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02.11.2005 Feature Article

All Elected & appointed officials must pass a test ....

All  Elected & appointed officials must  pass  a  test ....
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... to determine their level of Common Sense and empathy. Abusuafuo, these days the political bureaucrat's weather vane on top of the Castle is spinning fast like a moving car. And, it's spitting wacky ideas faster than ever. But, everything coming from there has been carefully choreographed to avoid detection . What happened to the “POSITIVE CHANGE”? And, who is sleeping on the wheels of our fragile democracy? In fact, the political mumbo-jumbo they dish down our throats these days is making me very uncomfortable and disappointed—to say the least. But, let me see if I got it right: Political appeasement: To appease the MPs, give them $20,000.00 car loan—case closed. Simple as that. And, if the former MPs hijacked the government's bungalows ,just give out $ 65 .00 each, a day—to house the newly-minted MPs in hotels. No questions asked ! Asem asa. And, now someone had a dream that it will serve the nation well if the Mps and Ministers got into farming. Bam ! Let Mps and Ministers get into farming. Yaanom, as if all that is not enough to induce vomit exercise, they topped it off with 126 billion cedis to renovate the Presidential Lodge at Peduase—a place of which the President will never live . Amazingly, all the Mps from both parties support these ideas. Coincidence ? I don't think so! Power and money are Ghanaian politicians' delicacy ,and they don't seem to have enough. Protection of Interest: Quick, name something all politicians(from both parties) agree on and support. Motherhood? ,Driving around in $20,000.00 - air-condition cars? Not exactly. It's finding- the- best -way –to- chew- up –the- nation's - resources. They never agree on anything but, when it comes to a way to enrich themselves then they will find every means to agree to ”disagree”.

They're making fools out of us:

For some reasons our Politicians and Public officials have embedded in their psyches that they know what is best for us, and that God somehow short- changed the rest of us in the brain department. Oh, Is there any shame left in our part of the world ? And when is it going to be an end to those wacky ideas that permeate the souls of our Politicians and Public officials? It's important to seek answers to these questions ,for it seems everything is out of joint these days with our politicians. Hardly, any day goes by without them coming up with something to chew up our national account like a lawn mower. Where is the beef? Against all that backdrop, I'm about to surprise you. So fasten your seat belt. I'm seriously thinking of running for a high office on just one issue platform. Don't laugh. I'm serious as a heart attack. Why not? I don't need no brain power, nor common sense and I surely need not possess any concern for the plight of the common person in the land—who has invested so much hope and dream in our leadership. . voila ! I give myself no points for saintliness. However, I promise if elected every Ghanaian politician running for office will have to pass a test—yep, I mean it. Oh yes, If elected I promise within three years all elected and appointed officials in the land will be required to take a test—yep, you guessed right—to determine their common sense. I think it would be in the best national interest ,I suppose, to mandate that our elected and appointed officials in the land be required to pass an examination to determine their level of' COMMON SENSE' and if indeed, they possess this seemingly rare quality. We need to ascertain whether they have this precious commodity and if their heads are screwed on right. Or to determine their level of concern for the plight of the common person in the land. While we are at it, I'd like to measure their level of taste for cars and their farming skills . And, since my constituency is the most ignored and looked- down by the mainstream parties, I want to make my campaign slogan very simple and easy to remember: ” DO YOU PASS THE TEST?”. Very easy, huh? Shame, Shame : Na you alone sabi farming? Now, let all of us pause for a moment to remember the death of an infamous idea by Kwamena Bartels: ”Each interested Minister or MP would be allocated up to 100 acres of land and also provided with further support in the form of seedlings, clearing of the land, planting and maintenance of the farms over the next four years.”—when they will be ready for next election, right? Now, you know the rest of the story. I rest my case. Great Idea right, Kwamena? Wrong ! .Double-wrong ! Damn wrong! It flew in the face of common sense . Farming has been the back bone of the nation since nineteen kojo- hooho, so our Mps and Ministers just discovered its importance? What's going on ? I'm getting very confused. What is good for the Mps is not good for the local farmers: Sometimes, I wonder whether the folks guiding the nation really know or truly care about the important issues affecting the citizenry or mainly concern about the size of their belts. Granted this stupid idea would work. So the government was ready to grab the land from the hopeless and hapless farmers and give it to the Mps and Ministers? So the government was going to offer the Politicians with loan and all the trimmings that supposedly, the farmers don't deserve ? Hummm, we all know how much the people hate the politicians but, I didn't know—until now— how much the politicians hate the people in the villages; who made them who they are and got them where they are today.

