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Opinions of Friday, 11 March 2011

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman

The “Better Ghana” Is In Tatters

By Alex Bossman Baafi

The departure of the NPP administration ussured in the NDC government with a big welcome by people who had yearned for change, not for change sake, but a change for a “Better Ghana”. Hopes were raised and many thanked their stars because the first Professor-President, in the annals of history of this nation, who has the magic wand of a Better Ghana Agenda to improve upon the well-being of the mass majority of the people, had taken the mantle of leadership of this country.

More than two years under the “Better Ghana” dispensation, many are worried because the Better Ghana promise is fast becoming a mirage. Anatomy of failures under this Mills-Mahama administration had made many good people of this country dejected because things have changed from good to bad and is fast heading towards worse. The situation now is rather heading in the opposite direction of the better conditions promised by this government. For the NDC to promise a Better Ghana when in opposition was an indication that it accepted that there was a Good Ghana under the previous administration.

There are a host of factors that have made life “Bitter” instead of “Better”, but for want of space, I will raise a few of them for you to evaluate and be the judge.

Lawlessness was the first vice this NDC administration introduced to herald its better Ghana agenda. Many are suffering from the hand of party foot soldiers because of seizure of cars, toilets and toll boots. Others including NHIS, DCEs, MCEs, National Youth Employment (NYEP) coordinators, and School Feeding Programmes office holders have been violently chased out of their offices. The lawlessness had resulted to some deaths including five people in Agbogloshie not to mention the ugly violence that characterized the by-elections in Chiripony, Akwatia and Atiwa. In all these incidences, the president has failed to come out openly to condemn them as against his better Ghana agenda. What is more, the victims that suffered brutalities have been delayed justice and therefore have been denied justice as no single perpetrator had been apprehended. Because the law is sparing the rod, this unacceptable behaviour of the NDC foot soldiers has come to stay and is now part of our democratic dispensation under this government.

As compared to the previous NPP administration, now the whole nation is swimming in filth. Filth has led to the outbreak of cholera, a disease that is supposed to be outdated in this 21st century. The enabling environment created under the previous administration attracted hard working companies such as Zoom Lion to invest heavily in the waste management sector in the country. The good works of Zoom Lion throughout the country brought filth under control. Now politics of jealousy, suspicion, victimization, intimidation and segregation introduced by this NDC government had squeezed Zoom Lion to reduce its presence here in the country and had shifted their operations into other countries in the sub region. Is better Ghana the widespread of cholera that has taken over 34 lives as at yesterday and counting? Thousands of residents had contracted the disease and are now fighting for their lives because of filth.

Under this NDC government, the vast majority of the people have been worse off economically. Erratic supply of fuel including gas has disrupted many businesses in the hospitality and transportation businesses. Many had suffered a reduction in their incomes under this government. Our people living in the villages find it notoriously difficult to get access to regular supply of kerosene. Our fisher folks are still suffering from pair trawling, light fishing and had to do with high cost of pre-mix fuel under this government. Despite the high cost of utilities (water & electricity), this government is happy to ration the supply of water in the country. Electricity supply is also not reliable. Is life better now than under the previous government? In addition to all these, the excessive taxation policy been pursued by this government has made many poorer.

Under NDC government, the Electoral Commission could not organize district level elections successfully. The Statistical Service could not deliver reliable data from the National Population census, National Identification Authority could not carry out its mandate to issue residents with Identity Cards. All these national programmes were meant to enhance the welfare of the people but the better Ghana government has reversed them for lack of political will.

In the educational sector, the government has performed abysmally. Standards have fallen to its lowest ebb. Our children in schools are made to sleep in the dining halls without bath and toilet facilities. PTAs are forced to contribute extra after high school fees to provide water, toilets and other user facilities throughout the country. Much as the academic life for our school people had deteriorated, the conditions of teachers had been worsened. The sector had been plagued with series of strike actions culminating into overall decline in the standard of our education. The government’s inability to handle the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) has thrown its better agenda in tatters. Apart from the police Service that saw the smooth payment of the SSSS, virtually all the public sector workers including the teachers are in for trouble. Besides the pecuniary considerations, this government lacks bodies of technical expertise and that will further worsen the conditions of many public service workers.

In my view, for Ghana Prisons Service Officers of all people to resort to rebelliousness against the government, by demonstrating after receiving their SSSS, it is a clear indication that the “Better Ghana” Agenda is now in tatters. Apart from achieving macroeconomic environment stability, though without growth, because the cost of doing business is still high, this government has so far not been able to add value to the overall Gross Domestic product (GDP) of the country. Therefore, if there are any lifeline initiatives or programmes available for the government, then, she must throw them now because the Better Ghana is now in tatters.

Email: abkbossman@yahoo.co.uk