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14.07.2002 Feature Article

Important Lessons For The Kufuor Administration

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The election of President Kufuor instilled a lot of hope in Ghanaians at home and abroad. The tyranny of Rawlings had finally come to an end. The experimentation with a socialist revolution, which failed in 1983 and brought in its wake crony capitalism, had ended. Rawlings' legacy to Ghanaians was that, adventurism and dictatorship will never bring about the development that we all crave for our beloved country. The Kufuor era was going be a time of true freedom, justice and prosperity. I have no doubt that these goals for the Kufuor administration although quite ambitious can be realized. At minimum, a good foundation can be laid for these goals to be achieved. The administration has already started on a good footing. Kufuor's demeanour and leadership style is very conducive to development. He is definitely not dictatorial and he is more of a listener than a talker. His ministers are taking a cue from his style and Edumadze and the NPP MP of “do you know who I am?” fame, must have learned their lessons now. Another lesson for all arrogant and cocky Ghanaians that the country does not appreciate arrogance. Kufuor needs people of integrity who are knowledgeable to achieve his goals for the country. The only way to ensure integrity is constant vigilance. That is what the Office of Accountability or its equivalent in the President's office is responsible for. Our education system and our ambitiousness will always guarantee knowledgeable people in Ghana. It is my patriotic duty at this time to draw the government's attention to things that they may have to give serious thought to and to address if they are to be the vehicle through which we will realize our national goals and aspirations. The Kufuor administration needs some serious pollsters, people who will judge the public's readiness for certain policies. Some policies may be economically sound but politically inept. Has the administration so far pursued any such policies? I am afraid so. I hesitate to say that this administration is falling prey to one of the very temptations that bedeviled the Busia administration: moving too fast and not maintaining a good time schedule for the implementation of policies. There is only so much that Ghanaians can take at a time especially if they are very drastic changes. Busia introduced retrenchment (Apollo 568), privatization, deportation and devaluation all within a short period not to mention students loans. They were all policies which the country had to fall upon in recent times with the exception of deportation of aliens, to straighten its economy. However at the time when Busia was rushing them through, they were difficult to swallow at such breakneck speed. The decision to give MPs $20,000 dollar car loans from the national treasury instead of $5000 or $6000 by this administration, was wrong for a country in HIPC. I was surprised to read that J.H. Mensah said the government could find the money. In the four-year term of our MPs, their gross income per head will be no more than $9000. Assuming they spent all their incomes in repayment of the loans, they will still have an $11000 deficit. The $20,000 was too much. It amounts to bribery of the legislature. The damaging effect that pollsters should have told the government is that it becomes a legacy of this administration although we keep hearing that similar loans were advanced without due process during the Rawlings administration. What is this latest news about C10,000 and C20,000 bills? Even the NDC who felt so sure of themselves and had no qualms about rigging elections to perpetrate their rule felt that was politically inexpedient, why should this administration think that they call accomplish that successfully? No matter how sound it is economically, economic confidence declines with higher cedi denominations. Ghanaians are not ready yet for that. The public and parliament should have been consulted on the matter. Let's hope it is just a rumour. If it turns out to be true, I am afraid to say that the administration may be overspending its political goodwill. Public opinion is crucial to the success of any administration. If the president is the true listener that he appears to be and humble as he definitely seems, those two values should permeate every aspect of government and some serious pollsters should be active at the castle to test public opinion even before a matter is sent to parliament. Bill Clinton's political successes could mainly be attributed to having the public on his side. Ghana needs an agricultural revolution and we are waiting for some dramatic announcements into how we can achieve self-sufficiency and save hard earned dollars which is currently spent on food.

Nana Owusu-Nkwantabisa
Nana Owusu-Nkwantabisa, © 2002

The author has 8 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: NanaOwusuNkwantabisa

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