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Opinions of Saturday, 22 November 2008

Columnist: Amoyaw, Sandy

Mills is the man with a plan

VOTE PROF. MILLS: HE IS THE MAN WITH THE PLAN

Brutus said in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.”

The moral of this quote is that if we should give credence to the Policy and Strategy Associates, Inc. polls then the upcoming presidential election is a right moment for Prof. Mills, because God’s time is the best to undertake something successfully. Opportunity, we all know, seldom knocks three times.” The current crisis in Ghana demands someone with executive experience to be elected as President of our nation Ghana, and that person is Prof. Mills.

Launching the manifesto, the NDC presidential candidate definitely presented himself as the "man with the plan”. Prof. also stated that although the country is going through difficult times, if elected, he knows his task will be to rebuild the battered economy, revamp our bureaucratized (NHIS) healthcare system and repair our broken society. This is Prof’s plan for change, but it will not be an overnight transformation. Prof‘s speech was delivered with a combination of modesty and grace and above all intellectual authority and thus exhibited the qualities to lead the country through difficult times. He outlined the intellectual arguments and the pragmatic approach to meet the challenges of our time.

It is no telling that the test of a political party is whether it can rise to the challenge of what the country requires and what the times demand and Prof. believes his NDC can pass that test.

The December 7, 2008 general election, undoubtedly, is going to go down in history as one of the most important epic presidential elections of our lifetime. Nonetheless, some critics believe that this election is going to be a referendum on the incumbent party. A cross-section of the electorate is of the opinion that Prof Mills is the face of change because of his excellent platform which he recently detailed in the 2008 manifesto.

The biggest impediment to solving the nation’s problems is the political process, which is focused on expediency. Politicians, much like consumers, prefer easy answers rather than complex ones. To fix our economy and make it sustainable requires a long-term, broad-based effort. In a modern democratic society, free education, healthcare and quality of life cannot be denied. They are as important as air, water and food. These are the bases of human survival and happiness. This, in a nutshell, is Prof. Mills’ message. His platform as stated in the recently released manifesto is the hallmark of his plan to move Ghana forward if he wins the presidential elections in December. However, he admitted he has no silver bullet to the challenges facing the country but would do his best to turn the economy around. He also reiterated that a Mills administration's first priority would be to tackle the economy, healthcare and education.

Prof. Mills has dedicated his campaign to broadening Ghanaians understanding of the looming economic crisis and the numerous problems plaguing our country. As a result and in response to the distinct needs of the electorate, Prof Mills has outlined how he intends to tackle these problems. The question is whether anyone in politics or the electorate will listen and use the manifesto as a yardstick to measure Prof’s effectiveness, and elect him as president Kuffour’s successor. Prof. is smart, competitive, frugal and confident, and has no intention of straying from his conventional plan when elected. As noted earlier, Prof Mills’s victory in the upcoming election would not mean an overnight transformation for Ghana, because he would inherit a huge deficit and an economy in a mess. Needless to say, Prof. contends he is ready for that Perhaps the strongest link in the NDC’s manifesto is the tour de force elucidation of the distinctions between the different types of economic problems regarding the macro-economy, monetary and fiscal policies in the country today and Prof Mills’s plans to redress them. The NDC manifesto takes into account the efficiency of market delivery when commodities are bought in a market and backed by suitable purchasing power, coupled with the usual felicities and efficiencies in getting aid to those who need it most. But the distinction between the two scenarios lies not only in the different ways of meeting the respective problems, but also in the nature of the problems themselves. Furthermore, the significance of the above scenario motivated the careful couching of Prof. Mills’s entire economic objectives in the NDC 2008 manifesto. It goes without saying that Prof Mills has a Marshall Plan. As a planner he has determined what he intends to’ supply’ to Ghanaians by finding what is in demand. In the manifesto, he delineates the radical difference between the enterprise of supplying what is in demand.

