Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

The morality of Ghana's Holy War questioned

by Kwasi Owusu

"We have grown used to the wrong things, so that when the right thing is before us, we take no notice. The worse that can happen to any nation is for the people to agree on the wrong things" - Rawlings. The writer explains what's going wrong in Ghana.
It is encouraging that the ruling PNDC's Auditor General "has set up a special team to investigate organisations in which reports of frauds have been unearthed in recent times. The special exercise has been designed to investigate the extent to which the current spate of financial malpractices and irregularities have been carried out in the various organisations" (People's Daily Graphic, June 14, 1985).

But what is discouraging about such "special" investigations and/or commissions is that they are set up only to cool down the flaming public debate over the current spate of financial malpractices and irregularities" that spontaneously spill over the brim of state accountability. These financial spill-overs are acutely embarrassing whenever they catch the "Holy War Revolutionary Process" pants down.

Though the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and its Chairman, Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings, are very sensitive to such uncontrollable exposures that tend to ridicule their "moral revolutionary process", corrective measures regime rather perpetuate and institutionalise "malpractices and irregularities''. The public therefore has that selfsame expectation of the "state machinery" and as such they conduct business with the bureaucracy conscious of the prevailing fact that in order to consummate a deal one has to bribe one's way through the various walls of bureaucracy - from the messenger to the boss. Such is the fact of life in Ghana and no one knows this better than Chairman Rawlings.

In a national address on June 4, this year, Chairman Rawlings bemoaned thus, "We have grown used to the wrong things, so that when the right thing is before us, we take no notice. The worst thing that can happen to any nation is for the people to agree on the wrong things". It appears, it is only "Holy Crusader" Rawlings who can see "the right" in our society where the public take notice of the wrong things of the regime.

What Chairman Rawlings fails to realise is that the public see as wrong what he sees as right. There is an alienation here which is both economic and moral. And such an alienation can only exist in a fascist and corrupt regime where the people are ruled by decrees without due consultations. In order, therefore, for the regime to survive, the leadership are wont of paying lip-service to the expectations and aspirations of the "people".

In the same address to the nation, Chairman Rawlings questioned the faithfulness of Ghanaians in their "call for punishment for those who had committed crimes against the country" and asked if Ghanaians had tested themselves to "the chorus of probity, accountability and power to the people". Not long before, his harbinger, the First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, had decried the moral state of affairs of the revolutionary process and called upon the people of Ghana to step forward to expose economic saboteurs. The High Priest of the Holy and Moral Revolu- tionary Process, ole man, Chairman, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, went on to evangelise to Ghanaians that they must let "the scales of heedlessness" fall from their eyes.

While the Head of State keep accusing the people that they have failed the "state", the public in turn, keep humming that it is the "state" that has failed them

Again, what escapes the Chairman and his wife is that the public see the "state machinery" which keeps the PNDC in power as the bane of their lives rather than themselves. For a long time, the public have demanded of the "state" to remove the mote in its eyes. And when Chairman Rawlings aroused the population with his hossana of "Power to the People", the masses took it up hoping that they themselves would have that "state power" to finally remove the mote from the eyes of the "state". This has not happened! And, therefore, the people's constant cries for "punishment for those who had committed crimes against the country" is a pun as well as an indictment against the "state". The people can only appeal to the "state" to punish those who run the "estate of the state".

And when the "state" decides to "heed" to the "voice of the people", the "state" executes, by firing squad, "people" within the ranks of the people in order to instil moral fear and conscientise "the people" as to what happens when they complain about the affairs of the "estate". The people therefore take note of what is right in the eyes of omnipotent and omniscient Chairman Rawlings and the PNDC machinery of state.

Please, dear reader, if this circuitous writing is confusing and as well as confounding, patiently understand that the people are as much confused and confounded in Ghana as you are. Fancy waking up on Friday, June 14, to find splashed all over the People's Daily Graphic, "SPECIAL TEAM TO GO INTO FRAUDS" "WARN- ING AGAINST USE OF TAX FOR BUSINESS" "DEALS COCOBOD MANAGER HELPS"... "2 GNPA OFFICIALS HELD" "ANTI-SMUGGLING OPERATIONS" "CITY EXPRESS TO IMPORT TICKET SLOT MACHINES to minimize ticket racketeering" ... and education administrators are called to "BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE".

This is really a confused "state" of affairs and every honest citizen would not dare venture out into this "state of anarchy" where the guilt of failure is made to weigh heavily on the public by bullets. While the Head of State keeps accusing the public that they have failed the "state" the public, in turn, keeping humming that it is the "state" that has failed them.

