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General News of Wednesday, 29 November 2000

Source: GNA

‘From Berlin to Paris’ booklet launched

A 33-page booklet written by Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, presidential candidate of the United Ghana Movement (UGM), was on Tuesday launched in Accra.

"From Berlin to Paris: 'Time For A New Independence For Ghana'", comprises four essays about how Ghanaians and Africans should fight and strive for a new level of independence and attain a higher level of national and continental sovereignty.

The essays are; The white man's burden, Of not so good standing, Friends in need or pests and Back to the future. The booklet's epilogue, "Growing people for Ghana's development - Vision for Ghana in the 21 Century" spells out the development agenda of the UGM.

Launching the booklet, Mr Akoto Ampaw, a lawyer and human rights activist, noted that part of the failure of African intellectuals and political leaders stem from their inability to document their thoughts, visions and plans. He said the booklet was written on the fact that after 40 years of independence, Ghana continues to depend on foreign aid as the only means of managing its affairs.

Mr Ampaw explained that the roots of modern Ghana can be traced to the Berlin Conference where Africa was carved out into colonies to be governed by the colonial masters, the natural result of which was the resistance to colonialism that ended in independence.

"Rather than consolidating our independence, we retreated and surrendered our independence to those from whom our forebears fought and got independence," he said.

Mr Ampaw asked why after so many years of independence, many African countries continue to rely on "Paris", donor countries and agencies to implement their development plans. The Paris Club is a group of bilateral and multilateral donors that gives soft loans to developing countries.

Mr Ampaw, however, agreed that the annual celebration of Ghana's independence is worthy of recognition in spite of the modest gains the country has made under the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) and the Structural Adjustment Programme.

He accused African politicians and intellectuals of acquiring all the good things in life and neglecting the people. African intellectuals and politicians, he said, should go back to the people and help them in the development of the agricultural and industrial sectors.

Mr Ampaw said, however, that intellectuals could only practise their skills under democratic governance where the rights of the people are respected at all times.

Commenting on a part of the booklet - From Handouts to Handshakes - Dr Wereko-Brobby criticised the foreign media for ascribing the worst form of every bad socio-economic, political and medical catastrophe to sub-Saharan Africa.

He said 70 per cent of medical doctors trained each year in Ghana are lost to other countries mainly because of poor remuneration, and asked why Cuban doctors should be engaged at a higher cost.

The UGM presidential candidate urged Ghanaians to take their lives into their own hands and stop relying excessively on donor assistance because "there is no free lunch anywhere." He stressed regional economic integration as the way forward in salvaging the economies of African countries.