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Opinions of Monday, 29 December 2014

Columnist: Sydney Casely-Hayford

Sydney Casely-Hayford: Because I have to believe

Mahama gave us light for Xmas and we all accepted the bribe; he forgot to instruct the Ghana Water Company to do same. Reminded me so much of Kutu Acheampong.

And I didn’t join the “Shatta Movement” at December to Remember on 24th night. These “Shatta-ians” were doing cartwheels, throwing themselves on the floor, jumping higher than Gazelles in heat and conveying everything depicting fanatical. I can’t do that so I remain with other milder movements.

Asamoah Gyan graced the show, got some mention from DKB, whose comedy is lifting the standup challenge to new heights.

For too long we have absorbed the low-cost efforts of Opia and Egya Koo, and I think it is time to have some mid-level comedy on a new plane. The fact that we could laugh at ethnic varieties and tease Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari without threat of arrest, even in the face of “kpa kpa kpa” made a great show.

And Stonebwuoy was worth all the money in the world. Definitely talent surpassing everything I have heard in Ghana for a long time not to leave out Keche.

No women this year, the billed MsVee never performed but Afia Swharznegger definitely made up for all. Her infectious humor connected with the audience who were definitely clued into the local politics.

It was refreshing. Of course we had the “Free Kwaw Kesse” movement also in vogue, but me, a die-hard Kofi Boakye advocate, kept my hand down, never voted to release the man who dared blow wee smoke in Ashtown in the face of all.

But now Mona Quartey is afflicted with the promise bug, and we are looking forward to a promising 2015 but it will be a year to correct all the mistakes made in 2014 after the mistakes from 2009 which we exacerbated in 2012, have not been able to correct since, but will do so in 2015 and if you give our Great Party a chance post 2016 we will do great things by 2020.

Mona says, “2015 will be tough there is no joking about that because that is when we are doing a lot of corrections but it will be tough we know that it will get better so there is expectation that everything will be fine”.

This sounds so Mahama-like I hope she is only incubating at this stage and we can retroviral before it is too late.

The problem is the power supply, energy at less than commercially viable prices and the fact that Government is carrying costs we cannot afford, but which seems lost on this Mahama administration just as it was lost on the Mills administration.

What our President seems not to understand is Ghana does not want to go back to the era of long petrol queues and rations in the markets. Ghanaians are now so heavily interconnected with most of the outside, our finances and future depend very much on the economic wherewithal inter-world; such that slight shakeups in the core foundations of financial institutions go a long way to disrupt our fundamental lifestyles.

I have lived through many epochs in Ghana’s evolution. Maybe the President is too young to know how much pain we have endured to get to this stage. I had to remind a handful of discussants this past Tuesday that you don’t get to the end of a tunnel without shining a light.

Even when you see the light at the tunnel end, you don’t do a Dag Heward Mills condescending pulpit talk-down to the struggling masses, who are barely managing.

Maybe Dag is comfortable. After all he gets money in his pocket just by promising people that all will be well if they keep hoping it will be, and that all that is necessary is for them to keep hope alive and keep tithing. Their tithes make him comfortable to come back the following week with a Mercedes tank full of petrol to repeat the tro-tro send back message.

He should ask the dying breed of industrialists in the country how they are planning to turn fortunes around with less power, rising inflation and increasing costs of replaceable parts in the local Kantamanto and Suame magazines.

He might want to step into their world and ask them how they intend to compete against cheaper Chinese goods with higher and unpredictable utility costs and no end in sight except for Mahama-Terkper-Quartey promises of a brighter future that never comes just like his Utopia message.

This NDC Government is struggling with the IMF program and the EU added its voice to the alarming and needless inertia to tackle the continuously developing list of “ghost names” on payroll.

I suspect Government borrowing and the full extent of our liabilities is another challenge, because when I look at the accounts from the Controller General, I can see a lot more debt than I hear Government mentioning in its reports.

This enigma of how we identify challenges as the most problematic facing the restructure of the economy and yet do nothing about them puzzles me. Government claims the payroll cost is crippling, but cannot, is incapable of and will not take the baboon by the tail and straighten it out.

It can only mean that some persons up in the chain are making money out of the confusion and are reluctant to correct what glaringly we need to fix before we move on.

If elections were won because of successful national congresses, the NPP would be running the country. The expanded Electoral College without horse-traded votes and clear predictability is always a signal that voters are in line with pundits.

It is unfortunate that Ivor Greenstreet broke protocol and insulted the NDC the way he did, but I wonder how many people supported what he said and would say same if not more? Should Samia Nkrumah have offered an explanation of the CPP’s intention, but apologized for the uncouthness of the support message?

Many Ghanaians found it amusing, but I reserve the dignity of stature to rise above it as our tradition and culture would have it in our society. It wasn’t necessary.

Distasteful was Sam George’s comment implying that he needed elevation from his physical handicap, but this is why most do not see their way clear to backing the NDC to the fullest. When spokespersons make distasteful “tweea” comments but are kept in place, when ministers blatantly fly football “chacha” and are transferred closer to the seat of government, when you can “GYEEDA” services and walk scot-free, no one believes that you are a bastion of anti-corruption.

Which reminds me, I must do a follow up with the Chief Justice’s office about the whereabouts of the CHRAJ Commissioner removal petition. I think the council to consider the removal should be set up by now and we must hear soon. No way we can allow this to go on for another year into 2016.

I dare the President to call early elections and make history, if he sincerely believes that his government is doing well on all counts and the people of this country believe in his phantom projects and progress.

I asked much earlier in the year that Government publish a list of ALL projects they have financed and started and the state of each project. This is as easy as a simple list you make in a home for market. Just as easy is a list of 300 remanded corrupt persons, if you have such a list. Before you count one to three hundred, you have a list abi?

But I have to believe that things will work because we will struggle and fight. A different fight from what we fought previously.

OccupyGhana will step up its efforts in 2015 to pressure our Institutions to get to work. We need to shear Government from interfering with the heads of these key stations, appointed by President or not. It is time these Presidential and by extension Party appendages heel and decide either to do their jobs or lounge in prison. If the law makes provision for it, we will head for the highest court of the land as needed.

Like many of me, we are not leaving. The resolution is here, where we were born and we have to believe that it is possible to fix it.

Please make it into 2015. Happy New Year and may we rise to the problems.

Ghana, Aha a ye din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!