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Opinions of Monday, 29 October 2007

Columnist: Dake, Selorm Kofi

Lamentations of a Patriot

To borrow the title of my late political cum engineer uncle, Professor Mawuse Dake, it is with a deep sense of love, duty and truthfulness that I want to bring to light very disturbing developments within our nation Ghana. Also, it is not for the sheer fun or excitement that some of us write on national issues but rather to make meaningful contributions to discussions on pertinent national issues and concerns.

Historical Introspection

In our struggle for independence, there were several factions with different philosophical or ideological inclinations which threatened the very cause for which many died or were prepared to die. Understandably, this experience was to be because Ghanaians are discerning and intelligent beings who would carefully weigh their options before committing themselves to a cause. Additionally, there were and still are diverse cultural and ethnic idiosyncrasies amongst us as a people.

Political Colouration

It has become clear that majority of Ghanaians have come to love the game of politics. However, to some of us politics is more than a game. It is a necessity. It is force that can make or unmake a nation and its people. Politics should be the battleground for ideas as to how Ghana could be governed best. Unfortunately, the way and manner in which we politicize very important and sometimes urgent national issues leaves much to worry about. I remember vividly the stiff opposition to the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) initiatives by the NPP then as an opposition party. It took the NDC government a great deal of persistence, dialogue and negotiation to see the two policies implemented. Today, the results are evident for all to see and the tremendous benefits accrued to the nation cannot be overemphasized.

Today NDC too seemingly is toeing the same line of blindly opposing initiatives of serious national interest. Some of us are witnesses to the failed attempts of the NDC to blame the NPP government for the recent energy crisis and even to claim credit for the Bui Hydroelectric Dam project being implemented by the NPP government. The party adopted the same hostile attitude to the $20 million earmarked for our 50th independence anniversary celebrations. Again, all one needs to do is read the dailies to discover the raging inter-party conflict and excessive party activism. Many of the media houses are perceived to be aligned to one political party or the other and this in effect cloud their way of reportage and broadcast. Additionally, many party activists fail to see the good in others and are prepared to destroy their opponents at all cost. Over and again we read news of attempts by successive governments to cripple businesses of members of the opposition. These must not be so!

Ethnocentrism and Tribalism

Needless to say, a good observer would, by now, notice that Ghana is increasingly becoming polarized on tribal lines. These is due largely to suspicion and mistrust fuelled by the insatiable appetite of some unscrupulous politicians to divide and rule Ghana.

I strongly oppose deliberate attempts to link tribes and ethnic groups to particular political parties. Why should the NDC be linked to Ewes and NPP to Ashantis? The fact that a region returns the highest number of votes for a particular party does not mean we should taint everybody as belonging to that party. Those who engage in such useless and fruitlessly dangerous venture are enemies of democracy with hidden diabolical intentions for their personal satisfaction.

On the contrary, the laudable and very intelligent decision by Ghana’s foremost and luminary President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in proscribing the formation of political parties on tribal and or religious lines is undoubtedly one of the best things that ever happened to our nation Ghana. It is through such visionary initiatives that the future of our nation and the security of our people are guaranteed. As such, Ghanaians must jealously guard and protect the national cohesion and unity we presently enjoy.

Until the philosophy that perpetuates some tribes, superior and others, inferior, is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, we all stand the risk of the social explosion of the tribal time bomb. Discerning Ghanaians should be humble and wise enough to learn from the painful experiences of Rwanda, Liberia and La Cote d’Ivoire.

The North- South Divide and the Economic Injustice Ghana has, today, 35 percent of its population living below the poverty line. That is why the government came up with the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I) and the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) in response to eliminating poverty. Nevertheless, the GPRS and many other past initiatives have woefully failed to bring adequate economic respite to the people up north. It beats my mind why successive governments have failed to bring meaningful development to the three northern regions of the country. Ghana practices the unitary system of government and as such it is both prudent and necessary to ensure the equitable distribution and redistribution of national wealth. Statistics from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) indicate less than 5 percent of total investment inflows move up north. Our northern brothers and sisters in Ghana deserve a fair share of the national cake. Interestingly, they are coming to the realization themselves. Recent agitations through demonstrations and petitions to governments and the international community are manifestations of their desire to ensure economic justice. The recent flood disaster which has, all of a sudden, converted many Ghanaians and international organizations into apostles of charity is nature's subtle way of drawing both national and international attention to the perennial challenges faced by northerners.

A comprehensive Marshall Plan headed by an established Authority is what I would advocate for towards the socio-economic advancement of the three regions.

Sycophancy

Professor Mawuse Dake was of this unwavering opinion that sycophancy presents the greatest threat to Ghana's budding democracy. It is in the same light that I detest those who flatter authorities for personal material gains. Truth, they say is bitter but when told works better than the sweetest lie. In the 80s most Ghanaians hailed President Rawlings as a saviour, ascribing to him accolades such as ‘‘Junior Jesus’’. President Nkrumah was more or less worshipped by the masses. Today, President Kufuor is hailed as a ‘‘Gentle Giant’’. History is our best guide in this instance;

Nkrumah was barred from setting foot in the very country he founded. Rawlings today is the most dangerous demon, to many Ghanaians. Ghanaians should learn to praise genuinely and to criticize objectively and fairly without expecting anything in return.

Our worst enemies I want to remind all Ghanaians of our worst and common enemies. These enemies continue to defy all political, geographical and tribal boundaries. These enemies stagnate and derail our development efforts. They are hunger, poverty; scarcity of safe and usable water, ignorance and diseases such as Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. We should be concerned about corruption and its negative repercussions on our economy. We must refuse to accept the plundering of our gold and other natural resources by so called foreign investors and demand better shares in such companies. UNCTAD reports indicate that less than 10 percent of proceeds of the gold industry benefit Ghanaians. Our greatness as a nation will surely be measured by how and when we collectively overcome these challenges and we definitely cannot afford to fail in this regard. God bless Ghana and make her great and strong!

Selorm Kofi Dake, P.O.Box 9, Ho.
020-7449536


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