In his crucial speech during the launching of the manifesto which was not televised in the northern parts of Ghana, Prof Mills insisted that Ghana needs a leader with judgment character and experience, in difficult economic times like the current situation in Ghana. Arguably, the NDC’s manifesto was motivated by the growing need of many families in the nation for information on how the Presidential candidates intend to govern the country. It is of interest to know that the 2008 manifesto is made up 100 pages (compared to 77 pages for 2004) and contains new policy initiatives that focus on the immediate need to tackle the economy and the string of armed robberies, and this, invariably, underscores the vision of the remarkable Prof. Mills. There is much of merit in Prof. Mills’s perceptive vision about initiatives, incentives, and communication. We may have less reason to celebrate or even to accept the diagnosis of idiocy and obduracy the other presidential candidates promise Ghanaians. The NDC manifesto promises a seismic shift in policy, a new kind of politics. And my hope is that the electorate will look for the convincing arguments Prof. Mills does provide in the NDC manifesto instead of deriding it.

Prof’s speech during the launching was virtually free of jokes and his sober delivery was calibrated to match the seriousness of the economic situation and the importance he attaches to the implementation of what is contained in the manifesto. Our economy is plummeting into the unknown. We go about our daily business as yet untouched by the dismal performance of our politicians. We don't know how far we are going to fall, nor what kind of pain we'll feel when we hit the bottom. Doubt and uncertainty grip us. So who now owns the progressive future? Is it NDC or NPP? The old rulebook has been torn up; and with that, the status quo is unacceptable. Across Ghana security against armed robbery is in crisis. In response, the people are trying to resurrect the memory of its halcyon days with the hope that a new leadership will guarantee safety, stop the nonsense and bring some common sense and life into the society and the zombie economy. Ghanaians are s struggling to gain a foothold on solid ground. They cannot escape the discredited orthodoxies of the past. In truth, until the elections are over and a new government is in power, any campaign promises by the presidential candidates are considered by the electorate as irrelevant to the crises at hand.

Prof. Mills was resolutely resolute during the launching of the manifesto, and he believes that the comprehensive and unprecedented proposed interventions in the manifesto will prop up the economy and curtail the hardships in the system. Will it work? That is the question, but this is doable if every Tom, Dick and Harry steps up to the plate. Everybody’s effort has a place in the governance, civic and social affairs of the country.

Prof Mills is not just up to it, he is overwhelmingly qualified to do this job because he has the character, leadership, judgment and clarity of purpose about the change that Ghana needs, and he comprehensively showed that he has what it takes to meet and master the challenges of our time.Square pegs in round holes have come to rule our lives and now threaten to destroy us. The so-called invisible hand is a charade that allows those who have to gain more. A few unaccountable elite have manipulated economic activity in order to enrich themselves. The profound absence in this crisis is our collective sense of democratic agency. The current unbearable economic situation has evolved because of bad governance and political malfeasance. Democracy must assert itself over corruption. Where is the politics capable of seizing this moment? Bad governance cannot be allowed to manage our happiness and livelihood. The principle of government by the people has to be reasserted. Cronyism and nepotism have undermined the ethos of public service and led to a dysfunctional and demoralized government. The culture of tribalism has invaded every aspect of our society, and this is profoundly at odds with the promotion of a unified nation.

Corruption has driven our society and turned everybody into a business “mogul”. Consequently, these businessmen have been a modern form of exploitation. Systemic irresponsible malfeasance has expropriated people's often meager wages to create continuous revenues of debt repayments that have redistributed wealth to the rich. The foreign aids and loans have created an illusion of plenitude and affluence which disguise the millions that are unaccounted for what the country is paying back as debt like a form of indentured labor.

There will be more storms brewing on the horizon if Ghanaians do not get it right come December 7, 2008. If the electorate stick with the status quo and expect different results they’ll be taking a big risk. Change is what they need. These are momentous, frightening times. The fundamentals of our economy, the sustainability of human life are under threat. This is no time for timid, piecemeal politics. A retreat into the past is only a reminder of the causes of this economic and social mess in our country. The future will demand a more active and democratic state engaging with economic development and regulation. The redistribution of wealth and resources will be essential in rebalancing a dysfunctional economy. The gravity of the situation in the country calls for a measured response that is proportionate and reasonable. We need to look forward and seize this opportunity, to vote for Prof Mills, to create a new political and economic paradigm for these times. The leader who can blaze the trail is Professor John Evans Kofi Atta-Mills because HE IS THE MAN WITH THE PLAN!!!!

S. Amoyaw Tarrytown, N.Y.