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Mon, Jan

#ghanavotes2016


  • Dear Sir

    To everything, there is a time and season for it, so says the Good Bible. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to sow and a time to reap.

    In our body politics, a time to win and a time to lose.

    Ghana, our beloved country has been ruled by a crop of men who go by name "JOHN" in the past 24yrs. The trend seems never to end until Dec 7 2016 brought in a new leader who defied that tradition. We often joked with it, that if you are not named "John" then forget ever been president of Ghana.

     

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    John Dramani Mahama, you are the fourth John in succession to be president of Ghana. You took over from your late boss John Mills but as fate would have it, couldn't hold on to power for another term. Many had read lots of meanings into your defeat to three time flag bearer Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP.

    Sir, you came into the limelight of being a potential president when you successfully partnered President Mills to victory in the 2008 elections. As Vice president, you were only a step away from being president. You were the "lover boy" of Ghanaian politics. Both young and old liked and revered you. You were the Vice President going into another election to which many had predicted you would have lost. But again, as fate would have it, your boss died just 6mths to the election.

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    You immediately became the President and candidate on your own right going into an election. You were more or less the "orphan" child whose woes and sorrows every Ghanaian couldn't avoid empathizing with. You became the new "kid" loved by everyone. I for one wanted Pres Mills to lose the election but with the Prof's unfortunate demise, my love for you grew. I will defend you with the least resource I had. I will readily punch holes into the supposed "free SHS" policy by your rival Akufo-Addo. I will defend you by saying, accessibility as Mahama is saying is far better than free SHS. Mahama says he will build 200 new SHS and that was better. My love for you was too much and you ended up winning the 2012 election.

    Post 2012, what happened? You immediately became the exact opposite of what we all loved you for. And that is what has caused you the 2016 election you thought you would win with ease.

    I couldn't see myself campaigning for you to win the 2016 election because my conscience wouldn't allow me to do it.

    Your administration in retrospect

    - Sir, in my candid opinion you were an indecisive president. Your decisions were always questionable. You say one thing today, and say another tomorrow.

    - You were a man who couldn't keep his word. You made so many promises with the dumsor issue that you even promised never to promise again.

    - You appointed a lot of square pegs in round roles. People who knew next to nothing about the portfolios they occupied.

    - You tried to rely more on hungry youth as your appointees. People who only came on board to selfishly chop money and engage in propaganda.

    - You were too soft and almost behaved like Father Christmas with your appointees. It made me ask, is the president afraid of his appointees??

    - Most of your appointees were arrogant, disrespectful, full of themselves and very greedy.

    - You heard, you saw, you read about their attitudes and utterances but you played deaf with us.

    - It even got to a time, your ‘good self’ became very disrespectful to us with your utterances and I asked, is this JM, the great communicator? If you tell me not to criticize you because I have come nowhere near being president then why should you come to me and tell me to vote for you?

    - The nurse’s allowance. This is one area I was sooo sad with how you handled it. You were bold to tell students that "I won’t pay and if that will cost me the election, so be it" wow! Do you realise these are Ghanaians too? They have families who go through hell to pay their bills. Then came Aseidu Nketia with more fire. "He barked, we don’t need your votes"…

    - Then with barely two months to election you HYPOCRITICALLY decide to pay them meagre figures on table top. For what? Did you realise how insulting that was to our sisters and brothers in the Nursing Colleges?

    - The general unemployment situation in the country is alarming. But you have in some appointees the nerve to tell the youth they are "LAZY" and you saw nothing wrong with that.

    - NHIS is dying but you keep telling us it’s very robust. Yet the real thing on the ground is, NHIs doesn't even cover Vitamin C.

    - I was soo sad, because you are a fine gentleman. Having advocated for you in 2012, I was looking forward to a great governance from you. A Ghanaian just like me born in the present independent Ghana and not the Gold Coast.

    - Corruption was and will forever be an indelible print on your government. The signs were everywhere and everyone saw it but you. I won’t call you Corrupt, I honestly can’t call you that.

    But, Mr. President, you supervised over the most corrupt administration in the fourth republic.

    - SADA

    - GYEEDA

    -Bus Rebranding (needless)

    - Power badges contract

    - Contract prices as compared to others elsewhere

    - Needless Sole sourcing contracts

    - Guinea fowl rearing

    - AMERI

    - ISOFOTON

    - STX Korea

    - SUBAH

    - Brazil fiasco

    - AMAJORO COCOA SCANDAL

    - EMBRYA DEAL

    - FORD EXPEDITION

    - Masloc etc. etc. etc.

