Tuesday, 19 October 2010

What is the NDC all about?

The question on the minds on many Ghanaians including myself is “What is the NDC all about?” You have to feel sorry for the NDC. You really have to because you simply cannot envision the direction NDC is taking Ghana. Or, maybe you can. It has been common knowledge within the opposition and the private sector that the NDC had no ‘better Ghana’ agenda as they promised Ghanaians. It seems to me that the public sector is finally gaining this knowledge.

For as long as I have known the NDC, it has always held itself out as the social democratic party in Ghana. In fact, on the international stage, the NDC is a nominal member (because they offer no socio-economic solutions that can be placed on the American and European political spectrum) of Socialist International. Since the NDC brands itself as a social democratic party, it will be beneficial to readers to understand what social democracy is all about.

Social democracy is a political ideology of the centre-left on the classic political spectrum. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of a welfare state, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure workers' rights.

Therefore, the NDC as ‘the’ social democratic party in Ghana will naturally be expected to implement practical democratic policies which should obviously promote a welfare state and create an economic democracy as a means to secure workers’ rights. Ask any Ghanaian whether the NDC is living up to its ideology or whether the NDC is implementing practical modern social democratic policies and the answer you will receive will be a resounding NO!

I will limit my examples to very recent events which demonstrate that the NDC is not implementing practical modern social democratic policies. I must stress that the question as to whether the NDC is implementing any policy is not what is being discussed. The NDC has failed as a social democratic party supposed to secure workers’ rights.

At the time of typing this post, university and polytechnic lecturers were on strike; students of the various polytechnics were demonstrating in Accra urging the government to review the salaries and allowances of their lecturers; senior high schools were rejecting first year students because preparation had not be made towards an intake this year; first year students who had been admitted at senior high schools across the country were facing accommodation problems as no preparation had been made by the government in light of the changes in the length of senior high school education; workers across the public sector including nurses were threatening to go on strike; and high numbers of unemployment across the country. These are a few of the ‘happening now’ examples of how the NDC has failed and is failing Ghanaians as a social democratic party supposed to promote a welfare state and secure workers’ rights.

If workers are striking during an NDC administration then something is fundamentally wrong with the ideology of the party and within the structures of the party. There is a saying – if you don’t know where you are coming from, how will you know where you are going. I have no idea why the NDC chose to be a social democratic party. Maybe they simply thought ‘we will be the opposite of the NPP’. In any event, the least they can do is fulfill their electoral promises to Ghanaians.

My advice to the NDC is that they should address issues surrounding welfare and workers rights well ahead of a strike. Strikes are strategic coup d'├ętats for social democratic parties.

Written and Edited by:

Kow A. Essuman Esq.

LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)

Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn)

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)

All comments, corrections and contributions should be sent to kaessuman@yahoo.com.

This post is based on the thoughts, observations and opinions of Kow A. Essuman Esq. Any attempt to reproduce all or any part of this article without the express permission of the above named person shall be an infringement of intellectual property laws; following which the author reserves the right to commence an action/suit against any such person(s) or body for breach of copyright and/or any other action/suit the author sees fit.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Liverpool Saga

I chose not to blog about this issue but changed my mind when I realised not only was it an interesting topic from a sporting angle but also, it raises a lot of legal issues that lawyers, especially international lawyers, should take notice of. Also, most importantly, I believe patrons of my blog will find it interesting.

What makes this very interesting is the fact that it involves American owners (Hicks and Gillett) of a British entity (Liverpool) who sought an injunction in a different jurisdiction (Texas) to prevent a sale from taking place between an entity (Liverpool) based in England and an entity (NESV) based in Massachusetts.

Hicks and Gillett purchased Liverpool in 2007. Earlier this year they decided to put Liverpool up for sale and therefore brought in Martin Broughton to chair the board and lead the sale. A sale was necessary because of the debt (GBP237 million) owed to RBS by Liverpool. Hicks and Gillett initially wanted GBP600 million for Liverpool. However, NESV offered GBP300 million. It is estimated that Hicks and Gillett lost about GBP143 million as a result of this transaction.
Besides NESV there was a consortium of Asia investors who put in a bid higher for Liverpool. Realising how murky the situation was going to be coupled with their chances to persuade the board to sell Liverpool to them, they withdrew their bid leaving NESV as the only potential buyer.
It was either NESV or administration i.e. Liverpool would have been placed in administration to in order to pay off the debt owed to RBS. Hicks and Gillett sought an injunction to prevent the sale to NESV from taking place. The injunction also sought damages of over $1 billion.
The High Court in England and Wales struck out the injunction stating that it had no effect in England and Wales and instructed Hicks and Gillett to withdraw their injunction from the court in Texas or be held in contempt of court – clear-cut example of a conflict of laws issue.
What readers should think about is why Hicks and Gillett decided to seek an injunction in Texas as opposed to England and Wales. The only reason why Texas had an interest in the case was because Hicks and Gillett resided there. Should that be enough to issue an injunction to prevent a sale in England and Wales?
I think not and so did the High Court judge who ruled that the injunction had no effect in English courts. Hicks and Gillett may be right about the epic swindle by RBS and Liverpool’s board – why did they not file the injunction in the High Court of England and Wales?
There is a lot to think about regarding this saga but I am particularly glad that Liverpool has a new owner who is more than capable of turning the football club around. Surely not to win the Premier League any time soon. Ha-ha.