Regional News of Tuesday, 15 January 2008
through sports and politics
Kumasi, Jan. 15, GNA - The latter part of 2007 marked a significant landmark in the political history of Ghana. Apart from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which elected its flag bearer more than a year earlier; all the other major political parties in the country elected theirs in the last quarter of 2007.
The acrimony, confusion, excitement and anguish that characterized the campaigning, the congresses and the election results, all made the period interesting and memorable and some party faithful, especially those whose candidates won the primaries have continued their merry-making while those who failed are nursing their wounds quietly with a consoling pretence that, whatever happened was in the interest of their party.
From all indications the year 2008 will be the most exciting in Ghana's socio-political history. Ghana is hosting the continental biggest soccer fiesta, the Ghana Africa Cup of Nations 2008 from January 20 to February 10 while the general election is scheduled to take place on December 7. With the current excitement and soccer fever in all corners of the country, there is no doubt that Ghanaians and their brothers from all parts of the Continent and beyond are going to have a memorable soccer festival.
Huge billboards, banners, posters and other paraphernalia of the tournament have been scattered across the length and breath of the country while the media is also giving the event a hype to keep the euphoria and aroma on the air.
The current devotion of major part of airtime by most FM and TV stations to the Ghana 2008 soccer fiesta and the active contribution of the ordinary soccer fans to discussions which ranges from the injury of the Black Stars Captain Stephen Appiah to the completion of the various stadiums and training pitches to the selection of the team's players and the cost of the customized tournament's T-shirts, caps, flags and other paraphernalia, amply attest to the enthusiasm Ghanaians had shown to the hosting of the games.
Immediately after the soccer fiesta will be the most exciting and challenging local political campaign period towards Election 2008. While it seems to have been overshadowed by the current soccer fever, the campaigning for the elections will gather greater momentum after the fiesta.
Party activists, flag bearers, political nongovernmental organisations, pollsters and others will be crisscrossing the length and breadth of the country to either canvass for votes, hold rallies, conduct town-hall debates and polls before the elections.
With the 2008 elections considered to be the finals between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the largest opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC), vigorous campaigning among the two especially, is highly anticipated.
However, the CPP under the leadership of Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom is drumming home its resolve to become a major contender in the elections. With the strong campaigning currently mounted by Dr Nduom since he was elected, the CPP is poised to offer a strong challenge to the other parties. All said and done, all these activities would generate garbage. A lot of people have in recent times expressed grave concern about the sanitation situation in the country, especially in the big cities and towns, which are hosting the tournament.
While city authorities are spending huge sums of money and human resources to tidy up the cities, individuals, corporate organizations, political parties and other entities are continually littering the streets, corners, pavements and parks with the haphazard display of billboards, banners, posters and others.
Posters, banners and other paraphernalia of presidential aspirants, both winners and losers continue to adorn the streets while those of churches, organizations and individuals announcing funerals, crusade, party, education, conference or other social activities are also scattered all over.
The plastic bags and other filth which had choked the gutters, stagnant liquid waste materials, mounting refuse dumps and other things continue to stare Ghanaians in the face everyday.
While most people continue to blame city authorities, they often forget about the recalcitrance of residents. Why is it that a Ghanaian cannot obey or observe simple environmental ethics by not throwing waste material into gutters or onto the streets?
It is regrettable that most prominent citizens of the country including religious leaders, chiefs and other opinion leaders in their new year messages to Ghanaians, devoted most of their massages to the need for politicians and the media to maintain decorum, especially since the year is an election year. While they may be afraid that unguarded statements by the media and an attempt to rig election result could spark violence in the country, they might have forgotten that, malaria, which is brought about as a result of unsanitary environmental conditions is the number one killer in the country.
An outbreak of cholera as a result of filthy environment could be as devastating as civil or communal war.
While it is important for leading opinion leaders to advise Ghanaians to be guided in their actions, especially in the election year, they should also use occasions like that as an opportunity to advise the people to be mindful of the environment.
Politicians who are seeking the mandate of the people to rule should concentrate their messages on environmental cleanliness by demonstrating a lot of commitment towards changing the attitude of the Ghanaian towards his environment.
City authorities, especially those in the host cities can liaise with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to use the scoreboards in the various stadiums to educate and sensitise the public to keep their environment clean at all times.
The hosting of the Ghana 2008 tournament should not only bring us economic benefits but should also be used as a platform for social mobilization to change the attitude of the Ghanaian. Climatic changes are causing severe natural havocs like floods while bushfires and other environmental degradation practices are causing poor crop harvest and famine to many people on the African continent. It is high time Ghanaians changed their attitudes towards the environment and learned to live in a clean environment.
Sitting in the scotching sun to sell in dirty surroundings will give you more money, but you will use the money to attend hospitals and if you are not lucky, you may not come back. Ghanaians should show passion to the environment as they do to football and politics and by so doing live healthier lives at all times.