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Feature Article of Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Columnist: Fordjour, Konongo

Strategies For Ghana’s NPP In 2012 General Elections

Is NDC Destined For Failure; or Synonymous To Failure?The NDC can be subjected
to a total loss of the 2012 elections, provided the NPP campaigns on
“Sustainable Economic Policies For Sustainable Governance”. Failing which the
opposite can also be absolutely true.

Konongo Fordjour 15 January 2011

It is extremely difficult, in the Ghanaian context, to provide any legitimate;
up-to-the-minute scientifically proven report to measure the direction of the
voting decisions of Ghanaian voters. More often than not, expert reports from
decision makers in Ghana itself are usually found baffling later on.
Consequently, commonly emotional utterances always took the center stage in our
analyses; and in most cases towards the direction of the political leaning of
that particular analyst him/herself.

Currently, as I write, the two opposing forces - the NPP and the NDC - are on
balance. Anything can happen! One of the forces should sell differentiated
products to throw the other one off balance. Political products are presentation
of economic policies superior to that of the opponent’s. At the beginning of
last decade, the NPP sounded superior to the NDC in the implementation of
policies. Nevertheless, over the years the NDC has caught up. [Remember that the
two fought over the ownership of certain areas of their campaign policies]. It
was quite interesting to see the once a ruthless, gun-totting, and crime-prone
NDC metamorphose its killing smock to put on Western-designer suits to talk
civilized political language. Can I am confidently claim that democracy is
working in Ghana?

Please remember that politics is all about implementation of policies. However,
modern Ghana demands smartness in the practical implementation of policies
necessary and more identifiable with Ghana. Therefore, which one of the two can
present the best practicable policies that can sustain Ghana’s economic
recovery? Some of the NDC policy presentations that won it the elections have
gone past their own proposed period without giving it a second glance. So many
questions stare at it as to whether or not the NDC genuinely has any credible
alternative agenda for Ghanaians. The president has argued vehemently that he
has been mandated for four years; I agree with him! But technically speaking he
has only one-and-the-half more years to prove otherwise. Frustrations in seeking
for a second term and the opposition’s desperation to wrestle power can be
nastier. Honestly, I am not impressed with the recent utterances coming from the
two quarters that sounded violent!

Folks, let us stick to the basics; and that is the implementation of policies.
We are going to look at some works done by authorities in their own areas; such
as Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University New York, expert in
sustainable development in the Third World communities (Developing Nations);
Professor Bill Fisher of Clark University Worcester, expert in International and
Community Development; Professor Richard Vietor of Harvard Business School,
expert in global economic development strategy and author of “How Countries
Compete”; and Professor Nicholas Sanchez of College of the Holy Cross Worcester,
author of “Destined For Failure”. And finally, some excerpts from “Decision
Points” by His Excellency former USA President George W Bush to advise our
contesting leaders to tread carefully along the directions where others have
failed terribly. Let us stick to Political Campaigns without wild and empty
promises, please!


The next two pages will discuss the theory and practice of sustainable economic
policies; and the last page will sum it up with a strong advice to the NPP to
enable it snatch power from the NDC easily. Now let us begin; no hard feelings,
please! Pardon me if my article is not favorable to you; but I will have say it
as it is anyway! No favoritism whatsoever; credit will be given where it is due!


Sustainable Governing Strategies in a Sustainable Economy

In his book, Destined For Failure, The Havana, Cuba-born economics professor,
Nicholas Sanchez argues that macro-economics (that the NDC Minister of the
Economy Dr. Kwabena Duffour is leaning on) does not teach productivity levels.
Although Sanchez fell short of declaring that micro-economics does, his
assertion resonates my previous articles on Ghana’s Economy that discussed
micro- and macro-economics stipulations. Remember my statement that
macro-economics is relatively a very young developing area of economics; and
that it is in a flux. I challenged the honorable minister as to what was in a
flux at the time he took office that needed to be stabilized; but he has decided
to remain quiet. Perhaps not to embarrass himself in the midst of ignorance in
modern day economics! Professor Sanchez believes that Maynard Keynes’
macro-economics era has long ago shifted from what (the NDC knows) to a modern
day developmental economics proposed by Harvard Professor Robert Barro, who
believes in factors of production that bring about growth in the economy; and
winning many disciples around the globe such as Konongo Fordjour.

