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Opinions of Saturday, 28 November 2020

Columnist: Bright Philip Donkor

Enough of the 'I brought this', 'I did this' syndrome

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and John Dramani Mahama President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and John Dramani Mahama

The hullabaloo surrounding who brought or introduced the Free SHS policy and whatnot by these governments (National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party) who are only interested in their selfish gains is both nauseating and lurid. Look, I didn't want to express my views on it. But upon second thought, I've to.

Without a doubt, education is the bedrock of every society. But educating people who might end up becoming unemployed because of employment avenues is nothing to write home about.

In this article, I make an exposition on one of the things we've done very wrong in this country; thus turning everything done or undone by governments into sheer politicking. It's unworthy arguing on who did that and who didn't do that. Ghanaians taxpayers’ money is the engine after all, so where from this battle?

The political competition between the ruling party and the opposition party appears to be influencing the quality of work meant to move Ghana's development from strength to strength. That's why Ghana is where it is.

Politicians from NDC and NPP play Ghanaians against each other, and we being so gullible encourage them with loose talk. Cronies of these politicians love the hype because they benefit from the chaos. We all pay tax, so whatever good project done is NETHER Mahama or Akufo-Addo's own. It is Ghanaian owned.

Justly, we should give credit to whom credit is due. It's very clear and every Ghanaian knows it was President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who touted the Free SHS whilst seeking power and went ahead with a universal introduction when he was elected.

If we were to hit the streets and randomly sample views, I'm sure every Ghanaian will attest to the fact that Akufo-Addo introduced it. He deserves commendation but the truth is, there's no need wasting time, fighting and arguing about who introduced the Free Senior High School (FSHS) education policy. It doesn't belong to him; it belongs to Ghana.

In point of fact, even if nursery to university was to be made free in the country, it could have enabled some people who were unable to afford fees to go to school and complete their education. Still, it's no news in such an instance because it is the government's responsibility.

Is it rocket science for western countries to be making impressive and envious strides in terms of development? In the critical moment of the global pandemic, countries like the US, UK, Hong Kong just to mention but a few put in place radical measures to protect people's jobs when the COVID-19 struck. They gave emergency funds to citizens as soon as possible.

According to BBC, governments in such countries like the UK paid the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Governments paid 80% of salary for staff who were kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

It may interest you to know that all these "unprecedented" measures were meant to protect workers being laid off due to the crisis. It was also understood that the wage subsidy applied to firms where bosses have already had to lay off workers due to the coronavirus, as long as they are brought back into the workforce and instead granted a leave of absence.

Here in Ghana, the fate of the businessmen was left in their own hands. The low-income earners had to decide their fate. Is the development prospect of Ghana all about Free SHS? Improvement in the public sector and government services that will create a better business environment has not been actualized. Our leaders must be more proactive in terms of policies that'll inure to the average Ghanaian.

Worriedly, we live in a country in which almost every issue is refracted with partisan lenses, except maybe the air we breathe. Everything is NPP or NDC to the extent that, our development needs is associated with partisan gymnastics. It’s as though the words ‘‘hopelessness and uselessness’’ are synonymous with some African leaders. Most transformative jaw-dropping developments in Africa are undertaken by foreigners. What a shame!

Half-truths and propaganda have diluted the richness of our national development, affecting our living standards. Development whether social or economic is very important to the well-being of every nation, as its contribution to the sustainability of that country cannot be underpinned.

However, the politicization of things done by governments and what has not been done by governments in most African countries like Ghana has been a bane and has actually made it almost impossible for its contributions to the country's sustainable development.

Whilst facts are sacred and comment is free, we think we can make facts free and comments scandalous. In the national mood, both the NDC and NPP have sought to score political brownie points.

This has led to confused messaging on the scale and level of Ghana's development. Unfortunately, it has a characteristic to inhibit progress. The most important reason for this is the conflict between the logics of politics, which discriminates between friends and enemies.

What I'm finding difficult to comprehend is why our politics has been driven around politicization of things done by governments (NDC & NPP) and what has not been done. Political party sympathizers argue on these trivial stuff and political party leaders are also seen doing same. They've neglected matters of national transformation, development, and prosperity.

First, governments are responsible and accountable to the people because development initiatives are executed and advanced with the taxpayers’ money. It's not as though we are a charitable cause, where they’re using their monies to propel development and advancement. They are not Non - Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) or Donors who are doing these things philanthropically or out of a free will.

Secondly, accountability is supreme. Tell us what has been done by way of transparency and helping us to know our money's worth. Political parties make promises and these promises are actuated using our tax as the engine or lubricant. More often, policies are designed by these parties which are mostly not in the favor of the Ghanaian, but because of the cosmetic attempt to outdo competition.

Moreover, achievements are not what the political parties say they are. It is what the voters say they are. Development is what the average citizen says it is based on improvements being enjoyed in their lives and that of others in their society. Voters are more discerning to do the comparison themselves. But that's what the political environment has been moulded into; where successive parties are constantly waging war against others and trying to outperform each other to prove their relevance.

But genuinely and generally, are these trumpeted developments resulting in a qualitative and quantitative improvement in the lives of Ghanaians? How these parties, with their terms in office, have impacted on your life should be the principal motivation to vote for them, and not because they claim they have outdone their competition. You are in a better position to determine which party is best and do not be bamboozled with the idea that party ‘A’ is better than party ‘B’ based on some declarations, while your life is not getting any easier.

I believe that the days of propaganda and political point-scoring should be done and over. Ghana deserves better than scoring cheap political points on what the populace deserves. The face of politics ought to change, we have to change it, all of us, politicians have to change it.

People should be given the freedom and protection to generate wealth through businesses so as to cause prosperity in all spheres of the country. Long live leaders of Ghana who are ready to implement policies devoid of party politics.

The author, Bright Philip Donkor is the African Journalists for Economic Opportunity Training (AJEOT-2020) Best Article Writer & GIJ Eminence Awards 2020 Online Media Personality of the Year; Social & Political Commentator, Columnist, and a Prolific Feature Writer.