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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  • Mary

    I have been reading the truly excellent reporting of Scott Horton. He writes of the terrible incarceration at Bagram of Yunus Rahmatullah for the last seven years, the corruption within the american legal system and the collusion of the British in the rendition of this poor man.
    .
    Court of Appeal Orders Release of Bagram Prisoner
    http://harpers.org/archive/2011/12/hbc-90008364
    .
    A writ of habeas corpus has just been served on Hague and Hammond.
    {http://harpers.org/media/image/blogs/misc/2011_12_14_pub_rahmatullah_writ_of_habeas_corpus.pdf}

    .
    Mr Horton wrote about the case in 2009.
    Lingering Questions About Renditions Plague the U.S.–U.K. Relationship{http://harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004475}

  • Mary

    We are living under abominable systems.
    .
    UK requests return of US detainee Yunus Rahmatullah
    By Dominic Casciani
    Home affairs correspondent
    .
    Yunus Rahmatullah was detained in Iraq by British forces in 2004. A brief history of habeas corpus
    .
    UK ‘must act’ on US detainee case
    Judges reject habeas corpus bid
    .
    The British government has asked the US to return a detainee to its custody, a week after a unique court order.
    .
    Suspected insurgent Yunus Rahmatullah was captured by British forces in Iraq in February 2004. He was transferred to US custody in Afghanistan, where he is being held without charge.
    .
    The Court of Appeal ordered his return under an ancient right that requires authorities to produce prisoners.
    .
    The Foreign Office is to appeal against the legal principles of the judgement.
    .
    However, it cannot appeal against the ruling.
    .
    The judgement against the government came under the law of Habeas Corpus, one of the most important and ancient cornerstones of English law.
    .
    /…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16289356

  • Fedup

    Mark Golding – Children Of Iraq
    That is the DM format. Every so often another bright spark reads an article in a half arsed fashion and runs with it. Reading the end of the article, and noticing the “closed comments” sections are the give away clues.
    ,
    ,
    Mary,
    Mr Blair has oil interests in Iraq, alongside the other war enablers, all the crew were rewarded including the UN ambassadors of the time, both UK, and UN, whom were later assigned as the ambassadors to Iraq. Also rewarded was Ann Clwyd, who pupated from an ill dressed, Mrs canny-body to a sophisticated and ritzy millionairess.

  • John Goss

    Mary

    I think the crucial stetement is: “And the end of the war has plain consequences under international humanitarian law—specifically, rules concerning the status of prisoners and their presumptive right to be set free unless they are guilty of criminal wrongdoing or present some clear, continuing threat.”
    .
    And the important concluding paragraph:
    .
    “This opinion is an important affirmation of the Geneva Conventions, and a clear, though cautious, exposition of their underlying principles. An American reading the decision must feel gratitude for its underlying belief: that when presented with the habeas writ of a foreign government, the Obama Administration will respect the command of law and “produce the body of Yunus Rahmatullah.”
    .
    But I could not get the http://harpers.org/media/image/blogs/misc/2011_12_14_pub_rahmatullah_writ_of_habeas_corpus.pdf link to work.

  • John Goss

    While I don’t think this is a good time of year to promote any new campaign, since everybody, including me, is stressed out with obligations manufactured by seasonal entrepreneurs. Anyway, yesterday I initiated an e-petition, which as e-petitions go, is doing quite well. It is a call for Dominic Grieve to resign for not allowing an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly. I would be obliged if people would put their names to this (already over 200 signatures, while calls on Cameron and Clegg to resign are less than 20 in a much longer period). And please circulate it. (Remember only UK citizens can sign).
    .
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/26133

  • angrysoba

    “Passerby”: Kim did not die whilst on duty serving the DPRK, instead he was found dead in a cat-house in Paris. He died whilst tupping a twenty dollar Kansas City whore, who talk ever so pretty, using sexy words like; “I declare Mr. Kim ……. ”

    .
    “cat-house”? Now where have I heard that before?
    .
    Hey, why don’t you regale us again with your faux-Southern African American impersonation again. You had everyone here rolling in the aisles Sho-nuff. Until you were called out on it and you broke character and said it was a deep respect for black American literature which made you want to take the piss out of it.

  • nuid

    Quote from Observer 10 Nov, 2011 – 12:08 am
    .
    Suhayl Saadi a bubba (a coloured person thinking he/she is white) an excuse for his origins, or a ziofuckwit posing as an Arab whom cannot read Arabic, yet he proclaims ………., give over ziophile, you are a fuckwit as good as the next settler loving bastard Stephen, and your posts wreaks so. Boy these GIYUS merchants do whine don’t they?
    Injustice cannot last for ever!