Perhaps, Jeffrey Sachs is the most favoured expert in the area of sustainable
economic policies. Jeff is the Director of The Earth Institute and Quetelet
Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is a special
advisor to the UN chief, Moon, and the former, Ghana’s Kofi Annan; advising on
developing countries including Ghana. His brilliant work has earned him several
United Nations’ assignments into his selected countries including Ghana.


Ghana has always been in his heart and he has conducted several workshops to
benefit Ghana, such as his recent one on Kumasi conference at Columbia
University hall; and his recent visit to our President Mills in Ghana. Professor
Sachs preaches on sustainable development to his selected nation clients, such
as Ghana. His "Sowing the seeds for a long-term growth" considers energy
conservation, water conservation and purification, locally-generated production
to deliver economic growth (in agreement with Robert Barro of Harvard) such as
Konongo Fordjour’s corn production strategy to explode youth investment and to
add value to the nation’s economic growth. [For your information, please: The
Wall Street Journal reported today, 15 January 2011, that corn is the fastest
selling commodity in the market in history; gaining over 94% value since June
2010 price analysis period].

In his recent article in the Financial Times (7 June 2010), Professor Sachs gave
five strategies to advise nations in our contemporary economic position. One, he
proposed medium-term planning (for five years) targeting deficit-cutting; and to
bring about manageable debt-to-GDP ratios. Two, Governments should intensify
public education that good jobs result good education, cutting-edge technology,
reliable infrastructure, and adequate outlays of private capital. Three, he
strongly recommends that Governments should design secured ways of social safety
nets such as: income support for the poor, universal access to basic healthcare
and education, job training programs, and promotion of higher education. Four,
create long-term structural transformation through exports, clean energy, and
new transport infrastructure.


Five and finally, he suggests that the rich must pay more taxes. I disagree with
him on this issue in the case of Ghana, because the tax concept does not exist
at all in Ghana. We need to develop it first, make the citizenry accept it and
then make a further move. Also, taxing the rich heavily will destroy
entrepreneurship and further jeopardize our investment trend. Ghana’s officially
known richest person will rank less than 2-millionth position in the world (more
or less a thousandneer). Therefore adopting Jeff’s fifth absolute will kill our
humanism and democratic trend.

I like his closing note for his fellow American Policy-makers that: we need, in
sum, to reset our macro-economic timetables. There are no short-term miracles,
only the threat of more bubbles if we pursue economic illusions. To rebuild our
economies, the watchword must be INVESTMENTS rather than STIMULUS. [In the case
of Ghana, it should be SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS rather than pre-electoral voting
NDC spending spree.]

Professor William Fisher, a Columbia University graduate, is also the Director
of International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) at Clark
University Worcester; and teaches international development and social change.
His best authored book, to me, “Toward Sustainable Development?” goes closer to
strategies that can alleviate desperate situations in poverty-ridden societies
such as ours in Ghana. Bill is rather more of country specific and identifies
factors that meet individual national development comfort levels, such as clean
water projects, commercializing agrarian communities, etc.

Professor Richard Vietor of Harvard Business School presents historical
development strategies of some selected national development success stories.
Richard has traveled extensively, critically studied almost every nation in all
the six continents, and has selected model nations for case study. (Ghana is not
included in his list, but it can be beneficial to Ghana).

Institutionalization has been his prime factor of national development,
sophistication and global advancement. Science and technology parks are common
in his study on Asian countries; business incubators have featured in India,
Mexico and Brazil; and continuity in the national agenda. Institutionalizing a
national agenda means that the government hands off the national investments to
allow the citizenry to pursue the national agenda. The government becomes
supervisor with smart expert advise to the players to compete and develop their
local communities. Professor Vietor’s major concerns were the countries’
strategies in education and the economy - how interconnected they may be. The
only African country that got onto Vietor’s radar is South Africa because of her
developed infrastructure and institutions.


Developed institutions, such as law and order, transport regulatory body,
independent national security, independent credible economic body, etc. over a
long period of time will explain to every potential investor the characteristics
of civility that nation may be. Before advancing further, let us take a look at
the credibility of economic institution in a nation; what is it? Homogeneity in
economic training in any given nation determines the seriousness of that nation
with regard to development and advancement. Fiscal discipline and strong
monetary policies are researched and planned by economic research institutes. A
development-conscious nation must have a national development plan of action to
be pursued by successive governments drawn by such an institute. [Ghana does not
have one!]