By the way, how many Mps or ministers know the difference between kotokuro and sikanfua? They claimed the idea behind the 'farming idea' was,” to give respectability to farming”. I beg your pardon? Ironically, I bet most of these politicians went to school on Cocoa Marketing Board's scholarship program. Free education on the sweat of an “unrespectable profession”. Huh ? Voters deserve an Award: Amazingly, Come election year the same folks who have shredded their hope to be rich will be asked to vote for the same politicians who don't even know where and how they live. If these people don't deserve some kind of an award every four years , no one does. I mean any award made out of a cheap metal from Kokurompe junk -yard is better than nothing. Because these are the people whose yearly income is way less than what our politicians spend on lunch every day, yet they 're required to trust the leaders. They don't even know where their next meal will come from , not to mention; clothes and medical care for their families. If you think of how they're surviving then you should also believe in miracles. These poor souls need an award for being able to stand in line , every four years and vote for the same people who don't care for them. Oh, yes, they deserve an award for holding on against every hope, and still listen to the garbage coming out of our politicians. When I think of some of the people in my town, whose blood pressure is shooting up to the roof but, have never seen a simple blood pressure reading device—yet they had to stand in line for hours to vote – then I think they deserve to be recognized—for being optimistic and patriotic.

Do our Politicians have Amnesia or devoid of empathy? I want to know. So they never thought about the idea of Mps and Ministers going into government's sponsorship farming will cause a little heard scratching—especially, in our part of the world where unfortunately, money has become the only way of measuring success? How can the prosperous few—'zillionires'—live separate and different at the expense of the poverty of many? They forgot that' emabaa na ema ogya deri.'(it's the small pieces of wood that make the fire burn)

This crucial issue demands nothing less than the sustained attention of the wisest men and women at home and abroad because Ghana will be there when we're long gone.. Too much hope is invested in this government: Come on !. You say. What about those years when our politicians misused the nation's funds? Yes, our politicians have been bought and paid for by the same people who have the means and 'connections' since Moses was a child. And, yes our Mps and Ministers have always abused their powers and positions .But, never before in the history of Ghana have so many Ghanaians invested their over-stretched hope, dreams and their children's future in any leadership as this one(NPP Leadership). Paradoxically, a leadership which is standing by and let a small band of greedy individuals bent on hijacking the government, so as to enable them to become 'gazillionires' every four years. I can go on all day. But, you get my point: the 'Talibanization' of our fragile democracy by few individuals in these day and age is a cause for concern . Because we don't have time to spare. Or do we? Think, Think and invest in our youth: Aren't enough problems in Ghana for the Mps and ministers to worry about than going into farming to send a message? I wonder how many youth we can put into an apprenticeship trade programs to learn marketable skills, with the fraction of the 126 billion cedis money for Peduase Lodge renovation. How many used computers can we buy with a fraction of this money for our under-educational system? How many nurses can we train to mine our schools with primary care— so as to prevent the preventable diseases of our youth with a fraction of this money? I say how many towns and villages can we turn into food production Mecca and employment creating centers , with a little bit of money the government was going to give to the politicians for their farms? I wonder what twenty- thousand dollars can do to each school in Ghana, in the areas of books and desks.

Oh lord, the best thing on the agenda is the renovation of The Peduase Lodge? What about renovating all the schools? Yes, I know some schools in my area where classes are conducted under a mango tree because the rain storm took away the roof of their classrooms. Are we serious? It's the car scenti no ..oo: To understand the seriousness of our problems maybe, just maybe, our politicians should stop riding around in twenty-thousand dollar cars with tinted windows. Instead, they should ride tro-tro or taxi once a month through downtown and uptown, to see the dog-chain sellers and all those people who are barely surviving. We're tired of being the world's trotters: In the ages of Al-Queda and Taliban, Hurricanes and Tsunamis is it in the interest of this great nation to let bad home front polices ,orchestrated by greedy few, to push out the sons and daughters to become self-imposed socio-economic exiles in someone's land?

With few privileged individuals (the Mps and Ministers)trying to control the 95 percent of the nation's borrowed resources, the nation's chance of coming out of its economic doldrums is hard to predict; with precise accuracy. Nevertheless, my crossed fingers are still in place, hoping against hope and holding my breath in anticipation, that one day our day will come. When that happens we can all break into a wild celebration by high-fiving one another. Please don't let things fall apart: Before that, we have to get rid of the rats who are eating away our freedom to stay in our own country and mortgaging the future of our kids and youth. We have to stamp them out in the next election. And, demand the right to know if those who want our vote have PASSED THE TEST. Because when things fall apart— like our neighbors—we will no longer be at ease . All because of the death of Common Sense. Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi. New jersey,USA. * The writer is the head of the PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION and the founder of the ADU-GYAMFI Educational Scholarship and Apprenticeship Trade Programs for the youth of Asuom. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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