What a week, eh? It seems all rivals have been at each other's throats every single day since Monday. Of course, we kicked it off with a heavyweight bout between Martin "The Crusader" Amidu, the former "gargantuan" Attorney General in one corner, and Larry "The Bulldozer" Gbevlo-Lartey, former head of National Security slugged it out once more in the media arena over Alfred Woyome's $51 million. Meanwhile the man too, he hasn't said he will give either of you some of the cash… Or has he?
Tuesday was my first day back after more than a week off the show. I had been invited by Washington and Lee University as a Knight Fellow of their Media Ethics Institute. It was a great honour, but as you can imagine, I had a baptism of fire on my first day back, with the second bout of the week. This was a free-for-all between the NHIA, GHS, CHAS, SPMDP, and the GRMA. Abbreviations galore! I was just waiting for KVIP to show up and then we'd REALLY have had a party.
Basically, the whole thing was about a decision, made by the organisations that run our medical facilities, to stop the growth of their debts to service providers by asking patients to pay for their medication under the NHIA. So basically, Ghanaians must now pay double for something that should be free. Yeah, that sounds about right.
On Wednesday, there was something new to fight about. Dr. Bawumia, NPP's Vice Presidential aspirant delivered his annual Central University speech the previous evening, and Ghana's government responded on the Super Morning Show, in the person of Dr Omane Boamah, government spokesperson and Minister for Communication. We had an interesting conversation, at the end of which it seemed that this year, for a change, the government actually agreed with everything Dr Bawumia said, and, as usual they were "working on it".
There were two issues that Dr Bawumia raised, which the Government wanted to "go and verify", but apart from them, it seemed President Mahama was actually thinking along the same lines as the NPP's "Assistant Flagbearer". The government's only objection was that, unlike Dr Bawumia, they saw no problem with the quality and accuracy of Ghana's statistics. After all, the IMF had accepted our figures. And the IMF have "Superior Analytical Skills®™". So, to paraphrase the famous 21st Century philosopher, Sarkodie, "What else? You know say figures no be problem".
Our most recent battle though, was just yesterday, and it was between Dr Omane Boamah again, and Nana Akomea, Communications Director for the NPP. Again, it was over Dr Bawumia's speech. The Vice Presidential hopeful had indicated in his presentation that Ghana was being sanctioned by the Afrtican Development Bank for not paying its debts (that was one of the items that Dr Omane Boamah had wanted to "go and verify" when I questioned him the previous morning). Well, later that day, the bank issue a statement saying the Macroeconomics PhD holder was wrong about that. Actually, not that he was wrong, but Ghana had been added to the list by accident, and the mistake had been corrected within 24 hours. Following this revelation, the Finance Ministry demanded an immediate apology from Dr Bawumia.
So you're probably asking yourself now, how could Dr Bawumia, such a learned economist who is surely no stranger to research, have failed to check his data and gone ahead with wrong information which had been corrected by the source within 24 hours? Well, Nana Akomeah's answer was that firstly, the false information WAS put out there, and so if Dr Bawumia then went ahead to use it, he must not be the one to apologise, but rather the people who put it out. Secondly and more importantly, Dr Bawumia – who has worked with AfDB in the past – had a memo dated 17 February 2015, which showed Ghana had been put on the blacklist in January. So how could AfDB now suggest that this was an error which they corrected in less than 24 hours? January to February is a bit more than 24 hours, isn't it.
But that was not all. Remember how the Government said "figures no be problem", and that our stats were solid enough to withstand all Superior Analytical Skills®™? Well, it became apparent that there were some problems wth our statistics after all. The Ghana Statistical service came out with a statement admitting that the figures they had published to the world on their website, which Dr Bawumia had questioned, were actually wrong! Now, unlike AfDB, they had left the wrong stats on their website for all of us to refer to, but had rather given the correct ones to the IMF for them to apply their Superior Analytical Skills®™ to. So it is not that there is a problem with our stats in Ghana. It is just that our policy is to give one set of figures to people with "Inferior Analytical Skills" (this is, yet to be a registered trademark, so Dr Bawumia, you can use it freely, just like you used my HIMIC), and another set of figures altogether to those with Superior Analytical Skills®™. Yeah. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
Anyway, that leads us to today, and no doubt, there's going to be another battle. Nana Yaa Jantuah of the energy regulator, PURC, recently told Ghanaians that Dumsor was here to stay, and so we should just accept it. Well, to help us accept it, they have approved some fresh tarriff increases. So now, we get less power than ever before, but we pay more for it. Something tells me there's going to be another battle today.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and it's been a week of Cash & Carry Clashes, Bawumia Battles and Dumsor Duels.
Good Morning, GHANAFO!