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Opinions of Monday, 25 May 2009

Columnist: Amegashie, Felix Mawulolo

Mahama,Haruna, Muntaka, Zita, Hannah, Okudzeto Et Al

…What Impact Has Their Appointment On Our Generation?

I was one of the millions of Ghanaians who could not help but be grateful to God for the victory to our democracy upon the declaration of Prof. Evans Atta-Mills as president! I was happy for two things; that Ghanaians exhibited the multi-party democratic maturity that has always eluded most states that sandwich us in sub-Sahara Africa and the clear statement by all parties in the race that the Professor well-deserved the victory. He had been the most hardworking candidate during the campaign and indeed, the hard work really paid off.

My particular interest laid in the team the good professor was going to field on the rugged and daunting pitch towards building a better Ghana and of his resolve to turn the fortunes of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana around for the better. My expectations were readily met with the appointment of young intelligent, hardworking and accomplished young men and women into public offices, against the background that the previous administration failed woefully to recognize the contribution of the youth in governance, believing so much that governance and leadership was the preserve of the old and elite with special emphasis on joining an unending and undefined “queue” of ambitious last generation bourgeois. By this singular gesture, one is tempted to believe that Ghana should expect more of these appointments into boards of state-owned-organizations and other departments and agencies in future. This indeed will be the turning point in developing in full the potentials of the neglected youth of Ghana that shimmered only a few months ago!

Detractors of the Atta Mills led NDC government were quick to question the capabilities, abilities and acumen of these self-accomplished honourable individuals soon after their names were made public. I was not surprised because per their political beliefs, traditions and precedence, the youth had nothing to offer than be pushed around as foot-soldiers and errand boys of supposed self-made “property owning” democrats.

Foremost, the appointed Ministers and Deputies are educated at least beyond a college degree in their various fields of study. This basic fact flies in the face of known instances of some ex-ministers in the previous regime who are on record to have lost their “certificates” to the devastations of a “tsunami” in a safe haven like Ghana. Others are known individuals who were engaged in all manner of trades in far away lands but came down to occupy sensitive public offices. Their theory was what almost brought the nation to her knees until January 28. The academic pedigree of the young Ministers and deputies appointed under the Mills government alone makes a major national and international statement that appointments to public office should not be based on mere party loyalty, cronyism and sycophancy but rather on the requisite academic laurels and competency. His Excellency himself, I presume, is at peace with his mind as he is confident that his able youthful appointees are up to the task and poised to make major and time-transforming judgments and decisions that will promote the tenets of the “better Ghana” agenda. What impact then do these appointees make on the moral, social and political psyche of the nation?

The precedence has opened a new chapter to youth volunteerism, leadership and development in the annals of Ghanaian politics. From the under-developed and under-resourced schools in our villages to the heart of frustrations that existed in our universities, polytechnics and training institutions, we the youth are encouraged that in spite of these seemingly insurmountable challenges and shortfalls and in the light to the stress and pressure we are subjected to by society and time, a beacon of hope suddenly glows from the seat of the president that indeed, we the youth have the opportunity today not only to contribute to national development but to directly chart the course of development for a better Ghana. I believe that it is under this government that the youth have a better chance to influence the older generation and fill the gap created for the government to remain in touch with the youth of Ghana. Again, it tells us that a future definitely exists for us under this government such that we have role models who epitomize hard work, focus and ambition in modern day Ghana. “If only I can work as hard as these individuals, if only I can be as educated as these honourables and if only I can pursue my goals in spite of the hardships that confront us today, one day I will surely become what I have to be”. Young men and women do not have to turn to fraud, crime, prostitution, robbery, drug and sex trafficking, illegal migration or “sakawa” in order to attain social status. But rather to chart a responsible and futuristic path in order to become good, responsible and development-oriented individuals to our families, institutions, communities, the nation and the world at large.

To the youth, the president has made this emphatic statement via action that indeed, “YES, WE CAN”!

Morally, I would have been amazed if the president had appointed the honourables upon the knowledge that their moral integrity was questionable. As “clean” as the president is himself, he painstakingly picked a crew of equally “clean” personalities to support him impact this moral virtues on the generality of society. Having known some of these individuals in the universities in their days, one can vouch for them on these grounds. Indeed, it resonates that one CANNOT rise to high office (private or public) if one is bed-ridden with immorality and corruption. It takes the conviction of that person to stay away from any act that will bring his moral integrity and honesty to question but not a issues of constantly spitting the mantra of “Negative-tolerance” to corruption on the next available flight to the shores of our major donors .It is imperative that we, as the youth of Ghana, should exude these great virtues from our colleagues in public office today and continuously exhibit these traits in our schools, universities, work places till the time we find ourselves in critical positions of decision-making. This will automatically translate on corporate and public institutions in the next generation.

Again, this golden opportunity for the youth to serve in government and in public office under the Mills government will set the agenda for young persons to influence the system such that the interest of the youth in the areas of education, graduate and non-graduate unemployment, sports, science, agriculture and other identifiable and innovative areas to benefit the overall interest of young Ghanaians in decades to come. This will be one of the most profound and monumental legacies our government can bequeath to the teaming young voters of this nation.

Against this background, I suggest that these Ministers and deputies constantly engage the youth in periodic dialogues via identifiable youth groups from the district levels to the international level so as to bring quality influence in developing the skills and interest of Ghanaians in preparing us for a better future under a better Government in better Ghana. Additionally, these honourables can find time off their busy schedules to pay periodic visits to schools and institution to give important lectures and initiate individual projects so as to motivate our school-going persons to pursue the path of development and not to be distracted by potentially destructive social ills. They can equally pay external visits to developed economies and hang out with youth groups in order to replicate their development formulae in the arts, technology and creativity in Ghana. Beyond all these they symbolize hope for the future, the conception of new dreams, new beginnings and the awakening of sterile dreams in many young persons who had been disappointed and disillusioned in the past system.

While others are disenchanted about the appointment of Honourables, Omane-Boamah, Muntaka Mubarak, Hannah Bisiaw, Okudzeto Ablakwa, James Agyenim-Boateng, Zita Okaikoi, just to mention but a few, I believe that their thirst for service, their quest to sacrifice their abilities to the nation and the prospects of the future that beckons us, clearly build the bridge for the youth of Ghana to a destination not too far from today.

Kudos to His Excellency for this great step to give the youth of Ghana a voice and the chance in these critical times on the forward movement to a better Ghana.

Surely, we the youth have a greater platform to prove our worth that anytime in the last 2 decades.

FELIX MAWULOLO AMEGASHIE lix_mawulolo@yahoo.com