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14.10.2008 Politics

Politicians have been given too much room to operate -Dr. Napo

By Issah Alhassan, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

The NPP Parliamentary candidate for the Manhyia Constituency in the upcoming elections, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has taken a swipe at the numerous social scientists in the country, for giving politicians and leaders of this country free hand to operate.

Dr. Prempeh noted that the voices of the numerous social scientists have been very silent in the face of the many chieftaincy and political disputes in the country, which have become problematic to the politicians.

The NPP Parliamentary aspirant has therefore challenged Social Science students to raise their rational voices and bring their intellectual and human resources to bear on issues that border on our national politics and national life, in order to move the country forward.

According to him, Social Scientists could have saved the country the trouble of going through unnecessary debates and determine a national course for action on a number of issues if they had not been apathetic to political issues.

Addressing students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) during the 37th Social Science Society Faculty Week celebration, which was under the theme -”Consolidating our Democracy, the Role of the Social Scientist”, Dr. Prempeh recalled that when the Kufuor-led administration decided to take advantage of the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in 2001, at the time the total external debt was 189% of GDP, the debate on the issue became so divisive that opponents of the NPP thought the nation had condemned itself to eternal poverty by opting for the initiative.

He said seven years after joining the HIPC initiative, the external debt of the country is 48% of GDP, while per capita has risen from US $370 to a little over US$600, as at the end of 2007, adding that the authentic and objective voices of the Social Scientists were overshadowed by emotional mischievous voices.

Dr. Prempeh further observed that similar controversy surrounded the government's decision to reconstruct the Flagstaff house, when a little research into the past would have revealed that during the first Republic under Dr.Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana had the Christianburg Castle, now Osu Castle, the Flagstaff House, the State House, as well as the Peduase Lodge, all serving as symbols of the country's sovereignty.

The Parliamentary candidate stressed that the phenomenon of narrow argument continues to permeate our circles, making reference to the great deal of aspersion being cast by the NDC over the NPP flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo's promise to ensure free education up to the Senior High School, and to move Ghana to the level of a developed country, indicating that a social scientific approach to the issue would reveal that the target was not far from being reached.

He noted that in the last four years before the NDC left office, they achieved a real GDP growth rates of 5.2 in 1996, 5.1 in 1997, 3.7 in 1998, 4.4 in 1999 and 3.7 in 2000 while the administration of the NPP has achieved a consistent GDP growth rates of 4.2 in 2001, 4.5 in 2002, 5.2 in 2003, 5.8 in 2004, 6.2 in 2006 and 6.3 in 2007, all in the face of irrepressible external shocks.

Dr. Prempeh expressed the optimism that with the quadrupling of the external reserve from US $3.7 billion to US$15 billion in 2007, the country can only look forward to a more robust economy under the reign of Nana Akufo Addo.

He, therefore, urged the students to use the social scientific and objective approach to similarly verify if promises being made by political parties were consistent with the nation's resources and economic perimeters.

The parliamentary aspirant further asserted that the consolidation of democracy does only involve election of leaders through the ballot box but also the creation and continual improvement in secondary institutions of democracy such as the CHRAJ, SFO, NCCE and NMC, as institutions which according to him, have seen tredemendous changes under the reign of the NPP.

He, however, charged the students to actively engage politicians in dialogue and to initiate debates on national issues to enable voters make informed choices.

The NPP aspirant donated GH¢1,000 towards the activities of the Faculty Week.