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01.03.2005 Education

No Leadership! – No Educational Reform!

By Danso, Kwaku A.

REJOINDER BY GHANA LEADERSHIP UNION

Within the last week there has been two articles written citing what Ghana Leadership Union intends to do (before we even say it to the whole world) and what it can or cannot do, and how to do it or not to do it, and so forth. On the featured article column of Sunday February 20, 2005, we read from one Kwabena Osei Dadzie the following: The Need for Educational Reform in Ghana The article starts by addressing Ghana Leadership Union as needing to focus on perhaps this issue first, and advising us not to tackle too many issues at a time.

As President and Chairman, I consider all ideas, and we thank our friend Kwabena whiles we await his membership form and pledge. For now I consider all these intellectual exercise. ACTION is what we need. Any Action worthwhile demands strategic planning, followed by implementation with a genuine integrity of purpose. For far too long the people of Ghana have been suffering, and nobody seems to care much whiles policies are announced and no concrete plans are made to implement them. It has been 4 years we heard of Broadband Internet, and yet today only few Cafes have anything they call Broadband, and yet any technical person will tell you it's not true, since the speeds are 100 times less, but they charge 20 times more. The government of Ghana, from the NDC time to the current NPP, seems to take the taxpaying Ghanaians for granted. They are educated men and women, but none seem to want to apply the same education that others have used to build their nations. They like to talk and give speeches, and at best come out with thick policy manuals just to procure loans form the World Bank and IMF. Once the loans are procured, nobody can account for how the moneys are spent! They ask for a 10 year grace period with no payment. So in ten years, we start the cycle again with no roads, not enough telecommunication backbone wired-line infrastructures, not enough provision to supply electricity for development, and not enough supply of equipment to supply even ordinary water! A few years down the road, the cycle starts again and we file HIPC or start begging again! Our people have had enough of this disgrace! Period.

Evaluation of any organization should be made in terms of potential and outcomes. Ghana is a beautiful country, but our leaders have become a shame to the rest of Africa, and we should stop deceiving the public that we have achieved anything of value in Africa. I say this in view of our tremendous potential of human capital educated and trained overseas, many waiting and willing to come home, but many returning overseas after only a few years or months of frustration in trying to resettle. Our very culture of honesty has even changed among our people due to extreme circumstances. Ghanaians returning home are seen as the cash cow, and are taxed more than 100% of the value of their cars and goods, according to the formula this writer found during a 3 month settlement. One has the option of paying say 67% if they use the New Port Corruption Formula I discovered and revealed on our discussion forum. This formula is simply that the port officials assess you a 100% duty, no matter how much you purchased the vehicles and items for, and if you want a reduction, you pay the customs officers 33%, the government gets 33%, and you save 33% and pay only 67% of assessed value. Many port officials are rich, and it was reported that the man in charge or the collection system is the brother of President Kufuor! Is that true? I heard also they keep a percentage of what they collect.

Our leaders are not prepared to change, nor are they prepared to utilize the valuable resources of educated and experienced Ghanaian overseas to help the nation. It's all politics, and all other things shall be added? Come oon!! They are not prepared to see reality and use modern methods of planning with unselfish hearts! They merely TALK! They TALK, but one does not see the PLAN! This is our problem! Ghana was at the same level of economic status as Korea and Singapore and Malaysia at Independence in 1957. We had more resources than most. And today we are still stuck at about $400 GDP per capital whiles Singapore and Korea are over $22,000, and are now major industrial nations! Some of these nations don't even have mush fertile land, but through application of their education and Science and Engineering, to industrialization, they can buy your food at any price, at any season, from around the world if they have to. One car or truck manufactured and sold to Ghana will exchange for a whole season of back-breaking farming from a whole region. Sad aspect is that the price is sometimes dictated by market forces we don't control. We should stop praising ourselves, stop making POLICIES and creating new acronyms for every aspect of our failure, and START creating actual PLANS! A plan, by its definition, should include concrete steps, resources, who is going to do what part of the job, when the job is to be done, and how much it is going to cost!

