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10.04.2007 Feature Article


The death of Madam Hawa Yakubu has greatly come as a blow to some of us who noticed her willingness to make a difference in people's lives. She was a noble woman of vision and her love for the ordinary person was undisputed. She will greatly be missed.

A short interaction which I had with her a few years back has greatly influenced this article; “Madam, Why is it that majority of Politicians and wealthy people do not want to sacrifice to alleviate the sufferings of the masses?” I asked. Madam Hawa replied that the issue is that our way of doing things and respect for State Institutions must fully be functional and things will change.

I dedicate this article to the late 1st Vice Chairman of the NPP and for her sake, and the sakes of all dedicated and hardworking people of the NPP, and indeed for the sake of mother Ghana, I stress the need for the NPP Delegates to consider the person who together with his Ministers can fix the numerous difficulties facing our Nation.

Besides the deepening of the rule of law and the massive developments projects under the NPP government, there are other areas that need real transformation. For instance, armed robbers are causing untold hardship and mayhem to innocent people, the Northern Region conflicts are not over, devilish elements continue to maim innocent Ghanaians, drivers through their negligence are causing deaths on our roads and some food and drugs vendors are selling unwholesome products to the public.

Furthermore, workers in the public sector continue to go to work late (the talk of a clock in system to be introduced in all ministries is most welcome)-, rubbish is being dumped indiscriminately on the street, our forest is being destroyed by greedy Ghanaians, hawkers have continued to sell anywhere without due regard to the law, majority of the people have refused to pay their taxes, some chiefs have persistently sold stool land without accounting for the proceeds, a bizarre and chaotic situation in our ports, there is the theft of goods and items in our airports and postal services because of the absence of CCTV, some journalists habitually write untruths, half truths, unfair and damaging headlines against people in authority,unnecessary funeral show makers etc.

The most striking of all this is the menace the armed robbers are causing in the country. They use very sophisticated techniques to bring untold misery to a lot of individuals and their families. It beats human understanding as to how as a Nation we have allowed wicked people in our society to flourish. The task therefore for the NPP Delegates is to elect an individual who will set a new agenda of putting the structures right to deal ruthlessly with wicked people in our society. The law of the land must be implemented without fear or favour. The situation whereby some individuals believe that they can get away with crime should change and the next NPP Leader must send an unequivocal message to such people.

The difficulties confronting the Nation do not necessarily demand the hiring of the so-called consultants who charge exorbitant fees for their services. Give those issues to the Tertiary Institutions and Organised Strategists, and I sincerely believed they would do a wonderful job, which invariably will save the country million of cedis. The NPP eventual winner should completely change the over-reliance on foreign consultants. The Japanese and the Chinese are fully relying on their own citizens who are in the Tertiary Institutions for new ideas to push their country forward. 'Mr Fix- It' should send an uncompromising message to all Ghanaians that a new beginning has dawned on us and the stereotyping should change. Mr.Edward Mahama of PNC coined it perfectly as a “NEW GHANAIAN”.

We need a leader whose New Beginning Philosophy will fix the numerous problems facing our State Institutions. It was therefore a timely reminder when the Minister of Education Hon. Papa Owusu Ankomah advised the GES to change its mode of functioning to conform to modern thinking. The educational sector is faced with many challenges and it is really a discouraging situation and steps must be taken to fix the problems. Some Teachers are not committed to their work and although they are right in claiming the pay is bad to encourage any serious efforts, that is, unfortunately the profession they have chosen and therefore must sacrifice a little to transform the children under their care.

I strongly think that the GES should put in place a code of conduct for teachers to permanently guide them. Many Teachers have been posted to the rural areas and have failed to turn up with the excuse that there are no social amenities to make life a little bit comfortable. Worryingly, some of those who accept postings to those areas embark on extended weekends to the Cities starting from Thursday and returning on Tuesday.

The sad situation is that some Head teachers are powerless to control such Teachers and on many occasions the Head teachers themselves are part of the problem. So a generation of pupils are passing through the system without the required skills and are unlikely to achieve their ambitions. 'Mr. Fix- It' of the NPP should when eventually given the National mandate be able to repair this problem. One thing 'Mr. Fix –It' should do is to instruct his Minister of Education to meet all District Directors of Education and clearly present the New Vision and Direction to them. It should be plain, you join the government to salvage our nation or get sidelined for your ineptitude.

A strong partnership between the school and Parent Associations should vigorously be encouraged. Head Teachers should also establish Welfare Committees to deal with matters regarding teachers' development and Disciplinary Committees to bring the recalcitrant ones to book perhaps through the District Disciplinary Committees. Again one thing that needs to be pursued is to encourage teachers to recommend brilliant and gifted pupils to the Educational Authorities or the DCEs to assist those pupils to grow to their full potentials, for eventually it is the nation that benefits. In some countries Teachers have been dubbed transformers of society and therefore the government must do all it can to reward Teachers accordingly.

