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21.02.2006 Press Review

Editorial: ROPAB - Arranging The Deck Chairs On A Sinking Ship

By Chronicle

I am a Ghanaian who has been living abroad for over 20 years so I should be happy with efforts to allow me to vote in elections in Ghana. But I am not. I am not happy because I am greatly disturbed by the time and effort being devoted to the ROPAB while the country suffocates under the weight of pressing problems.

One particular headline attributed to Appiah Menkah, the Chairman of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) caught my attention. He was reported in The Chronicle of February 15 to have said, “disenfranchising Ghanaians living abroad would be tantamount to sabotaging the nation's progress.” Sabotaging the nation's progress?

Listening to the debate over the last two weeks or so, has made me suddenly aware of one reason why our country is not progressing:

We are busy arranging the deck chairs on the ship, while the ship itself is sinking. Just look at the time and effort devoted to this Bill.

During one of the debates, the electricity went off in the Parliament House.

Members of Parliament (MPs) simply waited for the power to come back on and then resumed the debate as if nothing had happened.

What is sad, very sad, is to see that incompetent Minster for Energy, Prof. Oquaye, busy going around passionately talking about the benefits of the Bill when he should be devoting his energies passionately to making the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) operate a little more efficiently to reduce the frequent interruptions in power supply.

Factories everywhere are shutting down because the cost of doing business in the country is too high.

Our waterways and gutters are clogged with disease-causing filth and plastic bags. Probably, a third of our petroleum imports is wasted by vehicles idling in choking traffic.

Unemployment is sky-high, and young boys and girls who should be in school learning skills needed for economic development, are on the streets selling plantain chips or 'pure' water.

Accra has been turned into one large hawkers' market; the telecommunications network is nothing to write home about; our universities are producing increasingly large numbers of graduates with degrees in courses, some of which are irrelevant to our present needs; we are not competitive internationally.

Some residents in Cantonments and other areas have not had water for months; the people of Adenta - Madina find it a miracle if water flowed twice a week through their taps; there is also water crisis in the North; schools and hospitals are not being adequately funded; the list goes on and on. But Parliament is not discussing these issues!

The country seems to be afloat with no direction or any well-thought-out policies and prescriptions for solving these problems.

And what is the captain of the ship (the President) doing? He seems to be asleep at the helm.

Mr. Appiah Menkah, the above ARE the problems that WILL sabotage the nation's progress, unless we start devoting time and effort to finding solutions to them!

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