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Opinions of Thursday, 9 October 2008

Columnist: Afrani, Kwabena

A Third Viable And Dynamic Party

It's about time Ghanaians consider a third party. Three main political parties would be ideal for the country. In this case three heads would be better than two and the unhealthy quest to hold power would be abated. The present two main parties have been given the chance but both have failed Ghanaians, socially, politically, economically and developmentally. Those singing their praises are those who have benefited one way or the other, mainly through corruption and coercion.

The worst part played by these two parties is very obvious to every well-meaning Ghanaian. They have brought about the sell out of Ghana. What is a country when it loses control of her economy? That is where Ghana has been placed now. Ghanaians do not control the economy of their country. It is buy and sell to make others richer. All her assets are sold.

The present administration has been boasting of boosting the economy that's not under the control of the citizenry of the country. Though it deserves some credit, many viable assets of the state have been sold, sometimes with just flimsy excuses. A government must instil in its citizens patriotism and the benefit of hard work in whatever field they may be in. Are they getting good example from those in authority? Your answer may be as good as mine. Citizens that embark on establishing some local industries are totally discouraged by the government's disinterest. It prefers to import frozen chicken rather than assisting local poultry farmers, it prefers to import rice rather than encouraging and assisting rice farmers to produce a good percentage of rice consumed in the country. The list goes on and on. Mentioning rice production reminds one of what some members of the previous administration did by giving millions of dollars to a foreign woman to cultivate rice which came to nought and caused a huge financial loss to the country. Money that could have been used to help local farmers procure modern farming equipment, went into the drain.

As the time draws near for the presidential election some Ghanaians are nervous owing to the utterances of some members of the two parties which have ruled the country in recent times. Ghanaians should consider that anyone, being a presidential candidate or a prominent party member, who has ever made any reference to what happened in Kenya and elsewhere, is not fit to lead the country in the capacity as president. Anyone who has thought of this evil incident and be bold enough to suggest to his/her supporters that it should happen in Ghana as well, if the election results do not favour him/her, does not have the welfare of the country at heart but just a selfish ambition to occupy the highest office. A person who thinks disintegration of the country will be alright so long as he/she does not hold the reigns of the State should be ignored for the good of the country. Such a conduct could be likened to the two women who appeared before King Solomon over a live child. The king in his wisdom suggested to the brawling women that he was going to cut both the live and the dead babies into two each and give half of each baby to each of the women. The woman who knew that her baby was dead vehemently agreed to the King's suggestion, but the mother of the live child could not go by such a heinous suggestion, she rather pleaded with the king to give her child to the other woman in order to save her baby's life. King Solomon wasn't going to cut the live baby into two. No. He was able to know who the real mother was. Any aspiring leader who has the welfare of Ghana will never suggest mayhem for any reason. A word to the wise is enough.

The volatile words being exchanged between the two parties are some of the things that could precipitate violence. Those with love of country will do everything to avoid any form of confrontation. After fifty years of independence one would think that the violence and bloodshed that ushered in independence would be thought of as the days of political immaturity and that the country has lived past those sad days and is now politically matured despite the intermittent dictatorships that the country suffered. But some learned people who should know better and educate others, especially their followers, would rather go by intimidation, and indication to those who blindly follow them that bloodshed is the only way to achieve the office they desire.

The political violence that happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe was not a pleasant picture. And to all Ghanaians, do not be deceived into using violence to achieve your political aim. Usually, those who take to savagery have much more to lose than their political heroes they are fighting for. They destroy the little infrastructure they have in their own communities, they burn down the few amenities and shed the blood of their own kith and kin. At the end of the mayhem, they will then realize that the politicians have used them for their political gain. They, the politicians have nothing to lose. While you are licking your wounds, they will be dining in their mansions. You don't take arms to fight for a politician. It is not worth it. Offer your support in a calm and civilized manner. You don't have to harm your fellow human being for the sake of putting another in office. It should therefore, bear upon Ghanaians in the Diaspora to enlighten their folks at home to desist from engaging in any violence during and after the impending election.

I hope Ghanaians will consider the fact that, should there be any political catastrophe, no sister countries are going to welcome them as they have welcome citizens of other countries when they flocked into Ghana in times of political upheaval in their respective countries. Even now, see how some foreigners abuse some Ghanaians on their own soil. Don't let politics shatter the peaceful atmosphere that exists. A lot has been said on this already by well-meaning and peace-loving Ghanaians. Do not give the criminals a field day and put the lives of innocent people at risk, especially, children.

Once again, Ghanaians have free political dispensation to choose someone to lead the country for the next four years. Before one casts ones vote, ask oneself, why do the contestants want to be president of Ghana? Is it for the fame or an opportunity to amass wealth and to travel around the world with cup in hand? Or a true and genuine passion to help develop Ghana in a selfless manner as Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah did. Don't just look at personalities and those who try hard to play down what their political opponents have achieved, just to score some political points, the likes of Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey(Ghanaweb article ID=124349, May 21,'07). No true government would allow bomb throwing individuals, the incivility and the incitement to commit havoc, to be the order of the day.

