One of the interesting things we learn as we get more advanced on our democracy is the fact that:
1. The elected MPs and appointed Ministers are employees of the people of Ghana, as also the various Directors, Deputy Directors, Chief Directors. As such those who over the years have become so arrogant and untouchables that they think they are doing one a favor when a citizen asks for information, their dawn of imperial reign is over! This culture must end! These government workers MUST know, in no uncertain terms, that they are working for the people of Ghana. We pay their salaries and benefits.
2. The second thing to learn about democracy is that these government workers and employees, from the lowest paid to the top executives, Ministers and the President, must know that they are working for the people of Ghana under a contract of service. If they do not perform the services well, it is a breach of contract so far as they are being paid! They have a right to resign or we have a right to fire them. If we do not have precedence, let us start establishing precedence and get a clear understanding that the constitution mandates these appointees and elected officers to live under the law, and hence violation or poor performance subjects them to the same laws as citizens. There are Ministers who have been known to beat up citizens, violate criminal laws, and not punished. That is wrong! Our nation must never tolerate such! Citizens must know that they have rights under the constitution, and thus officials cannot intimidate them and get away with it.
3. The third fact about democracy is that it is a transparent system that requires that officials cannot hide government documents unless they can prove that it is of national security. People have a right to information and documents and all we have to demonstrate to prove this is to take a case to court to set precedence. I can guarantee that unless national security is at stake, it will be hard for any official to justify, in court, that they refused to provide public information or data because they are government employees.
Within the last couple of days alone Ghanaweb has posted many articles of interest to the public. Here's a list of the topics taken from Ghanaweb pages that may need citizens to get more information from officials, and yet there are no phone or email contacts [I have deleted political news]:
• Health Insurance Scheme to be networked by March
• Earth Tremor, a Warning Signal
• French Navy Ship docks at Tema Port
• NUGS gets new building
• Need for internal monitoring of road agencies - Dr Anane
• Ghana Embroilled In Czech Politics III
• 419 -- New & Improved
• Earth Tremor hits Accra
• In Search of the Holy Grail
• Sex Tourism On The Increase: Watch Out!
• Informal workers asked to declare salary for taxation
• Effective mgt of coastal resources necessary
• Ghanaian groups blast major WTO agreement
• Districts responded to NHIS than cities
• Minister cuts sod for Kpone Housing Project
• Defence Minister appeals to Russia
• $200m for water and coastal protection
• Editorial: A Third Force is Most Welcome
• There Is Money In The System — Akoto Osei
• IGP demands extra vigilance from border security
• Curfew in Bimbilla
• NPP to offer safe haven to NDC defectors Based on these elections, it is important that Ghanaweb and the media make available and publish periodically or on archive, the names and phone /email contacts for all government executives and senior officials in case of need to contact them. As much as there may be an argument for privacy, I found in the 2000 phone directory [the only public one in Ghana provided by the Ghana Telecom], that officials' phone numbers even at residence are listed in the phone book. As such it is not a violation of a public official's privacy if their personal phone numbers are published in the media.
By this letter, I am hereby asking Ghanaweb and the rest of the media to publish as much as they have, all government Ministers, MPs, and senior executives. Kwaku A. Danso, President Ghana Leadership Union, Inc (NGO) [email protected] Fremont, CA., USA – Accra, Ghana Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.