Feature Article of Thursday, 21 February 2013
Columnist: Okofo-Dartey, Samuel
When Alexander the great met his untimely demise, historians tell us that he had almost conquered the known world. When Dr Kwame Nkrumah was shown the exit through coup d’état, he had set the pace for sound economic take off. When Nelson Mandela left office honourably, there was no doubt South Africa was prepared to mend sour relationships for the sake of national development. And when Martin Luther King was shot by his detractors, he had put into motion an unstoppable mechanism to eliminate racial discrimination in America’s social and political fabric.
The foregoing historical antecedents of leaders who shaped the history of mankind bring into sharp focus what enduring legacy my president has for this country. I have chosen this path because the last time that I checked, there has not been any solid foundation laid to bring into fruition the promises made by my president to honour his campaign promises. The one time health premium which his predecessor promised I guess is in coma.
Mr President, when I take a critical view of your political career, I count you as very fortunate because you tasted the presidency for the first time when Ghanaians least expected the good old professor to join the heavenly choir. Per the provisions of our constitution, you assumed office without going through the full rigours of political campaign.
Now, I assume what most Ghanaians are expecting from you is the legacy you are leaving behind after your tenure ends. This supposition has been necessitated as a result of the apparent slow pace at which the economy crawling. You may debunk my assertion by chipping in the usual micro or macroeconomic stability coupled with low inflation. Nonetheless, it will interest you to know that a commercial driver that I know wanted whether he will fry or boil low inflation for his family to eat.
Mr President, indicators on the ground relative to the economic gains broadcast by your communicators are opposed to each other. The intense economic hardship in the country has triggered some people to act awkwardly. Due to the few economic opportunities in the country, even your foot soldiers have in the recent past seized toilets, taken possession of metro buses and ransacked party and state offices all because it seems you and pals are swimming in wealth while they are impoverished.
Recently, I read from a news report that you have promised to create more sustainable jobs for the unemployed youth. That is laudable. Your predecessor charged his ministers to furnish him with blueprints that can lead to the creation of more jobs but this fiat turned out to be a fiasco.
Please do not let this promise be an addition to the archives of failed promises of your government because your government some time ago claimed to have created over one million jobs. When the minister in charge for employment was grilled in parliament about those ghost jobs, he denied knowledge of them.
Mr President, great men are noted for what they did and not what they said. Their legacies are everlasting monuments in the annals of human history. Mr President, have ever thought deeply about what Ghanaians will remember you for? Will Ghanaians only remember you for being friends with Andrews Solomon, a gay lobbyist, who claims to have known you for eight years? By the way, his call for you to champion the cause of homosexuality in West Africa is no joke. I wonder the level of friendship he has with you that prompted him to spew such request.
Sincerely speaking, I think the better Ghana agenda has outlived its purpose. The vision bearer is no more and it perhaps died with him. It is time for you Mr President to rebrand yourself in a different fashion. It is time take giant leaps characterised by grand policies that will salvage the economy from the doldrums. I don’t think that at the end of your service to mother Ghana, you will tell Ghanaians that your legacies are the questionable elimination of schools under trees, few boreholes you sunk and the gang of roads which are yet to see the light of day.
Mr President, in these trying times, your party member, Murtala Mohammed, the MP for Nantong, has stated that LEAP should be scrapped because it encourages laziness. It is highly unbelievable that a party that prides itself as a social democrat will have its member break ranks to make such groundless comment. Ironically, as you are aware, it was the NPP, proponents of capitalism, which initiated and implemented this policy.
There are other social interventions worth mentioning that were pioneered by ex-president John Agyekum Kuffour. The Metro Bus Transit, the National Health Insurance Scheme, the School Feeding Programme, the National Youth Employment Programme, and the Free Maternal Delivery which has collapsed beyond repairs are legacies worth emulating. The completion of the Jubilee House which is now Flagstaff House and the Bui dam are national assets that will forever represent those who initiated them. As the Akosombo dam is to Nkrumah so is the VAT to Chairman Rawlings.
So Mr. President the ball is your net. I have catalogued these initiatives to set your mind on the need to outshine your predecessors. The good professor has set the ground right by entrenching in the hearts of Ghanaians how priceless peace is. A testimony to this is the Asomdwee Park.
Well, you may draw my attention to the fact that you are in the early days of your reign, hence the need to hold my peace. I perfectly agree with you because a fresh groom is spared from the intrusions of his debtors. However, Mr President we must also bear in mind that the calibre of beast that chases a man determines the speed of their legs. That is, the state of the economy has ignited me to bring to your attention the need to kick start whatever legacies you have for Ghanaians.
Personally, I cannot stand the erratic power supply popularly known as the ‘Dum so, Dum so phenomenon’ when you have appointed technocrats to stem it. Fuel prices have been increased and the hardship that will follow immediately is something some Ghanaians, especially the poor will pay for dearly. I assume you are abreast of the nation’s predicaments better than I do. Therefore let me feel the impact of your rule. The two hundred secondary schools are waiting for your command to rise from the ground. A university for Eastern region is yet to materialise thanks to your campaign promise.
I have poured my heart to you. And I strongly believe as a historian you have the acumen to comprehend fully the import of legacies for the sake of posterity. Mahatma Ghandi, and other heroes and heroines of our generation are no more. It is your time to prove your critics wrong or right.
So Mr President never consider my piece, if you will even read it, as weightless criticism of your government. Any close associate of the president who reads this and finds it useful must relay the theme of this piece to the president. If he (President) really wants to continue his rule genuinely, then he must serve Ghanaians with better policies that minimise poverty and corruption.
Well my prayers are with you. Ghanaians are looking up to you. Wipe the sorrows in the hearts of the poor with pro poor policies. Empower the feeble businesses with financial policies that will boost local and small scale industries since the interests on loans are devastating. There is also the need to assert our independence by depending less on loans that give our freedom away.
I wish you God’s speed in your endeavours but don’t forget the electorates will become your enemies or friends at the apportioned time.
AUTHOR’S NAME: OKOFO-DARTEY SAMUEL