A piece of my mind: Cry the beloved country

Today I title my piece ‘CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY,’ after the book of the same title written by Alan Paton. Why? Because I weep for Ghana this morning, and it all has to do with the AKER / AGM deal...


Today I title my piece ‘CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY,’ after the book of the same title written by Alan Paton. Why? Because I weep for Ghana this morning, and it all has to do with the AKER / AGM deal.

You see, after the sort of strides and encouraging work I saw the current Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, do as Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, I can only say I am beyond disappointment, in fact, horrifyingly dismayed, that I would now witness this same person, whom I hailed, at a point in time, now become a turncoat, a traitor to our Motherland. Why do I call him a traitor? It is glaringly evident for anyone who has eyes to see.

As Dr. Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) said yesterday at that public forum organised by the Caucus for Democratic Governance Ghana (CDG-GH), "Ghana [consistently] fares very poorly with its oil contract negotiations with both local and foreign companies because such contracts are often [tainted] with bribery, cronyism and other forms of corrupt practices."

I shall go back to the words of Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, former Minister of Sports, who recently said, "Check all the corruption-related cases, from BOST to whatever… [They are] linked to campaign financing. There is always a financier there… Ask yourself which sensible person will sign or agree to this deal, it is because our hands are tied.”

Fellow Ghanaians, there are simple ways of identifying when politicians try to pull a fast one on us: one such way is to see them sign agreements that do not make any sense! They claim to make these deals on our behalf, but when the deal makes no sense, you best believe someone is getting a kickback somewhere. Else how can this make sense on any front? Can you even begin to wrap your mind around this madness? You see, if something swims like a fish, looks like a fish, smells like a fish and generally acts like a fish, it is a fish. In the same way, if a deal smacks of corruption, looks like corruption, feels like corruption, points to corruption in terms of analysis and makes no sense on any other score, then, my brother and sisters, I can almost say with certainty that it is corruption!

Are these things happening because next year is an election year? Are the poor, ordinary people of Ghana being ripped off just so someone or some people can amass wealth and oil their campaign machinery? How can a deal which had Ghana gaining so much be reviewed downward so we now get so little? Remember, if it doesn't make any sense, then there is a rat somewhere that is up to a lot of mischief. We may not be benefiting from this, but I know some people somewhere, will. This is the kind of day when I feel so angry that if I were not a Christian, I would invoke curses on some of these so-called leaders we have in this country!

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, this is not what you promised us! You promised to protect the public purse, and I can quote copiously, both from your party's 2016 manifesto and from your own mouth - from words you uttered without anyone forcing you to do so. I am not just speaking from my mind: you actually said these things, Your Excellency! You promised us responsibility, probity, accountability and all the other "-ities," but your government is light years away from showing itself true to its word. In fact, in many ways, you have done the exact opposite of what you promised. I shall not go too far back into time: the Boakye Agyarko, Charles Bissue, Aisha Huang sagas and now, the AKER / AGM deal - and all this in the space of just how many months?

Your Excellency, there is more to come, you see. It gets worse! Only yesterday another Chinese woman, this time a Helen Hyuan, was apprehended while attempting to spirit away two containers full of our precious rosewood. There is supposed to be a ban on logging this species of wood, but I guess the rules do not apply in Ghana, do they? I find this interesting, though: it would appear all the “Hyuans” in China have been told this is a country where you can commit the most heinous crimes, abuse the nationals and even destroy the environment and still get away with it. So from Aisha Huang, we now have Helen Hyuan! God save us from the “Hyuans” and give our leaders the same guts, in a positive way, that these criminals have, so they can actually be leaders and stop being misleaders!

Mr. President, many other people, especially some of your party faithful serving under you, those leeches who are sucking our country's lifeblood day and night, will never have the guts to look you in the eye and tell you in the face that you are failing and that they are the architects of your failure. But guess what? I shall! Mr. President, you are failing badly on many counts. If you do not do something radically different soon, you are bound to lose in ways more profound than you could ever imagine. Winning or losing an election is not the greatest loss a man can suffer, Mr. President - the loss of his soul is! And whatever a man does here, as steward, not just of men but of our supreme God, he will receive a just reward or a well-deserved punishment. I do not know exactly how godly you are, for I have never believed in the mere words of men or their showing up at church or the mosque, even every day, as a way of assessing that. Your actions, Mr. President, will speak for you, and the time to act, sir, is now! It is critical that you do so! And do remember, you who are now the father of our country, that as we say in Twi, to wit, "a man does not know that the path he is beating is crooked unless someone else observes it and tells him so." when you speak to those who ought to be wise, you speak in parables. I am sure, sir, that you understand exactly what I am saying.

Finally, Your Excellency, I remind you that our compatriots, like Malaysia, have left us far behind in the dust of development. We cannot afford to slide any further back. Do something, Mr. President. Stem the tide of these scandals that week in and week out make the headlines. Whip your team into line and do something great for Ghana before your tenure is over. I firmly believe you can do much better for Ghana, Your Excellency, and I pray for long life, strength and unparalleled wisdom for you to be able to do so.

I say these things because I am a citizen, not a spectator. My name is Benjamin Akakpo and this is a piece of my mind.

The Author is the Host of the Executive Breakfast Show on Class 91.3 FM



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