After the Allende-Pinochet political upheavals that rocked Chile, the nation
appointed a group of conservative nationalist (Chilean) economists, called
Chicago Boys (because all of its members had graduate level training in
economics from University of Chicago) to design a new program for the nation.
The result was Chile’s turn of events from misery to business and economic power
house. A similar strategy of the Harvard Team has also turned events in Brazil.
When Brazilian economists were trained from Harvard classrooms strong economic
policies were designed for the nation to follow. Also, the Mexican economic
recovery success story owes its ambitious decision to train its economists from
Yale.


It was based on this premise of his Mexican classmates’ success story that the
Yale-trained economist Elder Kwame Pianim had proposed to set Ghana along a
similar track. Homogeneity in economic training works! In a heterogeneous
economic training (i.e. from multiple countries, e.g. Eastern Europe, Central
Europe, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, etc.) confusion sets in to
develop a weak team - if there is any. Marxist-Leninist theories as against free
market- free trade propositions become the unnecessary debate entangling the
national development. Where do you think Ghana falls into today? Homogeneous or
heterogeneous economic training?

Winnable NPP Campaign Strategies

The New Patriotic Party [NPP] of Ghana must differentiate its message now!
Please campaign on practical implementation of policies. Begin with the work
done under President Kufuor. The NPP has been poor or weak in public relations
strategy. The Kufuor Administration did brilliant job but we have failed
miserably to sell our best efforts to the Ghanaian electorate. More often than
not we have cowed into the NDC lies and seemed to have accepted that unfortunate
fate. The flag bearer must begin right now to engage Ghana in serious
conversations. Begin with the negative campaign message initiated by the NDC
since 2008. I must say that the NPP “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-See” pretence attitude is
self-destructive. I believe that the NDC will want to talk about cocaine, hotel
Kufuor, Jubilee-Flagstaff Palace, presidential jets, and many others that have
gone unchallenged. Take each case by case and discuss them in details with the
nation.


For example, pick up the topic on cocaine. You may want to critically look at
the origins, benefits, market value, dealers in the powder trade, and
disadvantages of cocaine. Talk about the strategies your government will use in
handling the powder trade and their possible repercussions. What is the extent
of the drug trade in Ghana? Be realistic and straightforward (support with facts
and figures) in discussions about the extent of damage of the drug trade in
Ghana. Let the nation be aware that the level of usage or consumption of the
drug in Ghana, although is not a good idea, IS NOT alarming.


However, the nation has a reputation as the transit point for the drug trade.
Cite Eric Amoateng, the disgraced NPP lawmaker (MP) serving sentence in New
York, USA jail as an example as well as President Mill’s recent utterances
quoted in WikiLeaks of been suspicious of his own NDC officials dealing in the
drug trade. This should be clear to Ghanaians that drug dealership has no
politico-ideological boundaries. Now how do we solve this problem? An NPP
government could possibly stop the menace by allowing it into the country,
confiscate it in all quantities, and use it for bio-scientific research at the
University of Science and Technology. Similar studies are on-going in top
pharmaceutical research institutions around the globe. The Theme could be:
“Cocaine and the Cell Function - Preventive and Curity Measures of the HIV
Disease”. By so doing, you are carefully breaking the jinx and the stigma of the
drug crap on our party.


The more we keep quiet over the drug issue, the more our NDC friends are
motivated to ridicule us over nothing. If we are found frustrated in the drug
issue such as a recent threat to take the general public to court, then we are
heading towards a total loss similar to the 2008 winnable campaign day that
ended with a “Yorkor-Gari-Campaign Disaster”. The drug issue must be tackled
holistically using psychoanalytic strategies to cure the canker therapeutically.


Do same to the rest of all the negative campaign statements. For example, the
decision to build the presidential palace must carefully consider the benefits
that Ghana has earned. The flag bearer must accept responsibility, as part of
the decision-making body in the Kufuor Administration that collectively allowed
the project to proceed. A similar strategy must be designed to respond to the
presidential jets purchases. Why was the decision reached? What were the pros
and cons for that purchase? If you were in President Kufuor’s position then,
would you have taken a similar bold decision? Why was buying the two jets
superior to clean water or classroom block elsewhere in Ghana? Nana Akufo-Addo
must accept the responsibility of the perceived shortfalls of Kufuor
Administration, defend them, and match on to the Administration’s best
performing functions.


