General News of Thursday, 23 January 2014

Source: Karim Alhassan

Poverty and illiteracy, our biggest challenge – Asamoah Boateng

Outspoken leading member of the New Patriotic Party, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, is daring any government and politician with genuine intentions for the country to as a matter of policy prioritize the fight against the twin-diseases of poverty and illiteracy, if the country is to be transformed socio-economically.

According to him, poverty and illiteracy are the two biggest threats to the country’s growth and socio-economic survival, which must be fought in a dispassionate manner devoid of partisanship.

Taking his turn on Multi TV’s flagship programme, Personality Profile over the weekend, the former Minister in the Kufuor Administration took a swipe at what he termed over-politicization of developmental issues to the detriment of the welfare of the masses, especially the poor and the disadvantaged.

“It is not in my interest to pray for the failure of a government. The consequences affect all of us”, he told the programme’s host, Nana Ansah Kwaw.

A former Local Government, Rural Development and Environment Minister, Mr Asamoah Boateng, lamented unplanned and too much experimentation of country’s educational system, saying the current system must recognise the potential of a child and help develop it; citing Germany as an example of a country which has been successful in that area. “Don’t label a difficult-to-learn child as daft; he could be an engineer if he or she is well assisted”.

Mr Asamoah Boateng who led the NPP government’s early social intervention strategies after Co-ordinating the National Economic Dialogue Series, as well as the National Unemployment Registration Exercise said based on a long held principle of choice centred on ideas, he had never felt agitated by the take-over of power by their opponents. “I’m not agitated because the NDC is in power. Problems of this country cannot be solved in days and neither by one group of people”.

Explaining his role as a student leader in a series of protest against the Acheampong led Union Government in the 1970s, the one-time Mfantsiman Member of Parliament defended his actions and that of his University of Ghana colleagues at the time, saying as a democrat, he believed in alternatives and the opportunity for choices to be made.

“I won’t support Union Government even today. Union government was right but Acheampong had come to make himself a dictator so we protested. We did same for Rawlings who had come to entrench himself,” he told the host, warning that it is dangerous for any politician to think he is the reason for voting.

“No politician should make himself or herself the reason for choice-making such as voting; the ordinary people are always the reason for such crucial exercises”, he said.

Mr Asamoah Boateng held key government positions at the Ministries of Tourism, Information and Local Government while serving as a legislator representing the people of Mfantsiman West in the Central Region where he partly hails from.

Driven by his deep-seated passion for women and children, the respected politician has been leading advocacy for the betterment of disadvantaged women in rural Ghana using his own resources aside being deeply involved in grass root mobilisation of the NPP towards the 2016 general elections.