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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.

Ghana At 50: Are We Strategizing ...

... As We Drink Palm Wine - According to the Akan Proverb?

By: Dr. Kwaku A. Danso - Ghana National Party Co-Founder

It is February 2007 and these days everybody is planning a party to have fun. A friend in New York sent this to me and I replied and shared with our GLU (Ghana Leadership Union) Forum.

To Celebrate Ghana's 50th Anniversary, XXX Productions in association with the National Council of Ghanaian Associations would like to invite you to Ghana's Jubilee Anniversary Celebration in NYC, which will be held at the Javits Center on March 17th, 2007. An all day festival hosting a myriad of Ghanaian officials, ambassadors, performers, and artists coming together in a synergistic coexistence to inform, entertain, and empower Ghanaians and people of African descent through authentic food, informative seminars, a youth talent show, tribal dances, and a VIP dinner gala to end the day. There will be a live musical performance by Mr. All4Real himself, Ofori Amponsah. This is shaping up to be the event of all events. Come and experience history in the making! (February 23, 2007 9:23 AM)

Effective Communication can be done in an informal manner. My spontaneous response (modified a little) was as follows:

Dear Kofi,

As much as I feel it is better to be a free people than serving under a colonial government, I think the 50th anniversary should rather be a time for more deep reflection and resolve of our people to manage our country as other smaller nations who emerged from colonial rule have done to reach socio-economic and human development. I have not seen how much of the Ghana@50 is dedicated to reflective thinking. Is there? Can you imagine the following?:

Under-5-Mortality Rate:

Ghana has 97 children per 1,000, while Singapore today has only 4 children dying under 5. [USA is 8 and UK is 7].

Average life expectancy at birth:

Ghana is 55 years, while Singapore’s is 78, whiles [USA is 77, UK is 77].

Population living under $2 per day:

Ghana has 78.5% of our people living under $2 per day, while Singapore has 0% of the population, [USA 0%, UK 0%]. BTW Nigeria is 59% and Botswana is 50.1%.

Agricultural Productivity: Ghana is 571, while Singapore is 42,020, [USA is 53,907, UK is 32,918]. Nigeria is 729 and Botswana 575.

Water Delivery: It is estimated that 70-90% of Ghana does not have potable drinking water. A former US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, has indicated to our government leaders that only $25 million will be adequate to provide water to the needy in our nation (Suskind, R., 2004); but is our government ready to take advice or only interested in huge loans? Instead, a $103 million World Bank grant and $500 million loan has been taken by the government since January 2005 and 2006 respectively.

(These data and figures are from the 2005 World Bank report).

Road, Traffic and City Planning: At this time as we invite people to Ghana for a big celebration, do you see that government waited till now to think of exit and entry ramps from /to the motorway from East Legon and surrounding communities? The Motorway was designed and built in the 1960s and after 40 years our leaders still do not seem to think and ponder solutions such as simple on/off ramp. The PNDC, the NDC, and now the NPP could not continue the Motorway to bypass the city in non-stop traffic flow. They rather design wasteful round-Abouts. Can you imagine some of them want to be voted in as President in 2008? The Accra metropolitan City council keeps building these huge road bumps that are causing financial damage to cars and vans. My personal Van [the one I paid 200% duties and taxes on] has suffered two damages, and the last one in July 2007 damaged the oil drain pan to a C3 million repair cost. Common sense engineering in traffic and road design seems to have been left out of the door! It seems illiterate construction workers are hired and do not seem to have engineers supervise their work. It is a shame when education has been wasted like we see in Ghana. A new era must emerge. Ghana has enough engineers and city planners scattered around the globe. We can do better.

Energy crisis: I am sure you know about the electricity crisis situation now. Ghana’s GDP is expected to drop at least 20-25% due to simply poor or no planning fro energy. Ghana National Party has a few solid plans we are working on, hinted in our Manifesto that can be put in operation. These are well known knowledge and simply needs leadership to implement.

Creating Jobs in Ghana: There are young people in Ghana who know how to assemble computers, and some how to write Software. Others like Apostle Safo and other sin Kumasi can assemble cars. Has the government thought of any strategies to help create jobs in Ghana in this high tech age? The government talks about IT as if it some kind of mushroom to grown by itself.