    .
    Quote from Suhayl Saadi 10 Nov, 2011 – 1:22 am
    .
    FAO the Moderators:
    .
    “Suhayl Saadi a bubba (a coloured person thinking he/she is white) an excuse for his origins” (‘Observer’, 10th November 2011).
    .
    In my opinion, that statement is overtly and unequivocally racist.

    .
    .
    Steelback, Tungten, et al are back. And will cause immense damage to the reputation of this blog, if left to carry on.

  • nuid

    By the way, Google “ziofuckwit”. There are about 14-17 results (it varies) and ALL of them, bar one, are here on Craig’s blog.

  • John Goss

    Mary, you’re right it is the Adobe viewer not being available. I removed the application because I thought it was causing problems. Since removing it I have not had those problems except I can’t access Adobe files. Not sure whether to reinstall it or not. Thanks.

  • Passerby

    It is amusing to see the denials of reality, start looking for help here
    ,
    The keyboard warriors have got themselves into an attack formation, and declared this thread a free fire zone. After the same fashion they do in zio zio land putting a siege on Gaza to maintain the biggest open air concentration camp, whilst training the ziofuckwits, for better targeting and aiming skills.
    ,
    One ziofuckwit is keeping a tally of the alphabet letters used, searching, gathering and pasting the “evidence”, the other ziofucktard is missing the irony of it all and is ranting in its lunatic fashion, taking quantum jumps and concluding in assumptions galore.
    ,
    However both decrying the return of “tungsten or whatever” and then ordering the blog owner, with warnings: “will cause immense damage to the reputation of this blog, if left to carry on”.
    ,
    It is as clear as a pike staff, you are beat in the arguments and are now whining your tits off, because of it.
    ,
    So the GIYUS did not give you the HP gold star then did they? That darn story was so plausible too!

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    According to Maysaloon – a Syrian writer who I believe wrote about the Iraq war as Falafal2000 and is highly respected, believes the Syrian National Council whose armed wing is the Free Syrian Army planted the two car bombs that killed at least 17 people and wounding about a dozen others, including women and children.
    .
    The Syrian government have blamed ‘al-Qaeda’ (the CIA?).
    .
    The Free Syrian army according to Iranian intelligence is receiving support from the Turkish air base in Incirlik and regular propaganda leaflet drops are carried out from this base on the Syrian border. British (MI6) and American intelligence are known to operate from this base. Turkey is supporting Britain in an attempt to master-mind a civil war in Syria (divide and conquer) because they believe Assad is supporting the PKK in Northern Syria. This support has been engineered by British intelligence using a number of intelligence techniques including false intelligence reports delivered by courier to the Turkish newspaper ‘Zaman’ and ‘tailored’ communication intercepts from German listening devices made available to the Syrian newspaper Al-Hakikah (The Truth) that supports the Syrian opposition and is known to interface with American intelligence.
    .
    This propaganda is designed to turn the Syrian people away from the Assad government.
    .
    http://www.maysaloon.org/2011/12/al-qaeda-in-damascus.html?spref=tw
    .
    Please contact me for information on intel sources.

  • crab

    John Goss, Evince is a great viewer for pdf files. It is very well made, fast with search and copy, from gnu.

  • technicolour

    Nuid: yes, I was wondering about the Steelback trio too; mainly because of the concerted attacks on angrysoba who, among other intelligent things, is a consistent anti anti-semite, and has been from the start. Partly thanks to him that this blog’s comment section didn’t disintegrate into vicious far-right propaganda (this was before the mods stepped in). Their style seems to have improved, if one can call it that, but although I don’t have time to read everything these days, the underlying thrust seems much the same. Caveat reader, I suggest.

  • anno

    Fedup, Mark,
    Syria: que sera sera. In Muslim politics, the secret of resisting colonial power is political dissimulation, and eventually affiliation with the colonial powers. The more radical seeming the voices, the more likely they are to be players in the colonial great game. That is because they put their minds to the vortex of politics.
    The Puritans became very wealthy because they were politically radicalised against all manifestations of Roman Catholic power. But that led the way for Empire and colonialism, slavery and corruption.
    There is a lot of hypocrisy in passion, and there is a lot of sincerity in leaving things the way they are. Cromwell created our disastrous dependance on Usury at the same time as establishing our freedom of speech and religion. The danger with radical Islam is that it will be top-down controlling, you can see Hilary Clinton’s eyes light up at the idea, instead of building faith on the true foundation of the Qur’an, in the same way that English culture was built on the reading of the Gospels and putting their contents into our hearts.

