13.01.2009 Feature Article


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According to the late Sir Karl Popper, - one of the most influential philosophers of Science in the 20th century and lecturer at the London School of Economics –“those who promise us paradise on earth never produce anything but hell.” Certainly that cannot be said of God's promises to man.

Psalm number 1 of the Old Testament is a statement on God's promise to righteous people and evil doers. It says in verses 2 and 3 that “for those who delight in the laws of the Lord and meditate day and night, they shall be like the tree firmly planted by the rivers of water, which bears its fruits in due season and its leaves shall not wither and whatsoever the righteous do shall prosper.”

The Scriptures are replete with God's promises of a sweeter life after death for the righteous and an unimaginable punishment for people who perpetrate evil in His beautiful world. According to the Quran, neither dust nor ignominy shall come near the faces of righteous men and women and that Allah is severe in punishment for sinners.

Clearly, God does not break His covenant with man. He promised Moses victory over Pharaoh. When Moses complained and prayed to God – “Our Lord, thou has given Pharaoh and his chiefs splendor and riches in the life of the world so that they may lead men astray from Thy way. Our Lord! Destroy their riches and harden their hearts so that they believe not till they see the painful doom.” The Lord said “Your prayer is heard. You and your brother should keep to the straight path and follow not the road of those who have no knowledge.” Quran Surah X verses 89-90. The Lord had bestowed upon Abraham Isaac and Ismael, He rewarded David, Solomon, Elisha, Zachariah, Joseph, John and His many prophets. He is not one to break His promises.

It is just men who take delight in breaking promises. For many people who voted against the NPP, the last 8 years of the John Kufour administration was nothing but broken promises – PROMISES to make life better, jobs for the jobless, a cut on the number of ministers, affordable housing for the poor, good governance and freedom of expression. In Kufour's inaugural address, he promised to establish a GOLDEN AGE OF BUSINESS. Sadly the much talked about golden age of business became a nightmare for the local industry as Kufour supervised the collapse of so many Ghanaian businesses. People like Kwesi Pratt Jnr. and Dr. Kwabena Darko of Darko Farms who had hailed Kufour at the early stages of his administration begun scratching their heads and revised notes as they saw the near collapse of principles and empires they had tirelessly worked to build. The textile and poultry industries became the worse hit under Kufour. Cheap poultry and textile imports flooded the market.

It was sad to hear Kufour declare Ghana as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country-HIPC, a country that has abundant natural resources. Why wouldn't Ghana have high foreign debt and declare itself virtually bankrupt when our foreign import is about $US 7.300m and we export about half that figure? Subsistence Agriculture is the bedrock of Ghana's economy and the sector employs about 56 per cent of the nation's total work force. Isn't it embarrassing that Ghana relies on food imports to feed its people? Agriculture generates just about 37.3 per cent of Ghana's GDP, a figure which is woefully inadequate considering the size of the Agricultural sector. Kufour did very little to ameliorate the suffering of our very hard working farmers after promising them paradise on earth.

Don't get me wrong, Kufour fulfilled other promises. Interestingly though, some of the fulfilled promises were smokescreen meant to torment the government's arch rival, the NDC. Kufour sold off the presidential jet and bought a luxury presidential jet, built a luxurious presidential palace when most areas of the economy badly needed a financial boost, he repealed the Criminal Libel Law which most media practitioners regarded as a Trojan horse and set up a national reconciliation commission which was a complete waste of tax payer's tax contributions.

Former president Kufour is not the first to default on promises and wont be the last. Politicians everywhere are the same except that some are worse than others. US president elect Barack Obama is already backtracking on some of his promises even before he assumed the much coveted US presidency. In an interview on ABC News, Obama said he may not be able to close Guantanamo Bay in his first 100 days in office as vaunted about during the campaign for the presidency. He said “it is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize.”

On the economy Mr Obama said “I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace that we had hoped.” So was Obama far from reality when he made those promises? There's no doubt he was way too far from reality.

President Mills has the opportunity to redeem the image of politicians and secure a second term for himself, and perhaps another historic hand over this time not to an opposing party but his our party after his 2nd four year term. He has an opportunity to vindicate Ghana's political bete noire – Jerry Rawlings - who has consistently proclaimed that the NDC cares about the people more than anyone else. President Mills cannot let himself down, he cannot let party founder Jerry Rawlings down and cannot let the many men and women, sung and unsung heroes, dead and alive whose sweat and hard work brought the NDC back into office.He has the goodwill of the people and it is up to him and the NDC to live up to the calling. They may not be able to do some things, but they can deal with the most important things on people's minds – Jobs, Education, affordable housing, cramp on corruption, equity and justice for all, a lean government, an all embracing government and improved security.

The NDC victory is credited to all discerning Ghanaians but most especially farmers and fisher folk who suffered a lot under the previous regime. Don't Let them down President Mills.

Ras Mubarak
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