One issue in our Tertiary Institutions that also needs mentioning is the militant approach some student leaders deploy to address what is often their genuine concerns. This attitude whereby student leaders frequently call on people in high position to resign when they disagree with them breeds indiscipline and must stop. It is a problem that must be addressed before things get out of hand. In the civilised world, student leaders call on an individual in a higher position to resign when there is empirical evidence that that personality has shown a constant ineptitude. You do not go to a radio station or hold a press conference to demand that a Regional Police Officer resign merely on the grounds that his views on an incident differ from yours. That is wrong.

'Mr. Fix –It' should adopt a conscious approach to carry the majority of Ghanaians along with him and to share his vision together with majority of the people to indulgeto indulge in a strong sense of belonging and further explore the nation building process. Again all efforts must be done not to sideline a segment of the population.

The developed world started long time ago to instil discipline in their workforce and today they are reaping the benefits. Good time keeping is of the essence, lateness to work is not allowed, absenteeism is vigorously checked, and you may not be paid for unauthorised absences and may be summoned to explain your actions. As we march forward to emancipate our nation from economic woes, we must start to take the toughest decisions now rather than tomorrow.

That is why it is very crucial that the NPP leader from 2009 must start the building of a new generation. We cannot afford to postpone the agenda for transformation.
Another area that should be the concern for 'Mr. Fix- It' is our hospitals. Many concerned Ghanaians have expressed dismay at the manner in which some Doctors neglect their duty to care for patients and this on many occasions has led to untimely deaths. Some come to work late, others fail to do proper diagnosis of patients. There is also the allegation that wrong prescriptions are often given to patients. There must be a fusion of professionalism and responsibility and people must be ready to be accountable for their actions.
The partnership between the State and the Church must also be strengthened so that greedy pastors will be weeded out of the system giving way to the true men of God who will help accelerate the social transformation process by the President.

Sometimes you interact with few Ghanaians living abroad whom you think have exceptional potentials that can help bring about social re-engineering in the country and to aspire to re-direct their energies to Ghana and are really sceptical about the attitude and mentality of some Ghanaians, the “ pull him down syndrome” fear. This is a stigma that we need to remove.

. The NPP came to power on the wings of positive change, which has its antecedent of the rule of law, whereby the law is allowed to take its direction. Unfortunately, some Ghanaians do not understand the principles and as a result when former State Officials are brought before our respected Courts for alleged corruption and other forms of law breaking, then some people in the country think the Government is just politically harassing it's opponents.

The NPP cannot entirely been blamed for failing to explain such principles comprehensively to Ghanaians, for after Mr. Rawlings' 20 years rule there was no time for them to embark on such a project. This should not happen and 'Mr. Fix- it', should launch a National Crusade for the 'Agenda for Attitudinal Change'. A message to all Ghanaians that A New Beginning has dawned and a new way of thinking and doing things is born. Frankly, the systems are rotten and despite the massive infrastructure base embarked on by the NPP government, the system has remained the same.

'Mr. Fix- It' should be able to cleanly and transparently enforce law and order and should robustly oppose the situation whereby individuals take the law for granted with the understanding that people in higher positions will protect them. The state institutions should be made strong t and be respected. State institutions should be the most powerful and fearful. Heads of institutions who neglect their duty should be sanctioned accordingly. What has equally given headaches to some is that most often some politicians fail to demonstrate a clear vision for the country, for to them, the electorate will anyway vote for them because of their association with a party or as a result of their wealth.

The NPP 'Mr. Fix- It' should also devise a strategy whereby he can summon his Ministers and government officials to adhere to their Ministerial Code so that those who constantly abuse their office, you call them to the castle and show them their act and ask them to judge for themselves. 'Mr. Fix- It' Presidency should let it be known to his entire officials that the National Crusade to transform the country cannot condone extreme shortfalls. I am yearning for day when government together with the populace can push this Nation forward. One thing that gladdens many people's heart is that President Kufour had laid the path; 'Mr. Fix –It' should ignite the flame.

The challenges are huge, it's not going to be an easy struggle, nor a quick one, the road ahead will be rock, not smooth but as Mr.K.B. Asante said recently that politicians must take the toughest decision to push this country forward and not to succumb to political expediency there is hope that someone is listening.

Ghanaians deserve a better life; we should not give reason to the peoples of the world to say that Ghana can never experience development and growth, that generation unborn will forever be condemned to poverty and hopelessness.

Inevitably, questions will be asked as who has the magic ability in the NPP Presidential Race who can claim the crown of 'Mr Fix -It'? Strategic thinking and sober heart can unravel the person.



This author has authored 34 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MARTINKWANING

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