Mr President, anytime you pick a morsel, remember...

BY: Caroline Boateng
President Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo

It was from a Ghanaian development worker that I first heard the term “elite consensus.” The term was used in relation to the 1992 Constitution and how it was drawn up.

How the elite of our society railroaded the passage of our basic law, upon which all other laws take their bite, to favour only themselves: politicians (the executive and legislature), politically exposed persons (PEP-those related to politicians), top chief executives and professionals, etc.

Now, we have a Political Constitution, instead of one that facilitates democracy and development.

Common people, who found their way to the Constituent Assembly meetings provided that semblance of approbation needed to pass a Political Constitution, favouring the elite.

So for the elite of this country who led the Constitution making process, the rules did not, and still does not apply!

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If it did, the mess in the banking sector would not now be staring us all in the face.

If it did, some 500 plus staff of the Capital Bank and UT Bank would not be reduced to dire circumstances, with some who were previously managers with the highest qualifications in their field, currently turned Uber drivers and others so unable to fend for themselves even when sick, that they die.

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The audit report of Capital Bank and UT Bank being serialised on Joy FM is heart wrenching.

The report tells of how these directors of these banks used tax payers’ bailouts from the Bank of Ghana in undisclosed transactions, shady deals, advances to related parties of the banks, other unrelated institutions and to PEPS and cronies.

Patience Osafo comes to mind... see how she was treated by Skalla, the police officer?

She was then not counted as an elite, but as part of the “dregs” of the Ghanaian society.

Could the ex-minister of Gender and Social Protection have walked to the Midlands Savings and Loans Company and be treated as Patience Osafo was by Skalla?

Naa..! Even with her own police detail, Skalla would have, with all the alacrity he could muster, shepherded the minister into the hall of the institution and, subsequently, into a managers office, where all the courtesies would have been accorded.

In our society, merely being human gets you nowhere... sometimes you may even be punched for it!

Money, status and influence is currency in Ghana.

Thus former Presidents and their brothers, Members of Parliament and ministers can all go for loans in this dear country of ours with collaterals that do not match the quantum of loans applied for.

And they are given and the rules waived!

See how the “dregs” of our society, those without money, status or influence struggle to make ends meet in honest endeavours, like Patrice Osafo was doing... hawking in traffic!

See how the “dregs” of our society stress for credit to do honest business.

Application documents from applicants considered to be the dregs of our society are scrutinised, re-scrutinised and scrutinised again, while an honest collateral will be assessed again and again and again.

After it all, one may even not pass the test to be given the loan, because of the most stringent application of the laws in relation to credit as the person is not perceived as rich, of status or influential.

And the auditors, supposed to audit the books found all the lapses, documented them and left them in the lead audit reports?

Was there no Whistle Blower? No citizen vigilante like Martin Amidu to begin a crusade?

Or did the entities concerned, the directors of the banks, met secretly with the Governors of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) for their gross dereliction of duty to be overlooked?

Perhaps, they sat over tea and in the spirit of camaderie and in elite consensus fashion negotiated an extension of time for the reversal of fortunes of their institutions!

Perhaps, after that negotiated time extension, the regulators realised their mistake in granting it and acted because they feared the imminent backlash from the public, when depositors, “the dregs” flooded the halls of the two now defunct banks for their money and they could not be paid.

So now the ex-workers of Capital Bank and UT Bank starve!

And while men and women (former staff of the banks) go to bed each night depressed and worried, while their rent, school fees, and other bills stare them in the face, the elite by their consensus, eat and are at ease.

Mr President, please whenever you take a morsel of your food each day, remember the ex-staff of the defunct banks.
Remember that fathers are scared, mothers worried and children go hungry.

Remember this and please expedite action on the payment of their entitlements. It is the least you can do for your people!

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