    You did nothing and your excuse of "I am not a dictator to just arrest people" was very unfortunate to say the least. You based all your success story on your remarkable infrastructure achievement. But Mr. President, by your own words, that was very MEDIOCRE.

    You surrounded yourself with a bunch of greedy babies with sharp teeth (BWST) who kept lying to you. They told you what you Wanted to hear and not what you Needed to hear.

    They kept singing your praise and even when they were criticized, they will respond with ballistic missiles.

    Sir, your people let you down but blame them not. Blame yourself because you had all the time and power to put them to check but you chose to ignore and even when you decided to act, you did so with kid gloves.

    It hurt me to see you lose this election. An election I thought you would have won had you paid attention at other areas too. I am Sad, very sad. I chose a youthful man in 2012, a man whom I thought would defy all the odds and get things done. A man who won’t tolerate "nonsense" but will see to it that the right thing gets done. A man, I thought I could associate with because I am a young person too. But you failed me and other many young Ghanaians.

    Sir, yes you did your best but the truth is, your best wasn’t good enough. I have heard rumors you are considering running again in 2020. I will be very glad if you don’t. For when you decide to run, you will meet fierce contest from within the NDC for the flag bearer slot. Ballistic attacks will be thrown at you from all angles and you won’t survive it. The damage it will do to your reputation will be massive. I will be glad if you don’t.

    I wish you well as you retire into private citizenship and a statesman.

    You did what you could and Ghana thanks you for your service...

    Yours truly

    Sad Advocate

    #theYoungestOldman

    Written By Nana Nyan Tetteh


  • Written By Kwame Asiedu - “Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” Shannon L. Alder. 

    Today is the penultimate Sunday before Ghana’s general election. Despite all the accusations, counter accusations, propaganda and innuendo, Ghanaians will on Wednesday December 7th go to the polls for the 8th time in the fourth republic to elect a president and members of our legislature. I have in these last weeks tried to ask myself why many view this election as a defining moment in Ghana’s developmental road map and what makes this election different from the previous seven that preceded it?

    As an individual, I have been of the view that this election is not about any candidate but more about what I want for this country. In this piece, I would try and take readers through what in my view this vote is about. Foremost on my mind is education. Per UNESCO, the countries literacy level is 76.6%, with males having a slightly higher literacy rate than females. This situation hasn’t changed considerably since the days when the slogan, “if you educate a woman you educate a nation” was popular and on the lips of many public office holders. Following promises leading up to the 2012 elections, has the current government lived up to its talk? How has their performance impacted on the overall morale amongst teachers and other professionals in the educational sector? Are there genuine signs that there is going to be an exponential increase in our literacy rate over the next four years to a decade? Look at the alternative policies of the candidates and ask yourself which of them can better serve the current educational needs of this country?

    Healthcare is also of importance to me. The current government lists many infrastructural projects and the construction of new hospitals across the length and breadth of the country, evidence of which cannot been be denied. Likewise, can we not be oblivious of the frequency with which diseases like cholera and meningitis ravage our population on a yearly basis with our facilities failing woefully to cope. Year after year promises are made and end up as simple talk as the deaths from these outbreaks fail to abate. Are the brick and mortar enough justification to retain this government which has presided over all these deaths? Then there is the issue of National Health Insurance, the current government has acknowledged that the scheme is in crisis. Some of us can look back at some decisions of the Finance Minister that helped to create a sink hole resulting to the best of my knowledge in putting the scheme on its sick bed. Do we keep a government that touts its social democratic credentials but fails to ensure schemes that guarantee social mobility are not protected?  Ask yourself, is there a better candidate out there who is speaking to these policies in a coherent manner?

    Another area of interest is agriculture. Per the government, it has outperformed the previous NPP administration in this area, though data suggests otherwise. However, it is common knowledge that, many across the country cannot find two let alone three decent meals daily. Malnutrition is still prevalent especially in the hinterlands where ironically most of the staples that should feed the nation are grown. The roads to a lot of these farming communities are unpassable during the rainy season when most cultivation is done but rendered motorable during electioneering campaigns as the political elite solicit for votes. Should this irony be lost on the electorate? Should the rural voter cast a ballot for a leader who has presided over this? Listen to the alternative policies on agriculture and ask yourself are these a better option capable of turning the hinterland into the national bread basket?

