You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2016 04 08Article 429379

Opinions of Friday, 8 April 2016

Columnist: Andrew Kaminta

How to earn my vote

Before I proceed, I've a confession to make and it is that I've voted only once in my life time and that was in the run-off of the 2000 election.

Since then, I've not voted, either because I was out of the jurisdiction or that I was present but just didn't feel like giving my vote to politicians who, in my view, are generally too self-centered.

Am I unpatriotic because of that? Well, I consider myself very patriotic and I do fiercely defend the name and interests of Ghana anytime I travel.
This is our only country and only we can make this country great.

So why are we struggling to make this country great? For a simple-minded person like me, the answer lies in our 'political leadership'. No matter what anyone says, my strong belief is that it is our political leaders who must lead us along the correct path. The path towards greatness cannot be left in the hands of ordinary citizens or the civil servants.

Political leaders are supposed to be a special breed of people with idealism and vision to lead us to the promised land. It should not be about the glib-of-tongue. Political leadership should be about sacrifice, seeing what we the ordinary people cannot see and convincing us to follow them because it's the right path.

Characteristics I think politicians should have

Politicians should not be in there for themselves. They should not be in politics to become wealthy. They should not come into politics to build their first houses or buy their first luxury cars or travel business class on our account.

They must have made it to the pinnacle of their respective professions or careers and then decide that they want to give back to the society. Those are the politicians who would not be afraid to resign or be fired for standing for the truth. I sincerely wish we could politically mature to a stage when, for example;

1. Ten per cent of Ghanaians are die-hard National Democratic Congress (NDC).

2. Ten per cent are die-hard New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Eighty per cent are floating voters. These die-hard supporters will vote for even dead vultures as either their parliamentary or presidential candidates. The rest of us should constitute the 80 per cent who would vote on issues.
Any politician that wants my vote must convince me in these priority thematic areas.

Education

What's our literacy/ illiteracy rate? What are your plans for ensuring that in 10-20 years from today, we will be able to achieve 90 per cent literacy rate? What can you do about children still hawking along the streets during school hours when officials are being paid to implement the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education ( FCUBE)? Are you aware that no nation can develop properly without a highly educated and skilled population?

Which politician will promise that he and his colleagues would:

1. Educate their children in Ghana

2. Educate their children in public schools in Ghana. In addition, make sure there is a model school in at least every district so that pupils don't have to travel long distances to be able to compete with the likes of Achimota and Wesley Girls.

3. Most importantly, vigorously enforce FCUBE with quality.

Can you imagine cabinet ministers and top civil servants in the Ministry of Education or the Ghana Education Service (GES) having their children outside the public school system? Simply put, when National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) go on strike, what will be their motivation to solve the impasse? After all, their wards are not affected.

Health

What are the plans to ensure that every regional and district hospital is manned by the requisite number of specialists? If we are waiting for our few medical schools to produce doctors for our hospitals, I'm sorry it will take another 100-200 years. Meanwhile, it is common knowledge that there are more Ghanaian doctors and nurses in Europe and North America than within our shores. Most of them were trained here in Ghana and are among the top-notch professionals out there. Instead of yearly depending on the Cuban government to 'donate' doctors to us , what prevents us from reaching out to our own compatriots to return home.

Who is ready to go out there to convince our people to return home? It is about making health care available to our people. And seriously, government doesn't need to directly employ these people. Government can help to set them up to be on their own.

Sanitation

Why are we still building open drains in our cities in the 21st century? I want our potential leaders to tell me how this serious indictment on our ability or inability to manage our waste can be solved. Any nation that cannot manage its waste, to put it bluntly, is primitive. In this state, we should stop conferring on ourselves the middle-income status.
We are still allowing homes and shops to be built in Accra without toilet facilities?

Corruption

Any politician who can demonstrate a firm commitment to fight this canker has my vote. Health, education, and security matter, but the anti-corruption fight is the most important. If we are able to rein in this canker, I believe the rest will follow as a matter of course. Therefore, I want the following undertakings:

A. All MPs, Ministers of State and other top public servants must declare their assets at the time of appointment and exit.

B. The above must promise not to acquire property during their tenure. This is a serious source of corruption for obvious reasons.

C. They must promise not to demand high salaries. After all, it's supposed to be public service.

D. No offshore accounts

E. No property abroad as a demonstration of sacrifice and commitment.