General News of Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Three prominent Ghanaians have called on President John Mahama to tap the talents of all Ghanaians, irrespective of their political affiliation, to enhance the country’s development.
Sharing their thoughts on the President’s Inaugural address with the Daily Graphic in separate interviews, they asked the President to give equal opportunities to all Ghanaians.
The three personalities are the Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante; the presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in the 2012 election, Dr Michael Abu Sakara, and the Executive Director of IMANI Ghana, Mr Franklin Cudjoe.
In his inaugural address on Monday, President Mahama promised to ensure a society less polarised and weighted down by the pressures of political differences.
“I will work to ensure that Ghana is a place where all citizens, regardless of their religious faith, ethnicity or political affiliation, will have the opportunities available to them to reach their full potential,” the President promised.
While applauding the President’s address as conciliatory, the Most Rev Prof Asante, said it was important for the President to reach out to everyone, including those in opposition parties, in the governance of the country.
He said the “winner-takes-all” nature of politics did not necessarily mean once a particular political party won an election, it could not extend an olive branch to those on the other side of the political divide.
Most Rev Prof Asante, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, said talents abound in Ghana and so there was the need for inclucivity in governance to enhance the development of the country.
He said the President could, for instance, look beyond his political party in his appointment of Council of State members.
Most Rev Prof Asante said it was important for the President to realise that he was no longer a partisan figure but the President of the nation, adding, “As the father of the nation, it’s important to build bridges and ensure an all-inclusive government”.
He commended the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the peaceful manner they had conducted themselves.
He said the resolve by the NPP to go to court to challenge the results of the presidential election demonstrated the party’s commitment to the development of democracy in the country, “and so they should not be considered as nation wreckers”.
“Let’s seek justice through peaceful means and peace through justice”, he remarked.
Dr Sakara urged President Mahama to put the election victory behind him and work hard to unify the nation.
He also urged the President to ensure that the best of the country’s human resource were tapped to contribute to the growth and development of the country.
“Using the best of abilities in the country, irrespective of people’s background or political affiliation, is a key to growth,” he said.
Dr Sakara said that could be achieved if the government refrained from discriminating against people who did not rally behind him during the elections.
“Much focus should be placed on how to promote quality partnership among all the people, including politicians who lost the elections. They must not be rejected because they did not endorse or support a particular party,” he said.
Dr Sakara lauded the President’s inaugural address, saying, “His decision to run an all-inclusive government is key to making the country work again”.
He asked President Mahama to ensure that his political opponents who were using legitimate means, including court actions, to challenge his legitimacy as president-elect in the 2012 election, were not maligned or intimidated.
“This will remove all doubts about his victory in the 2012 election and also deepen the country’s democracy,” he noted.
For his part, Mr Cudjoe said the “winner-takes-all” nature of politics in the country would fester, given the presidential political system Ghana had adopted.
According to him, an all-inclusive government did not necessarily mean getting members of the opposition parties involved in governance, but deepening the decentralisation structures such that people at the local level would have the opportunity to take their own decisions.
In that regard, Mr Cudjoe stressed the need for district chief executives (DCEs) to be elected, adding that if a DCE was doing his or her job very well and the needs of the people were addressed “who cares about ‘winner-takes-all?’”
On the President’s pledge to ensure a less polarised society, he said that would depend on how people were treated.
Mr Cudjoe stressed the need for fiscal discipline and good management of the country’s resources, adding that there must be a right balance between the public and private sectors in order to enhance the development of the country.