Democracy is simply the art of a people choosing their trusted representatives to make decisions for them. The bottom line is that, as a people, do we want to have good roads and schools, public parks and libraries, fire and police services, and decent clean environment. And are we all prepared to share the cost in an equitable manner?
Why do we have to go into deep financial debts for this simple process! It makes no sense!
In Ghana we have adapted foreign systems and spent more than $10-20 billion perfecting it in the last 42 to 65 years, but have failed to do so. An estimate by Ghana’s Institute for Democracy suggest that the 2016-2020 Ghana elections took about $100 million for each of the major parties- the NPP and NDC.
For the past 70 or so years Ghana has undergone many changes in the way we manage our nation for all. We have wasted moneys and today as I write in December 2022, Ghana is reported by all the financial rating companies to be in deep debt to about 90-100% of our Annual Gross Domestic Products (GDP), and expected to go to 104% Debt/GDP ratio by 2024.
We are in debt by some Ghs 450 billion but don’t even have one major 6-lane highways linking our major cities, no underground sewage system, no stable reliable electricity, no reliable water delivery, and have poor communication systems!
No! It is time to seek another alternative!!
The scary economic and financial predicament of Ghana has come about over the years from Ministers of Finance who may not have had much power to squeeze expenses to balance revenue like we do in our personal finances. How many people can get away spending more money in their Bank accounts every month without going to prison sooner or later!
Government leaders without discipline and acting like gods, keep hiring people who support them to win and buy $100,000 4x4 vehicles for many. Recently the President is reported to be traveling and attending conferences around the world in private chartered jets at the cost of $19,000 per hour!
The question is: Is President Akufo Addo out of his mind? Does he think the nation of Ghana belongs to him? No!! Where does the moneys come from? And saddling the younger generation with more than Ghs 450 billion in debts?
WEALTH IN NATIONS:
For those of us in the same age bracket as the President, we cannot hide ourselves and watch our nation sink! No! For 54 years in America some of us have written lots of articles and demonstrated our willingness to help. President Nana Akufo-Addo will remember during the Kume Preko demonstrations against the Rawlings dictatorship in the 1980s, there were colleagues outside who were also activating for change! This writer was one of them and the first to activate for return to Civilian Rule.
My little post-Engineering career business exposure to the Home Finance and Real Estate Business for a decade or more in California helped me understand the implications of individual credit rating, interest rates, debt to income ratios, and how wealth is actually built through real estate.
Does Ghana even have a clue? No! Nobody can sustain reasonable loan on a house with interest as high as 30-40% or more! No! Our figures simply don’t make sense! Ghanaian leaders have killed our nation economically!!
Nobody can talk about wealth without talking real estate and the President of Ghana and his Minister of Finance, educated in America, should be ashamed of themselves with interest rates in Ghana reported as in the 40-50% range! No! It is unheard of to expect to build any economy with inflation rate at 40% and unemployment rate above 50%! No!
The process of government revenue generation and taxation in America, as I found out, follows the values of one’s real property or home, and supplemented by other retail consumption taxes like Sales Tax (what others call VAT- value added tax), and small taxes on vehicles and import taxes as well as personal income taxes and stock gains.
As a young developing nation we have to learn from others! Americans build their wealth mostly from their home ownerships and they pay property taxes collected by the districts and calculated to build their local roads, sewage systems, schools, public parks, police and fire services and administrative expenses! No public official in America dare charter a private jet at $19,000 per hour! No!
Having watched our nation getting worse and worse, we of Ghana Leadership Union, consisting of academics and professional friends across the globe, hereby make the following proposals to help save our nation. We are prepared to give the President and his Ministers 3 months to implement these proposals before we call for the resignation of the President and his cabinet or seek grounds and consolidate data and call for his forced resignation, or seek a possible impeachment. Here they are:
1. DECENTRALIZATION: Parliament and the President should have the 1992 Constitution amended to require election of all town, District and regional Assemblies and chief executives. This can be done within a few weeks or months!
2. The VOTING SYSTEM:
Ghana has wasted more than $5 billion in Voters registration systems, Biometric Voter registration, Equipment and machinery, then the Ghana Card and so-called Digital addressing system.
All these have been a waste of borrowed moneys on useless technologies save maybe the giving of a Ghana Identification number!
Let’s compare. If California, USA, with about 33 million population and a GDP of $3.4 trillion (bigger than the whole Africa and most nations save about 5) can use house and street addressing system and a unique ID number called Social Security Number, that is given for a lifetime, and add any picture ID such as Drivers License or Passport to be valid for voting, what makes Ghanaians think they are smarter and need to spend $3 billion and keep changing that every 4 years? What a waste of borrowed moneys!!
This waste has all been part of the reason Ghana is broke! The Bible says “A fool and his money are soon parted “ (Prov. 21:20).
3. CORRECTING THE MISTAKE:
The purpose of our democracy was and should simply be a way to give adults of voting age a chance to express their wish for a leader - both district and national levels. That is what Democracy is all about!
Democracy should not be about creating opposition or enemies as we saw at the beginning of our Independence struggle with Dr. Nkrumah on one party, and Dr. Danquah and Dr. Busia as sworn enemies with several assassination attempts on Nkrumah’s life in 9 years! No! We can do better than that!!
Current valuation of Ghana’s democratic system shows what may be described as two factions who collide to share government largesse of moneys, vehicles and benefits, and most could care less about the poor Ghanaian or our tax money used to provide say an uncompleted Hospital or Housing system! This mindset must change!!
4. THE PROPOSAL: after listening to discussion and debate among some Professors, former world Bank Economists and many brilliant minds on the GLU forum, we hereby put forth the following for consideration by our parliament and the President within the next 3 months to the end of February 2023:
A. Let’s dissolve all political parties and leave MPs as non partisan till the next election cycle.
B. Let the election of both the President and MPs be by merit only and fair competition based on each candidate’s resume and local presence.
C. Let’s ban all monetary and gift handouts during elections as illegal bribery and punishable as a crime.
D. Let the EC be responsible for monitoring debates among candidates in every district and conduct simple uncomplicated local town, district and Regional elections. No more big loans and debt in voting.
E. Let this system be implemented starting the 2024 election season!
No more political parties! Let the EC and members of the Council of State, Parliamentary leadership, NGOs, all define criteria to select 10 Presidential Candidates and present them to the nation and select one!
F. Let it be made well known that the elected offices are for sacrificing to help build the nation and NOT a place to acquire wealth. Let us revive the DEATH PENALTY for public service crimes of greed against the
State especially if they cause harm to others.
Ghana cannot afford to perish! No! We cannot go into further debt without thinking hard and casting out old habits and learning new tricks and sacrificing personal luxuries for nation.
Lets us amend our 1992 Constitution, stop wasting our moneys on some foreign systems of voting and management we don’t understand, and manage our nation using traditional common sense and representative democracy.
Long live Ghana.
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso - Intn’l President - Ghana Leadership Union (GLU)