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Opinions of Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Columnist: Kofi Owusu-Ansah

Open letter to President Akufo Addo

Dear Mr President,

I pray this letter finds you in good health. I want to applaud you for the sterling work you are doing to play your role in the development agenda of Ghana. How I wish we have TEN DEDICATED politicians who are as committed as you are in making sure that Ghana also became one of the developed nations of the world.

We lack visionary leaders in our quest for development and I would like to be biased to single out THREE leaders with you included as leaders who have the VISION to take us from one point to another and by the time you exit, we could say in fact President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo was a visionary.

When I talk VISIONARY leaders, I am talking about leaders who are not afraid to change the status quo, if a leader can fashion out policies to do things that nobody in our nation’s history had dared to do before, despite the depth of opposition, you see a visionary leader. A leader who is not afraid to make choices no matter what the consequences.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah was one of such leaders and I know, you know very well that as your great grand uncles and uncles were talking confederation and independence later he was talking unitary state and independence now. He stood his ground despite the opposition and formed his own political party (Convention Peoples Party) and we all know the results. We all know the depth of the development and the springing up of infrastructure in education, the building of Tema as a city, the motorway and the Volta Lake. Ghana owes a debt of gratitude to him for the vision of making us the Black Star but did we understand him? He had only nine years to rule as Prime Minister and President of Ghana, 1957-1966 but we can say ayekoo to him.

Then Mr John Agyekum Kufuor too did his bit. The Hansard does not lie. The moment you see that a government has policy initiatives, then you are beginning to see a visionary leader. You need to be opposed by the people when you start anything that borders on VISIONARY because only you see what is ahead, all those around you see is the little space they occupy and to them, that little space is enough, no need to move beyond it. When he said he was introducing NHIS, it became a tug of war.

What about the Bui dam and the Vodafone? The pragmatic search for oil for Ghana, his new approach by changing the dynamics of oil exploration and it was befitting that on the eve of leaving office, Oil had been discovered in commercial quantities in Ghana. When a leader dares to dream and is able to stand his ground the long-term result is that the nation makes a positive movement towards development.

Mr President, why am I writing to you today? I have been very concerned about you, the way nobody in Ghana is willing to play any significant role to push your agenda of moving Ghana beyond aid. On the first day of your recent visit to the Upper East, and you were visiting the site of the first “One Village One dam”. I could see in your eyes the frustration of what you were seeing. I saw it the first time they told you the dam under construction was for households and animals. He said and I quote: “This phase is for household and animals”.

The next phase will cater for farms. Did it end there? No, at a stage you asked if there was no coordination between the parties. It was about roads and the MCE was saying one thing, the consultant was saying something else and the Road Minister too on different tune. Mr President, I know how you wish all these people around you appreciate that you are THINKING of the Ghanaian, whose only wish in life is to get somebody in authority of power, to help them build their confidence, self-belief and self-esteem.

I have never stopped praying to the LORD to give you good health to achieve a lot for Ghana. You are our only hope and I have consistently told the Lord, he cannot disappoint those of us who are like-minded like you, who want Ghana to develop. I can see that everywhere you turn the knives are open to attack you but I can assure you, the God who made it possible for you to win in a manner where the enemy could not have the slightest doubt to manipulate the results will see you through.

My major concern is about the MINING companies in Ghana. Mr President, they are taking our resources free of charge. I wonder how companies will MINE for nine (9) years and they will not pay any royalty or tax to our nation. These are MERCENARIES who are not using ARMS and AMMUNITIONS but they are using sophisticated Quarrying machines to extract these minerals and our nation gets nothing out of it. I have studied accounting so I know what they call PAYBACK Period or time, where they spread their investment over a period of time, and discounted (DCF) at various rates until they are satisfied that they will be able to get back their investment. In some cases it is between 5-10 years and all those years, they pay nothing to Ghana.