    My selection of these three areas is based on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. If we really want to ensure social mobility in the next four years we need a government that would ensure that the basics of life i.e. food, cloth and shelter are available to the general population. No economy achieves transformational growth on an empty stomach, neither does it with an illiterate population or poor health. We need to bear this in mind as we thumb print our ballots.

    What this election is not about is tribal bigotry. As a country, though obvious tribal undertones exist, we have managed well to coexist and even intermarry. The days when certain tribes were no go areas are gradually becoming history. We have had presidents from the south most tip of the country to the north most tip. We have never seen this as a barrier to our development. Rather than tribe, the managerial acumen of these leaders is what has been their undoing. We shouldn’t be voting because a candidate comes from our home region or tribe, if he is deemed to be incapable of holding his acolytes in check and curtail impunity. This election isn’t about association but progression. We have seen nepotism and cronyism and how those who have pushed these pawns have marginalised the general population whilst milking the nation dry. The human cost of tribal bigotry is well documented across our continent. A vote for a candidate who fuels ethnocentricity is a vote to reverse the clock of tribal integration.

    Neither is this election about age. Having spent most of my working life in the business of healthcare, I am the first to admit that death is no respecter of age. Rather, age can be an indicator of how well one has managed his life and personal health. This could be an indicator of how well such a person can manage your healthcare policy and infrastructure and increase overall national life expectancy. The notion that leadership is for the youth is a message meant to deceive. This election is not just about the presidential candidate’s age but the team they can assemble. It is also about temperament and the ability to coexist with others. Having said that, coexisting should not be misconstrued as acceptance of failure, corruption, thievery etc. whilst lacking the spine to fire. This election is about a leader who is willing to hold his charges to account. This election is about a break from corrupt impunity.

    In these last few days of this campaign let’s all be minded to look out for a leader who “listens with curiosity, speaks with honesty and acts with integrity. Let us all remember that, the greatest problem with communication is not listening to understand but listening to reply. Let’s identify the leader who listens to the issues that affect us with curiosity, and identify those who listen simply with the intent to reply. For by their behaviour will we be able to identify what’s behind their words. Upon identifying the hidden meaning of their unspoken words, let our thumbs drift in droves towards curiosity and shun regurgitation.

    This country must move to the point where there is total absence of fear. Not an absence of fear just for the middle classes who probably are at much higher level of the hierarchy of needs pyramid. It is only when this is done that we can rid our elections of propaganda, vote buying and the foot soldier mentality. This is when we would have majority of our people willing to Speak Truth to Power. In this election cast your vote for the candidate willing to liberate the masses and move them swiftly up Maslow’s pyramid. Let’s be courageous and vote for the one with the best answers to most of our problems not he who claims to have all the answers. The time to remember the slogan “WE NO GO SIT DOWN MAKE THEM CHEAT US EVERY DAY WALAHI” is now. On the 7th of December, let’s make a choice and let your thumb speak truth to power for this is the only language the politician hears.


  • Written By Kwame Sarpong Asiedu - In “The Sea of Tranquillity”, author, Katja Millay writes, “People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not, and even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are... I just don't want that responsibility.”

    In just over two weeks the frenzy associated with the current election campaign will bring in its wake the anxiety of possible electoral defeat. Many election watchers across the globe have described the nerve racking hours that follow the casting of votes by candidates who have presented themselves to the electorate. Indeed, defeat can be cruel even more in the cloak and dagger business of politics. Often however, those who are victorious lose sight of how close they were to defeat and take the very people who ensured their victory for granted.

    Many have tried to justify why the current president deserves a second term and have pointed to what they see as his achievements in an effort to convince the electorate. Others, have pointed to the obvious failings and argued, that is enough evidence why his time is up. Both sides argue their case fiercely and sometimes even closely come to fisticuffs. Fascinatingly, the electorate also seems extremely polarised to the point of fault. I can’t help but wonder if any of the staunch and fanatic supporters especially of the two leading candidates have paused to contemplate the possibility of electoral defeat?

