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Opinions of Monday, 2 June 2008

Columnist: Asigri, D. Z.

Should Kufuor’s regime be acquitted, or made to quit?

Who is fooling who? Should President Kuffour’s regime be acquitted, or made to quit?

I am convinced that the above topic will entice many readers worldwide especially those of us who hail from Garu Tempane District or constituency in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The article attempts to raise the issue pertaining to the notion of accountability, leading to the question as to ‘who is fooling who?’ within the said district in relation to her developmental strategies. The question, ‘who is fooling who?’ was eloquently voiced out by the late American Attorney Jonny Cochran (RIP) who successfully defended American footballer Mr O. J. Simpson in the 1990’s having been accused of murdering his wife and her friend in the United States of America (RIP). The legal tussles raised during the trial made interesting reading in the British and American tabloids as well as on the television screens of which I for one, attentively followed. I remember Mr Simpson’s Attorney Mr Jonny Cochran (RIP) in his defence from the beginning to the end, vehemently argued with the State Attorneys which spurred him to ask, ‘...who is fooling who?’ in this case? Furthermore, Attorney Jonny Cochran (RIP) in his closing defence argument passionately requested the jury to see reason and to acquit his client Mr O.J. Simpson on all counts of the charges of a not guilty verdict-he avers, “...if it doesn’t fit then you must acquit”. Thanks to God, ‘Juice’ as he (O. J. Simpson) is popularly known in the United States of America, was discharged and acquitted on all counts for the murder of his wife and her friend. What is the relevance of these reflective judicial points in this article? You may recall President Kuffour’s NPP campaign slogan prior to and on entering office in 2000 on the notion of zero tolerance policy. In reality, no one knows where Ghanaians stand today regarding to the said convincing political slogan. However, in relation to some of the political and economic ramifications within the Garu Tempane District and the country in general, ‘who is fooling who?’, according to the late defence Attorney Jonny Cochran (RIP) now takes precedent over the idea of ‘zero tolerance’ as demonstrated in a mini covert qualitative study that I conducted during my recent visit home (Worikambo). I believe that a need-to-know is a fundamental human right and must be preserved as such in our society as a whole. Most importantly recognised by the World Health Organisation (1946), this article I think, will unravel some of the ‘avoidable’ human concerns affecting the health and welfare of the people of Garu Tempane Constituency and the country generally on one side but, unavoidable from the perspective of the NPP government on the other!

From this part of the world, I can feel the very sad faces worn by some of the constituents in my village who gathered to welcome me home. Indeed, having listened to a number of expressed concerns of some disgust with President Kuffour’s NPP regime, attributed to the unbearable social hardships of a high imaginable level in the country today, the question arises as to ‘who is fooling who?’ in the said district. Above all, many of the constituents known to be very hard core supporters of the ruling NPP, did surprise me greatly with their germanous utterances on one side, did heightened my political and moral beliefs underpinning the notion of social democratic values that I naturally hold, on the other. Furthermore, among the group of people who came to welcome me home included many members of the opposition NDC party. Indeed, from my observation, (excuse me to say), most of the people appeared to be, what one might refer to as, ‘flies on the wall’, merely watching and listening to the confused and unfolding political argument being discussed by their political opponents within the group. Professor David Scott (2000), one time research supervisor of mine at the Institute of Education, University of London refers to this type of human behaviour by the NDC supporters among the group as akin to the notion of, “Learned Helplessness”.

