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Opinions of Sunday, 30 November 2008

Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Kofi

President Kufuor and NPP Government Well Done

Allow me space in your esteemed website to express my heartfelt and warm appreciation to Mr J. A. Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana and the NPP government for the able manner they have steered the affairs of this country this country the past eight years. What makes me proud of this government is the resilience of the country’s economy looking at the events in the developed world where big companies and banks are facing economic turmoil but the Ghanaian economy has been able to weather the storm. Prior to 2001, a person like me could not have posted anything critical of the government on the web and still have a life. No matter where I lived, the forces of tyranny would have combed the globe to have me eliminated.

Just this morning, the much anticipated world index on Press Freedom was released and it is gratifying that, Ghana is second only to Namibia in Press Freedom. To be 29 in the whole world is very remarkable and our president and his government deserve to be applauded. This is a man who has been insulted more than anybody else in our country’s history and has been able to withstand all such insults without resorting to any threat of harassment or instant justice like his predecessors before him had done in the past. He stood firm and allowed the Press and the other media where most of the insults emanated to be as Free as the day Ghana got her independence in 1957. He saw to it that rule of law took its natural course even at the expense of his life, when one Osei drove into his convey. Have we forgotten so soon what happened in Nungua when Rawlings was in power? Gentle Giant Ayekoo!

The NDC wants power but so far they have failed to tell Ghanaians what they willl do with that power. They have started the trickily of always hiding behind good objectives and happenings in other countries to demand that Ghanaians vote for a change. They are saying the American people voted for a change when they voted for a black president in the person of Obama. Why should Ghanaians vote for a change? Is it because Rawlings is bored and technically and constitutionally he could not come back to power so that with Professor Atta Mills as President, he becomes the defacto Ghanaian President once more?.

The problem in Ghana is not those created by the present administration of President Kufuor. They are those created by Mr Rawlings and his PNDC/NDC rule spanning over a period of 20 years. Let us take a trip to memory lane for a moment and rationalise the following facts. In 1979, we as Ghanaians expected a change and it was not surprising that Major Baah Acheamfuor, Captain Boakye Djan and I/Cpl Atiemo staged a bloodless coup and brought Rawlings from protective custody to lead a government of the so called AFRC. I and others welcomed that change because Acheampong had no justification to have overthrown the Busia's government(1969-72). When Lt. Gen Akuffo effected a change of government in that palace coup of 1978, Ghanaians inspired by courageous Lt. Gen A.A. Afrifah and don't forget Paa Willie and others resisted that regime. Rawlings and NDC, when we talk of change, that was it and you got to the scene and we regret and we shall always find it difficult to forgive Boakye Djan, a man who would run away from responsibility and allow you the opportunity to come to power. What justification do you have to have overthrown the Limann's government? I think since you see change as a bedtime story, we should always effect a change of government when it suits you since you are the only light that shines on Ghana.. Your so called Revolution of June 1979, destroyed the very fundamentals upon which any successful economy would depend. When Limann came to power you had sold every conceivable essential commodity from the shops, successful businesses had been seized and goods had been destroyed or vandalised, those who owned assets that you detested had been confiscated and you made sure that the next government would not have any resources at its disposal to run the affairs of the country. Why did you hand over power one week earlier? Instead of the constitutional date of 1st October, you handed over power to Limann on 24th September 1979. Why? You did all these things on the active of advice of Professor Mills.

You killed private initiative and you saw successful businesses as your enemies. What did you do to Mr Mensah and his Pioneer Tobacco Company? How about Mr Siaw and his TATA breweries? How about Kowus Motors of Mr Owusu? How many times have you been bold to visit any of the Kwahu States in the Eastern Region? You know very well that because of your envy and hatred for successful people, these enterprising people whose businesses you destroyed would never welcome you. Is that the change you are calling for? A change that makes one person, Rwalings popular but destroys the livelihood of a whole community?.

