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Opinions of Thursday, 25 May 2006

Columnist: Osei-Dadzie, Kwabena

Performance Of The NPP And What the CPP Must Do To Regain its Past Glory

If Nana Akuffo-Addo did not interfere with the system in terms of failing to prosecute his NDC friends who are suspected of having stolen from office, then the NPP and its supporters have NO credibility. What then is all the fuss about "the NPP inherited all these debts, and that the government of Ghana at the time of the handover to Kuffour had no money", etc, etc,. left in the treasury? I am not a lawyer but common sense tells me that if you suspect that somebody has stolen, you take steps to investigate and make a determination if the accusation has any merit. Has Kufour's government done this? The president has been in power for six years now and time is running out for his party. The NPP government can't use the excuse that they inherited mountains of debt and that is why very little has been achieved in terms of economic development, etc. In the same vain, the NPP has failed to investigate some within its mist, mainly ministers of state who are suspected of corruption and causing financial loss to the state. The minister of Transport, Richard Anane, is a classic example. He should have been fired and prosecuted a long time ago. I wonder why Richard Anane is still in the government today. This shows that Kufour is paying lip service to his slogan, "zero tolerance for corruption". President Kufour may think that he he doing a good job. In my view, the president has two or three achievements: (1) stabilization of the cedi, (2) freedom of speech, association, etc, (3) respect for human rights. and, (4) creating a congenial atmosphere to do business. Apart from these tangible and irrefutable accomplishments, I don't see much difference between Kufour's administration and that of the reckless former president, Jerry Rawlings. Ghanaians are still facing devastating economic hardships after six years of NPP rule. Where are the programs to offer jobs to the shoe shine boys and to expand the economy? Nobody is listening to "blame the NDC for twenty years of economic neglect and stagnation" anymore. It is an old slogan and Ghanaians are simply tired of it. A new slogan is needed.

The warning signs are on the wall. Ghanaians are dissatisfied with the trend of events: mainly economic hardships in the country, compounded by the perception of corruption among the ministers of state and other NPP functionaries. If Kufour doesn't wake up and continues to be out of touch with the average Ghanaian, his party would suffer very greatly in 2008. I wish there was a credible third force to step in and take the mantle of leadership from the NDC and the NPP. Kofi Wayo has no credibility. He is a big mouth talker and joker. He comes across as a first class pathetic comedian. He should be dismissed by the public and should never be taken seriously in any political debate. Dr. Mahama's party is stagnant. It received less than two per cent of the votes cast in 2004 and the outcome won't be any different in 2008. It is a one man show and his stubborn refusal to merge with other smaller parties is a recipe for disaster.

The CPP is totally disorganized, confused and disjointed. Many of its leading members have been co-opted and are looking out for their own selfish interests instead of working hard to rebuild the party. It makes no political sense for the CPP to embrace the NPP and form a coalition just to allow a few CPP members to be elected to parliament. The CPP needs to reformulate Nkrumah's ideas to suit the struggles of the twenty first century. Nkrumah's motto of selflessness, patrioitism, love of country, a united country, fee free compulsory education, African unity, etc, etc, still hold. However, the core economic philosophy of a socialist economy system as practiced in the former east European countries and the Soviet Union, now Russia, has been discredited. Total ownership of the means of production and distribution of resources by the government in the name of the public good is no longer accepted as an efficient way of using public resources. The communists in China have even seen the light. They are allowing private enterprises to operate in the huge country. My bet is that it won't be too long before economic liberalization would lead to political emancipation and participation by majority of the population. The way for the CPP to become a force again is to begin to advocate for practical and pragmatic solutions to Ghana's problems. The CPP cannot continue to rely only on old solutions and themes echoed by Nkrumah. Many of Nkrumah's ideas were good at the time but many of them cannot be implemented simply because the country can't afford to pay for them. Clear examples are free health care for all, and the fee free compulsory education. These are good public policy initiatives but I am afraid and reluctant to state that Ghana simply can't afford to pay for them from the public treasury. The Rooster party must go back to the drawing board and set new priorities if it wants to regain its old mantle and glory in politics.

The days of unchecked economic socialism is over. The accepted "new" formulae and universally recognized principles for sustainable economic development among the developing countries, lie more in democratic capitalism. Individual and private ownership of resources and production of goods and services is recognized as a better way of efficiently using and managing resources in a free enterprise system. This means that any party in Ghana which advocates for the total public ownership of resources and the means of production would get very little support from international financial institutions and their allies in the international political domain. Ghanaian politicians must be astute and pragmatic. They must remember that there is a new economic order with only one super power in the world. Ghana must follow the rules of international economic practices or we would be ruled by rules of international economic practices. A small country like Ghana which does not produce oil, is always at the mercy of the world economic system. We must play our cards very well in order to survive and grow economically. Puffing, useless rhetoric on the international scene by any of our leaders, past and present, is never helpful to our course no mater how much we think we have been cheated or hurt by the economic powers of the world.



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