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07.03.2007 General News

Vintage J.H. Mensah speaks his mind

By : GNA
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Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, Member of Parliament for Sunyani East, on Monday said the syndrome of exaggerated expectations and over-dependency on government for development by the citizenry was a great threat to the building of a resilient nation.

He said a bright future existed for development in the country for the next 50 years, but cautioned against passive citizenship that expected only government to fulfill the people's aspirations.

He was delivering a lecture on the theme, " Ghana Past, Present and Future: Some Reflections on Turning Points, Opportunities and Lessons for Building a Nation", dedicated to Ghana's 50th independence anniversary, at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Mr Mensah said Ghana would need empowered citizens to move the nation forward and urged the media to play a vital role in creating the right ethos to enable citizens take their own initiatives to improve their lives.

He however, said the nation would first have to thoroughly purge itself and reform the people's mindset, "which produces a ceaseless whine about what the State must do for the people, but so little about what people must do for themselves.

Mr Mensah said "Perhaps as a nation we should adopt as our slogan President Kennedy's famous slogan "ask not what Ghana can do for me, but what I can do for the nation and for myself."

He said the Ghanaian middle class “mostly disables itself by constantly feeding on this poisonous diet dependency of inertia and inaction."

Mr Mensah who is also an Economic Development Consultant said the events of March 1957, which Ghanaians were celebrating were signified by the resumption of sovereign power by the people of Ghana in place of the British crown and its colonial administration.

"The exercise of sovereignty did not come to us for the first time in 1957: we only retrieved a position of almost indefinite antiquity long ago in out various traditional states, the people of this country have exercised such sovereignty as a matter of natural, living reality."

Mr Mensah appealed Ghanaians to make a more objective, overarching constituency of political judgement and analysis.

He condemned coups makers, saying, " A coup is essentially an overthrow of existing order... It is a matter of record that repeated regime change and capricious appointments have cost the Ghana public service most dearly."

Mr Mensah said because Parliament had not been able to will the desired end for the nation because it lacked the will for the means for the implementation of any policy.

He called for a constitutional amendment that would give Parliament a role in financial management, which was more akin parliamentary practice of the American Congress.

Mr Mensah cited for instance that the nation was not spending much money on planning, research and development, on a scale anywhere commensurate with its ambition to become a middle income nation.

He called on schools not to downplay the study of the nation's history and said it had been observed that countries which had been outstanding in nation building taught their children about their past and culture.

Source: GNA