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22.05.2005 Feature Article

President Kufor Defends Himself Well – But Can He Deliver?

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On May 18, 2005 Ghanaweb posted a report that started like this: Accra, May 18, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday said the Government would deal seriously with every substantiated allegation. He, therefore, asked Ghanaians, who had made allegations against Government Functionaries to back them with facts and to lodge complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

"This is the test of democracy. The Government will not go wild goose chasing, but I assure Ghanaians that the Government will deal seriously with every substantiated allegation, " he said.

The President went on to defend charges of nepotism. President Kufuor has some good points here, and I will agree that nepotism may not be that strong a charge. He has defended that well. I have personally read those accusations, but never considered them seriously. We are concerned about the other allegations, about service delivery, and the promotion of the rule of law to make our democracy work more efficiently and fairly.

Ghana Leadership Union, Inc. (NGO) was formed as an organization of Ghanaians scattered from Ghana to all over the world, to use the rule of law to try and bring social justice. GLU plans to bring cases to court on cases of similar allegations of public corruption, ineffective leadership, and poor or no service delivery in the public sector. The President of GLU and his staff have spent several hours and money in the last six months to try and get some of these allegations substantiated and prosecuted by law. In all we have talked to some investigative journalists and about six Ghanaian lawyers. Work is still ongoing. We can report that we have made great progress, but we are still trying to break ground by taking “government” to court to assert personal rights and enforce the constitutional rights of aggrieved and deprived societies where even basic water and necessities of life are not provided. Our culture is not as aggressive in seeking our rights. We have a lot to learn and change to survive in this global competitive world.

Whiles agreeing with President Kufuor on the right methods to present substantiated public complaints, what Kufuor as Leader should do is help streamline the process and make it easier to file complaints. In Accra, until only six months ago, the phone company did not even have directory assistance. Phone books in Ghana are 2000 books. People do not even know who to complain to! Our society and officials have not even thought of this critical aspect of democracy. GLU has still not received acknowledgement of a complaint we filed some 4 months ago with CHRAJ. So how will the ordinary people then fare?

If the President feels he is on the right course, then he must also learn to dance on his feet quickly, learn to communicate and create an organizational learning and knowledge sharing. It is a culture long overdue. He should not wait 4 years to answer allegations, or wait till durbars of Chiefs and army officers gather. He should set clearly publicized Goals and demand performance from his Ministers, or sack them and replace them. This writer was the first to write that Kufuor did not promise us a rose garden in 2001 during his first 100 days in office. However, it is far past 100 days in office and the people expect some more leadership and demonstration of concern for the needy. This does not mean government should give petrol away for free, but at least a sense of budgeting, government cost cutting and spending restraint gives more credibility in leadership. His Ministers should be on the ground solving problems and not simply talking about them or even identifying the problems. If people in suburbs of Accra such as Madina, Adenta and Ashaley Botwe, as well as respectable “educational” towns like Abetifi have not had water running for months and years, what good does it do them to have Ministers talking and making promises. It is a failure in leadership, and does not help even if one proclaimed that the problems existed during the previous government of the NDC.

Public Relations in politics are very much a part of the job. President Kufuor was ready to pay some British group some 3 million pounds sterling to polish or clean up Ghana's image when we could use that money to cover our stinky gutters and clean our environment. We can make our residential areas show-pieces we can be proud of and not pay the money to somebody to lie about us. If we are proud of our airports, cities and towns, houses and general environments, visitors will also notice and we don't have to pay any PR spin doctors.

I will be happier with President Kufuor if he set up an independent body to investigate allegations against Ministers and public officials. Examples are Edumadzi and Richard Anane, men like GPHA Chief executive who used C46 Million to renovate his kitchen cabinets, and his alleged gutter-to-gutter friends, the Energy Commissioner Kofi Asante and friends who purchased two $75,000 vehicles, one for his wife. It is reported that such government official purchases can actually be kept by the executive when they retire two years down the road. Such outrageous colonial thievery should not be allowed to stand today in our Ghana! Every single government executive should have his assets reported before and after he leaves office. Their passports should be seized and diplomatic status terminated till they have filed and had these reports verified. I will also be happier if the President at least initiated some kind of sting operation to trap and jail corrupt officials, including law enforcement officials and even judges. Are the BNI and CID boys sleeping on the job?

The report continued: He said, "much of what is being alleged is mere very vile propaganda obviously calculated to put breaks in the path of the Government". President Kufuor, therefore, asked Ghanaians to trust in the competence and purposefulness of the Government and to continue to contribute their quota to the development of the nation

Mr. President, we have heard this before. We are tired of it. Stop it! People trusted you and that is why they voted for you. Show the effort the government is doing to assist others who want to contribute their quota to the nation. Appointing 88 Ministers and Deputy Ministers is not the effective way to help the nation. Let action speak! The government and entrenched civil service executives of Chiefs, Directors, Deputy Directors and multilayer staff of managers are not delivering to the nation even such basic necessities as water, sewage and sanitation, stable and adequate supply of electricity for homes and businesses, health care, or even able to register home sales in reasonable time. Your centralized government, controlled by you, by default of our constitution, only takes in money from all districts of the nation, and gives back very little to the rural areas, inadequate to buy equipment for basic water! Have you thought of allowing towns, districts and regions to elect their own Mayors, DCEs and Regional Ministers? Would America for example have President Bush appointing Mayors for more than 10,000 towns, Governors for 50 States? Come ooon! Mr. President.

What we claim or promise and what we practice is a sign of authentic leadership and society. Simple example, Ghana claims to have 220Volts (+/- 20 Volts) and yet deliver less than 200 volts with such large surges in voltages in many areas, inadequate to turn on many appliances and ruining many business equipment. As an electrical engineer, this writer is shocked nothing is being done! Regional and Districts do not have adequate budget to even buy pumps to supply water to people who can pay, even people and Universities in Kwahu towns like Abetifi. Who is responsible? How can such Ministers and executives in charge live in comfort driving luxury vehicles on the tax-payers funds, and retire with the vehicles? They are simply sucking the blood of the nation with expenses that are beyond budget and beyond what any common sense plan would call for.

WE NEED TO STOP PUBLIC OFFICALS FROM STEALING FROM PUBLIC COFFERS!!

It is the job of leadership to do this, and that is all we expect from President Kufuor.

Cheers, Kwaku A. Danso Pres/Chair: GHANA LEADERSHIP UNION (NGO) Fremont,Ca.94539, USA and East Legon, Accra, Ghana Tel.510-494-8300 Fax.510-573-0603 Tel:233-21-517-206 Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Kwaku A. Danso
Kwaku A. Danso, © 2005

The author has 105 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KwakuADanso

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