‘Moneycracy’ in Ghana: the Nima experience

maazi Okoro

My affinity for Citi breakfast show is so strong and lies deep in the very cistern of my heart. This is not because my first radio interview was by Citi FM. When I was in the senior high school (SHS), there was this marathon NAGRAT strike action which saw a Citi FM journalist storm our campus to interview students on the devastating effects of the strike action.

That was when I had my first radio interview. This affinity is certainly not also because of the rendezvous I had with Bernard Avle in 2008. In one of our Dream Team sessions at AVERT Youth Foundation, a community-based youth-led organization in Nima-Maamobi, we hosted Bernard Avle and Mr. Daniel Kokrokoo of Dafoko Concepts and it was absolutely inspirational.

Dream Team was a ten-year motivational programme rolled out by the then President of the organization, Mahmoud Jajah, to make members connect with their mentors and in the process rise up to their desired goals in life. I started following the Citi Breakfast show religiously since then.

However, my affinity for this programme is due to the topics the team decides to discuss, which strike chords in the ordinary Ghanaian’s life devoid of our parochial, nauseating and suffocating partisan politics. What entices me more is their choice of music which is mostly apt and right for the topic under discussion.

My observation was captured by Kwame Gyan, the Corporate Relations Manager of Airtel Ghana. On June 17, 2015 exactly at 8:30 am he updated his status on Facebook, “Citi FM has the best DJ on morning radio. All the music they play is apt to whatever discussion they engage in”. Apt!

It so happened that on Wednesday, 8th July, 2015, the Citi breakfast show led the discussion on how money played a very cardinal factor in the just-ended Talensi by-election which saw B.T.Baba emerge as the legislator to finish the unfinished business of Robert Mosore, who had to vacate the post due to his enskinment as a paramount chief.

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This, coupled with the most recent New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries, have revealed how the winning of elections has has become an auction sale which sees the highest bidder grab the position on offer. This really struck a chord with me as usual.

As I stated in previous articles, I am a Nima boy and a proud one for that matter. My interest in politics started in the 1996 elections when our land lady, a staunch National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporter, organized a group of like-minded people led by a brass band to parade the streets of Nima singing and chanting party songs.

One person I vividly remember partaking in it is the former goalkeeper of Tudu Mighty Jets, Mr. Omega David. As young as we were, we joined the fray in a state of heightened jollity and wild ecstatic jamboree.

After SHS, I started going for the weekly general meetings of the NDC at the Dunia Cinema, contributing in discussions and deliberations. I subsequently got the position of Youth Organizer at the Frankies Annex A, branch of the constituency, which made me eligible to vote in the primaries to choose who became the 2012 Parliamentary candidate for NDC in the then East-Ayawaso Constituency which comprised six electoral areas.

In late 2011, a public forum was organized for Mustapha Ahmed (now Minister for Youth and Sports), the parliamentary representative of the constituency since the year 2000, to highlight his achievements since he took charge. A quest which ended up with him trying to pull the wool over our eyes because there was virtually nothing to show for his stewardship save the increase in his bootlickers and sycophants.

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As a young man who had started reading the Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, I could not stand the injustice. While praise singers were heaping praises on him, I told him point blank in open air when I was given the microphone that he had “failed us woefully,” a statement that did not go well with his courtiers and supporters, thereby putting the gathering into a state of confusion. My name was mysteriously missing from the delegates list since then.

His response that day bore it all. He responded that delegates would decide whether he had failed us woefully or not. He boldly stated that because he had other plans. Few weeks after that, fresh laptops and copies of the Holy Quran were given to each of the over one hundred Youth Organizers. As if that was not enough, on the eve of the election, chairmen of branches took 100 dollars with super-designed wrist watches. Women organizers took home expensive cloths with Hundred Ghana cedis each.

Secretaries also took 100 dollars each. The other candidate who showed strength in that contest was Nasser Mahama Toure (Mac Naza), currently the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso East constituency. He gave each delegate a hundred Ghana cedis and a brand new Nokia phone. The number of delegates was more than four hundred judging by the outcome of the elections.

One funny, yet interesting story, I will never forget is of a woman, Hajia Hadiza, who fought everyone just because she did not want the position of women Organizer in 2012 since a woman organizer was not eligible to vote in the 2008 primaries.

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In 2012, women organizers were made delegates. She caused a whole lot of confusion, saying that she was cheated. She ranted, raged, cursed and cried that the executives had deliberately excluded her from getting the goodies shared to delegates.

This is how high party functionaries view primaries. They call it “cocoa season”. They claim the elected officers never do anything worthy when mandated, therefore that’s the time to take their share.

In all of this, I believe the time has come for us to set a new agenda in our political affairs. We end up having square pegs in round holes.

President Kufuor labels this ‘monecracy’ as a crime. It is a crime of gargantuan proportion. It leads us to a path of social injustice. It leads to dereliction of duty and, in the end, gross inefficiencies in the system.

Trouble number six in Chinua Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria is “Social Injustice and the Cult of Mediocrity”. He wrote under that caption, “The greatest sufferer is the nation itself which has to contain the legitimate grievance of a wronged citizen; accommodate the incompetence of a favored citizen and more important and of a greater scope, endure a general decline of morale and subversion of efficiency caused by an erratic system of performance and reward. Social injustice is, therefore, not only a matter of morality but also of sheer efficiency and effectiveness.”

The writer, Inusah Mohammed, is a National Service Person with the Graphic Communications Group Limited.

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