GREDA’S Tentativeness Is Very Ghanaian!

Kwame Okoampa Ahoofe Jr. Ph.D.

Unlike Danquah Institute (DI) chief Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, I was not the least bit surprised, much less shocked, by the reported backtracking of the Ghana Real Estate Developers’ Association (GREDA) on its initial protest of the NDC-STX $ 10 billion scam, purportedly aimed at providing affordable housing to middle- and low-income Ghanaian citizens. I wasn’t surprised because in the published statement released by GREDA and signed by its president, Dr. Alex Tweneboah, the national realtors’ organization emphatically let on its rather capricious tentativeness towards the entire saga.

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In other words while, indeed, GREDA firmly agrees with the think-tank likes of the Danquah Institute and IMANI, to name just a few, as well as other thoughtful and well-meaning individuals, Dr. Tweneboah makes it patently clear in his press release that absent STX, GREDA would be left absolutely clueless in the negotiations process. What the preceding implies is that GREDA’s overriding concern has more to do with the fact that the association had not initially been invited as a junior partner to STX by the government.

On the latter score, this is what I critically observed in an article captioned “NDC-STX and the 10-Billion-Dollar Question” (See MyJoyOnline.com 7/2/10). Dear reader, just take a reading here, as it were: “I am also heartened by the frontal approach adopted by the Ghana Real Estate Developers’ Association (GREDA), although the move appears to be more predicated on outright desperation than anything else, in view of the almost apologetically plaintive tenor of its suit/petition before the Mills-Mahama government. In other words, why would GREDA president Dr. Alex Tweneboah plead for a “sit-down” with the government in order to “jointly consider a [Korean-inclusive] alternative to the STX deal, almost as if the anti-local development NDC government was justified, in the first instance, in single-mindedly forging its scandalous deal with the Koreans? Was the government neither aware of the presumable primacy of GREDA to the development of Ghana’s housing market and industry nor the indispensability of local architects and artisans in the development of our country?”

To be certain, had he taken a critical look at that curiously tentative portion of Dr. Tweneboah’s press release, the Danquah Institute chief would not have had to wastefully expend his precious time and energy showing up at Parliament House in support of an agenda and a cause of which the very leaders of GREDA themselves did not seem to be quite certain and/or enthusiastic about. In other words, while the leaders of prestigious and cutting-edge think tanks like the Danquah Institute and IMANI may unreservedly and morally foreground the interest of Ghana in both their institutional and ideological purviews, the same may not be necessarily said of profit-making organizations like GREDA.

And so were I to reach beyond the realm of the purely rhetorical into the practical, as it were, to Mr. Otchere-Darko’s question of: “What koraa [or after all] is wrong with us?” I would poignantly and tersely respond: “My brother, there is absolutely nothing wrong with cold-calculating and self-serving entrepreneurial operatives like Dr. Tweneboah! It is all just a matter of the proverbial profit-and-loss margin, or the balance sheet. In sum, patriotism is something that only the airy-fairy likes of the Danquah Institute and IMANI deem to be sound and tangible.

And so yes, let none be mistaken into innocently presuming that, somehow, the Tweneboah Group of Cutthroat Realtors contracted the psychologically and morally stultifying canker of abject diffidence or even self-annihilation only after the GREDA executives had been savagely bombarded with some mind-addling radiation waves in the basement of the Ghanaian parliament.

The preceding disaster notwithstanding, it is the collective destiny of the country that is at stake here; and on the latter score, there can be no temporizing of the commonweal. For, needless to say, the apparently cynical turnaround stance taken by GREDA can only lead to national suicide. Still, what is at once both heartening and enlightening is the fact that, at long last, Ghanaians have also been able to establish such viable, enviable and vigilant brain-trusts as the Danquah Institute and IMANI. Needless to say, this ought to have been our foremost national priority and security agenda since 1957. Still, that old maxim of “Better late than never” couldn’t be even more relevant here.

Even so, the overriding significance here is the fact that henceforth no government in Ghana can attempt to both cynically and criminally railroad the people and not get called to order, pronto! In other words, both the Atta-Mills and all future governments are on signal notice: Better shape up or ship out!

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and an award-winning poet and essayist.

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.

The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of AfricaNewsAnalysis.