|The contentious deal Photo courtesy|
On Thursday July 15, 2010, Ghanaweb carried a story captioned: Kwesi Pratt Predicts Doom for NDC. That anybody would predict doom for the NDC is no news at all, but for the reasons alluded to by Kwesi Pratt, one is left wondering whether Kwesi Pratt, a card carrying member of the CPP is more NDC than avant-garde NDC members like President Mills, Togbe Avaklaso Rawlings, Dr Kwabena Adjei and Asiedu Nketia.
According to Mr. Pratt, " ...the current division and various interests in the NDC have the tendency to degenerate into chaos if not properly handled. If they succeed in undermining the current administration and create the impression that this administration has failed, who is going to vote for them?” He adds: “...they will not win the elections...If they don’t win and another party (e.g. the NPP) wins the elections, look at all the prospects available to that party.”
An old saying up North states that if your political enemies are goring themselves, you don’t get in the way. Kwesi Pratt wants the world to believe he is a CPP member but his actions and pronouncements tell a different story. What comes to mind when you hear the name Kwesi Pratt? He is a member of the CPP and the CJA. He led or was part of many street demonstrations against the NPP and Kufour.
When you take a closer look at his record and rhetoric, the picture becomes abundantly clear that he supports Mills for reasons other than principle or ideology. He is part of the axis that consists of the Ahwoi brothers, the Tsikata brothers and the political opportunists that surround Mills. For somebody who claims to be a key member of the CPP, I guess he laments over the NDC prospects more than even core members of the party.
Gone are the Peoples' Assembly or Meet the Press Conferences that Kufour made himself available to for anybody to ask the president various questions, not like the Invitation Only Mills charade. For a party that claims to be for the common people, it appears it is very much afraid of the people. Prayers, instead of sound economic planning, have become the president’s answers to every challenge.
President Mills’s economic development policies and social interventions are discriminatory and biased, starting with the distribution of free school uniforms only to the Central Region (twice) and Greater Accra and Upper East and West and Northern Regions.
President Mills becomes the first president on the continent of Africa to invest $10 billion of his country’s money in a foreign company - STX of Korea, whilst our own State Housing Corporation and real estate companies die a slow and painful death. In sum he has outsourced our housing development to outsiders. For a country that counts a core Akan group, Adansi – i.e. The House or Settlement Builders as one of its founding blocks, the STX-Korea deal is a slap in the face.
The NDC admits there is a serious housing shortage in the country, what is disingenuous about that admission is their failure to see a link between their policies and the current housing crisis. Many years ago this same NDC sold out Ghana Cement Company - GHACEM to Scandinavia Cement Company SCANCEM, granting them monopoly to produce and fix the price of cement in the country, whilst collecting bribes on the side. That singular betrayal has led to cement being priced way beyond the means and reach of most common folks. As a result, the people cannot afford to build their own houses resulting in about one million housing units shortages vis-à-vis population growth. Having set the condition to cause the housing shortage, this same NDC has decided to invest $10 billion of our yet to be earned future oil money in STX-Korea company.
Every country with sensible leadership knows housing and construction is the way to go to grow the economy and create jobs. One housing construction immediately creates jobs for masons, brick layers, carpenters, steel benders, painters, cement block makers, day labourers and food sellers, among others. Once it is built, you will need to furnish it, and that alone also leads to a whole set of conditions that gives jobs to other people and companies. That is why when the housing market in the US went belly up, it tipped off a recession.
One will have thought buck-teeth Kwesi Pratt and his allies would jump up and pound the streets against this $10 billion dowry deal - that is what it is – like they hounded Kufour on every major policy initiative especially with regards to petrol price increases even when it was trading at $150 a barrel.
In the history of Ghana, when was it that we saw a foreign company or government came in to invest even $1 billion in our economy at one time? It won't happen, their home countries would not allow them. If we invest the $10billion dollars money in Ghanaian companies, the money will stay in Ghana and circulate through the economy, plus all the added benefits of creating jobs and sustaining our companies. As things stand, STX-Korea will repatriate 100% all their profits and money, plus tax-free incentives. If we can do that for a foreign company with insurance and sovereign guarantee et al, why can't we give the same benefits and conditions to Ghanaian companies?
In the STX-Korea deal, negotiated by Messrs Albert Abongo, Alban Bagbin and Vice President John Mahama, Ghana paid dowry to the Koreans. I guess the Koreans saw us from afar as fools rushing in. In a dowry marriage, it is the bride that pays money to the husband’s family instead of the husband paying money to the wife’s family. President Mills and his ministers have sold and mortgaged our future down the river and to this Kwesi Pratt is saying what - that people inside the NDC should not criticise the administration for fear of losing the next election.
We call on Parliament to abrogate the sell-out deal. We call on the thousands of jobless NDC foot-soldiers, students, and the general public to come out in their numbers to make their voices known and heard. After all it is your money, jobs, and children’s future that is at stake. The $10 billion USD deal is colossal money that can transform the internal economy of Ghana if invested in local companies not in a Korean company. It is amazing how unexpected monetary windfall makes all bad policies thinkable. Scrap the slave sell-out and Kwesi Pratt must not try to muffle the dissenting voices in the NDC. What impudence and arrogance to try to shut down such voices for the sake of electoral victories?
By Eric Kwasi Bottah (alias Oyokoba)