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Opinions of Friday, 1 September 2006

Columnist: Asiedu-Young, Bellinia

The Role Of Ideas In Campaign 2008

– our young democracy to the test!

Democracy continues to work in Ghana! In 2008, Ghanaians will be going to the polls to choose yet another democratically elected President. However, an undeniable fact is that within the various political parties, we have a record number of presidential hopefuls vying for the office of the Presidency. Please bear with me, my fellow compatriots, while I make these observations, for I do not want to take these things for granted. At this time, I feel we should be steadfast while we exercise our rights to ensure the right candidate is chosen, notwithstanding personal affiliations we might have with certain aspirants. While we tackle this challenging task, these important questions keep nagging at me……….Is there a price that Ghanaians may have to pay if we do not choose our next leader wisely? Could the 2008 elections be the final solution to Ghana’s problems? This would be assuming all things are equal and fair. My intention is to point out what lies ahead, in an attempt to bring about a discussion of election issues. What I am trying to do here is to lay out some of the options that are open to the Ghanaian electorate – by so doing I am going to try to be as impartial as I can be, if that’s possible at all.

The pressures on our future presidential aspirants are going to be enormous. I have lately made it a habit of picking up comments here and there, and mostly from opinion articles. Our people are politically aware and they are asking to be heard.

Below is a brief recap of what you have been saying on Ghanaweb:

- “Ghana needs strategic planners and committed and honest leaders”

- “There has been rampant mismanagement of public funds and misuse of public office by our public office holders”

-“From what has not worked in Ghana - victimization, threats, torture, etc.” - “Ghana seriously lacks good leadership. We need leadership with a vision and a development plan for forging our progress. We need a leader who can implement policies within the development plan.”

- “We need to stop the ethnic bickering, condemning and name calling we do when people don’t agree with us, or when we think differently.”

What these comments tell us is that the people have lost complete confidence in our system and are looking for a new direction. We are facing a critical task, and this is where ideas come in. Ideas are very important but they are useful only if the candidates are committed to them and are serious about carrying them through. In fact, in a lot of countries, ideas have become the major determinants used to select political leaders, and is one of the best methods used to choose a political candidate. So how do we Ghanaians, this time around, identify that one best person in the midst of so many hopefuls? The answer might not be farfetched.

A closer look at the various aspiring presidential candidates, such as Dr. Arthur K. Kennedy, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Major Boakye Djan (rtd) will show they have developed comprehensive roadmaps of ideas on where they want to lead our nation, with elaborate internet web-sites, stating their ideas and the political platforms on which they are running. They are putting forth specific points on how they are going to move the nation forward, providing us with a clear vision on why they are running for office. The burden now falls on the electorate to determine which of them possesses the character, tolerance and good faith to lead this great nation of ours.

Dr. Arthur K. Kennedy, by all accounts has the required ideas and vision to advance our development, it seems no other declared candidate comes close in laying down their ideas and vision of taking Ghana to the next level. I will humbly advise that you visit Dr. Arthur Kennedy’s web site at www.arthurkkennedy.com to see for yourself. Dr. Kennedy proposes a comprehensive political platform that includes the way government should work for the people, opening up avenues that encourage job creation, addressing the corruption problem and also health and environment issues, among others. “The type of politics where the highest bidders always emerge winners should not be encouraged, “he says. Dr. Kennedy has also stated that, he will run his campaign based on ideas and principles and not insults and personalities.

Nana Akufo-Addo, another promising aspirant touches on issues such as the economy, agriculture and rural development and education, to name a few. You may visit Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s web-site at www.fonaa.org.

On his part, Major Boakye Djan (rtd), has pledged to lift the country out of its present bad state. He noted, “I am burning with such a desire and ideas to ensure that the country, which is a failed state, is made to develop at a faster rate and eliminate poverty. It should not be allowed to turn into the condition in which it was in 1979. I don't want to be called upon again to help restore such a state in the manner which we did in 1979," He also repeated, “"What I intend doing is to be part of a political system, without using the barrel of the gun to fix the problem.”

It is obvious running elections on ideas is very important, and whether one agrees with the ideas or not, it may be helpful for the other candidates to do the same. The next President of Ghana is going to be faced with a daunting task of moving our nation in the right direction. Superficial platforms are not going to work this time around. The constant criticism from the people is an indication past governments have failed the nation and the people are asking for better governance. That is not to say the current NPP administration has not performed well. On the contrary, they have done a lot to repair the rot that was left by previous governments, but more still needs to be done.

My fellow compatriots, there is work to be done, let us be proactive and be informed while we seek our next President. We should ask for nothing short of a good and dynamic leader. We must not take these things for granted. The burden rests on us, and remember - GHANA DESERVES TO DO BETTER!

Bellinia Asiedu-Young

Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada


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