It will be ridiculous to have issues with the Administration you were party to
and claim to pursue its development projects today. Some decisions, such as
those taken by President Kufuor discussed above, may appear very controversial;
yet we still have to take them. In his book, “Decision Points”, USA former
President George W Bush argues on critical decision making periods during his
tenure in office. Clearly detailed, the author draws in several of his personal
experiences to make informed decisions as they were taken, controversial as they
appeared, though. Leaders are made to take critical decisions; may be
controversial but not hasty decisions.

The next line of communication should look at the policies you will pursue. They
must be SUSTAINABLE. As you can see above, all the USA academics, economists,
and policy-makers are shifting from the dysfunctional macro-economic policies to
the productive sustainable economic policies. A sustainable economy is the one
that connects the citizenry directly with the development of the nation. In the
Ghanaian context, purifying borehole water in the villages into commercial
quantities, building silos, warehouses, corn farming, fruit juice processing,
etc. are all small businesses that focus on the citizenry; and are all
sustainable. NPP must campaign on “Developing the Nation in Partnership with the
Citizenry”.

I strongly suggest that the German model of Apprenticeship must be factored into
the partnership deal that NPP intends to have with the citizens. This will
require brilliant and dedicated experts in their fields of study to lead and
train their subordinates. In the German context, the leaders must be PhD
holders; and in most cases, in the technical fields of study. Now where will we
find these dedicated Ghanaian experts in their fields of study to steer the
drive? It throws us back to the days when NPP-USA initiated the home-coming
conference to create data for such exercise in 2001 but was thrown away by the
very same home-resident politician it was intended to help simply because of
domestic xenophobia among equals.

My party must promise a “National Development Plan” campaign on it, and demand
future successive Governments to follow. Our campaign message should be detailed
in the development plan. An entrenched citizen-focused development plan becomes
an inseparable bond between the people and government which will be Sustainable
Governance in a Sustainable Economy.

Conclusion

I strongly believe that if NPP campaigns on sustainability of our economy, we
will win hands down. In my previous article, “Elections 2012: Using the
Institute of Strategic Studies’ Winnable Games”, I advised on some possible ways
that the NDC can use to smartly rig the elections (a sophisticated electoral
fraud). They are: the expected addition of about 360,000 young adult voters; the
bi-metric vote rigging system; the economy; and a possible coercive rule to
scare some voting areas.

With a sophisticated National Development Plan to campaign on sustainable
economy, the NPP will win the forthcoming general elections. Unfortunately for
Ghanaians, but fortunately for political campaigns, the NDC has no agenda to
develop; they have no clue! Certain things that the NDC claims to have done in
the economy may be true from the short-term point of view (common in the
macro-economics milieu - it is in a flux!). However, the question the NPP should
ask the NDC is simply: “How sustainable are their policies for Ghana?”


Consequently, the development plan erases the NDC noise making on the economy
altogether. We must design strategies to campaign on Early-Voting-Go-Home to
remove confrontation and violence during voting. We should also encourage steady
voting but no queues (or lines); that will remove the NDC coercive strategy.
Then, we are down to two - the 360,000 new voters, and the bi-metric voting
system - that we will have to work hard to recruit from and urge everyone to get
involved in the bi-metric voting system. We should also train smart and
dedicated polling agents to benefit our party.

Finally, please this is very important! Ghanaians, by nature, are not bemused
with a person’s riches, education, or greatness. They attach absolutes such as:
nobility, handsomeness, politeness, God-fearing, respectfulness, tallness, etc.
in rewarding a higher position to their people. We may not have reasons attached
to their individual decision-making sentiments; but they do!

Consequently, I will strongly suggest that NPP must pick Professor Kwabena
Frimpong-Boateng as the running mate to balance a lot of concerned reservations.
I honestly trust that the civil society, the clergy, floating voters, and even
those not intending to vote in the next general elections will all turn around
to vote for Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng’s ticket. This is a must win
voting period! Hopefully, this piece of advice would be seriously considered.
However, should all these advice be neglected and eventually thrown away as
usual, then go to elections and lose again, then I can promise one thing that
heaven and hell will fall.

With Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, National Development Plan, and Campaign
for a sustainable economy, NPP will win massively. My next article is titled
“Ghana’s One-Term President”. Good Day!

Konongo Fordjour, Boston-USA
E-Mail: koafordjour@yahoo.com

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