Not A Den Of Thieves, But An Excellent Partner

Kwame Mainu left Ghana in 1994 because he feared reprisals against himself and his teenage daughter, Akosua, from members of a Kumasi-based drugs cartel he had helped to incriminate, and who were being released from prison early, after serving only part of their sentences. He was hoping for an academic post at Warwick University in England on a partnership programme with the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) in Kumasi. Facing the appointments board, he answered questions about his career with the TCC and the GRID Project in Tema. Then, after being asked about his plans for further research and his reasons for leaving Ghana, the chairman thanked him for being so frank and turned to his colleagues, ‘Do you have any more questions, Lady and Gentlemen?’

‘We have heard about a drugs cartel in Kumasi and there are rumours of corruption and nepotism at GRID,’ said one professor whom Kwame did not know, ‘Can Mr Mainu comment on the integrity of the people at the TCC? We’re not twinned with a den of thieves are we?’ The chairman frowned and asked Kwame to ignore the last remark.’

‘I must emphasise that the TCC is a quite exceptional organisation,’ said Kwame, trying to subdue his anger and follow the chairman’s advice. ‘In Ghana, many professionals join an organisation to gain a few years’ experience and then move on, often overseas. At the TCC, however, people find the work so interesting that they stay on indefinitely. Both the director and deputy director have served for more than twenty years, and several other senior members have been at post for more than ten years. The team in Kumasi not only maintained their local work programme but recently implemented a three-year project in Malawi for the World Bank, on a contract won in open international competition.’

‘As for integrity,’ Kwame continued, ‘several of the senior people have gained international recognition for publications in Europe and the USA and short assignments for UN agencies, yet they have stayed based in Ghana and accepted the deprivation that that entails. They suffer the ridicule of those who ran away for driving an old car and not having built a house, but thousands of poor men and women sing their praises for having provided them with their livelihoods.’

The chairman turned to his outspoken colleague, ‘Well, that answers your question, Professor Thomas. We must be grateful that Mr Mainu has chosen to serve as an engineer when he could so easily have become a politician or a lawyer.’

When later Kwame met his friend Professor Tom Arthur, he was told, ‘You impressed them all, even Prof Thomas.’

‘Well he made me angry, asking if the TCC was a den of thieves.’

‘They told me you answered with passion! I would have expected nothing less.’

‘I hope I didn’t say too much.’

‘Not at all; the chairman said that if you were typical of the TCC people, we had found ourselves excellent partners.’

Source by John Powell

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