Monday, February 2, 2009

What Happens in Ghana Stays in Ghana...

It seems what happens in Ghana stays in Ghana. At least when it comes to controversial news. The global media along with hundreds of personal blogs have been extolling the virtues of Ghana and it’s democratic process. A lot has been said about how Ghana has triumphed – not only for democracy as an institution but for it’s people as a whole.

This being said, I find it quite disturbing that the international media has not bothered to poke it’s nose back into the Ghana ‘scene’ to document the current uproar over what has been called ‘an outrage’ locally – I’m referring to the exit package of ex-President Kufuor.

Just as the dust settled after the run off elections here in early January, a package for Mr. Kufuor was pushed through hastily by parliament and without any regard for the frivolity and absurdity of it all.

I found a very interesting article written locally, comparing the retirement packages of the American president and our very own Kufuor. I just had to borrow the details here:

United States (Per Capita Income: $46,000): President Bush

* US$191,000 for his pension;
* Life time secret service protection for president & spouse
* Official travel expenses with 2 members of staff
* 0 cars
* 0 houses
* No end-of-service gratuity
* Private funds for presidential library (tax exempt)
* Presidential widows receive a lifetime pension of $20,000 per year.


Ghana(Per Capita Income: $1,400): President Kufuor

* Lump-sum (thought to be worth $400,000)
* SIX fully maintained comprehensively insured, fuelled and chauffeured-driven cars to be replaced every four years. The fleet comprise of three salon cars, two cross country cars and one all-purpose vehicle.
* TWO Fully furnished residences that befit a former president at place of his choice
* 60 day overseas travel with 3 staff members each year
* 18 months consolidated salary
* Million-dollar seed money for the setting up a foundation,
* Security - 24 hours security services
* Budget for entertaining each year

It is too typical to be an outrage. Too much of this gluttony of the powerful in Africa is the status quo. Where will it stop? When will it end? Who cares enough to make the changes Africa needs?

I have noticed a plethora of new missionaries and their blogs in Ghana lately. This means there are more and more people focused on the country.

Christianity is fully entrenched here. Surely there are barely any more 'souls to win over', so what is the interest in Ghana? The truth is that it is believed to be a safe place for foreigners, yet a place you can still ‘make a difference’. A country where aid is still poured in for project after project.

Yet at the top sit the people like Kufuor, who flew around the world in his private jet to find donations, and who now at the end of his tenure, leaves with a whopping package that is tantamount to outright theft from the people of Ghana.

I have read that a leader is the reflection of his people – especially in democratic societies. Where then does that leave Ghana in this new democratic era? A shining example for Africa or a new twist on corruption, where the rich get richer and the poor simply stand by...
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HNG said...

Your cry is mine as well. There's a version of the Ghana story that's currently being debated in Kenya. Our president, Mwai Kibaki, makes more a year than US President Barack Obama! Parliament voted some time ago to raise Kibaki's salary--a raise he reportedly didn't want. But the raise took effect anyway, and he didn't send it back. Now, the prime minister, Raila Odinga, wants equal pay, claiming he and the president are "equal partners" in the coalition government nudged into shape with the help of your compatriot Kofi Annan following post-election violence in 2008.

A leaders is a reflection of his people? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

So SAD but so very true of our vibrant Africa!

Adjoa said...

So True, but you must remember that the western world is so disparate for a success story on the continent Africa that they only want to talk about the good things in Ghana not the bad. I believe this is a disservice to democracy and to Ghana and its people.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

At least this topic has not passed by the Blog world silently! See my blog for more links to similar posts, all outraged (and mine more silly).

The pale observer said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. Too bad we bloggers can't lobby governments in Africa!!

Damien Moran said...

It certainly is an outrage that he has been offered so much though I doubt when the Chinery-Hesse recommendation is reviewed that it will remain as lucrative. Funny to hear Rawlings condemning it also. Didn't he get or at least was offered 16 cars when he left office?
I'm interested in finding out whether anybody has a link to good info. on Christian religious practices in Ghana, giving some analysis or background info into the hundreds of protestant sects that exist, their foundations, criticisms surrounding them, etc. For example, Redemption Faith Ministries, Assemblies of God, etc. I suspect there is a lot of ex-pat influence and they appear at the surface to be more poverty churches than anything else. But I'm open to being convinced otherwise. Nice blog Holli, if you are in Kumasi let me know if you want to visit our project. Damien

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