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26.05.2002 Feature Article

GHANA: Moving Forward.

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It started with the independence with a lot of struggles. Then, the CPP with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nkrumah did this or that. Then the CPP was overthrown by the Kotoka–Afrifa uprising on the 24th Feb.,1966. I am not surprised Dr. Nkrumah was overthrown in the 60’s. A lot of assassination attempts, coup d’tats, counter coups took place in the 60’s. The 60’s was a period noted for the assassinations of African revolutionary Patrice Lumumba of former Belgium Congo (Feb 13, 1961), charismatic U.S. president John F. Kennedy (Nov. 22, 1963), president of the Republic of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem (Nov. 1,1963), U.S. black civil rights leaders Malcom X (Feb.1, 1965), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (April 4,1968) and the U. S. attorney-general Robert F. Kennedy (June 6, 1968). This is just for your information let us go to the real story. Then came Busia, then Acheampong with the uncalled for uprising, then J.J Rawlings with the much needed AFRC. Then Limann’s PNP. Things could have gotten better at this point of Ghana life but, but Rawlings was not satisfied so he took power and brought to us the PNDC. The P/NDC stayed with us almost 20 years. Ghanaians were still crying so they voted for a change. I still hear some people crying in the less than 2 years of the NPP government. Read what someone had to say “Talk to the ordinary Ghanaian and he/she would tell you the NPP has failed us big time. Even Makola women were first to condemn the NPP’s last budget.” But after almost 20 years in office, does the NDC have the energy, the personnel and the ideas to come to power in 2004? Assuming they win the elections in 2004, what can they offer to Ghanaians that they could not offer in that 20 years they had? This is one of the questions that the Ghana people have to think about. This is what some other person had to say in support of the NPP government, “No one should be mistaken, come 2004, we ain’t only going to be talking about what the NPP did and couldn’t do, we would be talking about why we should vote for the NDC again for a job they couldn’t use 20 years to do”. So the real question is what can Obed Asamoah’s NDC offer to the Ghana people again at least within the next 8 years. I know the NDC folks would want to argue with what I am trying to put across, but, and once again but, let us be straight forward and call it as it is. I mean after 20 good years in office, what ideas again do they have to offer? It is now time to move forward. The NPP is different from the P/NDC at least in terms of ideas and having tried P/NDC for 20 years and have not succeeded, it is now time to embrace different ideas. It is too early to condemn the NPP government, remember the Progress Party of Busia had only 2 years and the PNP of Dr. Hilla Limann had about 2 years. Come on, are you expecting them to perform miracles after only 2 years in office? You had a government for almost 20 years, what exactly did they do for Ghanaians? We need to exercise patience and give our support to the ruling government. The P/NDC used every fair or foul means to stay onto power sometimes using state funds illegally to run elections. They did not care about laying any good foundation for the Ghana peoples’ children. There was no physical discipline when it came to spending money. The NPP is the winner in the Tsatsu’s court cases. The fact is Tsatsu did commit the CRIME. This is the most important thing Ghanaians should know. I am not talking about LAW, I am talking about how his mismanagement and actions have affected the ordinary Ghanaian. Note that our problem now is not lack of funds but due to mismanagement and negligence of duty on the part of our leaders. Ghana is now 45 years old and the P/NDC had 20 good years in office. The P/NDC did a lot of harm to our economy and these take a little bit of time to fix. I believe real results from the NPP government will be seen later part of 2003 and then Ghanaians will have the option of voting for another party (Not the NDC any way) if they still do not like the way the NPP is working. What we need actually is patience. President Bill Clinton of USA promised universal health care for US citizens but he was not able to deliver and you will agree with me that president Bill Clinton is one of the best presidents US have had. Are you blaming President George W. Bush for what took place on September 11? We have a lot of problems as a nation for example, why should Ghana be importing rice to the tune of $100 million yearly when we have the land, and with little mechanization and research (Rice mill at Averyime and Kpong irrigation project) can develop some irrigation schemes for the growth of rice. Recently though the Agriculture ministry is doing a good job. There is mention of the Afife rice and some brand of rice produced locally called the Goldstar, Silverline and the Omu-tuo. Mr. Kwamena Bartels, minister of Private Sector Development speaking on behalf of the Food and Agriculture minister, Major (rtd) Courage Quashiga, in a seminar on “Boosting Rice Production in Ghana” said his ministry is going to collaborate with the Agriculture ministry and all relevant state agencies to push forward the agenda of making Ghanaians patronize the locally produce rice. Of course Ghanaians should patronize their own locally produce rice if they hope to save the $100 million rice importation annually. Look at our cocoa, how long are the Ghana farmers going to grow cocoa only to export the raw beans to foreign market to process into more valuable products? So is it not time for our leaders to put their brains together and build factories which can process the cocoa beans to valuable products so that we can sell to the foreign markets and so creating the much needed jobs for our youth? It is now time to move forward. It is now time to start making things happen. Ghanaians are tired of excuses. This is where I blame the P/NDC. What did they actually put in place to make the youth get jobs? I do not want to seem blasting the NDC like this, but 20 years is a lot. Let us allow the system of free market to work with individual businesses, small and large with the government performing the oversight duties and given proper regulations. I personally favor the idea of the government making it very easy for the local communities to get loans to help them in their subsistence activities. The Emergency Social Relief Program (ESRP) is an excellent one. According to reliable sources, about $103.8 million will be disbursed by 2004 but we need to do more to help the Ghanaians. I believe in personal responsibility but the needy must also be helped. What I am saying is, we should try our best to bring the needy up. What about those who have money trying to contribute and doing something for those in need. It is time we saw our Universities and research institutions doing something. We have lot of problems and we keep on funding these institutions, why can’t we rely a little bit on them to solve some of our problems for us. At least they have to be seen doing something for the people of Ghana to see. There is too much crying over our problems instead of finding answers to them. These our water and energy problems, can't the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology help us in finding some answers to them? I read an article (from Ghanaweb) saying that in Accra-Tema metropolis, water supply is about 100 million gallons a day short of demand. Water supply is a limiting factor for growth and industrialization in Ghana. The article stated further that the problem is not lack of funds but rather the lack of development planning. Guys, don’t we have a whole Department of Planning at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology? Some are going to say where do we get the money to fund all these projects I am talking about. My answer to those people who ask such questions will be when are we going to start something? With committed leadership, we can start something. If loans can be given to Members of Parliament who already are better of than the ordinary citizen, then there is enough money in the system to start something meaningful to help Ghanaians. It is time to start somewhere and measure the progress as we move along. As we continue to have a steady government, we need to measure results. As a matter of fact this must be the yardstick upon which Ghanaians should depend when voting. We should start voting for personalities we know can do the job instead of voting on tribal and party lines. We should start looking out in the various parties and pick out those people we know can do the job instead of voting for people because he/she is from Ashanti or Volta or Upper East region. I now call on Ghanaians to wake up. It is now clear that most of our problems are not due to LACK OF FUNDS but rather due to mismanagement, negligence of duty and corruption (lack of committed leadership) on the part of our leaders. We need to do something to be able to move forward. Let us wake up Ghana people.

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.

Boaten Yaw
Boaten Yaw, © 2002

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: BoatenYaw

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