It is sad that you had people who in terms of academic qualification, could have advised you otherwise but Atta Mills, a man who has always been close to your heart with all his academic credentials been thrown around on the campaign trail could not tell you the consequences of DESTROYING the existence of BUSINESSES in an economy. Why are the Nigerians successful business minded, they have equally suffered military take overs just like Ghana but the soldiers never attempted to destroy the :Buying and selling that take place in the economy because they were conscious of the BIG picture, the country Nigeria not one man band called Rawlings and at the same time they knew the economy would thrive if businesses were allowed to exist because they are the vehicles that move the economy around. Having laid bare the shops and stores in Ghana, you expected Hilla Limann's PNP government to have performed economic miracles by restructuring our economy within 27 months.

Why are you calling for change now? Is it because Kufuor has done the unimaginable and unthinkable by providing Ghanaians with Good Roads, Infrastructure Widening and Expansion, Capitation Grant and School Feeding Programme, National Health Insurance Scheme, Free Primary Education and all the good things in life you failed to provide for Ghanaians those 20 years? Yes we can, the clarion call of Mr Obama, which as usual your party is laying siege to, yes, we can for once tell Rawlings and Atta Mills that all you want power for is to: (a) Disband Press Freedom (b) Imprison Hard working Ghanaians who have taken advantage of Kufuor's open administration and made a living out of the opportunities offered. (c) Take us back to the dark days of our history by introducing draconian laws to curtail our fundamental human rights (e) Destroy the gains in the education systems by taking us to the days pupils could barely write their names. (f) For 20 years that Rawlings and his PNDC/NDC was in power, the Nigerian education was far behind that of the Ghanaian, Between 1981 to 2000, the Nigerian education system has assumed heights unprecedented in African. The average Nigerian has been to at least a Polytechnic. What happened in Ghana? Atta Mills, a whole professor who benefitted from the colonial education and Dr Kwame Nkrumah free education could not advise Rawlings about the dangers of churning out students who could not write nor read. Look at the Ghana web and compare that to the rest of Africa and you realise how far behind this NDC people have taken Ghana. Most contributors to the Web’s comment column can't write a simple letter. Is that the change we want to go back to?

They want change because if those in the rural areas are educated, the NDC would not have any power base. For their own selfish ends, they made the educational structures in the rural communities as no more than 'Firewood fetchers and water carrying schools where pupils daily chore was to fetch water and firewood for their teachers from 9am to 3pm. When I visited Ghana after 8 years for the first time in 1989, I was appalled to see my four nieces who went to school not to learn the fundamentals of education, that is, the imparting of knowledge and skills but rather to go to the bush to master the skills of wood-cutting and water carrying. Let us critically examine the products of the 1981-2000 generation and all that we see in the present day Ghana is a generation who lost out massively on education and as such have a very low esteem and confidence.

A generation that cannot express themselves in their own mother tongues let alone, English, Ghana’s official language. The NDC is complaining of unemployment, but businesses that were started after 2001 have come face to face with the reality in the labour market, half baked graduates, most of them gained admission not as a result of good grades but rather, by other means and as such employers find it very disturbing entrusting their businesses unto their care, thus most of them can't find jobs. Is that the change Ghanaians want?

The change Ghanaians want right now is that of Moving forward with Nana Akuffo Addo Dankwah winning the forthcoming elections to put Atta Mills to his place of playing second fiddle to a Party that is fighting very hard to put Ghana where she belongs, as an industrialised nation. They said Kufuor could not get the funds to introduce universal primary education in Ghana, yes he did. They said Kufuor's administration was buying votes when he said he would give Ghana a seat of Government that befitted our status as a first world, yes he did., The Golden Jubilee House (Once more posterity would judge your party when recommended to Ghanaians that it was safe to live in the Castle a fortress that reminded us of the treatment meted out to our ancestors, who were chained and loaded unto ships from the same Castle)

They walked out of Parliament (NDC) when the Capitation Grant and School Feeding Programme Bill,The Whistle Blower Bill, ROPA Bill, National Health and Insurance Scheme Bills were being enacted, but yes we did them all. Yes, we can, we shall offer compulsory free education at the secondary level. Yes,we can move the country forward. Yes,we can for once make the NDC an irrelevant party ready for extinction come December, 2008. Nana, we are marching forward with you, our journey with Rawlings/Atta Mills in the 80s and 90s caused us so much emotional problems and never again shall we allow these people who preach violence and mayhem to come to power again. We are marching forward, and yes, we can.. We are moving forward and we shall never go backwards.

J.Owusu-Ansah