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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Columnist: Aka-eri, Francis Aka-ebila

The Promise Of A Better Ghana

It is common practice that when our politicians knock on our doors and scramble for our votes, they come with a mouth full of promises. But now it is clear at least to some, that most of our politicians seldom believe in what they preach.
Yet, they can hardly say the truth for fear of losing votes. So with veiled promises they come to us again and again, knowing well that even in a hundred years their promises would not yield any rewarding results for the people. The people therefore have every right and reason to remain cynical about politics and the role of politicians in their lives as sons and daughters of Africa.
When I was a little boy, my skeptic father openly called every police officer a thief and every lawyer a liar, even though he had friends who were revered lawyers and policemen. Consequently, this depressing perception of such prominent professions stayed glued to my mind. In fact, even with my unwavering appreciation of what they do for our country, the endemic glare of corruption and the sweltering incompetence in our political circles sometimes irks me to want to believe in my father's long held cynical views, well beyond their confines.
Our politicians are quick to tell us what we want to hear, instead of telling us the truth, about the challenges we face as a nation. Some of them are blind leaders with egotistical minds, yet when they promise to achieve certain milestones in their first term in public office without us lifting a finger; it sounds good and feels good, which ultimately sweeps most of us into their nets without question. Proudly, as we queue as the electorate to cast our votes to elect them, we also shoot ourselves in the foot by not really scrutinizing their true potentials. And when the elections are over and the offices filled with those we have chosen, we wait and wait endlessly for the miracles to come and often they never come, because words alone cannot make miracles happen nor turn our lives around.
The truth is that no single politician or political party has a silver bullet solution to our problems. We just have to bite the bullet and return to our roots to embrace the spirit of self-reliance and hard work to dig ourselves out of this pit of indigence. However, just as each politician has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, each political party also has its own strengths and weaknesses. Hence, what we need is a harmonious combination of all these strengths firing on all cylinders at the same time to get our economy booming and consistently growing, as it should.
To achieve this goal, however, the major issues of our economy aught to be on the ballot for the electorate to choose which political party or politicians they trust enough to handle some national issues. For instance, if a political party or politician is chosen by the people to handle a ministry, then the ruling party is mandated to work with this elected official(s) or political party to get the job done right.
For example, if the NDC were deemed capable of handling national security and voted by the people to run this sector, then the ministry of defense would be handled by them. Similarly, if the NPP were chosen for education, then they too would be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the ministry of education is providing quality education for all. In my opinion, these elected functional wings if well managed, will get all parties involved in the development of our country at the same time, while preparing them to hit the ground running when finally elected to fill the shoes of the president and ruling party.
When these burning national issues are on the ballot, candidates should duly present the electorate with an action plan outlining the following:
1. How they are going to handle the ministry
2. How they are going to self-reliantly fund their projects
3. When would they evaluate their projects and report to the president and nation?
4. What contingency plans have they in place to ward against failure and ensure success?
5. Are they willing to volunteer and serve their country without counting the cost?
Although this is not an exhaustive list of strategic ideas, an approach like this would provide a platform for our opposition parties to actively get involved in nation building and prove themselves worthy of the seat of government. It will also help the electorate understand our politicians and political parties well enough to decide who is indeed capable and fit to lead.
Hence, the promise of a better Ghana is not just in the hands of our government and elected officials, but first in the hands of our electorate that stand to cast deciding ballots to determine the destiny of our nation.
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Francis Aka-ebila Aka-eri