IS DR. AFARI GYAN MIRRORING THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE TOTAL PRODUCT CURVE?

By Fred Effah-Yeboah

9/7/2012 5:14:11 PM -

I like economics, though I am not an economist. The level of my economics is what we call “pocket economics”. Sometimes when I listen to some of the radio commentators struggling to force economics down the throat of listeners, I laugh at the display of “pocket economics”. But it also encourages me that I am not alone in the wander-land of economics.

In an unpredictable economy under a glaringly incompetent NDC government, we all need some “pocket economics” to deal with unannounced delayed payment of salaries, constant gas shortages, escalating school fees, unstable commodity price levels, and rent related issues. In short, in a turbulent economic environment bequeathed to Ghanaians by the Mills-Mahama and the Mahama-Amissah-Arthur uncaring administration, you do not only put money in your pocket when going out to face life challenges. You must as well put some economics in your pocket to know how to spend by a scale of preference and to let go opportunity cost, no matter how dear to your heart, what you have to forgo may be. Life is just difficult under these folks.

You must also have “pocket economics” to be able to understand Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia that in a situation when there is a sustained single digit inflation for so many months but prices of commodities keep running like a mad horse, then something is not adding up.

My “pocket” economics came mainly from some introductory economics that I studied in those days at both the ordinary and advanced levels. Of course, I also read first year economics while a student at the then School of Administration, Legon (now University of Ghana Business School). Let me admit here that I got confused many times at the mathematics dimension of economics that we were introduced to in the first year economics classes. Well, I would not say I did not have the capacity for the subject. My constant confusion came from the way the subject was taught –usually in haste, with the lecturer assuming a lot of things. But I managed to sail through because of the tutorials.

From the O & A levels I still remember a little bit about Production Theory and its related concepts such as Total Product (TP), Average Product (AP), and Marginal Product (MP) – not Member of Parliament, please. Casting my mind back, I can still picture my advanced level “Economics One” master (as we used to call them in those days) elaborating on the behaviour of the short run Total Product and how its associated Curve looks like on the graph:

“IN THE SHORT RUN, TOTAL PRODUCT INCREASES INITIALLY AT AN INCREASING RATE. IT THEN INCREASES AT A DECREASING RATE. IT REACHES THE OPTIMUM, AND BEGINS TO FALL”.

To simplify it, a typical Total Product Curve would show four different segments called characteristics:

1. The segment where every addition to the previous Total Product is higher than before;

2. The segment where every addition to the previous Total Product is lower than before;

3. The Segment where there is zero addition to Total Product; and,

4. The segment where there is a reduction in Total Product

Mind you, I have not defined Total Product because this is not meant to be an economics lecture. All the same for the sake of those who have not read any economics, I beg to say that in simple terms Total Product is the overall output you get at any stage, when you put your available inputs (both fixed and variable) to productive use.

How does the characteristics of the Total Product described above relate to Dr, Kwadwo Afari Gyan, and by the way, who is Afari Gyan?

Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, to some observers is one of the best Electoral Managers that Africa has ever produced. Ghana's general elections in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 were all held under the eagle and unblinking eyes of the uncompromising and unbiased Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan.

Ghana is seen as the beacon of hope for developing democracies due largely to the courage, and fair refereeing of the man called Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan. He is a man truly carved for the Electoral Job. He is a no nonsense man. At the same time, he is calm, focused and unshaken. He has also been amenable to a number of electoral reforms which have progressively contributed to the integrity in the Ghanaian Electoral System. Since he comes from my region I see him as an uncle and prefer to address him as Wofa Kwadwo.

Ghana's Electoral System under Wofa Kwadwo has become the training grounds for other countries. Wofa Kwadwo himself has played consultancy role to other African Elections. What a glorious showcasing of a leading African Democracy. Wofa Kwadwo, Congratulations.

Due to our crooked democratic history tainted with military adventurism, it is difficult to compare Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan with previous Electoral Managers of our country. He is so far the longest serving Chairman of our Electoral Commission. We can only compare him to others in his group on the African Continent. So far only a “few can compare” favorably to his achievements. Indeed, it would be difficult to replace him on his exit in the not too distant future. His successor would have a great challenge and a high standard to work towards. If we do not take care, it would be the case of “ if the mighty tree falls, it is replaced by the pawpaw”. But, God forbid.

My only worry is that, Wofa Kwadwo should have known by now that it is best to bow out when the applause is most thunderous. It is always said that most great men end on a poor note. My argument is that this happens to great men who do not know when they have reached their optimum. They therefore stay on until their performance begins to fall. I don't know ooo, but it seems to me that Wofa Kwadwo is doing everything possible to end on a poor note just like the Short Run Total product Curve.

