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Opinions of Monday, 18 September 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

I bet the terrible economic managers cannot maintain the Free SHS

It is a known fact that Akufo-Addo’s government has taken estimable strides to improve the social mobility through implementation of poverty reduction policies such as free SHS, one district one factory, one million dollars per constituency, tax reductions, a dam per village in the northern part of Ghana, among others.

Considering the fact that the erstwhile NDC government left a huge debt amid economic meltdown, it would take a prudent management and a visionary leadership to choose to implement the seemingly admirable, albeit costly social intervention policies.

Once upon a time, the general belief was that leadership and managerial skills were traits from birth. And more so leadership and managerial competencies were only ascribed to tall, handsome and well-connected individuals.

That was indeed an utter misconception, or to put it euphemistically, an isolated thinker’s view point. The fact however is, leadership and managerial skills can be acquired through schematic tutorials or routine training.

Apparently, the extant research interest has been focusing on relationships among leaders, managers and followers, with some experts on the topic stressing on the need to study followership.

This has been discussed extensively as useful, not so much because all leaders and managers are also followers, but because modern notions of leadership place considerable emphasis on the power and importance of followers in legitimised leadership.

Some experts however insist that if change is a process of leading an organisation or a nation on a journey from its current state to a desired future state and handling all the problems that arise along the journey, then change concerns leadership as well as management (Gill 2003).

In my view, therefore, the free SHS programme could only be sustained under the aegis of a serious, a committed and a forward thinking leadership.

It is also worthy of note that the social mobility improvement free SHS should at least provide a sound environment for the beneficiaries to develop to their full potential and to have a reasonable chance of leading productive and creative lives.

Let us therefore admit, the opposition NDC’s never ending and needless press conferences on the free SHS are becoming extremely nauseating.

Much as the minority NDC operatives are on a mission to appease their ever so peeved party supporters, they cannot continue to play on the minds of discerning Ghanaians.

As a matter of fact, some of us cannot be hoodwinked or proselytised by the minority NDC’s gratuitous and sugar-puffed declamations.

“Being in Opposition is not just about opposing the Government. “There are occasions when the Opposition agrees with the Government, if the solution proposed by the Government has wide support, and is soundly based, then it’s only natural for the Opposition to agree (Dr Brash).”

How on earth would a supposedly responsible opposition organise press conferences with a view to playing down the associated benefits of the newly implemented free SHS?

It goes without saying that governance is a serious business and as such it requires forward thinking, serious and committed group of people to bring about the needed advancement.

Unfortunately, however, we (Ghanaians)have over the years been electing dreadful economic managers, who have only succeeded in sinking the economy deeper and deeper into the mire.

If we stroll down memory lane, the previous NPP government pragmatically introduced social interventions such as the free Maternal Care, the School Feeding Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Mass Transport System, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the National Youth Employment Programme, now known as GYEDA, the Savana Acceleration Development Authority (SADA) amongst others.

Regrettably, though, the erstwhile NDC government succeeded in running down those crucial social interventions to the dismay of discerning Ghanaians.

Dearest reader, this is not an attempt to hyperbolise the sorrowful state of the aforementioned social interventions after NDC government’s eight years of mismanagement.

As a matter of fact, we can all bear witness to scandalous corruption cases involving SADA, GYEEDA, and, how the other social interventions were managed abysmally.

You would think that individuals who pride themselves as social democrats will be extremely empathetic to the needs of the masses, but this is not the case with the NDC apparatchiks.

Bizarrely, they only sing along the social democratic rendition and then turn their back on the masses. It is an illustrative case of social democrats who do not know how to initiate social interventions.

I bet, should Ghanaians make an unpardonable mistake and hand over the poverty alleviation free SHS programme back to NDC Party futuristically, the supposedly social democrats will gleefully revert the comprehensively free policy to their much touted ‘progressively free’ (whatever that means).