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Opinions of Monday, 9 March 2009

Columnist: Tuokuu, Francis Xavier

Ghana After 52: The way Forward

Ghana is fifty-two years old and I say Ayeeko! Nature has not distributed her resources equally as some countries are endowed with resources such as gold, diamond, crude oil inter alia whereas some countries are not. Ghana is one of such countries impregnated with a lot of resources. Despite this, we have been matching time for 52 years down the line and have even become poorer than before. We have become a nation who goes around the globe begging for support. It is against this background that various practical measures need to be put in place to move this nation forward in freedom and in justice.

To start with, poor leadership has been identified to be one of the problems militating against our development. Our leaders don’t seem to be visionary and most of them if not all enter into public life and for that matter politics to amass wealth and property. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., the urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity. Leaders who are not in love with money but in love with justice, leaders who are not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the course. “If not now, when, and if not us who?” (Martin Luther and Robert Kennedy of U.S history).

Democracy and the rule of law must be respected and considered by any nation which wants to develop. Since Ghanaians have chosen that Path consistently since 1992, we must all respect and observe the democratic rules and Principles including the rule of law enshrined in the 1992 constitution. In Ghana, we tend to read political meaning into every facet of life. Recent examples encompass the Maame Dokono Saga, the case involving the BNI and the NIB boss. The famous Tsatsu case is another example which I believe will become a case study for law students to study. Elections are now over and as our President the learned Professor of law rightly put it, we now have one Ghana. There is no NDC Ghana; no NPP Ghana and no CPP Ghana. Let us unite together as one people and do away with tribalism, nepotism, favoritism, “old schoolsm” and all the negative tendencies that have retarded our progress and development over the past 52 years. Let us identify ourselves FIRST as Ghanaians.

Further, indiscipline in our society needs to be eliminated be, it at work, school and public life and also on our roads. Generally, some people who work in government establishments, agencies and departments tend to have lukewarm attitude to work. . They report to work very late but leave very early for break, they returned from break late and close work for the day very early. Another disheartening thing is that you find many responsible public servants working out lotto numbers early hours of Mondays when they should have been attending to issues of the state. Meanwhile, at the end of each month, they are the first to go to the banks for their pay. Some spend hours using office telephone to make Private and business calls which only increase government expenditure. This is very wrong and unacceptable for a developing nation like Ghana.

Indiscipline on our roads is becoming a serious issue that needs to be addressed. In less than 3 months into the year, many people have lost their lives through avoidable road accidents. Also, we litter about everywhere and it appears the work of Zoomlion Gh.Ltd is in vain. This is partly responsible for the recent outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country. We must know that our health is our wealth and cleanliness they say, is next to godliness.

In addition, the youth should be empowered to take their rightful positions in society. The development of the nation depends largely on the quality of the youth that are trained in our various institutions. That explains why corporate bodies must invest in the education of the youth. More often than not, these bodies complain of first class students who underperformed in the job. This often surprises me because they want to reap where they have not sown. There is virtually no link between academia and industry and this clearly shows why unemployment is on the increase. The appointments of Haruna Iddrisu, Mutanka Mubarak, Zita and others as Ministers by President Mills is a step in the right direction. I hope they will perform well to justify the argument that the youth when given the chance will prove their worth.

Agricultural development should be vigorously pursued to solve our food and rising unemployment problems. It is mind boggling to know that the total produce from West Africa including Ghana from the agricultural sector cannot match half of the produce from America though over 60% of the labour force of West Africa is employed in the agricultural sector as against some 3% in the US. Irrigation dams, credit facilities, farm implements, incentives should be made available to our farmers at affordable rates. I suggest that the “operation feed yourself” Programme under General Acheampong be re-introduced. This will not only help increase production but will go a long way to reduce unemployment which has reared its ugly head in our country over the years.

In the light of the above analysis, it is clear that Ghana has a long way to go as far as development is concerned. The development of Ghana should come from within and not from without. It should come from the commitment of Ghanaians themselves and not from any Whiteman, though donor support is important for our growth and development. The global economic crisis is a blessing to an extent because it has opened our eyes to develop our indigenous industries and reduce our over-reliance on donor countries.

Francis Xavier Tuokuu

Centre for Migration Studies University of Ghana P.O. Box LG 59, Legon-Accra Ghana. (mactuokuu@yahoo.com)