Do we need more examples?

Nobody wants the negative aspects of his life or country to be exposed. However, can you hide obvious defects in our governance? Paying an image building media person will still not cover the stinky open gutters! And the mayor of Accra makes this comment that he cannot control mosquitoes from flying miles into Accra. What a joke of men in leadership!

Kofi, don’t get me wrong. I am not against entertainment, dancing and having fun. No. My wife and I love dancing, but we are at an age where we don’t do that much dancing anymore. We think and we ponder more on other aspects of life such as retirement. In Ghana people retire with no source of income. When they get into politics, they end up stealing from public coffers. If the ordinary old person does not have a son or daughter overseas, they soon die of simple malaria and hunger. Ghana’s overseas remittances went to $4.8 billion out of the $8 Billion total GDP last year. One recalls the Akan proverb that suggests that no matter what a man does, he will die one day. Does that mean when you don’t plan for the future? If you build a house worth $100,000 or $200,000 and government collects taxes from you, these people cannot build underground sewage as done in even small private developments, and supply water and electricity? Come ooon!! Is living and dying at 55 good enough for Ghana? Some of us wonder why we die 22 years shorter and of diseases we can prevent in this age. Let us find solutions.

All I am saying is that we should perhaps focus on some of these issues also, invite some of our intellectuals, Professors, brainy people, to seriously dialogue and debate these issues towards eventual solutions and creating jobs. The at-50 celebration plan I have seen for Sacramento seems to include at least some of these.

A posting was made on our GLU Forum in mid February 2007 that a Ghanaian is to be honored as America’s Businessman of the year by President George Bush. Why is our government ignoring those overseas and trying to separate them? It is envy and jealousy. Compare our society to the Jews and Israel. Can we learn anything? Let us ask ourselves why we are not doing as well, and yet we keep bragging that we are this and that in Africa, thumping our chests and claiming to be better than only our war-torn neighbors and not with Taiwan, Singapore or South Korea?

An Akan proverb suggests “ton-ton-te, ton-ton-te”, as we drink palm wine we are still devising strategy (y33nom nsa na y33fa adwen). Are we? This is our Akan philosophy on the need for strategy. The world renowned Harvard Professor Michael D. Porter has suggested that Strategy involves assessing ones national or personal strengths and weaknesses, in relation to the global opportunities and threats. In today’s world the latter threats include the facts of opening one’s doors wide under the so-called globalization. However the opportunities also lie in learning from others and even creating jobs by manufacturing and providing services for others. Are we there?

I don’t know if you heard about our newly certified Political Party in Ghana, but we need the help of all of you to try and bring Ghana back on track. We cannot expect a few people to do it for us. Some on Ghanaweb do not understand that sacrifices need to be made. Others are simply interested in only tribal issues, whiles others want the status quo, unable to envision a new party was possible, despite the condition of almost failed state the older and selfish and corrupt ones have left us. Well, we all love our nation. Enough preaching for the day.

For all those having parties around the world to celebrate Ghana@50, please convey the message to your organizing committees and your groups and people in New York, London, Sydney, Toronto, and all countries that wherever they may be, they need to have a moment of silence on March 6, 2007. They need to join together and take thought. They can join Ghana National Party now as co-founders by February 27, or later also as members. The fact is that we as a nation needs to move forwards and we need to think of how to do it and empower new MPs from our villages, think of representing our people, and not think the old political order of greed, corruption and mismanagement will evolve from chaos into order by itself. To join us, go to our Website Together, let us think, ponder, plan and design solutions for our future and that of our children and society! We have offered a set of solutions in our Manifesto and have simulations of solutions to be revealed as time goes on. We need to sponsor our local communities in Ghana and sponsor honest men and women to get into leadership to serve. Please don’t wait for another 50 years!

Thank you.

Kwaku A. Danso, PhD
East Legon /Accra, Ghana
*Executive Co-Founder, GHANA NATIONAL PARTY
*President , Ghana Leadership Union, Inc.(NGO) USA: Fremont, California 94539.

For your copy of the latest Book by Dr. Kwaku A. Danso: LEADERSHIP CONCEPTS AND THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN AFRICA: The Case of Ghana Go to:

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.