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Opinions of Sunday, 29 May 2005

Columnist: Ampofo, Ofori

Let Us Move Forward Beyond Danquah-Busia And Nkrumaist Traditions

I have just returned from a short but extensive one month visit to the motherland and by all accounts, our leaders are out of touch with the realities on the ground. Cost of living is too high and the ordinary Ghanaian is crying for salvation but our leaders don?t simply care.However,let us tollerate the next three years because, the day of reconing will surely come to pass.

Dear readers, please answer three quick questions before you read on.

1) It is reported that, the president?s private house was renovated by the state at the cost of 500 million cedis four years ago. Is it justified?

2) It is also reported that, the vice president's house was renovated by the state at the cost of one billion cedis. Is it justified?

3) Is it the responsibility of state to give free accommodation and other essentials to ministers and other top government officials?.

I need responses from as many that will have access to this article for my sampling purposes.

My fellow Ghanaians, every region in Ghana has a tradition and customs that are strictly followed by people from that particular region. Traditions are the dictate of our customary laws. If you mention some traditions, one can easily make up and tell which tribe it originates , therefore tradition has direct connection with tribes.

Tribal affiliation in African politics has been the cause of many civil wars on the continent and elsewhere. With the way political tension is heightening in Ghana between the NPP and NDC, all people of good will should be concerned and tell them that, Ghana has reached a point in our history where we should allow sanity to prevail during and after political elections. That is why I condemn and the leadership of the NPP and NDC should also condemn in no uncertain terms, the Asawase bi-elections of April 28,2005. which NDC retained seat but was witnessed by extreme violence. Guns , cutlases, knives, axes, and other offensive weapons were in attendance. These kinds of political acrimony if allowed to pass without condemnation will one day divide our good society into tribal factions and retard our development hundred years back with destitutes and millions human liabilities. The opponent should not been seen as an enemy. I grew up in the Convention People?s Party(CPP).

My father was the district chairman and our house was the usual meeting place. After the demise of the leader down the road I saw the qualities of Kwame Nkrumah in the person of Ofori Atta (Paa Willie). I was part of his UNC campaign and voted for him even though he lost the election. I have been a strong advocate for the NPP under John Agyekum Kuffour because I thought in all sincerelity he was better over Atta Mills and the NDC. I have always looked around to support the better platform that can move the country forward. That is the kind of political maturity we should expect from all Ghanaians of good will. Tribalism should not be allowed to have a resting place on the corridors of our political mansions. It will not help any one of us and will not help the development of the country. Tribalism bleeds warlords and eventually tribal wars and destruction of infrastructure, torture of human lives, displacement of families with millions walking distants with nothing to eat and drink, only to escape the genocide and seek for political asylum in neighboring countries. We have been witnesses to such brutal acts from Liberia to Sierra Leon to Ivory Coast , Congo to Sudan, Ethiopia to Rwanda to Somalia. The irony of such situation is that those who fuel such tribal conflicts always go hiding while millions of ordinary and innocent people die. It is therefore gratifying to read a GNA May 17 source on the Ghana web that a delegation from the National house of Chiefs held a two hour closed door meeting with former president Rawlings to discuss issues of grave National concern ie. relationship between Rawlings and president J.A Kuffour.

The mention of Nkrumaist and Danquah-Busia traditions bleed tribalism and political acrimony. Those big names in Ghana's political history must be respected and recognized but should not be allowed to bleed tribal tendency. Political parties and their flag bearers, must stand on their own merits with new ideas and vision to end the impoverished and hopelessness of our people and not merely belonging to dead traditions. Ghanaians must learn to be part of, and support the political party of the day that has a message of hope, that will change our political direction, revamp the economy, create jobs for the people, and systematically bring cost of living in the country to affordable level. Regardless which region or tribe the leader of the party comes from.

Leaders all over the world have come and gone and belong always to the history of their countries. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Ronald Regan, and the like are all great leaders of history and are only mentiond as Mentors.They did not creat TRADITIONS. During the second term campaign between Republican George W Bush and Democratic John Kerry, a top democratic senator Zell Miller crossed party line to support George Bush because he thought there was no need to change leadership while the country was at war. Similarly Ronald Regan jr.the son of former president Ronald Regan a republican also crossed party line to campaign for challenger Democratic John Kerry for stem-cell research which Kerry was a proponent. That is true Democracy.

The WAY FORWARD .

Ghana must move on at this time of our political history beyond the Nkrumah, Danquah-Busia traditions. They belong to our history and honorable part of the politics of the 1950?s. However their days are gone. Let us therefore move forward as a country with new ideas on a political platform devoid of tribal sentiments. From Northern Ghana to South and from East to the West we must all see and consider ourselves as one people belonging to one nation with one destiny under the umbrella of one God. At the Cato institute in Washington a Ghanaian economist, Professor George Ayitey on May 4th 2005, highlighted the major points in his newly published book ?Africa unchained? and declared that sub-Sahara Africa does not need aid from western donors because, the riches Africa needs for her development can readily be found within. Professor Ayitey stated that ?the problem of Africa has been leadership and not the people. He regretted that Africa's development prospect, still does not look good because, quoting figures from the African Union,

1}Africa's begging bowl leaks terribly.

2}Civil war cost the continent 15 billion dollars annually .

3}Corruption alone cost Africa 148 billion dollars annually .

4}African Governments spend 12 billion dollars on arms annually.

These are all true facts about the continent of Africa which the leaders know about but not prepared to change. Corruption among Ghanaian politicians is undeniably factual. Our begging bowl, terribly leaks into private accounts. So how can the prospect for development look good?

What Ghanaians need to do is to have courage to tell the old leadership of the country that they have failed miserably. We have to have a new kind of sincere and selfless leadership that will emerge beyond the old political traditions of Nkrumah and Danquah-Busia. A new kind of leadership that is prepared to change the political direction, that will favor every citizen and not just close friends,family, relatives and political music singers. If we maintain the same old known faces that have stolen the wealth of our country over the years,in 2008 general and presidential elections,then Ghana and Ghanaians will continue to be degraded, by the greedy and selfish crooks like the gutter to gutter friends of the NPP who for example,sees wisdom in paying 7billion cedis 5year rent advance for an office building occupied by the Energey Commission, and pays it's executive secretary a whopping 30 million cedis monthly rent allowance.It should not surprise anybody if those buildings belong to a member of the Energy Commission.

Country men and women if it is true that the president's private house and that of the vice president were renovated with tax payers money 500 million and one billion cedis respectively, some body somewhere should whisper into their ears that it is irregular and that they should set example and refund the money to the state with interest. The executive and the legislature should both re-examine the way government does business and attempt to solve Ghana?s problem of corruption and mismanagement. It is very unfortunate that some politicians openly think corruption has come to stay forever. Those who don?t have solutions to problems always think negative. They are fools. They are those who enjoy the benefits of corruption and therefore will pray it stays like that forever. Like cancer, those who survive it posses the will-power to conquer that deadly disease. I am optimistic that with the right kind of leadership, we can systematically eradicate corruption from Ghana. Again, with the right kind of leadership our people will enjoy economic freedom and Ghana?s problems will belong to history if

WE AS A PEOPLE OPTS TO MOVE FOWARD BEYOND NKRUMAH AND DANQUAH- BUSIA TRADITIONS.

God bless our homeland and our people.

Ofori Ampofo.
[ New Jerssey ]


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