    The winner takes all nature of our politics implies that defeat can have considerable impact on the lives of many close to the main candidates. For those currently in government, it will bring in its wake the realities of paying for the basics of life. Fuel, accommodation, vehicles, travel both local and international would come at a cost. The trappings of power would disappear like a flash after their gratuities all be it handsome have been paid. Also, to disappear are the kickbacks and gifts that come by virtue of their position. Though some want us to believe they are in it to make our lives better, for the majority, this is the real reason why they are campaigning; their very lives and that of their families depend on it.  Strangely, the arrogance of some will lead you to believe that they were and would be better off out of politics.

    Truth is, most of these politicians think the love for them and our political parties is greater than the love for ourselves and our country. To them, they believe they are doing us a great favour by being in public office. They also believe we are unaware of the trappings that come with their being in public office. We have made them believe, the levels of poverty engulfing us is oblivious to us. They have managed to ensure that poor sanitation is a good photo opportunity. They know that many find pictures of policy makers desilting gutters when the real problem is the construction of open drains is a sign of humility.

    The reasons for these are many, to start with, we have become so fanatic as voters to believe that our very lives are dependent on the political parties we align to. In our minds, because we voted for a candidate, they remain infallible. Some of us believe that, to accept the shortcomings of a person we voted for is an acceptance of failure on our part. Even when our quality of life is being eroded, we prefer to remain faithful to the course. Yes, majority of us are loyal to a fault.

    Another major factor is the realisation by some politicians that though we have evolved considerably as a nation, tribal sentiments are still deep seated. Thus, some have mastered the artistry of whipping up tribal bigotry at the least opportunity especially when the terrain becomes rough. By doing so, they expose the innate dormant fears of many and ignite the introspective thoughts that only go to divide rather than unite us.  These politicians strangely find racism appalling, some have even given speeches on the international circuit to condemn same but find solace in whipping tribal sentiments thanks to our gullibility.

    Culture also plays a large part. It is common knowledge that many family homes are only given a face lift when a prominent family member passes.  This attitude I term “polish on dirt” is well exploited by some politicians. They can afford to neglect vast swaths of the hinterland but miraculously construct roads and boreholes when the electoral cycle is up to score cheap political points and win power. To them the fear of defeat far outweighs the need for national development and social mobility, in their books, development is cyclic. They are aware that many have no interest in the policies that underpin these shoddy projects.

    The time to show that our love is not for free is now. Our pent-up anger or the absence of it should lead us to examine our love affair with politics. We need to remind those in public office and those seeking to unseat them that, a man can be destroyed but not defeated. The realities of destroyed lives, careers and property should be made to stare them in the face. They need to understand our frustrations are continuous and bear no resemblance to the luxuries we afford them.  They should be made aware that, when defeat comes, it is a signal that their plans were not sound and that though they may have done their best, their best was simply not good enough.

    Let us remind them one more time that it is us but not them that controls their destiny. Though we are sure to laugh at their defeat let us make them aware that our gloating is nowhere near the pain their actions and inactions have subjected us to. In the end let’s stand by to console them with the following quote, “You aren’t falling apart. You’re well beyond that. You’re just rattling along now. Elven dolls doing what little you can to gather the pieces as they fall away. But you don’t know how to properly reattach them—a doll does not repair itself. So, you hug those brittle fragments to your chest until you simply cannot hug anymore. Until you’ve had to leave so many behind that you no longer remember what it is you’re missing.”

    Fellow voter, ensure your voter ID is in a safe place, buy yourself some tissues, get some popcorn or palm wine ordered if you so please and brace yourself for the likelihood of wiping some tears. One fact is clear, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth by the 10th of December 2016 and the tears produced will be enough to bring the Volta Lake to its maximum operating level.


  • Written By Kwame Asiedu - “In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favour of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for any public office of trust or profit in this Republic. But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.”

    In Adisadel Collage, “alma mater of great men,” a very important school rule was; “boys should exercise common sense at all times.” A breach of common sense was therefore a breach of school rules. One may argue that this single rule was probably ambiguous and lucid and subject to varied interpretation. However, this rule often kept students on their guard as virtually anything could constitute a punishable offence. At the beginning of the year many warned that we were entering the silly season, a period where oral diarrhoea and loose talk tends to cloud our electronic media. Even with all these warnings, I never expected that we will descend into the gutters and plunge ourselves knee deep into filth.

