuse to spend money on their own national farmers? This is because they seem to forget that Ghana in the 60s, state farms aimed at food production to feed nation and new industries in 1966 were abandoned. Do I have to remind older Ghanaians about this? We had the Farmers Brigade which was charged with producing food and other raw materials for the existing factories, Am I right? These operations created jobs and brought dignity to Ghanaians. Are we so na?ve, fellow Ghanaians? I am sure most of you have not forgotten what happened to our efforts in agriculture.

Our half-hearted commitment to agriculture is underlined by the kind of people we nominate to head the agriculture ministry. We nominate people with no background in agriculture, and yet we expect them to lead the nation out of our agricultural problems. Ghanaians, kindly permit me to ask this question again: ?If we are said to be poor, are our brains also poor?. Oh my God what else should I say? Should we be blamed for our low agricultural production in Ghana? We may perhaps have to thank our God for our accommodating leaders who are so blind, incompetent, irresponsible, and engage in bad governance. The enemies of Ghana are enjoying our ignorance. What have our children learned from these wicked and selfish murderers, hypocrites, liars, and above all corrupt and short-sighted leaders?

Fellow countrymen, fellow country women, the New African is here to tell you that we are fed-up with lies and corruption, nepotism, incompetence, tribalism, hatred and irresponsibility. They have failed our motherland. They will face the wrath of the powerful leaders they have ever come up against. The intervention of the New Uprising Ghana Social Democratic Movement (GSDM) will be inevitable. We shall present a new leader with vision, a leader with wisdom, a leader with compassion, a leader who is not selfish, a leader who is opposed to tribalism and nepotism, a leader with charisma, a leader who is not corrupt, a leader who can motivate his people, a courageous leader, a leader who is not a thief, a leader who does not tell ?LIES? to his people just to win their votes, but will demand ?Justice? with all dangers than slavery in tranquillity. Some may run away without anyone running after them and leave their sandals behind. God bless you. God bless our motherland.

Prince Aidoo Junior
Ghana Social Democratic Movement

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