Diasporian News of Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Source: Kweku Manful
Akuffo Addo’s Zongo Development Fund
Ghanaians are currently facing unprecedented bombardments of unattainable promises in the 2012 elections. We believe that Ghanaians been taken for granted and that any party could promise Heaven and get the most votes. It is disingenuous on NPP and NDC’s part to be promoting this trend and playing with people’s lives. Over 90% of voters in Ghana don’t vote on issues so NDC and NPP have their work cut out for them. NDC and NPP have in the last 31 years used this unfortunate phenomenon to further impoverish Ghanaians. It is our duty to expose these perpetrators who seem to know nothing about governance.
Nana Akuffo Addo and the NPP among its numerous electoral promises have said they will undertake community development programs in all Zongos across the Country. As peculiar habit, they have conjured some figures (100 million for 240 Zongos) to deceive our brothers and sisters who live in Zongos across the Country.
On August 15 2015, myjoyonline carried this headline: NPP to establish Zongo Development Fund (http://politics.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201208/92155.php) but were not forthright with the source/s and disbursement of the fund.
Again on August 17 myjoyonline carried the headline: "Zongo" development fund will cost $100 million-NPP. (http://politics.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201205/86805.php)
And finally, myjoyonline carried this headline on October 4 2012 about the NPP Zongo fund: New economic development blueprint for Zongos launched. (http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201210/94993.php)
Fellow Ghanaians, one worrying trend in all these releases were that NPP just crafted words to describe their agenda without any developmental blueprints; as usual, very heavy on rhetoric and nothing on substance. They did not mention how, when and what the details were.
In the October 4 news NPP said these to Ghanaians: “The Zongo-National Economic Empowerment & Development (Zongo-NEED) policy document is a community-based initiative to mobilize leadership to determine a common roadmap for the development of the Zongos”.
If NPP says “to mobilize leadership to determine a common roadmap for the development of the Zongos” it simply means these leaders who were to be mobilized were yet to do Community Needs Assessments of all Zongos across the Country. In Community Development Processes, one has to do Community Needs Assessment before thinking about what and how you would want to accomplish the task and the ensuing Budget/Costs. Now if Community Needs Assessments have not been done how did NPP come up (as far back as 17 August 2012) with the 100 million program cost? Where did they plug the 100 million costs from?
Unless NPP wants to tell us that “raw food can be cooked well before the stove is turned on”. This is worrying: How could Akuffo Addo announce the price tag way before determining what would go into the program? This is weird, tricky, and smells fishy. More so, there is nothing like “One Size Fits All” in Community Development; each community has different problems and issues. CPPNA finds it very disturbing with Akuffo Addo for coming up with project cost ahead of consultation of locals, opinion leaders and the undertaking of community needs assessments of all 240 Zongos. Community Development Projects at different geographical locations are NOT “Abroniwawu” in nature where one size fits all.
Here is another issue that is not just academically illogical but morally ridiculous. On 17th August NPP says this: “The New Patriotic Party has maintained that its “Zongo” Development fund is a well thought-out policy that is aimed at boosting the infrastructure deficit of deprived inner-cities across the country”.
And on 4th October 2012 NPP news release said: “President of ZOYOD, Ibrahim Arkil, says the intervention is geared towards changing the negative image about zongo communities and reduce violent political activism, and rather redirect the energies of the youth towards development”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the above statements don’t make sense for the very reason that boosting inner city infrastructure would NOT redirect the energies of the youth towards development especially when the people were not consulted as in this case.
The August 17 NPP release also states: “Speaking on Joy FM’s News Night, Mustapha Hamid admitted that it is not possible to execute the project in the first year of an NPP government; rather the project will be undertaken on a rotation basis across the country”.
Our question is this: if funds dry up after the first 2 years what happens? Does it then open the door for the NPP to say sorry to the other Zongos and then promises the rest of the Zongos and demands votes for the second term? Where is the equity here? one may ask. Again how do Ghanaians call the Akuffo Addo Zongo Development Plan? Do we call it a Program or Project? We are at a lost here since the two are different. We are left with no option but to describe it as modern day intellectual scam, and yet one sociologist, Professor Dominic Agyemang lauded the plan saying the idea is 'desirable and feasible' and that similar projects were undertaken in Germany after it was devastated by the World War II. It shows clearly that the sociologist did not put on his development thinking cup (if indeed he’s got one) but saw the project from a sociological standpoint. He did not do proper evaluation; it shows how little he knows about community development and who knows what he was getting for publicly supporting a failed plan. NPP promised modern buildings in Nima (Accra) in the 2000 elections, but did not construct a single drainage.
This is our advice to Nana Akuffo Addo and the desperate elephant: It is not only Zongos that need community development. Many parts of our country need comprehensive community economic development (CED) due to neglects of both NPP and NDC governments. In Accra alone places like Abuja, Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. What about all the shanty towns in cities across the country?
Before we conclude CPPNA has a question for Akuffo Addo and NPP: How exactly are you going to develop the over populated and unplanned Zongos across the nation? Ghanaians are curious and want to know.
We don’t want to suggest that this is election prank since that would reveal NPP’s real intentions. More so, in community development you achieve zero impact if you impose your will on the people. NPP told Ghanaians how much it was going to cost for the programs even before they planned on undertaking Community Needs Assessments. Their actions in fact reveal that they have a wrong answer to an unknown question. Second, Akuffo Addo and NPP have demonstrated without doubt that they are clueless in community development. Third, this plan is indeed a practical joke to grab votes. In one instance they told Ghanaians they want to build infrastructure and in another, told us that they want to change lives of people living in inner city Zongos. Hellooo NPP, this doesn’t make economic sense.
Now, CPPNA would like to tutor Akuffo Addo and NPP: To bring hope to people living in zongos, you have to offer approaches that alleviate poverty and bring development. You do this through holistic community economic development (CED) models. CPP Government under Nkrumah developed a humane approach by establishing the State Housing Corporation, Tema Development Corporation, created jobs and offered access to loans as solutions to rural-urban migration and overcrowding in towns and cities. The Sunyani, Takoradi and Tema townships are typical examples and if NPP wants to emulate our proven initiatives, CPP shall offer them the expertise. In CED you go to the people and listen to what they need. You then develop their skills and help facilitate processes so they can develop themselves with assistance. Each community (Zongo) would need a different plan; local solutions to local problems. Your purpose for doing this is to achieve impact and innovation; you don’t tell them what they need, thus Akuffo Addo Zongo development plan.
Akuffo Addo and NPP have obviously shown their lack of understanding of issues and respect for ordinary people’s needs and development. They have failed to give Ghanaians the opportunities to have access, participation and equity; CPP will rebuild sustainable livelihoods, bring hope and future to all Ghanaians.
Akuffo Addo, Ghana needs a comprehensive community development programs for the entire nation, not a Zongo development hoax.
Long live Ghana; Long Live the CPP.
Kweku Manful Vice-Chair CPP North America (firstname.lastname@example.org)