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GHANA@50 PROBE: A shamefully slow start

From the circus we were treated to on the first day of the public hearings of the commission probing the utter waste we called Ghana@50, it appears that it might take another 50 years for the panel to finish its work. I would be long dead and gone by then.

Watching the proceedings at the commission on TV was as embarrassing as the Ghana@50 celebrations were outrageous. Half of the day’s work – beamed live on TV – involved the taking of notes in long hand. The chairman of the panel, an appeals court judge, doesn’t seem to have any problem with that.
“Hold on, hold on,” he would say, interrupting the testimony of a witness so he could take down his notes – verbatim.

After writing for about a minute or two, he would beckon the witness to continue with his testimony by saying, “yes”.

This went on and on and on and on... for much of the day. Watching it was tedious. It was boring. And it was ample testimony to the backwardness we are mired in.

This is the 21st century for Christ’s sake. The Ghana@50 probe is an important national assignment being transmitted live on TV for the whole world to see and we choose to embarrass ourselves this way with the silly spectacle of commission members taking notes in long-hand?

Watching the proceedings, I really felt sorry for the managing director of Prudential Bank, Steven Sekyere Abankwa, who spent his whole day before commission, mostly waiting for the commission chairman to finish writing. He’s a businessman. Time for him is a lot of money. I can only imagine the number of appointments he had to cancel after realising that his whole day would be taken up by what could have been an hour’s ‘date’ with the commissioners. I would have been very much annoyed if I were in that man’s shoes.

How much does it cost to buy a recorder (or recorders) replace the tedium of taking notes in longhand? It’s nothing this nation cannot afford. If we spent upwards of 70 million dollars on a useless and pointless party as Ghana@50 we should be able to spend 600 dollars to buy recorders for the commission probing the wastefulness of that endeavour.

I think the commission should suspend its sitting immediately until it has acquired the equipment for recording. It doesn’t cost much. Two desktop computers and a basic software can do the trick. Even I, an amateur as I am, can set up a facility within minutes to enable the commission record it proceedings and help speed up the process. It will save the panel the tiresome task of taking notes in longhand and save us the embarrassment of watching him do so.

Writing in longhand is so 18th century. And I am told it happens in most courts around the country? We could have spent a tenth of the money we wasted on Ghana@50 to equip our courts with simple recording gadgets to speed up the administration of justice. As Kwadwo Mpiani and Charles Wereko-Brobbey complain about the commission working at a snail’s pace, I hope they realise their folly. We needn’t have spent 70 million dollars on Ghana@50. The money could have been used on a legacy project – like building modern courtrooks, equipped with recorders and all to help speed up the delivery of justice. And justice they should get! Hopefully, that will happen before I die.

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