08.05.2003 Feature Article

Kufuor's Hanging Projects

By Press
Kufuor's Hanging Projects
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GHANA PALAVAR GOING by past promises, including the fixing of dates for the implementation of major projects, and if action were to be words, work on the Mallam-Yamoransa Road should have reached at least, the Winneba Junction, by now.

Of course, the Mallam-Kasoa portion of the road, would have gone the auto-bahn way, with three-lane dual-carriage show-piece providing facilities for smooth and comfortable rides for motorists.

But, nothing has changed.

It will be recalled that when President J. A. Kufuor came into office, he lined up chiefs and people of the Central Region and told them, amidst cheers, that work on the road was to start within a matter of days—May 2001, to be exact.

That promise is now two years old, after being renewed several times over, any time the President is forced by pressing circumstances to tell people of the region “something” to buy time.

The problem with President Kufuor is his habit of counting his chicken long, long before they are hatched, if even they will ever be and the tendency to put the cart before the horse, in diplomatic arrangements.

In the case of the Mallam-Yamoransa Road project, for example, all was set for work to begin by February 2001, when a “stop work” order was given by President Kufuor, with his sole decision to send Ghana into the HIPC economic prison.

Of course, the Japanese Government, which was to finance the project under a loan’s agreement, responded, positively, to the order, whilst top officials of the NPP Government, in ignorance, maintained that the HIPC “policy” won’t affect the implementation of the project. It did.

Senior Minister J. H. Mensah and Finance Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo flew to Japan, where they claimed they received assurances that the project would be resumed. Nothing happened.

A year later, President Kufuor, in one of his travels, branched off to Tokyo, where he held “fresh discussions” on the same project.

Agreements were duly signed for the Japanese to finance the project on “charity”.

The President returned home, full of hope. A section of the media hailed the mere agreement as “greatest success” to justify the holiday trip. However, the sober-minded considered the pact as a normal diplomatic promise.

Now, the realists have since been proved right. For nothing has happened on the road, apart from the voluntary ceiling of pot-holes, undertaken by little “enterprising” boys.

And despite the last promise made at the presidential press conference that work was to start soon, the soon has grown to be an elastic one. It may even not come this year.

What a ruse…without faulting the Japanese. For their interpretation of a “Grant” is faultless. It is Kufuor’s, which means almost the opposite.

Meanwhile, many Ghanaians, who watched President Kufuor last week appealing to the outgoing Spanish Ambassador to plead with his Government to release a loan, promised almost 24 months ago, might have felt rather embarrassed.

For although the President was being frank with his guest, one could easily detect the force of frustration which drove him into making the undiplomatic disclosure.

Indeed, until that function, many had thought that the Spanish “money” had come in, a few days after the President’s return home. The disclosure took many by surprise.

But there is a lesson to be learnt from these apparent cases of disappointment.

The President must now weigh his words and put a measure to his promises. For, it is he who causes the embarrassment to himself, by his tendency to campaign for honours, based on his expectations — and awarding himself pass marks before even facing the examiner. The wishful-thinking must stop!

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