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Opinions of Monday, 1 February 2016

Columnist: Hardi, Ibrahim

Our hopes,politics and the future

For many years,a lot of changes has occurred in our governance and economic system in Ghana. Voices have been raised, foes and friends created, and above all, debate, although sometimes degenerative has ensued. That said, however, with 59 years of Independence Celebrations in sight, I saw it fit that perhaps a general commentary, taking an eclectic approach from the roles of our leader to those of us, the masses, and especially the youths would put us in preparatory mood as we celebrate.

Role of Our Leaders:

The main responsibility of any President must be to effectively preside over the affairs and administration of the country. In order to achieve that, the President appoints ministers who should be appointed on merit. Their responsibility is not only to ensure that government policy is effectively implemented, but to ensure that it is effectively administered and in line with the constitution and the laws of the country including adherence to the national budget, and in some cases, the party’s manifesto.

In addition, the President is provided with all the resources he needs to ensure that he is effective in carrying out his mandate according to the constitution. The President is even provided with high level security and all the necessary comforts to ensure that his decisions are objective and serve the interest of the country first. This is to ensure that he stems corruption, fights graft and is not easily influenced or swayed in making decisions that may disadvantage the interest of the country as a whole. However, we have seen a lot of rather unfortunate and blatant failures in our elected governments both past and now over the years, we have highlighted these; from failed economic management to failure to fight corruption and making the governance a safe haven for corrupt elements seeking to avoid jail, some affectionately referred to as the ‘darlings’ of the president.

President Mahama should take full responsibility for the failure of public institutions to serve the needs of the country. Of course those he has deployed to manage our economy have failed in some part of their duties but they should be answerable to him and him alone.

Nature of Our Politics:

What is the nature of our politics? The poor masses provide the numbers during voting time, and that’s where it ends. This explains why a bag of maize,a gallon of frytol oil, a piece of cloth, a mini bag of rice, a mini bag of sugar,a packet of roofing sheets,5 bags of cement, use clothing can buy a politician unfettered four years in power. The masses seem easily swayed by the rhetoric of silly and foolish things like more money in your pockets. As a result, the quality and standards of our leaders are not really challenged; the masses will deliver the vote anyway, so why worry?

We have seen how, for the most of Africa as a continent, country after country, leader after leader have all failed to develop Africa and create better societies even where adequate financial, natural and human resources exist in abundance. Former president Jerry John Rawlings stand tall,Ghana needs to take a new development trajectory based on innovative leadership. We need to take a totally new approach divorced from the past if we are to create new results and invent a future characterised by a society that is empowered, motivated, productive and free – politically and economically free.

In mechanics and engineering, every system is designed to give you the results that you get. Change the system and you change behaviours and therefore you achieve different results. Until we change our political system whose main component parts are its leaders and their value system, we will continue to get the mediocre results and leadership outcomes we are faced with. Don't get me wrong I'm not referring to the current ndc government.

Constraints to Good Values in Politics:

Someone argued, describing Ghanaians, and Africans in general, that the fundamental reason for this failure in effective governance is that we have been too lazy to think. We have simply changed personalities or positions while leaving our political structures in place.

It will take educating the masses and forcing them to realise that unless we change the game, they will continue to be taken for a ride as electoral fodder. Ghana needs new vision and a new ethos in politics that puts Ghana first and continually challenges our leaders to behave and be accountable. I Hope and pray,the forty year development plan would be whole heartedly supported and put into good use.

The Role of Ghanaian Youths:

I find it very sad to see young energetic and educated party youths singing and dancing in campaigns for our grandfathers to be our MPs,and yet, in the backyard, drown their sorrow in alcohol drinking. As Aristotle states: It is not the fastest nor the strongest that win in the Olympics, but ones that participate, for from among these, a judge will make his decision–Nicomachean Ethics. So if we all sit back and relax and drink beer in the comfort of our work or business and ‘not care’ when we could possibly initiate and instil change in the political system, if need be, why should we continuously complain about the poor state of Ghana? Or should those that seem to have had it all not care about the on-going state of our country?

Anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police or a secretive cartel. All these are key ingredients to a better livelihood for people, and that’s what we all aim at. But then, from whom should the people choose? Some may belittle politics (claim it’s a dirty game), and belittle others with political intentions but we who hope to get actively engaged in it know that it is where people stand tall. It is still the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster and more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes. I think the masses of Ghanaian population (the youth by the way) have certain ideals, such ideals as simple as a better life for all—education, health and a decent employment. Such ideals survive through change if the incumbency does not deliver. They die, however, through inertia in the face of challenge.

Expectations of Youths from the Current and Future Leadership,for most of the young people in our country, we wish for, among others, five things:

1. We want a dynamic economy that generates the wealth to deliver rising living standards and better public services for all our people. Poverty levels in our country are unacceptable! The poverty gap that has continuously been sustained by previous and current regimes cannot be tolerated anymore.
2. We want a decent society that gives people the freedom to live the lives they want, but which supports families and cares for the vulnerable. Injustices be they economic and legal cannot be ignored anymore nor should they be sustained. We want an active society where the freedoms and liberties of society are protected and allowed to flourish.
3.We want to be part of a strong, self-confident and outward-looking country, a country we can be proud of. A Ghana that is proud, strong and free in a land of plenty work, joy and unity among its diverse people. For us, this is supreme. Unity in Diversity should be promoted, encouraged, for the benefit of all mankind in our society and beyond.
4.We do believe in our country, Ghana and all its people. We firmly believe that Ghana has a particular place in the world and that our place is to be a force for good, standing up for emancipation, liberty, prosperity and the rule of law for the good of mankind now and beyond. These ideals are intricately linked in our world-view, the view of Young Lives in our society.

5. We don’t see people as a problem to be handled by government. We see people who have problems needing to be helped by government. Our farmers who face high input prices yet low product prices need to be helped by government. This is the role of government. However, we recognise that government doesn’t have all the answers, and we instinctively assume the best in people. We trust people. But government must be responsible for its people and their lives.

For all its worth, as we attain 59 years of self-rule, there is a lot we ought to be proud of, and deservedly so. When we criticise, we do so because we cannot accept mediocre, and have a strong belief and conviction that more and better could be done, and should be done. The people of our nation should come first. I dedicate this to Mr. Yakubu A. Yakubu(Y.Y),Acting monitoring and evaluation officer,Savanna Accelerated Development Authority.

Ibrahim Hardi,contact 0208235615,Email;