  • Passerby

    If only life was that simple!
    Wishful thinkers convention, and circle jerk thereof.
    ,
    ,
    ,
    Mark Golding,
    The sickening fact remains; Hillary Clinton Instructing for the matter to be referred to the International Court (the same court that US is not a member of, alongside with the other luminaries of international community, ie Iswail, and Sudan), fully cognisant of the fact that China and Russia will be blocking any moves against Syria in the UNSC, this venal cow promotes the back door option, to get on with manufacturing the consent for the mass murder of Syrians.
    ,
    Needless to point out that Bahraini, and Yemeni massacres of the innocent people are not of any concern for the bastards in the Arab League or the fuckwits in US.
    ,
    The opportunist carpetbaggers in the SNTC (Syrian Notional Transitional Council), are an echo chamber of the US policies towards Syria, and given their lines of seeking “recognition” ala Libyan Transitional Council, as well as their lamentations concerning the non interference/intervention of the UNSC in Syria, are effectively setting the stage for a unilateral US/NATO “no fly zone enforcement” and operation “aid to civilians and minorities and women”.
    ,
    Trouble is Russians are sitting there on the ground in Syria and Chinese are getting pretty fed up with the constant US expansionism. Hence the stage is set for the wider conflict. However the almost comical stance of Syrian NTC, in taking the support of the Arab League, Europeans, and US for granted. These self appointed, and self warded leaders in exile in SNTC have dreams of pockets filled with gold and rubbing shoulders with the glitterati, never mind the hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians, which SNTC see as a cheap price for their “dream”.

  • technicolour

    “Circle jerk”?

    ‘Passerby’ if you get your kicks from attacking other commenters here, then I guess you do.

  • Fedup

    Anno,
    ,
    What do you mean by “radical Islam”?
    ,
    Further, colonialism other than in Iswail which has had a marginal success (sixty years of killing and the carnage still goes on), is not the issue that is concerning the Arab world. However, won’t you agree that the current arrangements of power constructs are alien controlled which means those leaderships by definition do not serve the constituents of the sock puppets put in charge.
    ,
    A comment I recollect; “we bombed Iraq in 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, then we left temporarily and set Saddam in charge, only to go back to bombing Iraq in 70s, 80, 90, and then we invaded Iraq in 2000”.
    ,
    Therefore considering the disadvantages of the population of the Arab lands, and the distinct lack of any cohesive political organisations. The only structure remaining to unite the population in a move towards self governance would entail incorporation of the core belief structures which is Islam.
    ,
    However, given that, as another commenter maintains; Rome fed Christians to lions, US empire Gitmos Muslims. In both cases both exploiting systems found the belief structure hard to beat, or tolerate, hence their steps to dissuade the masses from joining such proscribed schools of thought. This is to be found in the nonsense as; “radical Islam”, the fact that Islam is radical aside, the nonsense peddled is for the benefit of the “Western Liberals” who are blissfully unaware of the lives of more than one and one half of one billion Muslims, and their anger at the iniquitous and unjust arrangements in their lands.
    ,
    In Indonesia the Muslim miners protesting for better pay and work conditions are getting shot down and killed, by “unknown” elements. Fact that US mining company is not prepared to pay a reasonable wage to these miners, somehow is not debated.
    ,
    In Gaza a thirteen year old boy collecting scrap metal gets shot by the ziofuckwits. The poor soul was trying to feed his family, because his father and his elder brothers have been either shot, or are incarcerated by the same ziofcukwits who shot him to death too.

  • nuid

    “Their style seems to have improved, if one can call it that, but although I don’t have time to read everything these days, the underlying thrust seems much the same. Caveat reader, I suggest.”
    .
    Indeed, Tech. Thanks. And I believe Glenn is of much the same mind. We shall see what we shall see, as my mother used to say.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Nuid, Technicolour, Angrysoba, Glenn: Yes, I remember that unintentionally hilarious attack! I agree that the multi-headed schoolboy is back and that he moves amongst us.
    .
    We shall have to search through the fields, along the bridal paths and in the barns until we find the pubescent creature howling at the Nordic moon. Meantime, how about playing some Led Zeppelin? ‘Hangman’, possibly? Or else, something from John, Paul… uhm, George and Ringo. ‘Helter Skelter’?

  • Jon

    Speaking personally, and not as a mod, can I ask people to reduce usage of “ziofuckwits”? a good number of people here are agreed that Zionism (in its most up-to-date meaning, as Craig mentioned recently) isn’t just about Israeli expansionism but also support for US/UK neocon themes generally. But 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.
    .
    I’d probably say the same of “ZBC” too. I don’t think it is entirely obvious that it is the BBC that is being referred to here to the casually interested reader, and may be a turn-off to those in the middle of the road. I agree that the BBC has a collective unconscious bias towards Israel, fwiw.
    .
    Right, season’s greetings all!

  • Jon

    Hi Suhayl – merry Christmas, and what a good idea. I went to a community showing of ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ today, and sadly they had run out of mulled wine. So a rather full-bodied and perfectly acceptable red was substituted, albeit in a polystyrene cup!
    .
    I am sure more mead will be forthcoming over the season 🙂

  • nuid

    Mead, and blue body paint, and leaping around the bonfire … the Beatles were tame by comparison.

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