Mirror, mirror on the wall
My staple, Daily Graphic newspaper, remains the single largest circulated broadsheet in Ghana. The management has taken note, which is why every issue of the paper is chock-a-block with lucrative commercial adverts.
With its articles and reports, sourced from dedicated teams in various regions who cover matters of health, business, cultural, politics etc, the newspaper provides a mirror of the Ghana we say and think we are. Every day, it also mirrors and reveals the Ghana we actually are.
A truly self-inflicted, contrary and conflicted country.
Well-being is as much a personal state of mind as it is an indicator. From the Bank of Ghana's policy on interest rates, the Auditor General’s (AudG) statutory reports on the Consolidated Fund (CF) and spend by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the World Bank Group's annual Doing Business survey, the findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit or the ratings by international credit agencies, Ghana is constantly ranked.
According to the latest World Happiness Report, published in March 2018 by some jobsworth group of the United Nations, Ghana and its citizens - we are somewhere between 26 or is it 30 million? - was listed 108th globally and the 12th happiest in Africa. The criteria that the Sustainable Development Solutions Networks (SDSN) people used, includes: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita; life expectancy; social freedom and support; absence of corruption and generosity. We ended up behind war-torn Libya, the tensions in Algeria, Morocco, who wants to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), our big brother in the sub region, Nigeria, with its big problems and who does not want Morocco playing in our backyard. For goodness sake, we were bested, even by Somalia. Imagine!
Headline news in the Daily Graphic published on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, is a truly chilling article. It details how much we care. The alleged turning away by seven medical facilities of a 70 -year-old man, ostensibly due to lack of bed space led to his death, apparently in a car.
I like very much that this newspeper has highlighted this matter on its front page and that the Ghana Health Service has apparently established a committee to investigate these allegations. They have 10 days to produce a report. Will it document a national picture of a systemic and legacy chasm between the ill and afflicted and the type and level of care we provide across the board? We have a National Health Insurance system that in principle, provides free and accessible basic health care. The reality for at least this 70-year-old man in question appears to have ended without civility or dignity.
I have also read with equally deep concern as reported by the Daily Graphic, comments attributed to the paramount chief of the Waala Traditional Area in the Upper West region. If the article penned by Michael Quaye is accurate, then by commenting on the trending exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV has waded into and highlighted matters constitutional, possibly legal, cultural and certainly topical.
According to the article, in welcoming the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on a visit to his palace, Naa Pelpuo IV said the ever-diminishing former strutting President of the GFA, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, is an indigene of his traditional area. He is reported to have said that he had enskinned/installed Nyantakyi as a sub-chief of sorts; that Nyantakyi had erred in his actions - allegedly soliciting and receiving a bribe of $65,000 whilst invoking the name of the President. And, he thinks Nyantakyi should be forgiven.
Ahead of the conclusion of an ongoing investigation by the Ghana Police Service, that may or may not lead to formal charges and potentially a trial, forgive what exactly? Nyantakyi has resigned from the GFA and has been pushed out by all other continental or international groups on whose committees he was appointed or elected.
It is not particularly helpful too that a prominent and self-avowed sponsor of Nyantakyi is reported to have publicly accepted his guilt and then proceeds to beg for him.
Who is begging for Alfred Agbesi Woyome or the four officials from the National Communications Authority or Dr Stephen Opuni or ... In a just society, they either have a case to answer in court or they do not. Naa Pelpuo IV's reported comments now, make me as uncomfortable always, at the sight, sound and words of other traditional custodians; those who used to troop to the Christiansborg Castle, when it was the official seat of government (now its Jubilee House), or use a public platform to thank, beg or threaten if an indigene of theirs is appointed or not to a publicly funded role - however unqualified the said 'home boy/girl' may be. Palace justice has a place and I am not sure that we have found how to place it properly.
Mirror mirror on the wall
The Controller and Accountant General is required - (Section 81 (1) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) - to render accounts sufficient for the AudG to publicly declare to Parliament, the bottom line, by June 30 of every calendar year.
If this AudG, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, does not meet his mandatory deadline, will the paramount chief of his traditional area also ask that he should be forgiven? Is it okay if in the review of how we spent the CF and the MDAs budget, Domelevo finds specific abuse of the public purse, that a traditional authority begs for forgiveness? Mirror, mirror ....I am a descendant of two Palaces and I am not happy.