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Opinions of Saturday, 11 January 2014

Columnist: Okofo-Dartey, Samuel

No mass murder in second gear, mr president

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The president’s comparison of corruption to mass murder is an apt analogy. And the fight against corruption in his tenure, therefore, should not be pinned to pointless rhetoric and setting up of committees whose reports are referred to other committees for review. Corruption cannot be minimised with kid gloves; it must be dealt with a ruthless and even-handed iron fist. His (the president) claim that he is in his second gear of his second year should be a palpable reality aimed at preventing and resolving corrupt cases brought against his appointees.
Of a truth, the president’s assurances and penchant for refrains such as, ‘I have instructed...,’ ‘I have tasked...,’ ‘I have ordered...’ are bureaucratic confessions that only fester a positive ambience for chains of crass corruption to thrive. The corrupt African politician or public servant is not deterred by these stingless statements. Those officers under whose watch the GYEEDA, SUBAH, SADA, WATERVILLE, WOYOME and ISOFOTON scandals were perpetrated, are they not still comfortably in office enjoying gargantuan salaries from the monetary contributions of the poor tax payer? How many of these alleged corrupt officials have been asked to step aside as investigations progress?
I trust after the president’s jolly stay abroad, he is more than refreshed and charged to clear the mess of 2013 and renew the hopes of Ghanaians by bettering their fortunes. I am pretty confident he saw the splendour and glamour of the country he visited. This, I believe, should spur him on to better manage the oil revenue accrued so far in transforming the economy of the country. It is really absurd to think that ghost names on government’s payroll and gross corruption are eating portions of the oil revenue that could have been channelled into projects and economic activities that have the propensity to propel our country to reflect the glitz of the U.A.E.
By the way, I should assume that the president felt good as he met the press at the Jubilee House now recycled name-wise to reflect the presence and oddities of colonial overlords some years past. Is Asiedu Nketiah still referring to the Jubilee House as a hencoop or he has swallowed his porous pride? Politics in this country really stinks sometimes. This national asset (Jubilee House as I prefer to call it) has given a fresh facelift to our government as opposed to those years previous governments conducted their affairs from a colonial relic that symbolised the shame and infamy of colonial brutalities.
Now that the president seems set to steer us from the rugged path he chauffeured us on last year, I can only wish him well. He must bear in mind lofty speeches and vile propaganda do not engender a robust economy. The coast is now clear for him to see what lies ahead of him. Therefore, in the months ahead of us, lame and offensive excuses such as the one Mr A siedu Nketiah gave for his (I mean the president) trip abroad would not be a solid defence for his failures this year.
Of all that the president said during his encounter with senior journalists, that which caught my attention was his intention to construct one hundred Senior High Schools this year across the country. That is laudable but without the usual scrutiny and cynicism based on previous experiences which saw initiatives that held high hopes for the poor becoming an avenue for enriching certain unscrupulous persons.
I would want to posit that instead of constructing these day Senior High Schools, the government should rather expand the facilities of those numerous Senior High Schools that are bereft of adequate infrastructure. If one should take a tour of some Senior High Schools in some of the remotest areas in Brong Ahafo, Volta and the Northern regions, it will sound reasonable for the government to redirect those funds meant for the new hundred day S.H.S. into providing better infrastructure to increase enrolment. It is common knowledge that some students refuse to attend schools they are placed in due to the infrastructural deficits of these schools.
Currently, most day S.H.S. are gradually morphing into boarding schools. The majority of Ghanaian parents are not aware or in limbo as to what research government has done to ensure that these schools will be attractive and retain prospective students. I am yet to see the architectural patterns of these schools. Ghanaians has come of age to benefit from standard school complexes and not a two by four six unit classroom block which is devoid of lush landscape.
If it is about the cost of S.H.S. that is motivating the government to implement this initiative, is it not economically prudent and cost effective to perhaps maintain or improve upon the model school policy initiated and implemented by the erstwhile NPP administration?
Just like the botched STX Korea Housing deal which was hyped beyond measure and the neglect of the Affordable Housing Scheme of the NPP administration, I have this hunch that if the government does not put aside the politics and think through this good initiative carefully, the country’s scarce funds will be sunk into this initiative that will only result in digging foundations and abandoning them to rot in the bush.
Well, I appreciate the president’s view that this year is an action meant to salvage the economy from its doldrums. However, I have always maintained that economic development goes beyond political rhetoric and merely expressing hope of economic boom. The critics of the president will always be at his throat if he and his handlers fail to execute their well intended policies. They should not take Ghanaians for granted otherwise they will pay for it dearly and posterity will never forgive them.


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