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Feature Article of Thursday, 23 February 2012

Columnist: Attenkah, Richard

Let’s Adopt A National Development Policy

…Sege NPP Parliamentary Candidate

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary Candidate (PC) for Sege, Divine O. Agorhom has called for the institution of a national development policy that will guide governments to execute the development agenda of the country. According to him, the situation where political parties campaign on their manifesto promises and end up abandoning projects which had been started by their predecessors because they did not have that in their manifesto is unacceptable and improper.

“Currently, we run a system where our political parties set their own exams, write the exams, mark the exams and release the results; definitely this is a recipe for mediocrity and trading of excuses”, he revealed.

Mr. Agorhom made the call at the launch of the campaign towards his journey to parliament at Sege last Saturday.

He said Ghanaians living at home and abroad with expertise, deep knowledge and know-how about every sector of the economy should be invited to a national forum to discuss, sector by sector which direction we want to go, as a nation.

“The discussion should be centered on what corporate Ghana wants to achieve, for example in every sector of the economy in the next 50 years. Once such a document, which I prefer to call it ‘National Agenda’ is adopted, political parties which form a government would be judged based on their performance on this document and not their party manifesto”, the Sege NPP PC revealed. He explained that when this is done, every government will be constitutionally mandated to build upon what its predecessor had started which will go a long way to ensure the continuous growth of development projects across the country. Mr. Agorhom noted; “We all know the huge housing deficit confronting the country today. When the NPP was in power, it started an affordable housing project putting up over 20,000 housing units across the country.

“At the time the party was leaving office, these projects were at various levels of completion, with some at 60 to 70 percent. It is however sad to note that when the present administration took over, they have abandoned the project and instead are chasing after the STX housing project, which was not to be.

“Perhaps, if there was such a policy, they would have continued the project and by now just as the government continued the N1 Highway project, now the George Bush Highway which was constructed with part of the money from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), the Kufuor affordable housing project would have been completed”, the aspiring MP observed.

Explaining further, Mr. Agorhom said after the ‘National Agenda’ has been institutionalized, Ghanaians who have distinguished themselves in their areas of expertise would be invited to form a ‘Council’ that would not only manage the policy, but also become the custodian of our constitutional rule. “This means that two months before a presidential and parliamentary election, the president, all his ministers and political appointees across the country would hand over their portfolios to the council”, he averred. He recommended that members of this all important body should not be appointed by a ruling government but by professional bodies, chieftaincy institution, religious and recognized bodies. In terms of its composition, the Sege NPP parliamentary candidate proposed that members to this Council should be people who have distinguished themselves in their respective areas of endeavour as well as all living ex-presidents of this country.

This according to him will help to create an equal playing field for all aspirants and to ensure that no one uses state resources for their political campaigns and to ensure the continuity of previous programmes and eliminate the “re-inventing the wheel situations” that we currently find ourselves in.

This will also hasten the transitional period from an old to a new government, ensure proper handing over which will result in the new administration starting government business on the right footing and to eliminate the unfortunate situation where someone decides to hold on to power even though the elections result may indicate otherwise. On his thoughts on whether or not chiefs should be allowed to play active roles in politics, he had this to say; “Our chiefs must be allowed to participate actively in politics by giving them specific roles to play. “This will be beneficial in that the chieftaincy institution will regain its respect and influence. We can also be sure that our chiefs will be in a better position to protect our resources for us”. He also touched on the use of a common language for our nation building efforts, saying a common language will ease trading among our people from different tribes which will increase the economic status of our people.

Mr. Agorhom observed “Though we currently intermarry, the absence of a common language has resulted in many homes using English as the language of interaction and many people are growing up without being able to express themselves in a local language and thus losing their ability to relate with the masses.

“It will also hasten our development as the use of one common language will reduce nepotism and allow people to be assessed on their ability to perform and not on the basis of their tribal lineage”, he said adding “It will furthermore bring better understanding among us as a people”.

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