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Opinions of Sunday, 27 September 2009

Columnist: Atta-Boakye, Ken

I have thought about it for a long time

I received some strong reactions to the article posted on Ghanaweb on August 22, 2009 “Calling Ghanaians Abroad.” One person in particular quarreled with my statement “I have thought about it for a long time and now is the hour.” It seems this individual was puzzled as to why I waited until the NDC current regime to tell my harbored thought about government mismanagements and corruption. ‘Was I prejudiced against NDC or did I have something under my sleeves?’ he queried. Definitely, he doubted my intentions. I reply now to clarify my position.

Firstly, my intentions do not show any preference for any particular party or individual leader. My preference is for Ghana. All parties are formed to pursue the interests of Ghana. In this respect, the performances of these political parties and their leaders have been dismal. I am bothered and disappointed by the dismal performances of both parties.

Secondly, the timing of my article was perfect because both main political parties, the NDC and the NPP, have had equal opportunities to rule the country. The NDC1 ruled from 1992- 2000 and the NPP1 from 2000- 2008. During their eight years in office, each party term was plagued with mismanagement and corruption. The cycle has repeated itself with NDC re-election in January 2009. I voice my thoughts in reaction to the repeating of the mismanagement. For example, programs in education have been mismanaged. Specifically, the school feeding program initiated by NPP started with a simple premise: ‘feed the children.’ An excellent premise, because we need food; nothing can be done on empty stomach. It was a very important step forward. However, the program is failing due to the leaders stealing the money from Ghana and the country cannot afford the costs associated with the program.

When NDC came into office in January 2009 rather than improve and end the money being stolen and redirect the funds towards covering the costs for a greater number of schools, the NDC sacked and continue to sack NPP employees in the program. It is the same unproductive partisan practices. The Coordinating Director of the school feeding program, Mr Nsowah has just been sacked without any due explanation.

This is a classical display of mismanagement. It calls for concerned Ghanaians to step in with a better ways and means to solving the perennial and endemic problems. Even when NPP initiated the school feeding program, they should have tied it with Agriculture to offer jobs to the youth. NDC could have looked in that direction rather than to make empty promises. I doubt if the free school uniform policy to score political point is necessary for now. All is not well with these leaders who know the right thing to do but just refuse to do that for obvious reasons. Our leaders have a CHARGE to KEEP and a GOD to GLORIFY.

Lastly, the question is should we wait for another time and for another new party or another leader to deliver us from all these disappointing performances? No, there is no better time than now!!!

I have thought long and hard about the problems confronting mother Ghana and this is my take:

When we are sick we visit the hospital to consult with the physician for diagnosis and medication. In a similar manner, Ghana is sick and needs diagnosis and medication. The symptoms are clear: inadequate infrastructure, economic destitution, malnutrition, squalor, diseases and poverty, mismanagement, corruption on a high level and leadership abuses. The cause basically emanates from the flaws in the 1992 Constitution and the corrupt practices of the leadership. The President has the upper hand to prescribe the medication- amendments to the constitution and policy initiatives.

The constitution guarantees the President and the leadership team with such enormous powers that concerned Ghanaians have always questioned the intentions of those who drafted the constitution. Except for a few inbuilt checks and balances, amendments to the constitution should be proposed by the President. But the Presidents, past and current have severally refused to act in the interests of the country simply because power does not relinquish power voluntarily.

Invariably the Presidents and their cohorts including the Parliamentarians, the so-called ‘honorables’ and the ministers, hide behind the constitution to suck the nation dry. Ghana is bleeding profusely at the hands of corrupt leaders. You and I know very well that Ghana is down due to leadership crisis.

The solution is for Ghanaians, both home and abroad, to re-group and re-organize to form an extraordinary organization neutral in outlook, creditably respected and devoid of personal ambitions for the purposes of re-building the nation. To be very precise the organization should be non-partisan, non-profit, non-governmental, non-cultural, and non-tribal. It sounds unrealistic but apparently without being presumptuous it is the best option. This organization will collaborate with all-like-minded civil society organizations to produce far more reaching strategies that can deliver rather than to talk about the problems and leave them to fester month after month and year after year. In addition, the organization will team up with the Talk Shows, credible Pressure Groups, International donors and the general public to strongly petition the President to call for amendments to the constitution that can move the Nation Forward.

“Frankly, we cannot continue to do the same things over and over again and expect different results,” Albert Einstein once said. The collective body will prioritize their petitions and act decisively.

Ghanaians who have the heart and the desire to help mother Ghana and willing to become a party to the dream are cordially invited to call the number below. Thank you.

Ken Atta-Boakye, Woodbridge, Va attaboakye@yahoo.com 703 441-6522