My staple, the publicly funded Daily Graphic newspaper, remains the single largest circulated broadsheet in Ghana. The management has taken note, which is why every edition of the paper is choc a bloc with lucrative commercial adverts. I am not sure, however, that in the age of new media, they have truly nailed their online business strategy. Certainly not when it comes to circulating in real time, the column I should write weekly.
In a literal stalemate, I disappoint the Features Editor and desk as much as they do me, with their policy on layout. I write and forward distinct paragraphs, they compress and print a bloc of words. Sadly and obviously, no one ever actually edits my column for typos, grammar, punctuation and as we say in Ghana, 'what have you.'
With its articles and reports, sourced from dedicated teams in various regions who cover matters health, business, cultural, politics etc, the Graphic 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 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 include, 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 want to join ECOWAS, our big brother in the sub-region, Nigeria, with its big problems and who do not want Morocco playing in our backyard. For goodness sake, we were bested, even by Somalia. Imagine!
Headline news in the Graphic published on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, is a truly chilling article. It details how much we care. The alleged turning away by 7 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 the Graphic 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 provided across 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 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 expose by Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV has waded in to and highlighted matters constitutional, possibly legal, cultural and certainly topical.
According to the article, in welcoming the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia on a visit to his Palace, Naa Pelpuo IV said the ever-diminishing former strutting President of the GFA, Mr. Kwesi Nyantekyi, is an indigene of his traditional area. Naa Pelpuo IV is reported as saying that he has enskinned/installed Nyantekyi as a sub-chief of sorts; that Nyantekyi has erred in his actions - allegedly soliciting and receiving a bribe of $65,000 whilst invoking the name of the President. And, Naa Pelpuo IV thinks Nyantekyi 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? Nyantekyi has resigned from the GFA and or been pushed out by all other continental or international groups on whose committees he was appointed or elected. Not particularly helpful too that a prominent and self-avowed sponsor of Nyantekyi's is reported to have publicly accepted his guilt and then proceeds to beg for him.
Who is begging for Alfred Agbesi Woyoeme or the 4 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 Christianbourg 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 'homeboy/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 30th 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 2 Palaces and I am not happy.
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