    I have on occasion shared my views on Kennedy Agyapong and his despicable comments about Mrs Charlotte Osei in a video post on my Facebook wall and won’t want to labour the point any further. Except to say that as a Santaclausian, Senior Agyapong was in serious breach of common sense and therefore in breach of Adisco school rules. What I intend to dwell on is the seeming quest by a section of political commentators to equalise and square the circle even when common sense and restraint is all that is required. Many of you may have heard of the expletives that were allegedly spewed on a radio programme hosted by Mugabe on Montie FM. I have read elsewhere that this radio station was allegedly set up by a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress, to counteract propaganda from the New Patriotic Party. If this is true, then the whole ethos on which this station is based is warped and flawed. It is also indicative of the sort of people the station seeks to serve.

    Thanks to democracy, our country has considerable freedom of speech but we must also take cognisance of the fact that no freedom is absolute. As a strong believer in this freedom, I agreed with Christopher Hitchens that, “My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.” However, I am also aware that voicing my opinion should not put me in the domain of criminality.

    In my view to issue threats of death and carnage is not only irresponsible but borders on criminality especially when these threats are against members of the judiciary. Such actions are intended to pressurize them and are aimed at influencing the administration of justice. What even got my bacon was the fact that sexual threats and possible rape were made against the Chief Justice. Some may argue that this was just an exercise in oral masturbation and a vile ego trip but I beg to differ. This country has history to guide us, threats against the judiciary have been carried out and in one instance resulted in the fatality of three. There are also issues around contempt as in the ranting one of the voices questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in sitting on a case brought against the electoral commission. In his state of momentary insanity and confusion, the speaker had lost sight of the fact that the EC’s independence was not absolute and that this same court had thwarted its quest to hold the District and Municipal level elections not too long ago over a technicality. 

    Clearly, though palpably silly, the actions of the host of the program were even more inflammatory, sickening and a sign of infantile immaturity. He clearly was either in cahoots with the panelist or had lost control of his program. At the end of the ranting he meekly thanks the voice as though to subtly applaud. This lack of professionalism made me cringe. I couldn’t help but wonder if the station had an effective management structure? I did because I would have expected that whilst the programme was on air, at least the producer would have called the recalcitrant team to order or failing that the management would have issued an unqualified apology to listeners. Nothing of the sort happened. Was that to say the station as a whole was approving of such intransigence?

    In times like this it is difficult to persuade one’s self and argue against this statement by Hunter S. Thompson that, “The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuck offs and misfits; a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” Crass as this statement sounds, this was the very feeling of loath I had after subjecting myself to a dose of Mugabe’s madness. Fortunately, I am guarded by the fact that a few bad apples should not be the passport for tarring all journalist with the same brush.

    There may be a place for propaganda in politics but surely that place isn’t about criminality. I am aware that one of the voices has issued an apology and another person has come out to deny that he was on the said program. I would crave the indulgence of all that both be treated with the contempt that they deserve. The Supreme Court set a precedence in the election petition hearing when some loose cannons were brought before it for utterance that they felt were contemptuous. I pray they take judicial notice of these latest pronouncements and take appropriate action lest more of such tirades can be envisaged.  This matter should not be confined to the dustbins of “fa ma nyame,” criminal elements masquerading as journalist and political commentators need cleansing from our political discourse. It is clear that the radio stations lack the will to do the cleansing, neither do we as listeners as following such irresponsibility some phone in to argue for or against the open display of emotional immaturity. If the apex court can’t help with the cleansing, then we need to hang in there and rot and personally I think to rot is not an option.

    In my view identifying these social misfits will be easy. The court should start with the program host and the station management. They can be made to provide names of the panelist on the said program and to identify the voices attributed to those statements. Having exposed same, I will agree with the likes of the Ghana Bar Association that they should be investigated and if found culpable prosecuted. On the other hand, an even faster route may be contempt of court. I have always argued that this route can be a slippery slope but with current attitudes it may be the best option to save some of these political commentators from themselves and curtail the risk of an emotionally imbalanced few pushing the entire nation over the cliff.

    I will end with some advice from Pablo that, “stay away from conflictive, negative people that pull you down, because they contaminate your energy and impede your progress. Search for people who look at the world with optimism, that inspire you, make you happy and provide peace of mind.” Perhaps on this note I will say the time to avoid Montie FM and Mugabe is now.

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