Two parties have had the chance to show their stuff. To judge the achievements during these periods, is left to how one looks at things. There was a woman who was very hilarious and the achievement she could attribute to one man's twenty -year rule was the emergence of cell phones in the country, and she was passionate about it. It is time for Ghanaians to think critically and choose someone with commitment to develop the country through investment in the people and foreigners who genuinely want to help and not just take advantage of weaknesses of Ghanaians to grab all they can.

Luckily, Ghanaians have a choice of another party with fresh ideas, apart from the two parties which are good at playing the blaming game and counter accusations, and always trying to claim credits that are non-existence. The party that has not come to the scene, post the period of dictatorship should be given the chance to give what it has. This is the time. No one is perfect but it is better to give another a chance, the lesser of three "evils", so to speak.

It would be better for Ghanaians to avoid voting along ethnic lines. Be ethnic-blind and consider the best candidate for the job. Is he more concerned about his party or the welfare of the country as a whole? A person who could offer good leadership to all Ghanaians and make the welfare of Ghanaians his utmost goal. A leader that will create the environment that will help build a strong and viable economy and see to it that it benefits every and ordinary Ghanaian. Not the one that gives priority to the welfare of multi-billion corporations, hence the headlines about Ghana's viable economy. Poorly, the media waits until someone else tells them that Ghana's economy is good before they jump on the bandwagon. A leader who will determine the strength of the economy based on the living conditions of Ghanaians. Poverty has never been eradicated from the surface of the earth. Even advanced economies have poverty in their midst, but the success of an economy is to bring the impact of poverty to a minimum. The two parties have failed Ghanaians in this respect and it is time for the electorate to usher in another party, while there is a choice.

A leader who does not care what Ghanaians think about his administration so long as he gets invited to high places in foreign lands, is not what the people deserve and want. Being a leader of a country can be likened to a head of a corporation. Though there are numerous departmental heads, the over all progress depends on the effectiveness of the CEO, he listens, watches, advises and intervenes when necessary, because the failure of any department reflects on his/her leadership. At the moment the concern of Ghanaians seems to fall on deaf ears. Ghana needs a leader who will be sensitive to feelings of Ghanaians about his /her leadership and make room for change, a stay-at-home leader not a globetrotter. A leader that will find a lasting solution to the wave of armed robbery and the refuse engulfing the nation. A leader that will put an end to Ghana becoming a dumping ground for products that have outlived their use. A leader that will see to it that laws are strictly enforced to maintain discipline in the country. A leader who will make sure that Ghana does not fall into indiscipline abyss. A leader who will ensure that Ghanaians are not trampled upon in their own country.

A leader who will not sell Ghana's assets to the lowest bidder and leave Ghanaians out of the control of the their wealth and travel abroad with cup in hand begging. If a state enterprise is not functional, why not "in-source" it, (my own antonym of the term "out-source"), so that it still remains the property of the State. A leader who will create a favourable environment in the country that will make investors come in to establish businesses on their own without the promises that make them dictate their own terms which in the long round do not benefit the nation. What jobs are created when investors come in with about two-thirds of their own employees, when businesses import most of their manpower?

Ghanaians must elect a leader who will not give away the nations natural resources for a pittance. What were the leaders thinking when they negotiated for three percent of profit margin of a precious metal that Mother Nature has blessed Ghana with? And then go abroad to borrow and borrow.

An effective leader cannot be more effective without the support and cooperation of all Ghanaians. At the moment, the Ghanaian attitude towards government property, government work, discipline, law abiding, respect for authority, national pride, a Ghanaian turning his/her back against his/her fellow Ghanaian, envy and jealousy, needs much to be desired. A Ghanaian does not trust the ability of his/her fellow Ghanaian. It is incredible that after fifty years of independence, Ghana could not find a Ghanaian coach to handle the national team. The fact is not that those concerned could not find one. There were many qualified Ghanaian coaches but they did not want to give even far less than forty-five thousand dollars a month to a fellow Ghanaian to produce the same result that forty-five thousand dollars could, if not even better. On a radio sports panel discussion the other day, I was shocked to hear one of the panelists state that if a Ghanaian coach was appointed for the national team, the team members would not give him due respect, therefore they should bring in an expatriate. Respect? You will not respect your fellow Ghanaian in a certain authority or position simple because he/she is a fellow Ghanaian? Oh God have mercy. There is nothing wrong bringing in an expatriate, but why not tap on a local talent also, at a lower cost to produce the same result? After fifty years and the products from the nation's universities, Ghana cannot find qualified personnel to man state enterprises. They have to bring in people from outside. What was the fifty years of independence celebration for? Hmm. Ghana is still suffering from colonial mentality. Can't Ghanaians do anything for themselves?

Ghanaians should give a chance to the "new" party so as to establish three main parties. I believe it will be good for the nation. Some of the priorities that need to be addressed urgently which the present administration is overlooking are (1) Armed robbery, (2) Refuse/Rubbish disposal, (3) Corruption at high places, (4) Indiscipline, (5) Lawlessness, (6) Lack of a strong Police Force . The writer of this article has no party affiliation whatsoever, but why not give CPP a chance to try. Your Vote is as good as your voice, take advantage of it and cast it wisely., be your own self. Do not allow yourself to be tuned in like a radio.

A nation building demands an effective leader. It is easier said than done, but it can be done.

Kwabena Afrani