Education is a factor of the success of a nation or organization, and cannot be separated from the economic well being of the people. One cannot create good schools when the teachers have no money to buy supplies, the roof is leaking, and no concern for the kids. Even in America, studies have shown there is a correlation between the economic status of an area and the quality of schools and students they get, as measured by test results. That is life. In addition, poor people don't have time to spend on their children, as some have to work two or three jobs. In the more affluent areas they have many facilities at home and at school for the kids, and parents have time to help their kids. Ghanaian Politicians only think of themselves and send their children to Universities overseas on moneys nobody knows where they get them from. They don't care what happens to the rest of the people and the schools. They can buy many expensive 4x4 vehicles to travel around the nation to campaign for power, but don't even care to use the money collected to build decent roads, to provide clean toilet facilities at major public places where huge sums are collected daily. They pretend they don't know, but could care less if places like Adenta, Madina, Ashaley Botwe, Abetifi, Nkawkaw, and most of the rural areas have no water.

The Asantehene made some interesting revelation when he came to Washington DC to receive funds for his projects. He acknowledged that about 68-70 percent of the people in rural areas don't have good drinking water. In other words, our leaders know the problems, but why are they dancing around it? Why is it that Dr. Botchwey had $4.2 Billion allotted for road construction in loan in 1990 for a 5 year program, and today our roads, even in the city limits of Accra, are still so shabby and roads to the very areas producing farm products are non existent?

Who evaluates these programs and projects? Who makes sure the contractors build to specifications and quality? Who audits the accounts? President Kufuor and his party accused the NDC, but have they done much auditing and have they put in place any better system to curb corruption, to create a more fair and equitable system for Ghanaians? Will a rebate on interest due, aka HIPC funds, be the way to develop with the amount of talent Ghana has? Com oooon!!! We can do better!

Right now Ghana Leadership Union, a non-partisan union of Ghanaians who care about Ghana and want to participate, don't think any talk will bring any food to the table of suffering Ghanaians. We want to use the rule of law so far as we can find honest Lawyers in Ghana who are no in for themselves. Luckily we have found one or a few. That is why we are organizing throughout Ghana, supported by well wishers and stakeholders in the Diaspora who might want to return home one day. We are setting up a program to monitor our Judges to stop this potential corruption reported even in our judicial system, and we are working on all fronts, a survey on the Water shortage, and many others to be reported later. It is not fair for others to try and make publicity where they have not contributed. The Bottom line is that all Ghanaians at home and in the Diaspora know the need for a change, and some of us are prepared to put our money where our mouths have been. The problems are too many, and one cannot simply say he is going to fix the educational system or the health system, without the Leadership issue. Our leaders must be held to task to perform, or else face the Law or be removed form office, even if the President has to be removed, according to the constitution.

A government purpose is to do these things, and good leadership should be doing these without our union coming in. One can donate books and supplies, but for God's sake how long will it take for our people to learn to collect taxes and use the money for public services and common needs like schools? How long will it be before we know that local schools should be in the control of local people? How long will it be before we let the tax payers have power to decide their destiny and not have all power in the hands of one person in Ghana? Who has the legal mandate to tax and power but government to even fix anything! Even the contemporaries at home can't afford to have phone lines and use them for Internet access, due to the excessive charged of Ghana Telecom, a Ghana government-owned company. All the government of Ghana does, to me, is tax and spend! They suck the pockets of those who have managed to earn a few bucks from hard work, and they don't even care to cover the gutters in suburban and central parts of our capital city. We have a bloated Ministerial cabinet that is five times larger than seen in developed nations. Show us the performance, Mr. President! In Accra, disease born mosquitoes kill thousands of children due to malaria. Where is the Plan? Our friend Kwabena should start from the fundamentals. Without water, kids travel miles in the rural areas, and now in parts of the capital city, to get water before they can even think of eating and going to school. Studies by the World Bank have shown that thousands of diseases are born by health-related issues coming from unhygienic water in poor nations! Can we leave our leaders out of the equation?

The idea that one united group of Ghanaians dedicated to change Ghana can solve every single problem at the same time tomorrow morning should be out of everybody's mind. On the other hand, it appears some Ghanaians don't see the nature of leadership and the extreme power to do good or do bad that has been invested in one person we call the President of Ghana. Many people have been disappointed by President Kufuor's apparent lack of action on many fronts. However it may be clear to all readers that Ghana Leadership Union was not formed to bash the current government of the NPP. Far from that. The previous one was no better either. We want a new era of action planning and accountability, using the rule of law.

Thanks, Kwaku A.Danso Pres/Chair: GHANA LEADERSHIP UNION (NGO) Tel. 510-573-0602 Fax. 510-573-0603 Email: [email protected] Secretary: Okyere Bonna: Tel 704-243-1769 Emai: [email protected] Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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