Feature Article of Sunday, 25 November 2012
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Why both Caretaker-President John “Little Dramani” Mahama and his Vice, Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, have chosen the Eastern Region, which contains one of the most highly educated populations of Ghanaian citizens, to peddle their lies about the supposed non-feasibility of the Akufo-Addo-proposed Pre-K through SHS fee-free educational policy beats my imagination (See “NPP’s Free SHS Will Hit a Snag – Prez Mahama Predicts” JoyOnline.com/Ghanaweb.com 11/23/12). With such regressive outlook on Ghanaian education, it is rather laughable to hear some National Democratic Congress supporters and sympathizers compare “Little Dramani” to America and Kenya’s President Barack Hussein Obama. Needless to say, the NDC is light years behind the U.S. Democratic Party, whose progressive and people-oriented policies are more in alignment with that of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) than the more self-centered and class- and race-conscious elitist U.S. Republicans whose conservative policies are strikingly more in alignment with the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress.
And when he vacuously predicts that the Akufo-Addo policy proposal will hit a snag, “Little Dramani” ought to be rudely woken out of his dopey slumber with the more than eloquent riposte that is the Kufuor-minted comprehensive National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which, by the way, the Mills-Mahama Gang also predicted would never succeed. And if he is not already high on some narcotic contraband, then maybe Mr. Mahama ought to get himself high on some such contraband, for he so unmistakably looks and smells like a man strung high up on either marijuana or cocaine badmouthing the all-too-progressive Akufo-Addo Initiative, that it is likely to come off as insufferably insulting to the delicate sensibilities of Ghanaian voters should it turn out that, indeed, the Bole-Bamboi toughie is as drug-free as the Pope!
I mean, on the one hand, we have this desperado trudging the entire length and breadth of the country promising to convert each and every polytechnic institute into a full-fledged university college, and yet caustically downing Nana Akufo-Addo for wanting to provide Ghanaian youths, irrespective of family background, parentage or ethnicity with a fee-free Pre-K through (G-) 12 education on the dubious grounds of inadequate teachers. Already, we have two narrowly-specialized universities largely created through the campaign speeches of Messrs. Mills and Mahama in the Volta and Brong-Ahafo regions, and we don’t hear anybody, least of all Mr. Mahama, complaining about the lack of adequate faculty staffing for these largely nominal university colleges. Then again, what are we talking about here but “nominal” university colleges?
The man obviously must be high on drugs to expect that Ghanaians would obsequiously take him at his morally and culturally regressive word, vis-à-vis the Akufo-Addo Initiative, while nihilistically or self-destructively impugning the credibility of his main political rival in this critical contest for the development of the soul and destiny of our beloved country.
It is also not clear what he means, when “Little Dramani” raucously sneers at the fact that countries like Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Uganda and Kenya which have a fee-free basic secondary educational policy “are now calling for support from other countries.” We ought to also quickly observe that most of the high-ranking academies of countries like Kenya, Uganda and Zambia (not to be mistaken for Zimbabwe, in this instance) have been ranked higher on a global scale than their counterparts in Ghana, and even on the African continent itself! This state of affairs ought to tell Ghanaians at large that the ruling National Democratic Congress has absolutely no forward-looking or deliberate and systematic agenda for the country’s educational system that places “quality” over and above “quantity,” as Messrs. Mahama and Amissah-Arthur would have their countrymen and women believe.
Maybe the Bole-Bamboi aristocrat also needs to be reminded of the fact that Ghana had no fee-free educational policy when the likes of him and President Rawlings, literally, ran the country’s economy aground and President John Agyekum-Kufuor had to courageously dig us out and humanize us, once more, by the HIPC policy initiative which, by the way, people like Mr. Mahama had a field day mocking. It likely must have been this kind of zany cynicism at the time that prompted the then-President Kufuor, the veritable architect of Ghana’s current relative economic prosperity, to sarcastically describe the key operatives of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) as “a band of hoodlums who know the price of everything and the value of none.”
You see, when the man is all-too-willing, by the stroke of a magical wand, to convert each and every polytechnic institute in the country into a full-fledged university college, but finds it absolutely inexpedient to grant Ghanaian youths the basic right to a free and unfettered access to Pre-K through SHS, then you know that you are dealing with a charlatan in disguise.
The fact of the matter is that “snag” or no snag, countries like Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Uganda and Kenya are schooling and graduating more enlightened citizens than Ghana; and it is to these forward-looking countries to which the future belongs. And Ghanaians had better kick out the Woyome-supporting, judgment-debt scam-artists constituting the so-called National Democratic Congress, if we are to have a fighting chance on the higher-education intensive and high-tech savvy global labor market.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected] ###