A Call For 2008 Presidential Debate
Fellow countrymen 2008 may seem a distant away but experience tells us that it would catch on us sooner than we may realize especially if we don't start planning today. As Ghanaians desperate for progress and change we cannot fold our arms and expect a miracle from the skies. Our participation cannot be overemphasized. One way we can help is to choose good and competent leaders. How do we do this? One way could be to force Presidential hopefuls into some debate and note their words (ideas and vision for the country). This has not been the situation in the past. Although Ghana claims to be modeling Western democracy and admire Presidential debates, this tenet of democracy is missing in Ghana. The purpose of this article is to force Presidential hopefuls including especially those in Ghana who think it is their turn to lead the country to let us know how they intend to run the affairs of the next Republic. Under this backdrop I hope Ghana web will publish this.
In the GLUforum the question was asked about the 10 Things That Will Make Ghana Perk or Peak. This is in connection of our search for candidates with ideas and vision to lead Ghana in 2008. Nii Bannerman has since posted the following list.
1) Establish Rule of law 2) Proper and well regulated land administration 3) Well run address systems for entire country 4) Sound financial system 5) Disciplined law enforcement 6) Valid registration of property 7) Credit system ( Note the all the above supports a viable credit system) 8) Sound educational system 9) Effective governance 10) A vibrant and decentralized healthcare system What will it take to get the above things done? Can you put a strategic plan together? If any government is able to do the ten things below, will you vote for them?
Kennedy (aka Arthur K.) a Presidential hopeful has since responded and this author thinks it would be nice to give others the chance as well. Hopefully many will respond too. We have the right to know how our candidates think about Ghana before 2008 elections. Don't we?
“It is my conviction that my letter to Ghanaians did sketch the broad outlines of my ideological and governing philosophy. As we discuss specific issues, I will have opportunity to lay out my views in detail and I will eagerly take advantage of these opportunities. Of course, I will also welcome opportunities to speak before groups and take questions. Hopefully, I will not only share my views but learn from all of you. Being on this forum has been very valuable to me and I hope that will continue. Finally, let me end with a caveat though. Lists of desirable things, even when they are good, are just lists. We should relentlessly seek to move from ideas to deeds. In the end, as real men and women who do not want to stop at being philosophers, we must always strive to bridge the gap between what we know to be good and right and what our governments, our institutions and even we ourselves do.( THE KNOWING-DOING GAP by Pfeiffer and Sutton explores this very well). Ultimately, the question is not what or how I will do but what we can do TOGETHER! (Arthur Kennedy)
Nii Bannerman responded back demanding a detailed answer:
“Arthur K, Assume that you just won the presidency and you in fact did run on these ten things! How would you go about implementing them? Assume that you agree with all ten. I think now is the time to really develop action plans! Convince us that you can take these things and implement them. Tell us how you will fund, staff and sell your plans. How you will use either public or private agencies to get these things done. Explain your reasoning behind your choices. Now is the time to walk us through the park of hope! Arthur K, we are going to expect a comprehensive plan from you. We want synergistic/holistic plans. We want plans that are systemically aligned. For example an increase in agricultural production means that we are going to need industry to process these primary goods into secondary goods. Once the goods are processed we want to know how it is going to be marketed. So just saying that you will increase agric production does not cut it. I want to see how the parts not only work together but support each other and makes sense. Now is the time to have the game plan. Just like a puzzle, we want to see the pieces and how they fit together to accomplish a clearly articulated vision. BTW what is your health strategy? Prevention or Curative? Both may? Where should the emphasis be?” (Nii Bannerman)
As Ghanaians who care about the direction of our country we would be curious to know the answers provided by a Presidential hopeful. So what is Kennedy's response?
“Let me begin by commending Nii for his passion and thank him for assuming that I will win. Without any bias, I whole-heartedly agree with his assumption. Before I am elected, I hope with the help of all of you who have the knowledge and know-how, to develop a plan with quantifiable milestones and plans along the lines of a contract with Ghana. When I am elected, I will first put together a government that has integrity and competence and will command the respect of Ghanaians. Its members will come from all corners of the earth. Indeed, there are Ghanaians who may not be interested in government for personal reasons whom I will persuade to join my administration. I was very moved when Bush 43 thanked Guitierrez of Kellogg fame for making the sacrifice to join his government as Commerce Secretary. Then I will set clear goals for my Ministers and hold them accountable relentlessly. As William Gladstone, the four-time British PM said "A Prime Minister must be a good butcher sometimes" (He was referring to the willingness to get rid of incompetent subordinates)
My second task will be to persuade the nation at large and the relevant stake-holders to support my vision and help me to achieve them. One of the things that I am saddened by is the eloquence-deficit that seems to afflict most of our leaders. I think too many of our leaders under-estimate the inherent persuasive powers of the Presidency. A President, on important issues must not only move our minds with logic but engage our hearts with his passion and commitment to the causes he or she believes in. The failure to do so means that he/she abandons one of his most powerful advantages.
Third, I will use even more care assembling and organizing my staff than I used in assembling my cabinet. It appears to me that both our Presidents under the current democratic dispensation have under-estimated the importance of Presidential staff.
Fourth, very early in my administration, I will seek to initiate far-reaching constitutional reforms that will move power from the Presidency to Parliament and the districts. As to my detailed programs, since I await your input, I will say that it is a work in progress. However, in my mind, I think the foundational thing is to reduce corruption. When I get into the Presidency, I will use every tool at my disposal to fight corruption, level the playing field and bring integrity to our public life. My programs will be organized around five broad areas;
First, making government work for people.
Second, putting people to work by creating good jobs and training people to fill them.
Third, significant reform of healthcare.
Fourth, a dramatic and far-reaching effort to integrate diasporans into all aspects of our national life.
Fifth, the use of appropriate technology to transform all aspects of our national life.
Nii asked specifically about healthcare. Here are the major points of my program;
A: Re-emphasize PREVENTION and HEALTH PROMOTION by massive public health education, return of TANKASE to help keep our environments clean
B: Provision of affordable clean water and public sanitation
C:; A recalibrated version of the NHIS. I will seek to provide affordable care to patients with only about ten diseases and conditions (Hypertension, Diabetes, Immunizations, pre-natal care, TB, Diarrhoea, Malnutrition, Typhoid Fever, HIV, Maintenance exams like pap smears)
D: A major effort to reverse the brain-drain.
E: Improving discipline and safety on our roads
F: Streamlining and improving the safety of traditional medicine.
I hope these will give a preliminary sketch of where I hope to lead our dear nation. Guys, the establishment politicians will give us more of the same. Join me in a historic effort to give our nation a new sense of purpose and give hope to the millions who live on our continent without hope. Together, we can overcome, if we are on God's side because he is on the side of the people. As John Kennedy said " Here on earth, God's work is truly our own"(Arthur Kennedy).
Judge for yourselves. It is the hope of this author that Ghanaians would force all 2008 Presidential hopefuls into a debate. I f you have further questions for Kennedy or would like to market your candidacy please visit us at [email protected] Okyere Bonna, Secretary Ghana Leadership Union, Inc. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.