The Gold Coast Fiasco!

“Shame is like everything else; live with it for long enough and it becomes part of the furniture” — Salman Rushdie.

It is an undeniable fact that our motherland was once referred to as Gold Coast. She earned the name because of the abundant gold buried in her belly. Though she became known as Ghana after independence on March 6, 1957, many still refer to her as Gold Coast.

Interestingly, it is not the only land referred to as Gold Coast. There is a region in Australia which responds to that name. Though not famed for having gold reserves, it still proudly responds to the name Gold Coast.

Frankly, the Commonwealth Games was one sporting event that had never attracted my attention. But the motto by the Ghana Olympics Committee (GOC), “From Gold Coast to Gold Coast for gold,” made the difference this time. I religiously monitored the progress of the athletes and the preparations in general on Asempa FM’s morning sports show. With the GOC P.R.O., Charles Osei Asibey, on that platform, there was no better platform to monitor the preparations for the Commonwealth Games than Asempa.

Everything seemed to be going as planned until an Australian news outfit broke the news of our cycling contingent literally begging for cycling parts and racing bicycles. But the Deputy Sports Minister, Hon Pius Enam Hadzide, who was the Chairman of the International Games Committee, quickly allayed our fears with the explanation that it was an exaggerated report.

That was when some of us started getting worried. Was the Australian news outfit’s report a sign of bad things to come? Could it be another sporting fiasco in the offing? Could it be a sign of the country about to advertise the messy faecal matter stashed in her anus? These and more were the questions that kept on ringing in my mind.

Fortunately, we did not hear any negative news from Australia, so we all thought all was going to be well. I kept on telling myself the worst was over.

How wrong I was! The worst was yet to come. And when it came, it hit the nation like a tsunami.

Trust me when I say I did not believe my ears when I first heard the story. How could over fifty ‘fake journalists’ be taken to a single sporting event? I thought it was a prank until I heard recorded stories from the horse’s own mouth.

Just like Koku Anyidoho, I screamed, “Heads must roll.” Listening to the numerous discussions on radio later, it became obvious that many sports pundits totally agreed with me. Many sports pundits impressed on the President to crack the whip.

The President heeded the call of his compatriots. Unlike President Ogwanfunu who shielded the culprits in the Brazil 2014 fiasco, President Nana Dee quickly suspended the Deputy Sports Minister and the Acting Director-General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robert Sarfo Mensah. The GOC President, Ben Nunoo-Mensah, the Board Chair of the NSA, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang and the Chef-de Maison for the Commonwealth games, Mohammed Sahnoon, have also been recalled from the games village to assist in investigations.

Of course, that should not be the end of the story. But the President must be commended for the swift action. His action has proven beyond doubt that nothing would be swept under the carpet. He has also proven that he would crack the whip, and damn the consequences.

As usual, the Minority is not satisfied. They are calling for a commission of enquiry or a bi-partisan parliamentary committee to investigate the visa-racketeering scandal. Their partisan stance makes it difficult for them to believe in the investigations by the police CID.

Laughable, isn’t it? Why use a commission of enquiry if the culprits would eventually go scot-free? Also, why use a bi-partisan committee that would end up with majority and minority reports?

I’m, indeed, excited that the incorruptible Nana Dee has decided to use the CID to investigate the criminality. The decision has spared our eyes the concern of watching pure criminals shedding crocodile tears on national television. It has also saved the country precious cowries that otherwise would have been wasted on a commission of enquiry.

For sure, I would have preferred that the Gold Coast fiasco never happened. But I’m happy I voted for change in the December 7, 2016 polls. At least, I’ve so far seen a great change in the way the current government is handling the fiasco. It gives me hope that the culprits would eventually dance to the tune they so requested.

It is important that the culprits must not be allowed to go scot-free. Punishing them will serve as a deterrent to others. Clearly, lack of political will to crack the whip on previous occasions could be blamed for the current scandal.

As for President Nana Dee, he is too experienced in the game for me to remind him that those of us shouting ‘hallelujah’ today, would be the same to shout ‘crucify him’ when things go wrong.

See you next week for another interesting konkonsaDeo volente!