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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Columnist: Hassan

The needless debate of cherry-picking and history distortion

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

By: Hassan Andani

Ghana celebrated her birthday on the 6th of march this year. The day was not an ordinary day as it was the day marking her 60th birthday. The beauty of the day was marred by so many controversies. The ‘unislamic’ outfit of the second lady, Madam Samira Bawumia, was all over social media. From Facebook to Twitter, the second lady was the victim of vilifications triggered by Islamic scholars, some unschooled journalists who thought it was their birthright to write and the never worn-out political footballers. The following day even generated contretemps of interest to me. The Convention People's Party was unhappy about the speech read by His Excellency the president. This time around, not a case that the speech was a copycat of someone’s intellectual property but a case of who deserved a lion share of encomiums among those who struggled and won our country independence. The convention people's party felt their party’s founder was out of the picture among the heroes who spearheaded this struggle because to them, he supposed to be acknowledge as the founder of Ghana before any ‘Busias’ or ‘Dankwas’ can be mentioned. They said the president was trying to do the impossible, thus, rewriting the history of Ghana’s independence struggle. For a fact that I am not a historian or political scientist, I am unable to tell which school of thought is dead-on, thus, whether those for the motion are right or those opposing the motion are wrong! Negligible of which school of thought is victorious; What’s the importance of that? It is absolutely nonessential! I will tell you why.

What is worth fighting over a country whose agricultural sector is on a “comfortable lead” to the cemetery? Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. As a country whose economy is agrarian, the current contribution of the sector to the Gross Domestic Product should have been an enough justification to call for a national debate on how to get it back to where it was during the Acheampong’s regime during which time I wasn’t born but have been told. A country with arable land which should have been optimally utilized for the intended purpose for which it was blessed is rather made to waste away.

Agriculture is unattractive to the youth because nothing motivational and encouraging from the attracted ageing population convince them to be farmers. If Ghana wants to develop, then agriculture must undergo process reengineering- the whole sector must be assessed from ground up to identify all the bottlenecks before it can be fixed to reverse this current trend of negative growth. Please dear debaters, your debate is meaningless until it is linked with ways and means to revamp agriculture and prevent future contribution of negative figures to Gross Domestic Product.

The fisherman is interested in the pre-mix fuel and outboard motors debate and the debate to completely ban light fishing by Chinese who claimed they also pay taxes. My village folk has this for you; “I am not interested in the one who perspired and sweat most for Ghana to be partially dependent currently but I am interested in the national debate that is aimed at preventing postharvest losses, subsidizing agricultural inputs and a total migration from the ‘hoe and cutlass’ way of farming so that the country can shift away from the importation of 600,000 metric tonnes of rice from countries not even qualified to be our class, annually.”

What is worth fighting over a country whose health care delivery system is nothing to write home about? Ghanaians in rural Ghana still walk many miles before they can have access to even a health service that is not quality. The woman in labour should not be carried on a bicycle to the health center in the nearby village if only we want to reduce infant mortality. The health center must be right at her nose because it is a right and not a privilege as she also pays the tax the ordinary Ghanaian cannot default, the indirect tax. The infrastructural deficit in the sector, if it were a human being would have been described as a mercenary with exceptional attraction with money including the 20million cedis from corporate Ghana instead of the 60th anniversary we celebrated even when we were not having the wherewithal to do so.

The health of the Ghanaian at Kpatinga is more important than this debate of who founded Ghana. Of interest to my kinsman, is the timely release of funds for claims payments to registered service providers of the National Health Insurance Scheme. To those for the motion and against the motion of this debate; you are all losers if you cannot propose practical ways and not platitudes targeted at reducing infant mortality and the prevention of our local Ebola(cholera) and also find the funds to foot the bill of statutory payments especially NHIS arrears for 2015 and 2016 which currently is a whooping GHC3,913,101.88 ( according to a daily graphic publication on 1st March, 2017).

What is meritorious about this debate if it cannot bring out the causes and the solutions of the yearly poor performance of senior High school Graduates and Junior High School graduates? We live in a country where everything is in deficit including teachers. Let’s us be interested in preventing the case where a single teacher will be teaching a whole primary block. Let’s us be interested in getting infrastructure and the right teaching and learning materials for students at Kpatinga Junior High School who will be competing with students at any private junior high school in any part of the country for placement into second cycle institutions. Let’s debate issues like how to prevent the loss of precious lives in the future as a result of a school block caving in. let’s prevent the future awarding of contracts to contractors whose hallmark is to reward awarded contracts with shoddy works.

Why should we waste precious time on this matter when we cannot provide schools with chalk? All those whose bidding the debaters are doing were well educated, don’t we want to leave same educated generation behind like they did. I see this whole debate about who contributed significantly and as such should be called a founder and those whose contributions were insignificant and as such should be called Cofounders as baseless and a misplaced priority! From my village school kid to the debaters in tie and suits at Accra; “Your debate is absolutely gratuitous if it cannot eliminate schools under trees”.

The debaters in Accra should know that some Ghanaians like my ilk who are disillusioned want to have their hopes rejuvenated and restored. We are sentenced into the prison of abject poverty by mismanagement. The most important debate should be how to break this prison, after all it takes two to tango. History is important but what is the point when Ghanaians cannot purchase this history when it is compiled into a book? We had independence with some countries on the same year but they are far ahead of us in this same year. Suffice to say that Hassan Ayariga or Akua Donkoh founded Ghana where the citizens were enjoying high standard of living in the midst of plenty as a result of selfless leadership, it is much ado about nothing to me! The debate of “He cherry-picked” and “He deserved to be cherry-picked” is absolutely unwarranted if it cannot contribute ideas geared towards reducing drastically, the 48% of unemployed youth (according to a world bank report titled "the landscape of jobs in Ghana") to the barest minimum or create jobs for students studying BSc. Computing-with-Accounting under the merciless sun at UDS, Navrongo Campus immediately after graduation. This needless debate must cease now and in the future at a drop of a hat!

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