You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2013 10 25Article 289818

Opinions of Friday, 25 October 2013

Columnist: Alootey, Van-Ess

Can we ever get anything right as Ghanaians?

I read, watch and listen to discussions on the electronic media, on issues of national interest with a heavy heart; my heart bleeds every day for this country. It saddens me that after fifty-six years (56) of independence as a country that prides itself with varied accolades like “the shining star of Africa” “a beacon of hope for democracy”, “a citadel for modern day democracy” etcetera, is disappointing to say the least, that we have never gotten anything right as a country , I am sure many will disagree with me on this one, and will want to brand me unpatriotic and a pessimist but a cursory analysis of our system juxtaposing it with best practices from other countries that we yearn to be emulate , some who have the development of this nation at heart will certainly agree with me without a thought that indeed we are failing as a nation. We pride ourselves as a people who enjoy acquiring many certificates in academia , huge titles within our traditional and religious set up, that do not have any practical bearing on our system , but has further deepened the woes of the country economically and socially. We live in a country where at the beginning of ever year a budget is read detailing the direction the country wants to go in terms of how accumulated taxes in the form of revenue will be expended , this is a ritual we have done since 1992 when we decided to adopt democracy as a form of government, I can say on authority that most of the projected and planned projects we earmark yearly since the last twenty years have all failed to address the myriad of economic and social problems that confront this country. The sad thing is that, we have polarized the system so much that nobody in this country sees it has a duty to question and hold those in position of authority to account how our resources and other national assets have been managed over the years. Some patriotic citizens who defy the odds to attempt to question the value for money for these projects are branded with all sorts of names , a practice that has being the bane behind the under-development of this country. This practice has gone on over the last twenty –four years of our democratic governance system , people embezzle funds , abuse their office in various acts of corruptions and get away .We have failed as a country to manage anything right. Sometimes I am forced to believe that, we were better off under our colonial masters, an assertion many will disagree with me, but given current happenings one is forced to think that way albeit I do not support colonialism in any form.

Our technocrats and politicians have succeeded in either collapsing or making state programmes and policies worse for everyone in this country. The poor culture of maintenance has escalated to a point, where we have allowed all our national assets that hitherto were source of revenue for development to rot, making them more of liabilities rather than national assets, a case in point is the Ghana Trade Fair centre. Things are really getting bad in this country and the earlier we started thinking of action plans to mitigate some of these unfortunate developments , the better for all of us.

The school placement system introduced in September 2005 was to curb the excesses and some of the nefarious activities that heads of various second cycle institutions were engaged in during admissions. After nine years of its operation, can we confidently say that this objective has been achieved? The answer is an obvious no. This year’s placement has been characterized with a lot of drama. Some pupils who genuinely scored excellent grades that make them qualified candidates to the so called first class secondary schools were denied admissions to such schools, the formula for admission has now become the highest bidder gets the best placement .This unfortunate situation does not only dampen the spirit of hard work amongst students but creates a bad image for the country , were one cannot no longer genuinely have anything good based on merit. This particular phenomenon is seen in every sphere of our national development .Persons seeking employment opportunities whether in the public or private sector must place in a brown envelope before one is genuinely given a job despite one’s qualifications and experience. We are very much privy to these actions of corruption yet no one is willing to fish out these bad nuts whose actions are gradually collapsing everything in this country. Some of these things have largely accounted for the slow pace in our development .You do not expect these individuals after paying close to three thousand Ghana cedis (GHC3000) for a job, to whole heartedly devote their time and energies to doing an effective job . Things have gone so bad that one retired educationist Mr. I.K Gyasi alleges that, he has had the rare privilege of meeting parents who have complained that some unscrupulous individuals within the ranks of the West Africa Examination Council are ready to change the results of candidates provided they are ready to pay six thousand Ghana cedis (GHC6000).This said amount cannot be paid by the poor rice farmer in “Vea” in the Upper East of Ghana or better still the peasant farmer “Assin fosu” in the Central Region. Have things gone so bad that our examinations and admissions to second cycle school are now for sale? What are we doing to ourselves in this country? All the big talk about building strong institutions and allowing them function properly have all fallen on death ears. Not only have we succeeded in destroying them, we have further weakened them by our own actions and inactions as Ghanaians. The blame must be placed at the door steps of those political and institutional heads who failed to act decisively when they had the opportunity to do so. We need to as a matter of urgency begin to take every aspect of national life seriously as a country, we need to begin thinking and taking tough decisions on national issues and quit the talking that gets us nowhere. It is in the light of these unfortunate trends that I wish to proffer these are as solutions to the myriad of problems facing our country:

• All heads of important institutions should be appointed based on competence and not along the lines of any political party. When this is done, we can be sure to have fair minded and selfless individuals who will at all times put the interest of the nation first and act decisively on matters , without fear or favour.

• Government appointees and civil servants in positions of authority found to have misappropriated funds or used their office for undeserved favors must be prosecuted and made to face the full rigours of the law without the usual delays that usually characterize these kinds of high profile cases. It about time people in authority begins to pay the consequences for their actions when they are found at the wrong side of the law.

• All political parties that have members in all the three arms of government ie the legislature, Executive, and Judiciary must all make meaningful contributions towards strengthening these institutions to function effectively. This will go a long way to help reduce the perception of the citizenry that these institutions exist only for the good of the rich in society.

• Finally individuals that have been given the mandate of the people through elections to serve them must endeavor at all times to put the interest of the people first. That self-seeking syndrome in our politics must stop. Political office holders must do all they can while in office to initiate and promote policies that will help uplift the ordinary man from the shackles of poverty.

This country can only get better with equal opportunities for all citizenry, if the following suggestions can be enforced and adopted in our governance system for the larger good of the country. We need to quit talking and start thinking. Long live Ghana!!!!!!!

Van-Ess .A. Alootey.