Being rational in Ghana is difficult. Most things do not lend themselves to rational analysis. Professor Raymond Atuguba’s public lecture delivered at Erata Hotel on February 28, 2022, is a perfect example of the many absurdities in Ghana for which rational analysis always fail.

It makes no rational sense for a professor of law to say “We do not want a coup in this country. Yet I fear that if we do not act quickly, we may have one in our hands very soon. And it is senseless to justify an imminent coup on the basis of a faltering economy. Our economy has faltered before. No one asked for a coup. I will come to this in a moment.

The only way to make sense of Atuguba’s nonsense of an impending coup because of the current economic challenges is through a partisan political lens. In the last 65 years of independence our politics has been an exclusionary one. It has only gotten worse in the 4th Republic. The group or party that forms government gains everything and those that loses power lose everything they took for granted while in government. It has been described as the winner takes all politics.

This results in a situation where Ghana belongs to those who win elections or form government and those that associate with them. Those who lose elections and get kicked out of government only see RED. In opposition, Ghana is abominable, nothing works, and the future is a horrible and dreadful one. They manage to convince the nearly half of the population that is associated with them that Ghana has no future. This is Professor Atuguba’s situation. At the public lecture he was introduced as the Dean of the University of Ghana School of Law. This, according to him makes it difficult to speak the “naked truth”. But he failed to remind his audience that he was once the Executive Secretary to President John Mahama. He was not just a dean but also a politician. And we know what politicians do and say while in government and what they do and say in opposition.

The Dean of the UG School of Law makes the most fallacious statement that “No one speaks the truth” in Ghana. This is most unfortunate. But it is understandable. In the partisan political environment, we have created for ourselves there are many “truths”. What is true for Atuguba and his political associates is a horrible lie for their adversaries. The reverse is true. Having postulated that “we all live a lie”. Professor Atuguba exonerated himself and proceeded with his “truth” about Ghana. All hear him, Atuguba, the political professor!

I agree with Professor Atuguba about the state of the Ghanaian economy. There are monumental challenges. It is not novel to recount the challenges, no additional knowledge is gained to do that. As Einstein once said, “any fool can know, the point is to understand”. A proper understanding is important, not a jaundiced one laced with partisan politics.

On page 16 of your lecture, you tell Ghanaians that “we must not accept the lie that the current economic crisis is due to COVID. We hear you. But in your conclusion, you said among other things that “We are living in a really fucked up world today. A third world war is imminent over Ukraine, of all places. A COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world”. I guess this “fucked up world” is minus Ghana? And I hope you and your political associates can elevate your minds from “knowing” that a third world beckons to understanding that the prospect of that war alone partly explains the rising fuel price.

Professor Atuguba, the rising fuel price is not a Ghana problem. As you try to adjust from “knowing” to “understanding” please read the following article: Rising fuel costs are crippling Africa’s economies . You will see that in South Africa fuel prices had risen by 40.5% in the last one year. In Burkina Faso fuel prices rose by 8% this year. The Kenyan government had raised taxes on household goods such as cooking gas, fuel, and food by 14%. And Nigeria with historically low fuel prices is in its fourth week of severe fuel shortages.

Prof, your conclusion that “Today, things are 10 times worse” than they were in 2014 is debatable. It does also underscore your partisan and twisted understanding of reality. The idea that you and political apparatchiks are right and that all the groups that you accuse of being loudly silent today are wrongly most absurd and arrogant. Please accept that while we all know what is happening some have better understanding and appreciation that goes beyond your partisan narratives.

Prof. Atuguba, in 2014, fuel prices were lower than they are today but do not forget that fuel shortages were regular occurrences in 2014. In June 2014, the country was hit by severe fuel shortage because your government was owing the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) GHC1.8 billion. And in October 2014, the country experienced a debilitating gas shortage (Graphic online, October 6, 2014). In December 2012 the country under your darling President John Mahama, was hit by an acute fuel shortage that lasted for several weeks. Today, petroleum and gas are available even if they are expensive.

Prof. Atuguba, remember that for much of 2014, the country was in the grip of the dumsor. Businesses were collapsing at an unprecedented rate. Welders could not get electricity to their welding. The cold store operators looked on while their products (fish and meat rot) wiping out their capital. The mechanics could not do their repair works. And nighttime was a nightmare for Ghanaians. The country lost about 2% of its GDP in 2014 alone to DUMSOR. That translates into a loss of USD680 million (ISSER, 2015). Today, the lights are for most Ghanaians throughout the day. It costs government a fortune for this.

Prof. Atuguba, I hope you do remember that in 2014, your government presided over what the World Health Organisation has described as the deadliest cholera outbreak in Ghana’s history. In 2014 through to early 2015, 28,922 cholera cases were recorded in Ghana of which 243 sadly died across the country.

Prof Atuguba, by this time in 2014, you guys in government had canceled the teacher and nursing training allowances. As you may know, those allowances have been restored. And if you remember, you guys – two beneficiaries of the Northern Scholarship – were struggling to pay feeding grants. Threats to close the schools were rampant. Today, Ghanaians facing difficulties understand that they do not have to pay for school fees because of the introduction free senior high school. Yes, FSHS has lots of problems, some of which emanates from the economic difficulties we currently have. But it offers parents enormous financial relieve. The silence of such parents ought not to be described as hypocrites.

Prof. Atuguba, in this period 2013-2017 when you and darling Mahama were in charge of the affairs of this country, really Ghanaians suffered. According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS, 2019), for the period 2013-2017, more than half a million Ghanaians became poor. The first time since 1992, that the absolute number of the poor in Ghana have increased. These were men and women of ruined fortunes. They neither called for coups nor revolutions.

Prof. Atuguba, reflective Ghanaians continue to ask what had happened to cause all these miseries? What had happened? Not much adversity had befallen our dear country during your time as the Executive Secretary to the President for all these hardships. If anything, you had inherited an oil economy with fresh injection of petrodollars. Before you resigned in 2014 or there about the country had received more than USD2 billion oil money. Those monies were largely been dissipated. You may remember that in 2012, guys allocated USD165 million of the oil money to the office of the President for infrastructure development. Will you be honest enough to tell Ghanaians which infrastructure does the office the President directly undertakes? You and darling President taxed everything there is to be taxed including condoms and kayayeis.

Prof. Atuguba, in 2022, we like you know that the economic situation is bad and worsening. We know the debt level is high and rising. We know that inflation and the general cost of leaving are rising above the pockets of the ordinary Ghanaian. We even know that the political misbaviour that prevailed during your days at the Flagstaff House has not abated. But we, unlike you accept that in the 65 years of Ghana’s nationhood no event has had the most cataclysmic impact on Ghana like the COVID-19 pandemic. Shutting down Accra and Kumasi for three weeks had never happened in our history. Closing the Kotoka International Airport for nearly a year is unprecedented. The land borders remain closed. Mandating hotels to close and banning conferences and workshops have never happened before. Closing the schools and universities for a year and paying teachers/lecturers is a big deal with precedent in our history.

Prof. Atuguba, in 2014 the Ghanaian economy was as challenged as it is today. For you in 2014, the time was not ripe for a coup. It was only ripe for Atuguba to quietly exit the Flagstaff House into the obscurity of a moribund academia. We definitely, want to hear our “intellectuals” speak on national issues. But they must not disturb ours re-echoising the messages from Abronye and Sammy Gyamfi!

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