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Opinions of Friday, 20 June 2008

Columnist: Ablakwa, Samuel Okudzeto

How we wish every year is an election year

The schemes and maneuverings of NPP politicians don’t seize to amaze me. These schemes and maneuverings couldn’t have been happening if the Ghanaian politician had respect for the citizenry and does not see them as a gullible bunch that can be easily manipulated and deceived.

I have observed with much amusement the desperate interventions that have been rolled out by the Government of Ghana as the December 7, 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections draw nigh.

First was the LEAP which ensures a hand out of between 8-15 Ghana Cedis to poor households – though this is an admission of Government’s failure in bettering the living standards of our people, the NPP Government weighed this as against the political capital and chose the latter, since the poor LEAP beneficiaries might be forced to say thank you to NPP on December 7. Never mind what the analysts say even about human dignity and the failings of hand-outs everywhere in the world.

The LEAP was just the beginning, President Kufuor returned from the United Kingdom with a 42 million Pounds assistance for Ghana’s health sector. He subsequently announced a free medical care package for all pregnant women and his Minister for Women and Children Affairs had no shame in organizing a durbar for women to mob the President and thank him. Again the politicians, didn’t care about the disgrace this had brought to Ghana. For seven years, women were detained for several months after delivery because they couldn’t afford. Their children came into this world and the first welcome package Ghana could give them was a criminal record. Don’t forget that these detained ones were even lucky as 540 of their colleagues die per every 1000 births because of the poor health delivery system. Though these same politicians had 105 million Dollars to spend not too long ago, they chose to buy two luxurious custom-made Presidential Jets for themselves and then supervise such humiliation and murder of our women until the British Government came to our aid, and yet, these politicians instead of bowing their heads in shame could ignore their conscience (if they have one) and mobilize these same women they had humiliated and murdered to sing their praises.

Immediately flowing from these, an announcement was made to the effect that all children under age 18 can access the National Health Insurance for free. Until this announcement, the impression had been created that children were covered by the NHIS as soon as their parents registered.

Now, this is the latest and probably the most fascinating maneuver; in what appears to be a flagrant interference in the work of the judiciary, the Information Minister, Hon. Asamoah Boateng announced last week on Joy FM that Government had asked the judges to reduce the fines they slap on drivers who appear before them at the Motor Court. The lame excuse the Minister gave was that drivers were complaining and that this will also curb corruption. What the Minister fails to realize is that his comments justify the corruption in the Ghana Police Service. The Minister also failed to tell Ghanaians that if they treated the Ghana Police Service about 1/10th of how they politicians treat themselves by increasing the salaries of Policemen and paying it on time, corruption in the Ghana Police Service would be drastically reduced. Again, the drivers have been complaining since the establishment of the Motor Court over three years ago, and why were they not listened to then?

Definitely, most schemes by exploitative politicians are indeed laughable. Maybe, just maybe, in order to get the Ghanaian politician to listen to us and remember always that he is accountable to we the people and that he derives his power from us- we may just consider holding elections every year. It may be the only panacea to the immediate neglect of the people by these politicians when they are elected only to remember the people in an election year. However, I don’t think these politicians deserve the wastage of our taxes if we are going to be forced by their conduct to hold elections every year, and that is why I take consolation in what is happening in the NPP Parliamentary Primaries. Over 22 incumbent MPs in the ruling NPP have lost their seats at my last count and this may just be an indicator that the Ghanaian electorate aren’t gullible anymore and that when you neglect them, no matter your election year maneuver, they will have their own package for you.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is the author of the book, A State of Coma; he has several other publications to his name. He was NUGS President and is currently a leading member of the CJA. He welcomes your comments via samoblak@hotmail.com

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