Ghana’s democracy sustained by the active roles of CSOs – Bombande on attacks

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Former Executive Director of the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP) Mr Emmanuel Bombande has said that the impact of civil society organizations on Ghana’s democracy should not be underestimated.

 The Senior UN Mediation Advisers said the 4th Republican dispensation has been sustained and anchored around the active roles played by the CSOs.

“Make no mistake! Ghana’s democracy under the 4th Republic is sustained, anchored around the active roles of CSOs.

“Any threat, however veiled, towards the work and roles of CSOs is ill informed, disingenuous and lacking in credibility,” he said in a tweet.

His comments come in the wake of the criticism against some CSO activists who are against the deal between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Aker Energy.

The CSOs held a meeting over the deal to have a discussion after they had rubbished the GNPC’s reasoning for entering into the deal.

They were then described in headline news in a section of pro-government media in Ghana as anti-Ghana following their objection.

The Ghana National Petroleum Authority ( GNPC) through its Exploration and Production Company Limited (GNPC Explorco) intends to buy 37% stake in Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited and 70% stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited.

To that end, Energy Minister Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh has requested parliament to make an approval that will enable the GNPC to purchase stakes in oil blocks of Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum.

This transaction has divided the front of Civil society Organisations in Ghana with some saying the deal is bad whereas others are for it.

Executive Director of the Third World Network (TWN), Dr Yao Graham who was part of those described as anti-Ghana rejected that description.

Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday August 21 with host Dzifa Bampoh, Dr Graham said took a strong exception to the description of the CSOs as anti-Ghana.

“Somebody leaked our meeting. That person must have been put up to it because we were deemed to be critics of the government,” he said.

He added “An article with the same headline was splashed across pro-government publications claiming that we were engaged in an anti-Ghana exercise. Anti-Ghana? Really?  That the ruling government become the country and the rest of us which are not part of it not part of the country? Is speaking your mind an act of treason?  These are the bigger issues.”

The Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Professor H Kwasi Prempeh although he was not part of the meeting, rejected the characterization of his colleagues as anti-Ghana.

In a Facebook post, Prof Prempeh said “Anti-Ghana paaa? Are you sure this is not the pot calling the kettle black? Despite using the usual ways and means to have their way, they do not want others to have their say. Such a totalitarian mindset. You aren’t satisfied that this sweetheart deal has gone through with little or no real scrutiny or opposition; now you have to go further to tarnish and malign those who sought to ask critical questions about this transaction. And as usual, “economic nationalism” is the convenient smokescreen.

“Just because it is GNPC that is acquiring the interests does not necessarily make it a good or smart deal for Ghana. To the contrary, it is precisely because it is GNPC that’s buying, and with borrowed money in a non-market transaction, that the deal deserves greater scrutiny in the national interest, not the usual perfunctory treatment by Parliament.

“It is not as though we are ignorant of the record of our state-owned enterprises in managing state assets! We also have the record of other NOCs on the continent, including Nigeria and Angola.

“Why don’t they let the private foreign owner try raising through a private placement on the capital markets well over $1 billion in these COVID times for the interests he seeks to offload and see how much interest that gets from investors who must risk their own, not other people’s money. And when some informed citizens dare to raise questions about the deal, anti-Ghana is what the compradors tag them. You want no questions asked, eh? You people just have it too easy in this town.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana