Feature Article of Sunday, 16 February 2014

Columnist: Cameron Duodu

The ''mystification''' of the cedi

What “sin” at all has our Cedi committed to turn it into a “spiritual football” that is kicked about with abandon, by self-appointed diviners of all sorts?

One day, we hear that Archbishop Duncan-Williams, a self-confessed possessor of huge quantities of cash, has “commanded” the Cedi to stop falling in value! He said:

“…I hold up the Cedi with prayer and I command the Cedi to recover and I declare the Cedi will not fall; it will not fall any further. I command the Cedi to climb. I command the resurrection of the Cedi.....In the name of Jesus, say 'Satan, take your hands off the President; take your hands off the Central Bank and the Finance Minister. Say we release innovation for the President, my God, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Central Bank, in the name of Jesus Christ the son of God, the Finance Minister,” he added.

The truth behind the [prayer] of this Archbishop has been unwittingly revealed by the fact that those who have expressed unease over the propriety of the Archbishop making such "commands", have felt the bitter lash of his tongue. What have they achieved in their lives to compare with his own accomplishments, he demanded to know. He enumerated the many churches he oversees, both in Ghana and elsewhere, to buttress his warning to his detractors not to challenge him, as they were people who had achieved less in their own lives than him.

First of all, Archbishop, you cannot pretend to be calling on Jesus, whilst at the same time breaking one of his most famous commandments.

Jesus was once confronted over money matters by Jewish priests who wanted to trap him with a trick question and thereby get Him into trouble with the Roman governors of his country. Shall we pay taxes to the Romans? They demanded of Jesus. Whereupon Jesus turned to them and said, “Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's, and render unto God, that which is God's!"

Have you forgotten this famous quote, Archbishop? Calling on Jesus to prevent Satan from interfering with currency problems which, in His time, he regarded as “Caesar's” business, does not exactly exhibit reverence for His word, does it, Your Reverence?

And as for your imitation of the District Chief Executive who asked,”Who said, 'Tweaaaa'? Am I your co-equal” I am sure Jesus would, again, have referred you to those of his sayings which enjoin his followers to be humble, in as much as they cannot add ”one cubit” to their height. Or know when God would demand their soul.

What pride! What arrogance! Satan would have been laughing himself silly when he heard that such a swollen-headed man was asking for Satan [rather!] to be humbled, “In the name of Jesus” and not himself! Well, Jesus did point out that the mote in someone else's eye is easier to see.

That having been said, however, it must be acknowledged that the Cedi really does seem to need spiritual help or “salvation”, judging by the fact that apparently, it isn't only "Satan" who is spiralling it downwards from the stratosphere, without giving it a parachute, but also –_ juju and _mmoatia! _ _ (These mmoatia, by the way, are creatures in Akan mythology who haunt human beings with all sorts of mischief. Short in stature and crowned with permanently contorted Medusaesque hair, they are also armed with tiny feet whose toes point backwards. Their name is usually translated into English as "dwarfs" or "elves", but in the tropical rain forests of the night, they are far more sinister creatures.) Well, sinister or not, what have they got to do with the Cedi?

Hahaha! This: QUOTE: "The National Women’s Organiser of the governing National Democratic Congress, Anita Desooso, [by the way, is her name, as given by the media, Desorso, as in "that which has been added", or De Sooso, which conjures up affinities with De Souza? I don't think I am the only person who has never come across such a name before, and I apologise for being confused by it] has blamed the steep depreciation of the Cedi on black magic or juju. Speaking on Adom FM... She said the activities of magicians, who conjure up money as part of their stock in trade, have a direct effect on the Cedi... Ms Desooso, who was recently appointed a deputy National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), claimed the juju men, who use dwarfs, stole such monies from banks and other financial institutions and inadvertently affected their stability.

‘Do we know where they get the money from? Do we know what they do with it? These dwarfs, the black magic, is what has made the Cedi lose value,’ she declared. UNQUOTE

That, I would say, is that. End of discussion. It's instructive that although people from her own party are being tried in court in connection with alleged thefts from GYEEDA funds, it's only juju men and invokers of dwarfs who come to her mind when she thinks of thefts. More seriously, it's of course a great pity that people who believe in the activities of dwarfs and other metaphysical creatures can be appointed to important positions in our country. If there were to be a major flood or earthquake in Ghana, would this lady be able to organise relief for the victims, or will she shrug her shoulders as she dons her wig and say, “Look, it is the work of dwarfs. What do you expect me to do?” Poor Vic Hammah -- she should have said what she had to say on the radio, instead of in the privacy of her car. After all, Anita is still in her post!

But if the Archbishop and Madam Desooso can be pardoned because they are superstitious in a super-superstitious nation called Ghana, what about our Vice-President, Mr Amissah-Arthur, ex-Governor of the Bank of Ghana, who mystified many by telling an international chamber of commerce conference in Accra that Ghana “lost” nearly two billion dollars in the past year because of a fall in the price of her commodity exports?

My good friend Isaac Bissue, who, before his sad death, was for many years Director of Research at the Bank of Ghana, would have hung his head in shame to hear that an ex-Governor of the Bank of Ghana had made such an illiterate (for want of a better word) remark like that. For Ghana cannot have “lost” what it hadn't got. Everyone knows that commodity prices fluctuate. So one cannot presume that just because Ghana earned X amount of money from exports this year, she will _necessarily_ receive the same X amount of money next year. No, a wise commodity-exporting country projects its export earnings for next year as an _Unknown Quantity_, and budgets carefully, in case the export earnings turn out to be X- (X-Minus)rather than the hoped-for X+ (X-plus).

By his statement, the Veep has added to the mystification with which our Government has needlessly cloaked the economy.

Of course, mystification has its uses: it can fool the people. But no-one can fool all the people all of the time. Some will laugh at the dwarfs and the deistic commands to the Cedi. But those who know about international trade will also laugh at an ex-Governor of the Bank of Ghana who can, before an international audience, claim that his country knew what it was going to earn from its export of commodities, from one year to the next!