So, dear reader, the issue in Ghana now is that of shirking responsibility or "passing the buck". The rulers point rifles at the people and tell them that they the people are responsible for the failings of the "state" and the people retort only with their placards on May Day demanding, "Where Is The Power To The People? NO MORE MONKEY DE WORK BABOON DE CHOP".

What has been instituted in Ghana, by force of arms, is a government of conspiracy of interests. In other words, there is no government but an army of marauding saboteurs and political mercenaries. And when some of the piracy of the people's assets spill over to public notice, scapegoats are danced before the public eye. The public are not made privy to the actual details of crimes committed by officials of state. For example, in the same issue of the People's Daily Graphic of June 14, among the GNPA officials held for "causing damage to the economy by the improper handling of tenders for the importation of clinker and gypsum for the production of cement by GHACEM Ltd." is one Mr Nana Amo. Now, who is this Nana Amo?

The public is told that Nana Amo is an employee of the Ministry of Trade's Ghana National Procurement Agency (GNPA) and "had been posted to help the Ministry of Industries, Science and Technology in arranging the tender". No mention is made of the fact that Nana Amo (popularly known as Tom Sawyer) is a leading member and financier of the New Democratic Movement (NDM) whose membership boasts of Mrs Aanaa Enin, member of the PNDC; Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning; The Tsikata brothers; the Ahwoi brothers; Mr E. T. Mensah, Chairman of the Accra City Council (formerly, an accounts clerk at the University Registry, Legon) and Mr Kwame Karikari (formerly, Acting Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation). It is common knowledge that the NDM together with Captain Kojo Tsikata's intelligence network and factions of the Kwame Nkrumah Revolutionary Guards are ruling the country with such antics of frantic "financial malpractices and irregularities".

Soon after Rawlings' coup, the then apathetic NDM, after evaluating the situation, like all common opportunists, stole themselves into the confidence of the mercurial Chairman Rawlings and managed to position themselves in sectors of great financial promise and political advantage. By such methods, they managed to fund their organisation and acquire a fleet of cars to organise and conscientise" the people of Ghana.

Another example is that of one Mr Doe, a leading member of the NDM. Doe was planted as a member of a committee set up to inquire into the operations of the State Hotels. Doe virtually moved house into a hotel suite and his extravagance caused so much embarrassment to the Castle. He is said to have diverted contracts from the State Hotels to his own company at Nima, Accra.

Crocodile tears of embarrassment are always shed by Chairman Rawlings whenever such matters involving his cronies are reported at the Castle by "holier-than-thou" defence committees members. In 1983, Mr E. T. Mensah had an outdooring party with so much food and drink, and wanton display of newly acquired wealth that when eyebrows were raised by the public, Chairman Rawlings only called him to caution him.

That same year, Mrs Aanaa Enin, threw a birthday party which employed the services of the State Protocol to redecorate her residence and mount a canopy with all the colourful trappings of state regalia. And they were there! Yes, those that mattered in the "process". Oh, Poor Ghana! And it was the same display of wealth and pomp when a State Prosecutor, Mr Bright Akwettey (also Co-President of U.; Students Association), got married. And while the poor and confused people dare cast "the scales heedlessness" from their eyes and ag how these officials of state finance such extravagances, the conscience of the State Prosecutor would not suffer him to send some of the people to be executed by firing squad.

These are all cases of embarrassment in a "moral revolutionary process" where the NDM run a harem at the P&T Training School at Tesano, Accra, provided to them by the disgraced former General-Secretary of the P&T Workers Union, Mr C. K. Ayiklui. And most embarrassing of all, the loud mouth and ideologue of the NDM, the former Acting Director General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Kwame Karikari, frequented that place to relax after a hard days work of attacks against the IMF/World Bank, Imperialism and Neo-Colonialism.

It is this perfidy in the affairs of state which shocked and later broke the back of the student population who had mobilised themselves to hoist up the regime through practical economic activities such as cocoa evacuation. The students would not countenance what amounted to "hypocrisy and betrayal" to them and an embarrassment to the ruling PNDC by the total absence of accountability and responsibility within the elite rank of the Students and Youth Task Force who sat behind desks and rode in seized cars in Accra.

The financial affairs of the Students and Youth Task force was dominated by activists of the NDM, Mr Kwame Mfodwo (later advisor to Mrs Aanaa Enin) and Mr Anthony Akoto Ampaw (sacked Secretary-General of the All- African Students Union). It was their financial debauchery that collapsed the exemplary work of the Task Force.

What astounded the students later was that those irresponsible campus rascals who called themselves socialists had shot into powerful positions in the state apparatus. This deflated their expectations of the "revolution" and sagged their enthusiasm. And when the students woke up to their senses and started to make public their frustrations they were brutalised by a gang of hungry defence committees members organised by an activist of the NDM, Mr Akrasi Sarpong, then Secretary of State for PDCs and WDCS at the campuses. This led to the Occupation and closure of the universities.