From a layman's stand point, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan put up a hero's performance for all the general elections held in Ghana between 1996 to 2008. The 2008 elections however seems to be the optimum level for the old man. 1996 to 2008 therefore represents the growing phase of his performance. By 2008, the man Kwadwo Afari Gyan seems to have reached his peak performance.

Since 2008, uncharacteristic of the Afari Gyan that we all know, his Electoral Commission is missing all its steps. A few examples would suffice.

1. The last local government elections held in Ghana under Dr. Afari Gyan was a fiasco. We witnessed elections on “ load-shedding” basis. We call it election on “tot-by-tot” basis.

2. Compilation of the current voters register was not without some turbulence. The violence that characterized the exercise was indicative of a porous security arrangement. I blame the Electoral Commission for poor security because they were responsible for the entire process and for that matter patrons' welfare.

3. Few weeks back, the Commission attempted to organize bye elections with a repealed Constitutional Instrument (C I). They were restrained by the Judiciary.

4. The Commission is amazingly attempting to create constituencies which would mature only two months to general elections. This would give no room for effective political party activities in those constituencies before the elections. I call them the “injury time” constituencies.

5. A C I for the creation of the “injury time” constituencies has been rejected twice in Parliament. In the first instance, 104 mistakes were found in the C I, (Hon. Rashid Pelpuo on TV3 Midday News on September, 7, 2012)

6. The Electoral Commission with its stature belittled itself and supervised NDC illegal primaries in non-existent constituencies. This was most unfortunate. Organizing party primaries in non-existent constituencies is akin to eating a food that is about to be prepared. How possible? If a non-existent party invited the E C to supervise Presidential primaries, would they honour such an invitation?

7. The voter register currently being exhibited for the 2012 elections shows so many mistakes. In my own case, when I used the short code method to verify my registration, everything was Okay, but my constituency is wrong. Who recruited the registration hands? What were their backgrounds and what training were they given? Yes all human activities are subject to mistakes but when it becomes too much, then it is a problem.

Indeed the Electoral Commission in its recent activities have put up a constantly appalling performance. But this is my own estimation ooo. This shows that probably the man in the helm of affairs is naturally mirroring the behaviour of the Total Product Curve. He is possibly at the last segment of the curve, where there is a continuous fall in output. If that is the case, then all well meaning Ghanaians must wake up now, else our 2012 general elections would also follow the messy pattern that we have witnessed at the Electoral Commission in recent times.

But should we blame Dr. Afari Gyan too much? He has been on the same job for close to two decades. Naturally, he must be “tired and bored”. Secondly, the man is growing older and older each passing day. It is therefore probable that his abilities may gradually be waning. I am not sure whether he is required to undergo periodic mandatory medical examinations to know his state of health, especially the state of his mental health.

If I were Dr. Afari Gyan, this is the time that I would show my greatness by acknowledging my deficiencies and tapping deep into the experiences and energies of others. I would pay heed to the advice of top personalities like H. E John. Agyekum Kuffour and Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey. This should not be the time to chart an entrenched path as there could be a misjudgment somewhere. This is the time that reason, not patapaa, must rule. Dr. Afari Gyan should not insist too much on his right under the Constitution to create constituencies. After all, it is not every right under the Constitution that is currently being enforced for good reasons. If Dr. Afari Gyan wants to show that he wants to live by every iota of the law then the Representation Of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) is also a law. He must enforce it.

Again this is the time that Dr, Afari Gyan should be wary of politicians, especially those whose party is in power, so that they do not lure him to participate in any electoral “sin” such as gerrymandering. Many are of the opinion that Wofa Kwadwo is dancing to the tune of some people somewhere. In other words, my most acclaimed Wofa Kwadwo is now a marionette in the hands of a greedy politician. Wofa Kwadwo as for this “tofiakwa”. But we can only be sure that this is not true only when you act in a way that can be said in the supreme interest of peace.

I respect, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan as an accomplished independent umpire of Ghanaian elections. At the same time, recent events at his outfit seem to suggest that Wofa Kwadwo is waning in his effectiveness. His time at the Electoral Commission seem to reflect the Total Product Curve of the short run; an initial supper performance, a reduced but still admirable performance, the optimum performance, and finally a plummeting performance. I am not being emphatic ooo. I am only reflecting.

What do you think?
Ps: Forget about my omissions, I was dozing off as I wrote.

*The writer is a Health/Public Administrator and a Youth Development Advisor.

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Fred Effah-Yeboah.