Rent Culture 215


Ghana in general is a well balanced society with a good education system and a large middle class. But there is a huge social problem affecting those at the bottom of the ladder, which there appears no will at all among the political class even to acknowledge, let alone tackle, and that is rent.

Ghana’s agricultural production has never collapsed, unlike Nigeria, and the traditional patterns of society in rural areas have not broken down. Modern services, in terms of edication, electrification and clean water, have penetrated rural communities better than in any other African country, though there are still areas of concern, particularly in the North. But the overall good picture means that there has therefore been less extreme urban drift, less shanty town existence, than in most of the developing world, and therefore less urban violence.

But despite all this there is a terrible problem with the rent culture of Accra. The poor all rent housing, rather than own. Demand exceeds supply and landlords invariably demand three, or at the very least two, years’ rent in advance. This is absolutely established as the way the market operates, and for the poor there is no way around it. Three years’ rent is typically over one year’s income, and in consequence the poor are sucked into a permanent life of debt. This applies to the majority of people living in the City. Quite literally, a day never passes in which at least one Ghanaian doesn’t ask me to lend them the money for their rent; yesterday there were four. I help where I can.

This situation was already calamitous but is going to get much worse, as land values are already starting to soar with the coming of the oil industry. I have good friends at the highest levels in all the Ghanaian political parties, but they all seem to have been so indoctrinated with IMF economics that they do not even consider rent controls. Unfortunately the performance of both the NPP and the NDC in building social housing has been very poor. I am forced to the opinion that the plight of the poor is not actually a pressing concern in the minds of the educated classes in Ghana in general.

The fierce party political divisions in Ghana need to be put aside, and an all-party solution on social housing and on rents has to be pursued with vigour, as a primary use for some of Ghana’s oil revenues.


215 thoughts on “Rent Culture

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  • Passerby

    Jon Says: “…I don’t see that it is at all persuasive to people who could otherwise be brought to sympathise more greatly with the Palestinian cause.”
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    Considering the all pervasive; satellite news channels, you tube, and internet blogs, all portraying the plight of Palestinians caught up in a regular and ongoing slow genocide, we can safely assume that those without sympathies for the beleaguered nation of Palestine are in fact none other than the ziofuckwits.
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    The derision directed at these specimens is in fact to convey to these bastards, that despite their gaming the system, and referencing the debate away from their; venal, corrupt, evil, unnatural, and apartheid political dogma, we the people no longer buy into acceptance of the ziofuckwit supremacist convictions.
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    Often what belies a cleverly nuanced debate, is our tacit acceptance of the positions of these evil ziobastards who have no intention of debating, but every intention of educating we the goyem, who these perceive as having fallen through the bubble net of the totally owned and paid for “Media”. However, as more and more people are deciding to push back, hence the whining, and complaining tactics, with a view to suppression of any dissenting voices.
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    Fact that time and again the same bunch of ziofuckwits have gathered together to reaffirm their belief that based on a feeling in their water, I and many others are in fact one and the same characters come back to disrupt the love-in, passed as “debate” here and elsewhere. This could be based on a deliberate attempt in ignoring the fact that more and more of we the people are pushing back, and deriding the imbecilic convictions of the ziofuckwits. Or on the other hand this “denial” could be to portray to the other participants that only a handful; “unreasonable, racist, far right” out to disrupt the “debate” characters can think thus, hence stropping more to become “emboldened” and start to denounce these crazy bastards., in an eloquent fashion that these deserve.
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    The irony of the claims of far right remains in the fact that same ziofuckwitry afflicts the so called “Far Right”, a look at the literature of these, soon yields the sympathies of these to ziofuckwitry. Anders Behring Breivik the poster boy of the Far Right is also a ziofuckwit, as per his manifesto. Less said about EDL (english defence league), its sponsor, and its demonstrations in favour of the Ahava Shop in London (ziofuckwit cosmetics supplies retailer).
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    So far as the BBC goes, the only reason I ever catch a glimpse of this biased merchants of crap, is to reaffirm their corrupt and one-sided stance, alas that is the only value for money in the license fee that I pay, is left for me. I have stopped watching BBC for years now. I would rather watch Simpson cartoons to stay in touch with actualities. However you have rightly highlighted that not many people would understand ZBC, then perhaps we ought to refer to zioBBC in the future.
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    PS. Merry Christmas and may you and yours be blessed with warmth, happiness and contentment at these uncertain times.

  • nuid

    “Fact that time and again the same bunch of ziofuckwits have gathered together to reaffirm their belief that based on a feeling in their water, I and many others are in fact one and the same characters come back to disrupt the love-in, passed as “debate” here ..”
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    I have never bothered to debate you. I wouldn’t demean myself. But if you imagine I’m a Zionist, you have not paid any attention to the archives, nor even glanced at what I have posted since you arrived here. You’re simply ranting in ignorance.
    I defend Angry because he deserves to be defended on certain issues. But he and I disagree on 9/11, and on the murder of David Kelly, among other things. So get a grip and quit bellyaching from your hobby horse.
    PS. Merry Christmas
    PPS. I’m in Ireland. Angry is in Japan. FYI.

  • Jon

    @Passerby – intriguing piece! And warmest greetings of the season to you.
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    Your basic premise is that all defence of Israel is done in a “knowingly wrong” way. I think this is a mischaracterisation: people who are welded to pro-Israel and/or Zionist positions often do so out of religious views, or have been propagandised by security concerns, and genuinely believe they are doing right. I should think even spokespeople like Mark Regev honestly believe their own bullshit, or come around to do so (in his case though, I should think the money helped). Now, I am not intending to give Zionism an inch here; just pointing out that *some* support for it is heartfelt (though I think we’re agreed, desperately wrong and with inhuman ramifications).
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    In a similar way, the mass media unconsciously bends its output to the views of the powers that be. Hence my view that the BBC mostly doesn’t have a deliberate Zionist agenda, but it does end up consistently supporting Israel more than Palestine, and hence Zionist violence gets more support than Palestinian violence (it is “our” violence against “theirs”). The psychological reasons for this process are too numerous to expand on fully here, but I think Chomsky/Herman’s Propaganda Model fits well (journalist identification of people like us, power of advertisers, power of expected backlash, pervasive theme of ‘anti-terrorism’ that replaced the ‘anti-communism’ ideology, etc).
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    I am firmly against the view that if anyone disagrees with my pro-Palestinian perspective, that they are part of a Zionist conspiracy, or that they are automatically a “ziofuckwit”. I am unaware of any disagreement you have with @nuid, but she is certainly neither fuckwit nor Zionist. Her commitment to Palestinian self-determination and security is demonstrably long-standing, though I do not know her personally. Surely if people suspect their debating partner(s) to be sock-puppetting, they should be able to say? I’d hardly call it abusive, and (sadly) we indeed *have* had sock-puppets on this board before.
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    Lastly, perhaps I didn’t elucidate on my objection to some of your word choices well enough. Put plainly, I think it makes you look nuts, which is why I think it can hurt the Palestinian cause. A middle-of-the-road person with politics slightly to the right, who comes here for the first time, may get the impression that Palestine activists/supporters are mad or abusive. It can’t be good to have Israeli spokespeople looking polite and reasonable by comparison!
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    Trust that is good food for thought.

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