Our country has chalked some successes as far as democracy in Africa is concerned. We have attained an enviable position in our continent which must be safeguarded.
Ghana is currently a role model in Africa where democracy seems difficult to work. Our democracy is hailed all over the world. During the 2008 general elections, the world looked on. Many were skeptical due to the intensity of that election. We were able to sail through unblemished.
I must emphasize here that the tension that gripped this country could have been avoided but for a few self-seeking group of politicians. The group of individuals who nearly brought Kenya to our peaceful country must be ashamed of themselves by now. Government, political parties, electoral commission, state security institutions and all stakeholders in elections must ensure that our country does not go through such emotional and psychological torture. The aforementioned institutions must perform their duties without fear or favor according to the dictates of OUR LAWS.
Despite our democratic achievements, I have observed a negative trend in the governance of our country by successive governments which have slowed the development process of our 52 years old country. I must state here that all political parties are guilty of this, POLITICAL WITCH-HUNTING! We have a situation where, when we have political party A in power, it uses the power given to it by the sovereign people to persecute political opponents and businesses owned by political opponents. I would like to use current happenings in the oil sector to substantiate my claim.
It is a known fact that OUR country started exploring oil in commercial quantities during the erstwhile government. The country’s oil exploration journey started long ago, however it was the first time in our nation’s history that oil was struck in commercial quantity. Ghanaians were excited, some attributed it to nature; others thought it was by mere coincidence while many held it was by the hard work and commitment by the erstwhile government. Whatever the reason was, Ghana has OIL.
The companies (partnership) who worked on the field which was regarded by many oil giants as “grave-yard”, EO Group (Ghanaian Company) and Kosmos Energy (US Company) must be congratulated by all well meaning Ghanaians. It is this partnership that has brought us this fortune which has made our country more attractive to investors than ever. The prospects in this discovery are unimaginable depending on how it is managed. In that regard government has initiated some moves which are worth noting.
Government has given the strongest indication that it would review contracts signed between the erstwhile Government of Ghana and Oil Exploration Companies in the country. While many Ghanaians welcome the move, the manner in which the review has begun leaves much to be desired. One wonders whether the motive for the review is really for accountability purposes or to score political gains. One of the deals being investigated is the EO Group and Kosmos Energy. It is a known fact that the owners of the Ghanaian company (EO Group) are sympathizers of the largest opposition party, NPP. Indeed, one of the directors (EO Group) who is an opinion leader in the Ghanaian community in the US was the Ghanaian Ambassador to United States; however his appointment was after the EO Group had been established in 2004.
One of the directors was ambushed by security operatives at his residence, all documents he had on the oil exploration were taken away from him including his laptop. The scene was described as a Hollywood style. Some pro-government newspapers have carried stories which contained information that one could only reason it came from high authorities. While many Ghanaians would like to know if any illegal deals occurred during the erstwhile government, the approach being used by government can be best described as witch-hunting. I hold the view that, if EO Group is guilty of any offence for bringing in Kosmos Energy to discover oil in commercial quantities, the only avenue to address that is the courts. It is my sincerest hope that this matter is investigated in a proper manner and the legal procedures followed.
Given the example above, I believe this trend must end because it has serious negative implications to the country. It makes mockery of the amount of effort and resources we use in luring investors to come into the country, only for a succeeding government to treat such a venture with contempt and disregard. Our country would eventually become un-attractive to investors which has serious economic and social implications. When such businesses are harassed and intimidated until they close down, the Ghanaians who work at those establishments would be unemployed.
If this trend does not end anytime soon, we would have ourselves to blame. Politicians must put the nation’s interest first!
To be continued…
Source: Faisal Ibrahim [email protected] www.twitter.com/FAISALIBRAHIM1 www.facebook.com/FAISAL.IBRAHIM1
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