Mr President just like you, I am against any form of exploitation. We have Ghanaians who are the “FRONT” for all the criminality against our nation. The laws of our land prescribe certain businesses that Ghanaians should have the majority stake and in most cases, they just put their names and take huge sums of monies from these expatriates to register businesses and those companies revert to these EXPATRIATES. Recently, the Minister of Mines was at Nsuta Manganese mines and it is very appalling, even the Chinese MD cannot express himself in English all these Ghanaians, men and women born to Ghanaian mothers and fathers, who know the struggles we go through, but there they are allowing these foreigners to take the MANGANESE from Ghana, give it to their sister company in China to work on from raw state to the processed finished product. How does that benefit Ghana? Is it that we have stopped thinking or we are changing to be species never seen on earth?

That they should CARRY ALL MANGANESE DEPOSIT IN THE RAW STATE TO CHINA just because we do not have the heavy machines they brought? What are they buying and at what price?

Mr President, my great great grandfathers, they never had any form of education but even them, they could not sit unconcerned when the FOREIGNERS have PSYCHED us up and seen that we are a bit stupid so they can trade with us, everything on their terms. My heart is aching but who am I? I have no name, to those in power, I do not exist so how can I make my voice heard? Mr President, it is sad.

We had accumulated $20billion (GhC123billion) by the time you took over the government and I ask myself, so where were the Ghanaians when we heard there was unprecedented INFRASTRUCTURE in Ghana? Were those UNPRECEDENTED INFRASTRUCTURE NOT PUT UP IN GHANA? Where are they? I put pen to paper and I interrogated the amount in question and this is what I came to:

We could have in Ghana today (post-2016} a railway network linking all the regional capitals and all the 216 district capitals with a lot of stations and mini railway halts on the way.

National Well-resourced 1000 bed teaching hospitals in each of the 216 districts of Ghana

Motorways, 3lanes both ways linking every regional capital, district capital and towns

Motorway s 3-4lanes from Accra to Lome, Abidjan, Ouagadougou.

Schools, there should be new secondary schools apart from the 275 constituencies and all the major big towns, at least accessibility should not be more than 25 kilometres apart.

Airports? We should have WORLD class Airports in Accra, Kumasi, WA, Tamale, Sunyani, Cape Coast, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ho, Koforidua etc.

Universities could have been built and resourced for all the 275 constituencies

Housing Projects to cater for the Housing shortages of over 5million new units scattered across Ghana.

What do we see? Our children are still grappling with LACK of facilities in all forms of education in Ghana. Our hospitals are choked to the extent that the sick have no beds. We do not have any ambulance pool in Ghana and I can go on and on indefinitely. In the midst of all these, those who have failed to offer any good leadership for the past 8 years to 2016 will not spare us with their old ways of always crying wolf when there is no wolf.

We all need to rise to the occasion and hold hand with you to push the stagnant national WHEEL which has deliberately been muddled in the VOLTA RIVER to the shore. It will be a herculean task but with your kind of leadership and the mercy of God we can pull it out. Kindly take seriously the pieces of counselling we are offering you. I am among the SILENT majority of the peoples of Ghana who want you to succeed.

I know about 99% of the Ghanaian people want you to succeed but the 1%? Those who have accumulated wealth since the inception of the so-called revolution in 1981. Those who have always controlled the RESOURCES of our land from 1993-2000, those who in the same vein from 2001-2008 benefited the same and are fortunate to come back to power from 2009-2016, the real beneficiary of the bounty from ONE million increased Cocoa revenue as a result of the prudent Agricultural policies of President Kufuor, the Oil revenue and the Stable pump price of crude oil from the $145 a barrel in 2008 and coming as low as $45 a barrel by the time there was a change of government in 2009.

These people are the POWERFUL in our society, though in terms of numbers they are just under one per cent of our population, they are the ones who do not want you to succeed. Within them are your own party members (NPP) and as for the other side, the least said the better because if you were to give them all the GOLD in Ghana, they will not accept you are doing anything important.

In Joshua 1:4-9, God assures you that He chose you Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as the President of Ghana at a time like this. Papa, be strong and courageous for God is still in control.

Have a wonderful day, Mr President.