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13.11.2007 Feature Article


DO YOU REMEMBER the feud between President Bush of United States of America and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela? If not, where the hell have you been? They have the ego you could even haul around on a truck and ride around on a major highway. If you listen to these leaders you would think that the two nations were mortal enemies. Amazingly, the trade between these two states is so huge that one wonders what goes on behind the closed doors.

According to the news reports, the United States exported 323.9 million dollar worth of goods to Venezuela between 2003 and 2006. In 2006, Venezuela exported 27 billion dollar of crude oil to America. President Chavez is selling million barrels of oil at a discount price to the United States of America for this winter. The gesture is a trade package that is to help the American poor meet his or her “heating bills.” What are enemies for? You can draw your own conclusion. But doesn't logic dictate that enemies do not trade with each other or do not see eye to eye?

You can call it an International Public Relation tool. But I will call it “Keeping the business out of politics.” The leaders of these two countries have learned to figure out a way to work through their issues just for the sake of the citizens of the two nations. That is part of globalization, isn't it?

Can our lousy politicians learn from this example?-

In Ghana, our politicians are using dirty politics to manipulate the citizens such that the majority of the citizens' attention has been diverted from the real issues that brought them to power or brought the elected legislature to parliament. When will these politicians figure out a way that will lay to rest the so –called, 'differences' before things fall apart?

Have you watched the mud-wrestling match between National Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) lately? Yes, it is nice to have checks and balances, better still it is nice to have a party with dissenting views that is why it is healthy to have a multiparty system. Interestingly in Ghana, the two most dominant parties- NPP and NDC do not seem to see any good in each other let alone to appreciate the weaknesses of each other. What a waste of time and resources!

Take the national health insurance scheme, which was introduced by NPP government for example. From all indications, the health insurance scheme in not without problems, yet the NPP led- government did something a country like U.S with all the resources could not tackle. One would have thought that the NPP would be applauded for doing something about the health care system. Unfortunately, that will never happen in a million years.

Any form of health insurance is better than none particularly in our part of the world where a common headache can be fatal to individual's health. But the NDC leaders and their supporters who are also beneficiaries of the health insurance plan have failed to see anything good in the scheme.

On the other side of the aisle, the NPP will not listen much more to conceptualize any alternative idea or plan from anyone who is not an NPP sympathizer. There are a lot of Ghanaians with good ideas and suggestions which can revitalize Ghana's economy but so long as they will not wear the NPP elephant T- shirt or bear cards of the NPP, nothing of theirs will be implemented. Consequently, a lot of Ghana's human capital is wasted both within and outside the country.

The point is Ghana needs all the brains it can get. Therefore any good leadership would find a way to nurture, encourage, promote and utilize all good ideas. If even the idea seems stupid and crazy as long as it comes from a sound mind it should be listen to. The surprise is that today's stupid ideas may be tomorrow's discoveries. Ideas are like water, they can be recycled over and over again for the benefit of the nation, more especially ours which is bedeviled with consistent mismanaged economy. Can NPP and NDC grow up and direct their energies into programs that will make Ghana take off?

In my opinion, this crop of politicians- both the ruling and the minority, owe the nation and the next generation an explanation as to why the have failed to accomplish all that is written as their manifestos.

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi

*The writer is a social commentator and the founder of Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment, Educational and Apprenticeship Foundation in Asuom, Akim, and E/R

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi, © 2007

This author has authored 191 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwakuAduGyamfi

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