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22.06.2012 Politics

Septuagenarian to pursue presidential ambition

By Boniface Ablekpe - Daily Graphic
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A septuagenarian who claims he has identified the factors militating against the country’s development and evolved solutions to address them is offering himself as an independent presidential candidate in the 2012 general election, to be elected president of Ghana.

Seventy-eight-year-old James Kwame Manso Ayanful says when elected as president of the country, he would first reorganise the country’s governance systems to unite the people and galvanise them to work hard for the country’s development.

He has come out with his manifesto in which he says he has identified factors militating against national development, proposed solutions and urges Ghanaians to vote massively for him so that together we can work to build a nation where the basic needs of life would be made available. His symbol is a handshake.

Mr Anyanful, who is also the Abakomahene of Agona Kwanyako in the Central Region, said multi-party democracy was leading the country into chaos and the nation needed to be proactive to stop the imminent destruction of the country before it was too late.

Outlining the factors that had contributed to the non-development of the country, Mr Anyanful identified them as the governance system, relegation of science and technology to the background, non-productive use of time, funerals, church services, too many official holidays and rapid population growth.

Taking them one by one, Mr Ayanful said elections were fought fiercely on partisan basis with political parties ignoring inputs from persons perceived to be in the opposing camp. Besides, ministers or district chief executives were changed mid-stream because other political activists wanted to become minister or DCEs, leading to loss of experience and non-achievement of their own set goals

. Furthermore, he said, political parties spent huge sums of money on their campaigns but when they are given the mandate to govern, they first seek funds to pay their debts and little money is left for development.

Mr Anyanful, who is a retired scientist, said the country had relegated science and technology to the background and that the Asian Tigers “whom we all admire gave science and technology a big boost.

This paid off and they are developing fast.” He also noted that Ghanaians were not working hard enough and do not use time productively.

“ The 40-hour hard work week is not being achieved. The situation is being made worse by funerals being held during working days. Friday, a working day is fast becoming a funeral day”.

According to Mr Ayanful, church services were being held during working hours and the new churches were particularly fond of holding services throughout the week. He stressed that it was not enough to pray for one’s needs to be met. “ One must work hard to meet them,” he said.

On the many official holidays, Mr Anyanful said apart from them being too many, he was worried about the practice of declaring the next working day after a holiday which fell on a Saturday or Sunday as another or a holiday, and stressed that the practice must stop.

He noted that the rapid population growth was compounding the challenges of availability of safe drinking water, food, clothing, housing, education etc for the people already in the system and indicated that the nation must begin to practise birth control.

This policy, he said, would be implemented in phases taking one year to hold discussions on it , followed by legislation, two to three years of awareness creation and effective implementation to ensure that there would be enough resources to cater for the additions to the population and that people would not have to endure avoidable hardship, or go through a life of misery throughout their lifespan.

He said fighting elections fiercely as “do or die event” was the proper way to obtain the mandate of the people to serve them.

In view of this, he said when elected the president of the country, he would apply the non-partisan district assembly concept of electing leader and managers of state affairs at all levels.

Under this system all eligible voters would be made to vote in district/ municipal or metropolitan elections and when given the mandate, they would vote to elect Members of Parliament for constituencies within their jurisdiction. The MPs would then vote to select the president and vice-president.

He said where the candidates were more than two they would be shortlisted to avoid re-runs to ensure cost effectiveness.

He prayed the country’s development partners to encourage Ghanaians to develop their own type of democracy instead of forcing down their throat, what they thought was best for Ghana.

He said at all levels of governance the elected leaders and managers would deliberate on issues as one people with a common destiny and not as opposing groups seeking to score political points.

“Minister/DCEs will run their full terms of office subject to good performance and good human relations, as do the MPs and the President and his vice.

Mr Anyanful said he would resource science and technology institutions to make them engines of growth when he was given the nod as president of the country. Currently, he said, science and technology had been given the necessary boost in terms of resources, while salaries were paid but no money was given for actual work done.

On other ways to stimulate growth, he said the national development plan set out by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) with the participation at all levels should be the national development agenda which every government must implement it faithfully.

“ Any variation by any government would have to be subjected to thorough scrutiny by the NDPC and submit a report through the president to parliament for approval, “ he said.

Asked how he was going to finance his campaign he said he was using his pension pay to run the campaign and that his campaign would ne be on a large scale. He said would place adverts on television, radio, and newspapers and appealed to individuals and organisations or groups to support his campaign.

Mr Anyanful said he should have stood for the presidency as a private candidate long ago but the lack of resources for pursuing a vigorous campaign prevented that.

He added that he had mapped out a different strategy to execute his campaign, the hallmark of which would be cost effectiveness. This is based on his belief that elections should not require spending huge sums of money by both the state and the candidate.

According to Mr Anyanful the goal of enabling the citizenry to live contented and satisfied lives still remained unrealised. “ It still remains a dream ! It is even becoming a mirage!!! Our efforts at providing for all, safe drinking water, food, housing, healthcare education etc.are in shambles,”

He stressed that human-centred development had eluded the nation and that development had to be human-centered, requiring first and foremost the human being.Leadership by example, he said would be the hallmark of his adminstration and that the president would pay tax to enbolden him to call upon all others to honour their tax obligations.

Again, the Fair Wages Commission would determine salaries and allowances and retiring benefits of the president, vice, ministers and MMDCs to ensure equity of public services.

He said under his charge the president and all political appointees would not receive medical treatment outside the country and that a special fund for ‘expensive diseases/ illnesses’ would be set up until the National Health Insurance Scheme became capable of absorbing such costs.

Also appointments of the heads of sensitive institutions would be made by the Public Services Commission in consultation with the Council of State to insulate such positions from political influence, he added.

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