Six things we learned on Newsfile: ‘Ghana is under elite capture’ – Prof Bokpin
Influential news analysis show Newsfile on JoyNews discussed two main issues Saturday. The scandalous revelations on GETFund in which cronies benefited from huge scholarships designed for the needy but brilliant Ghana and also the never-going-away issue of the fight against illegal mining.
As usual, theghanareport.com brings you six things we learned;
- Newsfile panelists go after Auditor-General
Look away Daniel Domelevo!, there is no praise for you on Newsfile today. All the panelists except NDC MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, believe the Auditor-General should take the blame for publishing names of persons who say they never got any GETFund scholarships as claimed in the audit report. They insisted that he should have checked each of the 3,112 beneficiaries to find out if indeed they got the funding. Alexander Afenyo Markin was the most vociferous critic of an Auditor-General who was appointed into office by the political rival of the NPP, John Mahama.
He backed the position of NPP MP and Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko who has blamed the A-G for the gaffe. The deputy minister is one of four persons who say they never got any funding from GETFund. One of these persons has written to the GETFund demanding an explanation. But the deputy minister wants to take his fight to the A-G who has said it got all its information from GETFund and cannot be held liable for the error.
- Martin Kpebu must be worried.
There were four panelists on the show. Only Prof. Godfred Bokpin was angry at the GETFund scandal. And this should be worrying especially for human rights lawyer Martin Kpedu because the two others who were not angry were politicians – NPP MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo Markin; and Tamale North NDC MP, Alhassan Suhuyini.
Martin Kpebu must be worried because if he is not as angry as the professor of economics then he flirts dangerously with the group of privileges politicians. He was more interested in pointing out in law that the sharing of scholarships to politically connected persons was lawful. Prof. Bopkin was more interested in pointing out that it was unconscionable and that good morals build a nation far better than good laws.
- “There is elite capture in this country” – Prof. Godfred Bokpin
The University of Ghana professor pointed out brilliantly that “there is elite capture in this country” and pointed out that this is a form of corruption. He explained that to mean, the good of governance that should go to the ordinary is going to the privileged few. He said at a certain level, the political class, the ‘respected’ members of high society and religious leaders “gel” to appropriate the benefits of development whiles the ordinary suffer.
He said people are very frustrated with Ghanaian leaders and warned that “the day there is trouble, they will not forgive. ” A panelist mentioned the possibility of an ‘Arab Spring’ in Ghana.
- GETFund has been building universities but they are not in Ghana
Prof. Godfred Bopkin stressed that paying dollar-denominated fees for Ghanaian officials and students to study abroad helps to build universities and faculties abroad while local universities struggle for much-needed funds. In the GETFund scandal, it was revealed that at least 80% of the scholarships and sponsorships were for training and academic programmes abroad.
It means more money to help universities in the UK and the US to improve their facilities and programmes. There must also be some worry over the revelations made by Effutu MP, Alexander Afenyo Markin, who noted that foreign institutions swarm the country with invitations to public officials to apply for their foreign-currency-denominated training programmes.
- Afenyo Markin is not afraid of social media bashing
NPP MP for Effutu constituency in the Central Region Afenyo Markins is not afraid to go against the public grain on this GETFund matter. He strongly defended MPs and public officials traveling for expensive conferences abroad, He explained that whenever parliament rues out of funds, the Speaker appeals to other institutions to support MPs on educational programmes abroad.
He warned persistent critics of politicians that “if we crash the political class there will be nothing left for our democracy.”
- Killing soldiers is not success if you lose the war
Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini has described the government’s fight against illegal mining as a failure. He was shown some data on the fight pointing to high levels of deportation of foreigners engaged in the act, the destruction of illegal mining equipment, training of youths in apprenticeships, etc.
But he rebutted that surely in a war, soldiers will kill their enemy combatants. But if they lose the war, they cannot be seen patting their backs for a good job done. For him, the evidence is the state of water bodies and they are creamy look is a grim fact of failure.