‘Learned Helplessness’, means a situation in which a person has no other alternatives of escaping from her/his woes. For example, helplessness created by our current incompetent government of the NPP such as, high school fees, high fuel and light bills, high transportation bills, high medical bills, mounting unemployment, and many more in which the people can’t just meet! Others include the dreadful experiences created by our tribal conflict in Bawku Municipality and her surrounding villages (Upper East Region) as well as in other parts of the world, such as in Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan, for instance. These hazards does subject the organism to unbearable pain, fear of the unknown, heat, cold, hunger, thirst, ill-health and poverty and consequently, death. Indeed, Queen Elizabeth the 2nd of England and Wales, one time stated in her Christmas Broadcast to the Commonwealth Countries that, ‘...there is only one earth in this world for mankind and where does one expect the other-the aged, the young, the disabled, and the weak to go’, she avers. Reflecting on the type of danger/experience that the people of Garu Tempane District, and other parts of Northern Ghana in general endured, following the recent horrible weather disaster which brought the entire populates to their knees. Nationally and internationally the attentions of humanists have been woken up necessitating the injection of enormous aid from concerned citizens and NGOs worldwide-our thanks to all! But, allow to me to share some of my experience with you that, in the process of seeking help and support from humanist such as NGOs one is bound to encounter some hurdles of many kinds worth taking note of. The issue here is that, it is reasonable for us to realise that a natural disaster is unique and does not require any form of meddling from political meddlers as observed within the Garu Tempane District and or constituency. For example, handouts such as, canned foods, blankets, mosquito nets, multivitamins, roofing sheets (zinc) and many others are donated to the victims on humanitarian grounds! There is therefore, an urgent need for us to adopt and adapt a mechanism that facilitates effective distribution of these ‘handouts’ to the needy, which reflects the rationale underpinning human agency/aids, in my view. We need also to caution ourselves about certain emerging bizarre political sentiments adopted by some political agents of the ruling party within the said constituency as to which of the victims/needy is politically affiliated to the opposition NDC party and he/she is therefore sidelined or deprived from enjoying these Godly sent gifts donated for a purpose. I believe that such practice does not augur well in the minds of concerned individuals and NGOs generally. Furthermore, let us understand that a natural disaster is ‘naive’ and does not have the capacity to discriminate between an individual’s political affiliation-NPP and or NDC for instance. Such disasters as we know, does involve massive destruction with impunity for example, ripping up off the roofs of homes, destruction of buildings, starvation, and sadly, death. Let us continue to pray for the natural disaster (earth quake) in China, of which nearly 1,000,000 people are feared dead! Please allow me confess that greed has adverse effects on the endeavours of NGOs worldwide-it stinks from the core and into the core of the concerned NGO-‘Who is fooling who?’ in this dilemma?

In my capacity as a native of Worikambo within the above District and a health care educator, I feel that the issue concerning health cannot remain dormant in this article. The reason being that, health as a concept is open to differing interpretations hence ones beliefs on health can be held differently too. Furthermore, ones understanding of health such as in cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM), measles, diarrhoeas, amoebic dysentery, and difficult labour in pregnancy necessitate the client/patient’s immediate transportation to the nearest health post in the district for the appropriate treatment and care. In this context, the Garu Health Clinic is appropriate! From the observations made, and in addition to the major concerns made by many constituents from the two major political parties (NDC and NPP), the picture presented is identical. In addition, let us recognise that physical as well as mental health problems are enormous human significance. Indeed, this is underlined by the emphasis placed on for example, mental health as well as physical health in a recent World Health Organisation document, which encouraged all nations to give priority to it (WHO, 2001a). In reference to WHO’s warning, I believe that our current NPP government, described as incompetent by most Ghanaians today, must learn to be magnanimous and attempt to provide adequate good security, good roads, affordable health care, as well as worthwhile educational processes for our future leaders.

The problem of our roads within the Garu Tempane District and not to mention other parts of the country need to be highlighted in this article. The question is, ‘who is fooling who?’ developmentally in relation to the approved resources, fit for purpose in this context? What is irritating or annoying is President Kuffour’s recent political pronouncement that District Chief Executives and Regional Ministers must ensure that contractors who pay allegiance to the ruling NPP government must have their ‘bread’ adequately ‘buttered’. His previous political gimmicky has it that, in relation to corruption which is the norm within the ruling party of today points out that, Ghanaians with evidence of corruption against any public official must come forward with the said evidence in order to aid any possible prosecution-‘who is fooling who?’ here, my brothers and sisters? In reality, what evidence does one need to show that the road constructions within the Garu Tempane District or constituency have been completely ignored or simply none-existent? If at all there are some emerging ‘infantile’ repairs currently being carried out on the roads, how long do we have to wait for them to be effectively rehabilitated? Take for example, the only road linking Yeziduge and Sunvusi which showed very poor construction was completely washed off during the recent weather disaster. Additionally, the Worikambo-Garu, Garu-Gagbiri, Garu-Tempane and many other roads within the District are in deplorable state leading to the possible formation of ‘powder kegs’, which are angrily waiting for an opportunity to violently explode, come another heavy rainy season-God forbid! The only evidence left for the constituents of Garu Tempane to show, is to vigorously implement the voting menu designed for us by President Kuffour when he said, “...when parties come into power, and their leaders fail to measure up to good leadership, vote them out” (Ghanaweb 20 March 2008). Most interestingly states Ghananaweb, the President warned us that, “...You should not vote for parties or someone, because they come from the same place with you, or because you speak the same language...” (Ghanaweb 20 March 2008). Thanks for this Mr President and these ideas will be heavily demonstrated by the electorates come December 7th 2008. But, my question still remains-‘who is fooling who?’ within the Garu Tempane District/Constituency, is it the Regional Minister, the District Chief Executive or the delegated road contractors?

May God/Allah help the constituents of Garu Tempane District and the country in general?

By: Asigri, D.Z. Senior Lecturer Practitioner Researcher Middlesex University London

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.