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Opinions of Thursday, 13 November 2014

Columnist: Akwah, Nana

The Ongoing Discussions And Brouhaha On The Tier 2 Pension

Politics, Government, Governance is about people and their development, not violating laws/rules and breaking the rules or rights. The Ghana Constitution and all other Legislative Instruments enacted by the Parliament must be given a chance to work.

The ongoing discussion and impasse on the Tier 2 Pension which deals with Act 766 on its relevance and application must be encouraged. Until changes are effected the instrument it must operate as it is.

For such allows the ventilation of diverse views in efforts to seek understanding and establish a good governance mechanism or system the citizenry can be subject to.

There is something that bothers most people always about almost all politicians. That concern is their attitude towards the people. It is one of the few things politicians at ALL levels of government in the country now have in common: a snappish DISRESPECT for the people who elected them!

For sure they tell us BEFORE the election how they will be “transparent”, open the books, make public reports we paid for and answer all kinds of questions about policies, procedures, performance and practices.

On the contrary ONCE they get into power, ALL of them now move almost immediately to shut down public or press inquiries, access to publicly-paid-for reports, documents and all others, save for press releases, propaganda and press meetings.

Either it is at the metropolitan level, the regional level or the national level, governments of ALL political colors are known to OBSTRUCTING the public more than ever from obtaining details about how, where, why and how much PUBLIC monies are spent. They prevent us from seeing documents behind, supporting or criticizing various policies or even accessing some very basic program details and data.

Why? An example of what we have on hand is the Tier 2 Pension brouhaha confronting the country.

This is an attack to the dignity of our democracy, our freedom and our right to know. And I believe this arrogance and disrespect for the public by governments and politicians so often reported by the media is contributing to the waning of trust. What is the point if, whoever you vote for, turns their backs on you if they win and dismiss any interest you might have in following, knowing or, God forbid, investigating their decisions, actions and behind the scenes maneuverings.

It is our money they are spending. The public should have the RIGHT to all documents, reports, studies and analysis “We Have Paid For”. The ONLY exceptions would be personal or legal matters, etc.

On the other hand, the politicians know most of the public … even those who vote … by far get engross or preoccupy after elections by other undertakings in their lives, at work, at home, with friends, family, sports or even what is taking place elsewhere in the world.

So WE let them get away with it. For the reason that they have their way except on Voting Day we are on the whole ineffective.

BUT so do the media. And this should not be the case! If I was still working, I would have taken pleasure in taking up the cause of freedom and asking those who matter and the President at every opportunity questions. There is a whole range of hard-hitting questions that should be asked over and over. We should also demand from the politician reasons for their twisted answers reported over and over. It should not just once and then accepted and allow them go on to cover it their press meetings and press releases. It is then the politicians learn it is the PEOPLE who will set the agenda and the politicians who will be exposed over and over for their duplicity, arrogance and disrespect for those who elected them.

If the media at anytime and any level decides to take up this cause in unison and FOUGHT for the public’s right to know and not just occasionally mention its breach but doing so over and over, every day or every newscast, in every newspaper I want to believe the politicians will get OUR message. The constitution guarantees the “Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual.” This protection is consistent with United Nations Declarations. Out of recognition for this vital aspect of man’s development and peaceful co-existence, the society needs to be advised whether the present disregard means it ought to be excised in constitutional change, or, if not, why the current political leadership is not being held accountable for respecting us.

It is known constitutional violation occurs on both sides of the House. And this will continue so long as we are prepared to cherry pick issues rather than hold every elected official accountable.

The call for change becomes meaningless without the call for elected officials respecting the constitution. The demand for change must start with us demanding of them to comply with this instrument, Act 766 and all other enacted by the Parliament.

The media should take up this public cause with any effective tough-questioning reporters they have left and close their ears to the Rented-Propaganda-Press.

We Must Know And Understand That NOTHING Moves A Politician More Than Public Pressure!