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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Columnist: Wumbei Napari

Mr. President, your policies are not immune to failure

There is too much propaganda, deceit, and acrimony in our political discourse as a growing democratic nation. We have a society where everybody sees leadership positions as an avenue to get rich quickly.

People fight to the top of civil service positions and political positions not because they are really prepared to serve the interest of mother Ghana, but because they believe that those positions are money-ready positions for their occupants.

The proposition preceding this one is what makes us find enmity among opponent in both intra-party and inter-party struggle to get leadership positions. For example, in Ghana, opposition parties always wish bad for the nation so they get chances of ascending to power whiles the ruling party discharging duties which are unfaithful, propaganda, and deceit in nature just to hang up there for long time resulting in acrimony here and there. By the way, let’s turn to the subject behind this write up.

Mr. President, having outlined some problems Ghana is encountering as a developing nation, this write is meant to serve as wakeup call as you start some of your ambitious policies which you and many other Ghanaians believe will really create a ‘Ghana beyond Aid”. Mr. President, it is not about you not getting funds to undertake these visionary programs, but rather is about how or what measures you put in place to ensure that funds meant for these your good policies do not get devoured by political and civil service scavengers across the country.

This may not sound new to you as someone who is born into politics, Mr. President, but you may get a shock at the end of your tenure should you think your appointees are saints hence no need to check them. Please trust none with the nation’s resources which are given out for developmental projects.

Mr. President, as someone who promised to protect the public purse, you should ensure that you yourself and your appointees have hands that are clean but not the ones that are smeared with faeces. Your one district, one factory, and one constituency, one million dollar policies as well as many others of such policies should give different results to Ghanaians in generally, but the not same results Ghanaians witnessed in previous regimes especially those of SADA and GYEEDA in your predecessor’s administration.

In fact, it is here that readers and you yourself will make sense of the choice of title for article. Your policies are exceptional in terms of its good nature and opportunities likely to be gained from them as nation, however, they are not exceptional or immune from failure as similar policies have failed to yield results because those tasked by governments to implement those policies diverted funds for personal gains and went away freely.

Mr. President, what assurance do you have for Ghanaians that these programs would not become an avenue of money-making to your appointees and civil service scavengers? If no assurance is there, I’m afraid, you and your government will also fail woefully as those who came before you. There are two things I will suggest to your government as you are readying for the implementation of these policies.

The first of it is that your government should break the norm of sitting in Accra and deciding solutions to people as far as in the north or any other regions, districts at any part of the country without at the first instance consulting the people to find out their pressing societal problems.

This practice can be likened to a medical doctor treating a patient without consulting the patient for complaints from the patients and we all can guess what it will lead to in the end. Also, Mr. President, there is a saying in Dagbani that “duu lana m-mi o duu ni yiini sheli” in direct translation it means “only the owner of a room knows which of the roof is leaking” and so nobody apart from the person could give better description of the problem than the one experiencing it.

Therefore without consulting the people challenges in their areas, I’m confident to say that there would be mass failure of some these good policies due misappropriation of funds on projects that are useless to the communities, districts and regions across the country as has been done in the past.

Mr. President, the second and final suggestion is that the idea of releasing funds of projects to agencies or institutions without regular and proper evaluation and monitoring should be a thing in the past in your government. By doing this, funds meant for particular developmental projects could not be diverted into people’s pockets.

This can be done by resourcing as well as empowering and extending the role of your monitoring and evaluation ministry beyond ministerial levels to agencies and institutional levels.

Mr. President, if properly implemented with regular monitoring and evaluation to detect instances of squandering on funds and prosecuting those responsible severely, your ambitious policies are achievable and are capable of taking Ghana to a level which is beyond aid. However, if not properly evaluated and monitored, they are not exceptional or immune to fail like others before them.