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Friday, 20 March 2009

Politicians:The New Slave Masters in Ghana

By Lord Aikins Adusei

They like to talk like sheep with humility but they act like wolves. Such is the description of politicians in Ghana. When they want power they would promise or say anything to get elected but when they get the power then they forget about the people.

Today in Ghana people are so poor that they cannot even provide food for their families. But the politicians do not know what is called poverty. Like the slave masters of the slave trade, the politicians, their cronies, the business elite and the well connected determine and control everything in Ghana. They decide which roads should be constructed or resurfaced and which one should not. They determine which village or town gets connected to the national electricity grid. They determine which region or district receives funding for projects. They determine who should get a contract and whose certificate should be withdrawn. Together they have hijacked and exercise full control over all the resources including land, labour, capital and revenues from all economic activities such cocoa, gold, diamond and timber exports. They determine who should eat and who should not. They determine who should get a job and who should get sacked. Have you heard that 420 army recruits have been asked to go home? The slave masters determine who gets a place to sell at Makola market, Asafo market and all the major markets in the country.

The slave masters determine who should own which business and who should have a share in that business. You cannot get a certificate to operate a business unless you grease the palm of a politician. You cannot get a contract unless you know a politician in the ruling government.  You are treated differently if you know the regional minister, the governor or the district chief executive (DCE).As far as one knows a cabinet minister he can do whatever he likes and nobody dares question him. It is always the poor and the have nots who get prosecuted and jailed while the politicians and their cronies who commit atrocious crimes against the state live in their mansions to enjoy their booty. If Mr. Bernard L. Madoff had come from Ghana he would have been a freed man by now as his political friends would have make sure he did not go to jail.  Contractors do substandard works, collect hundreds of millions of dollars, give politicians their share and that is all. So a road whose live span is twenty years has to be resurfaced after just two years. For the past fifteen years Accra-Kumasi road alone has been resurfaced more than five times and even President Mills is considering another resurfacing.

Big loans are contracted to build projects like presidential palace enjoyed only by the politicians and the poor are made to pay for it. Like the slavery of old, the politicians, their families, the businessmen and the well connected are not hurt by the storm of poverty in the Ghana but their slaves who make up the majority of the population do.  These corrupt politicians and their associates are holding the people Ghanaians captive with their ill-conceived economic policies and programmes thereby giving the people of Ghana no chance to develop.  The politicians in Ghana call themselves saviours of the people and have names and titles like Junior Jesus, Servants of the Poor, Friend of the Poor, but they are all lies. None of them cares for the poor but their own stomach.  Because they care for only their interests and not the people, that is why unemployment is high. That is why people have no access to water, food, health, education, electricity.

That is why there are power shortages in Accra, Kumasi, Tema, Takoradi, Ho, Koforidua, Wa, Sunyani, Bolgatanga and most of our cities not to mention the rural areas. Do you think the lights in Osu Castle will go off even if there is no water in the Akosombo dam?

Because they care for only their interests and not the people, that is why people in Nima, Nungua, Ashaiman, Teshie and James Town have no access to toilet facilities and have to toilet at the seashore.

That is why workers are poorly paid, have few rights and have no or little ESBs when they go on retirement. But the Slave Masters want to give their leaders like Kuffour and Rawlings 6 cars, 2 houses, 2 months holiday and a foundation all to be paid for by the poor in the country. Are you surprised? I am not because I know that is how slave masters behave. They have more and want more. The poor have none and they are denied even the little. My only worry is the number of Ghanaians who do not own even a single bedroom not to talk about owning a whole house.

Today rooms that were once accommodating single students in KNUST, University of Ghana and Cape Coast University now houses at least four students that is when you are lucky to be placed on the accommodation list. Ask Totobi Kwakye, the Awhois, P.V. Obeng, Akuffo Addo how was their school days compared to today. It is pathetic isn’t it? But whose work it is to provide the academic facilities in our universities and polytechnics? Is it students, lecturers, or the vice chancellors? Isn’t it the politicians who exercise absolute control over all the financial resources in the country? But have they done it or do they care? Find time to go to Legon, KNUST or Cape Coast and see for yourself the living conditions of our university students and you may be tempted to think we are in the 19th Century. I will not even talk about the situation in our polytechnics for it is not worth mentioning.

There are no breakthroughs in our universities because students are more concerned about what to eat, where to sleep and how to survive the harsh and the unforgiving conditions in our premier institutions than to engage in any serious academic study.

Projects costs are inflated three or four times their normal cost by the slave masters and the poor people are made to pay for it.  The cost of every single project in Ghana could provide three or four of the same project. Find time to ask your DCE how much did the new market, the toilet or the borehole cost. I bet you the figure he will quote for you will keep you wondering for years whether any normal human being will spend that much money on such a project.  If these “honourable” men and women are not slave masters then who are they? And if we are not their slaves then who are we? The difference between the slaves in Ghana today and those of the 18th and 19th centuries are that at least they did not worry about food and accommodation as their slave masters paid for them.

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