07.03.2004 Feature Article

Finally My Thoughts

Finally My Thoughts
Listen to article

The political leadership and establishment in Ghana are selfish and think only about what they would gain personally for themselves and their cronies. They don't think about the masses at large or the country as a soverign entity. I am not talking about only the NPP. This goes way beyond any party in power and reflects the mentality of the various parties and coup leaders who have been in power since the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah. How on earth can government be encouraging the building of places of convenience (toilets) in towns and cities accross Ghana when we know that such places are breeding grounds for all kinds of disease causing bacteria. Why haven't the political leadership with all their Aburokyire(overseas) degrees and experience recognize that for a country to move forward, the people must be free from diseases caused by filth.

I was in Ghana two years ago and my observation to the shock of many of my friends was that the whole country look! ed like a Big Garbage Dump. It is worse in the big cities than the villages. Yet, we claim to have an environmental protection agency. It is nice to identify and enforce rules governing the use and disposal of cancer causing agents in Ghana especially in the gold mining areas but the environmental harzards are not restricted to only pollutants. In Ghana, the filth from untreated raw sewage in the water supply going up to the food chain is worse than any chemical pollution on the environment. We must initiate and bring the "wo ara tu wo ara sa" the sewage infrastructure projects which were started by Kofi Busia, the Prime minister in the PP government,(1969-1972) back.

In addition, the concept of "nsamansamam" Sanitary inspecto,r in the old days under Nkrumah and pre independence should be brought back through the ministry of health to make sure that there is good sanitation and hygiene practices in the local neighborhoods.&nb! sp;The pipes and other equipment for the construction of the sewage in frastructure started by Busia more than 30 years ago lie wasted under the ground in Accra.

Ghanaians must also realize that no amount of foreign aid or help from foreign governments or non governmental organizations(NGOs) and other foreign entities around the world is going to ever solve our economic and other problems for us. I have never seen any country on this earth wholly or partly developed by NGOs. NGOs are there to to put bandage on the wound to prevent bleeding and also to prevent it from getting infected but not to heal the wound. Ghanaians must heal the wound ourselves. There are estimated 150 NGO's operating in Ghana. Many are led by Ghanaians who are using NGOs as a means to improve or maintain their own selfish standard of living. The message must be clear: NGOs are temporary helpers but can't be used as a permanent panecea to solve our society's ills. The solution to Ghana's problems must come mainly from Ghanaians with assistance from outsiders when needed. Over reliance on others to solve our! economic and other problems would make us more dependant on foreign aid which is not good for our collective psyce and well being as a people unless we have no goals for our people and country.

The poplitical establishment must be awaken to the need to find simple solutions to complicated problems. For example, I proposed not too long ago that the government should consider issuing road bonds to finance the building of the equivalent of the Tema Motorway throughout the country. Specifically, the initial roads should be from Accra to Bolgatanga through Kumasi and from Kumasi to the Ivory Coast border through Dormaah Ahenkro and from Accra to the Togo border. The same road could be built from Accra through Axim to the Ivorian border at Elubo. These roads won't go through any towns or cities but would have exit points where there would be toll booths to collect the toll. Revenues from road users would be used to redeem(pay back) the bondholders. Such a giagiantic infrastructre develpment would offer employment opportunites to engineers and the many unempolyed and unempoyable(unbees) secondary school graduates a! nd others. It is ironic that it still takes between four and a half to five hours to travel a distance of 168 miles(Accra to Kumasi). It took about the same amount of time to travel the distance 30 years ago. This shows that we have not made any progress. Under this plan, the present road networks would be maintained and used as country roads for the slow travellers and others who want to go sightseeing or travel through the country side. The new roads won't cost the government a dime but would be a cash cow in the long run. The Tema Motorway is intact and tolls are being collected over forty years since its construction. Thanks to the vision of kwame Nkrumah.

There is also too much powers vested in the executive branch of government in Ghana. Specifically, the president of Ghana has too much power. There should be total decentralization of the adminstrative system to allow the people for example to elect their own district and regional chief executives as well as mayors(metro cheif executives). Election to any position comes with the added burden of accountability to the electorates. This would make regional, district and metro ececutives more accountable to the people than the present system where all of them are appointed by the president based on party affiliation. I want a grassroots form of government which would be more responsive to the needs of the people. The problem here is this: the politicians in power don't want to share power or give power to the people hence the concentration of power in a few hands in Ghana today. It has been the same way since independence. A radical restru! cturing of political administration is needed to promote accountability and closeness to the people in the process. In such a system, regions, districts and cities would have the power to adminster their own courts, jails, police(security) etc and aslo have the power to assess fees and fines. The proceeds from local revenues such as permits, fees and fines could be used to develop and build roads, schools, markets and other local projects. It can be done if administered properly. I hate that any time something of importance had to be done, Ghanaians have to travel to either a regional capital or to Accra. It is a total waste of money and travel time when whatever needs to be done could be done at the local level with few exceptions.

Take a loot at Switzerland and many of the smaller Scandinavian countries. These countries are divided into smaller administrative districts(cantons) and allow for local inputs into whatever decisions undertaken by the! elected leaders of the districts. Smaller adminstrative districts are easier to administer and makes rules and reguiations easier to enforce as well. The districts can become training grounds for those who aspire to national leadership. At present, majority of our political leaders are rookies and an unproven lot. This reflects more or less on their competence or lack of. Many have little or no political or adminstrative expereince hence our many problems when it comes to policies and programs to solve the country's many problems.

Ghanaians must continue to put pressure on their elected and unelected leaders for changes in the political and adminstrative systems otherwise no NGOs or outsiders would do it for them. We are too far behind in economic and political development to relax and rest. We must continue to agitate, protest and work hard without cuting corners otherwise we would fall through the economic black hole into the abyss. Osei-Dadzie, Kwabena Burlington, NC Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

ModernGhana Links

Join our Newsletter