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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Columnist: Asamoah, Gordon Newlove

Ghana@50: The Way Forward

GHANA @ 50, THE WAY FORWARD.

Congratulations! Congratulations!! Congratulations!!! To our motherland, Ghana for attaining the age of 50.We really enjoyed ourselves over the Jubilee celebration which continues throughout the year.

While the debate went on and continues to go on as to whether we should spend the amount of money we used to celebrate the Golden Jubilee, that is not the area I want to look at. I want to look at the way forward and what we can do as a nation to develop.

To begin with, Ghana has attained 50 years after independence. What can we boast of as Ghanaians? Well so many people can mention so many things that we can boast of.Among them will be Freedom and justice and the enjoyment of peace. But is it enough for our welfare as a people and a nation? My answer is emphatic no. This is because Justice and Freedom are meaningless unless they are linked with development.

To paraphrase former president Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, he said: “Freedom and Development are closely linked. They are like chicken and eggs. Without chicken, you have no eggs and without eggs, you soon lose all your chicken. In the same way, without freedom, you have no development and without development, you soon lose your freedom”.

So fellow countrymen and women let us join forces and resources together for our economic empowerment to enable us develop in order to enjoy the freedom, justice and the peace that we have today.

Economically, our destinies are in our own hands, nobody will develop our country for us. We have the resources to develop and with good leadership, I hope we can achieve something good.

The way forward is for the individuals within the country to change our attitudes towards the way we do things at our work place and how we take responsibilities for the things at our disposal.

Ghana is now a country where wrongdoers are encouraged and those who want to do the right things are looked upon as social deviants. I went to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to do a change of ownership of my car and it took me two working days to get the papers through because I refused to pay bribe. Change of ownership costs (ø80, 000) eighty thousand cedis.There was this guy at the DVLA who asked me to pay him Five hundred thousand cedis (ø500, 000) and he will get it done for me in an hour. When I refused, something which should not take more than an hour took me two working days to complete. Being a lecturer at KNUST in Kumasi I had to stay in Accra for the two days to get my papers so I had to forfeit two days lecture. That is two days of unproductivity.The cost? To the students? Society and the country as whole? Your guess is as good as mine. So how do we attain the middle income level we want to attain for accelerated growth and development when there are so much waste in the system.

And it is not the DVLA alone. You go to so many departments or government institutions and you are frustrated so much that you are tempted to follow the masses even though they are doing the wrong thing. You try to do the right thing and you get a name from your colleagues as being too known or the other. This is what I call attitudinal problem that most Ghanaians are facing now. We have to learn to appreciate the right things and condemn the wrong things. This is the only way forward for our growth and development. Ghana started life with Malaysia but can we compare with them? No, we cannot because they have different perspective to life and development.

We have peaceful atmosphere in Ghana which is conducive for foreign and domestic investments as well so we have to take the opportunity to good use.

That is why it saddens me to see Valco shut down just after the Ghana @ 50 celebrations. It is bad signal to prospective investors and a big shame to the various governments both present and past for failing the Ghanaians as far as the energy issues are concerned. It clearly shows that our governments have misplaced priorities because without energy there is little we can do to attain the middle income status. There are lots of issues to be looked at right from the top to the bottom we should change our way of thinking and doing things and do well to set our priorities right and embrace positive attitudes to life and at our work places.

This is the only way forward for Ghana to develop and to attain the level we want to be. Let us hope we can tell different story at Ghana @100 in fifty years to come. I rest my case but I will be back.

GORDON NEWLOVE ASAMOAH
A LECTURER AND A PUBLIC POLICY ANALYST
KNUST,KUMASI-GHANA


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