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28.01.2006 Feature Article

A Diasporan Presidential Hopeful Confronts the Establishment – a rejoinder

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It is becoming increasingly clear that the next President of Ghana will come from the diasporan community. This group of Ghanaians, though have spent majority of their adult life outside the motherland, however as Bonna quoted Arthur Kobina Kennedy “to live in Ghana or to have Ghana live in you?” sums up the frustrations of this community about the blatant corruption and abuse of power that is now firmly entrenched in our national physic.

The question of leadership always comes up as an issue that the “so called elite” home think it is their God given right to clinched on to power. Well in 2008 all that will change as the Ghanaian people are now becoming more informed and thus as 2004 showed would be willing to vote not by the amount of money given to them by a particular political party or individuals but by the issues that concerns them most. M

Bonna in his analysis listed the issues that most concerns the Ghanaian people both in Ghana and the diaspora as follows:

1. Affordable Health Care Delivery

2. Available good drinking water

3. Improved Educational system

4. Good roads

5. Job creation and fair income distribution

6. Affordable Utilities.

The above listed requirements are what a country is measured in if it is making headway in its development agenda. In the 1970s in Alma Ata the United Nations made a declaration that included of the above which were then lacking in most third world countries at the time in question. Most of the countries in South East and East Asia were among those third world countries that participated in that summit including Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand. Lo and behold Ghana (yes Ghana our motherland) was then seen as among the group of third world countries that were destined to make a break and achieve rapid industrialisation by the turn of the last century.

At the close of the last century most of the Asian countries, the “so called Tiger economies” had made the turn round and are now successful economies. Most have joined the group of OECD countries and are now aid givers, mainly to poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including our MOTHERLAND GHANA.

Development of a nation is not measured in the number of cars on the road or the number of luxurious houses being built or the amount of money horded under the beds of the elite but by the very issues listed above that my brother and compatriot Bonna discussed in his analysis.

Human Development forms an integral part of development just as GDP of a country. In our case the annual gross income of the urban elite masked the majority poor in the rural areas where the bulk of our cocoa and other extractive minerals come from.

The development of our motherland concerns not only those in the homeland but the diasporan community as well. Thus in a series of articles being written by this community reflects the seriousness of their will and ambition of engaging with the motherland. As we say in the Akan language “ Efie ni fie” literally meaning there is no better place than home.

As Dr Arthur Kennedy and our North American compatriots are seriously discussing about playing an active role in the development of our motherland, and quiet rightly so, in United Kingdom Osahene Kojo Boakye Djan, the man who is credited to have created the environment in which democracy now flourishes in our motherland and others are also ready to pack their bags and head home to contribute towards our cherish goal of achieving middle income status in 2020.

Those who doubt the sincerity of these compatriots must understand that these compatriots have seen how other countries had been able to tap into the skills of their diasopran communities and are making quiet impressive gains in their developmental agenda.

The sight of highly educated graduates from our universities heading straight out of the country after graduation, some already recruited even before they graduate is quiet depressing. Losing our most treasured labour to other countries is what is holding our motherland back.

In 2006 our motherland is deemed as among one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. All the gains that our motherland made were wiped away by the harsh Bretton Woods Structural programmes. The introduction of user fees in the areas of education and health have dented our ability to move ahead, thus the results are the numerous sight of children roaming aimlessly on the streets of our towns and cities, the so called “Street Children” some not attending school in other to fend for themselves. This defeats our aim of being able to achieve faster growth and thus making our objective of becoming middle income country less and less impossible. We have got 14 years to make this turn around! Can Ghana achieve middle income status in 2020? This precisely the question that the diasporan community wants to address.

In 1957 President Kwame Nkrumah had a dream that one day Ghana, the great Gold Coast would become an economic power house in sub-Saharan Africa. His industrialisation policies were grand but the cold war politics at that period held him back.

In 1969 Prime Minister Kofi Busia had the same dream when he took over the reigns of government. His government was cut short by the 1972 coup.

In 1979 President Limann embarked on similar journey to make sure the dream of his predecessors fulfilled. He was stopped in his tracks by the 1982 revolution.

In 1987 Ghana under the leadership of Flt Lt Rawlings and a group of technocrats subscribed to the Bretton Woods Structural policies that opened the economy to foreign competetion and liberalisation. Although the success or failure of his reform programes are still subject to different interpretations by various researchers including this writer, however what cannot be denied is he managed to positioned the country for development and linked into the economy the remittances of the diasporan community.

In 2000 the baton was handed over from President Rawlings to President Kufuor in Ghana's long march towards 2020. All the above leaders have one thing in common and that is to see to the development and growth of our motherland. Their legacies must be upheld for future generations. So the question is who should receive the baton from President Kufuor in 2008?

In this writer's view, among the Nkrumaists parties there is only one candidate that can continue with the work of our past great leaders and that person is Osahene Kojo Boakye Djan. Nkrumaists must unite behind Osahene Kojo Boakye Djan as the unity candidate for the 2008 elections. He has got the qualities that would be required of any in coming president.

In the coming series this writer will look at who the NPP must unit behind as their unity candidate. There are various people who are capable of leading the party including the Home Affairs Minister Papa Owusu Ankomah, the Defence Minister and younger brother of the President Dr Addo Kufuor. These two candidates have all got the leadership qualities to mount a successful challenge for the presidency. What about a dream ticket of Dr Addo Kufuor and Papa Owusu Ankomah?

In the NDC camp apart from Professor Ata Mills who lost two elections in a roll, the only credible candidate to challenge for the presidency is John Mahama. Any of the above candidates named would follow the policies of the present President irrespective of what party they belongs. By 2012 the infrastructures should be in place for a successful take off. By 2012 aid should no long form part of Ghana's budget and the role of NGO's would have been scaled down in programe delivery in all sectors. The question is who is the right candidate to lead the country in achieving the above goals? The choice belongs to the Ghanaian people. The delegates that will elect flag bearers for the NPP, NDC and the CPP would only be electing a presidential candidate but a leader that Ghanaians would look up to lead the country towards her future prosperity.

Politics in Ghana will become more richer if the Ghanaian people were presented with the choice of the leaders mentioned above as flag bearers for their respective parties. 2020 is not far off and Ghanaian people cannot wait longer beyond this set date. 2020 IS THE GOAL.

Peter Jeffrey London. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Peter Nee Jeffrey
Peter Nee Jeffrey, © 2006

The author has 54 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: PeterNeeJeffrey

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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