It was unfortunate that the students could not articulate very well their frustrations to the population at large. Officialdom, controlled by the NDM, brutalised and silenced them. The Legon campus was later turned into an ideological and militia training ground where the NDM sought recruits for their political aims. The most embarrassing thing that emerged at Legon, in the running of the cadre schools, was that the co-ordinator, NDM cadre, Mr Kwabena Kodua, was later interdicted for mishandling funds.

Let us go back to the June 14th issue of the People's Daily Graphic which cannot help spilling out the true character of the military regime. What you read is that, Mr Kwamina Ahwoi's outfit, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, has made three companies, "Freedom Textiles Industries Limited, Latex Foam Limited and Metalloplastics (Ghana) Limited to pay in full the taxes they evaded which totalled C3,540,374.13 into PNDC Account No. 48".

What should concern readers here is the famous PNDC Account No. 48 which is only accountable to the Castle, the seat of Chairman Rawlings. Proceeds of confiscated goods and other revenues and monies collected at will have been paid into this sacrosanct Account 48 which brings to mind monies collected during the AFRC era of 1979 which were never accounted for.

Mr Ahwoi's outfit is therefore generating unaccountable funds for PNDC Account 48. "At the Picadilly Biscuits Limited, the commissioners discovered that company was in arrears of excise duty to the tune of €7,477,969 and at the Xylo Technical Company Limited, the discovered that a short collection of team C297,216.6 of customs duty in sale tax was recorded".

In the same paper it is recorded for posterity that, "the acting procurement manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Kofi Oppong is helping in investigations into fraudulent deals involving the award of tender for supply of goods to the board". As a result of these illegal tender awards "Ghana lost $43,000 in the process".

Furthermore, Mr Oppong "had the value of letters of credit raised from $1,503,000 to $1,554,000. These malpractices led to a total loss of $151,200.00 to the government. Even worse is the fact that 1,560 bales of jute have still not been supplied because Mr Oppong waived the conditions Louis Dreyfus had to satisfy. The money the Cocoa Board has paid promises to be a total loss". And the price of jute bags is around $66.80 per 100 bags!

The same issue of the People's Daily Graphic reported that the Acting Chief Executive, Mr Rexford Angola Cudjoe, the Chief Accountant, Mr William Yaw Mireku, all of GHAMOT Company Limited, had their appointments terminated together with seven others by the government for various offences. For example, Messrs Cudjoe, Mireku, Boampong and Asiedu "have been implicated in inflating the charges related to the carting of World Bank tyres and batteries from Tema Harbour to GHAMOT Company's warehouse in Accra as a result of which the company, which at October 1984 was in debt of C36.5 million, paid an unjustifiable amount €1,721,359.50". "Similarly, as a result of such malpractices, C2,340,833.58 was improperly committed to Sarodie for the purchase of Spare Parts".

To crown it all, the report continued thus:

"In November 1981, for example, Mr K. Nkrumah, then Warehouse keeper was implicated in the theft of spare parts worth £54,000.00. In spite of this, he was promoted to the post of acting Spare Parts Manager at the time when police investigation into the crime was underway.

Meanwhile, a number of the affected persons who are to be prosecuted before the Public Tribunal for their part in the malpractices have been arrested.

Mrs Violet Addokaley Addo, for example was arrested at the Office of the Political Counsellor for CDRs, where she was working as a receptionist outside the Political Counsellor's office, after she was refused an appointment at the GIHOC when it discovered her background.

It would be recalled that the affected persons were entrusted with the management of GHAMOT company following the trial before the Public Tribunal of five management personnel of the company in 1982 for conspiring to divert vehicle tyres valued at C5 million”

Please, dear reader, hold your giggles for these were releases of the government loaded into the pages of one state-owned daily newspaper! THERE IS A CRISIS IN GHANA and there is a crisis precisely so because the leadership is lost in the midst of corruption, deviancy and all the vices of Sodom and Gomorrah, a quicksand which is their own creation. And so all that the Head of the Estate can do is to moralise and wage a psychological warfare or moral guilt against the population while at the same time his of confidants siphon wealth from the sinking and stinking ship of State.

When a state is reached in the affairs of a state when all that the leadership can concern themselves with are the symptoms of a decaying society, the leadership have abandoned all moral pretences of their right to rule and what is seen is a vicious rule of mischief and terror. It is quite clear, therefore, that there exists no government in Ghana now!! WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?

talking drums 1985-07-01 questions about ghana's holy war - constitution debate continues