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January 5, 2009 | Political

No Honeymoon For President-elect Mills

It looks like President-elect Mills would not be getting any down time to do some laps around the pool or play hockey, his favorite hobbies. No images of a shirtless Mills at the Labadi Pleasure Beach. The presidential paparazzi, if there are any in Ghana, must be disappointed to savor. I for one would have loved to see Professor Mills whack some balls with the Golden Sticks in a pick up game to prove to all the cynics that he is FIT for office.

No time for the president-elect to go surfing, shopping with his beautiful daughters, and pumping iron every morning to maintain his physique. That is in America. In Ghana, we have too many pressing issues to address so no honey mooning. You don't get 77 days of transitioning. Mr. President, congratulations on your win. Enough of the KUMBAYA get to work.

Although the problems that President Atta Mills inherits pales compared to the monumental and ever increasing list of daunting tasks facing Obama, make no mistake, Mills' work is cut out for him too. Obama inherits the worst US economy since the 1930s, two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, growing tensions in the Middles East and whatever dubious plans Kim Jong-il maybe cooking. In contrast, but equally challenging in its own measure, Atta Mills will grapple with high rate of unemployment, surging inflation, ballooning budget, and high crime rate among other pressing issues. Furthermore, remittances from abroad which are one of the main sources of revenue to Ghanaians are falling because of the effects of global economic meltdown. So is foreign aid because the donors themselves are hurting.

Atta Mills biggest challenge, however, would be effective allocation of revenue from Ghana's newfound black gold if the PETRODOLLARS start trickling in during his term. Professor Mills would have to ensure that under his leadership, Ghana does not follow in the footsteps of other African countries that have mismanaged their oil wealth. The PETRO DOLLARS must not fuel corruption and greed that has been milking the national coffers. Ghana's economy has been growing by more than 6 percent a year and oil is eventually to bring in between $2 and $3 billion a year. Ghana's other troves of natural wealth (2nd biggest cocoa producer & Africa's 2nd largest gold miner) failed to enrich the people. The infusion of petrol dollars should hasten sustainable economic growth and must make a real and lasting difference in the live of every Ghanaian. President Mills must ensure that the petrodollars trickle down to every Ghanaian. The fisherman in Chorkor should see some of the petrol dollars, and so must the yam producer in the Salaga, and the cocoa farmer in Sefwi-Wiaso.

Mr. President, assume the Watch.

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