By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Some Ghanaians are very funny, indeed. Some rascally reprobate syndicate sets in motion a scheme to fleece the nation, with the full collaborative complicity of our elected and appointed officials, and then it becomes an open season of robbery against our poor taxpayers.

AyeniniPlease, don’t write to fart me some nonsense about me living outside Ghana and being way out of touch with developments on the ground. I studiously follow developments on the ground back home much more than the president of our republic himself. Other than being safely shielded from “Dumsor,” which is a very good thing for me, because I write mostly in the thick of darkness, I am more attuned to events in the motherland, and fatherland, than most Ghanaian citizens that I know.

The other day, for example, somebody wrote an article captioned “There Was No Dumsor Under Nkrumah.” The fact of the matter is that under the Nkrumah-led regime of the so-called Convention People’s Party (CPP), “Dumsor” was decidedly more the norm than the anomaly. I vividly recall from my personal gleanings on Ghanaian history that until 1965, when the Akosombo Dam officially resumed operation, the country was largely powered by thermal electricity plants dotted across the country. It is also common knowledge that President Nkrumah supervised the economically prohibitive construction of Akosombo in order to serve the industrial needs of one super-rich American family. Thus at least 80-percent of the power generated at Akosombo went directly into the operation of VALCO, the Kaiser family-owned aluminum smelter at Tema.

Whatever redounded to the benefit of Ghanaians, the real and true owners of Akosombo, whose tax monies heavily supported its construction, and would continue to overpay off the Kaiser “investors,” came in the form of trickle-down crumbs of low-wage employment opportunities. Well, I never bothered to delve into the contents of the aforementioned article, but this is about all the “enlightenment” that President Nkrumah and his Convention People’s Party bequeathed us. Time to move on well into the future and stop picking at the running sore of the bitter and painful past.

Anyway, the renowned Accra-based lawyer, Mr. Samson Lardy Ayenini, claims that while the ongoing demolition exercise aimed at clearing unauthorized residential and other structures out of the path of our waterways is laudable, nevertheless, it is bound to trigger judgment-debt suits (See “Demolition Exercises Likely To Trigger Judgment Debts – Samson Lardy” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/9/15). Mr. Ayenini’s rationale is that since laws governing the construction of buildings have apparently not been rigidly enforced since anybody can remember, it stands to reason to expect the courts to conclude that such non-enforcement of these laws itself, somehow, legitimizes the illegal construction of the structures clogging our waterways, and which are widely acknowledged to have radically contributed to the June 3-4 fiery flash-flood that ravaged the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area of Central Accra.

Well, the man and his views ought to be respected. Still, there exists that powerful maxim which says, tersely, that “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” so long as it is commonly agreed that these laws and ordinances actually exist. The precedent that Mr. Ayenini cites to shore up his conviction, or rather argument, is that years ago, the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government had to fork up $6 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned currency because the government had embarked on a demolition exercise that literally flattened a privately-owned hotel in the Airport Residential Area of the city. In the news report containing his prediction and contention, Mr. Ayenini does not name names. But as I vividly recall, it was proven in court that, indeed, the demolition of the hotel in question had been politically motivated and in bad faith.

What distinguishes the preceding from what is happening presently is the fact that most of the structures involved in the ongoing demolition exercise are squatter structures which were not erected by the legitimate procurement of building permits. Those with permits have to be proven to have legtimately acquired such permits. More likely, the punishment of those who unscrupulously issued such permits would be the end of such cases. For, as I mentioned earlier on, ignorance of the law is no excuse. The depraved and scandalous regime of judgment debts ought to be imminently and definitively brought to a conclusion.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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