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Opinions of Saturday, 18 August 2007

Columnist: Amaning, Kwarteng

The Role of Ghanaians in the Diaspora

True Change of Leadership in Ghana: The Role of Ghanaians in the Diaspora

Ghana has reached a dispensation where there is a dire need for a change in leadership, and a change in the national attitude and psyche, as a political and social prescription for our sustainable growth and development. The needed change ought not to be principally along partisan lines, as that has the perilous potential of alienating the best brains from the process of national development and growth, but an all-inclusive leadership that does government business in a way consistent with the universal principles of fairness, good judgment, pragmatism, efficiency and results-orientation. It is my fervent hope that Ghanaians look at leadership through the lens of a unifier who has the desire and demonstrable ability and capability to change the way things work in Ghana.

It is acceptable to identify with and to tow party lines during electioneering periods, but what is objectionable is to continue to inject partisan politics in the business of government after elections, and to present the ruling party as the sole owner and controller of government to the extent that well-meaning Ghanaians of different political affiliation serving in government are considered as hires of their party instead of, of the nation. It is morally and socially incumbent on Ghanaians, especially the educated ones, to conscientize the general citizenry about the dangers of the false impression of ownership of government by the party in power, and to get them to think along the lines that our elected officials are messengers and employees of the Ghanaian people. It is about time Ghanaians began to demand accountability from these officials and to make them understand that they elected or helped appoint them to serve and to produce results, and not to be arrogantly bossy and “lordy” over them, and that their failure to deliver amounts to their being shown the red card.

Fellow Ghanaians, we pay the salaries and other benefits of government and elected officials through our tax obligation to Ghana, thus making them our employees. As any employer will expectedly do to any non-performing employee, we have the constitutional right and ability to fire those officials, including the president, who do not deliver through such means as the ballot paper, vote of no confidence, impeachment and activism.

The need to influence the political landscape of Ghana has never been more pressing and stronger. We Ghanaians abroad have developed an unprecedented interest in the way forward for the country in terms of leadership to steer the affairs to the desired and deserved prosperity we all need. Needless to say, Ghanaians at home have also done likewise but their best cannot be considered enough and more is expected until the job is done. While I recognize greater involvement on the part of some, I believe showing interest, by way of being abreast with developments in Ghana, alone without getting involved in the process, as most people are guilty of, is tantamount to an endorsement of the status quo, which we all agree is unacceptable and, to say the least, appalling. It is crucially important that we use the influence we yield by virtue of our remittances to Ghana and our education to help Ghanaian voters choose the right leader Ghana needs at this time. We all have our own circles of influence that can be used to our advantage. It is clear, at least for now, that even though by law we should be allowed to exercise our franchise, while still in the Diaspora, thanks to ROPAA, the reality is we can not participate in the elections as the Electoral Commission claims to be challenged logistically to undertake such an exercise. This means the only way we can let our votes count/influence the elections is to vote through our relatives and friends we either have influence on, or who look up to us in decisions of such nature. We need to be able to do that in every way, shape or form possible to influence the election of a new leadership that veers from the traditional Ghanaian politics of vindictiveness, intimidation, corruption, exclusion and arrogance of power into one of inclusiveness and unity of purpose to achieve the national goal of sustainable growth and development. We need a leadership willing, able and capable of working assiduously, a leadership that is focused and committed to the rule of law and entrenchment of democratic ideals.

One other means of influencing the political landscape is to use the media; we can all write to educate Ghanaians back home and ourselves on issues of national importance and the way to choose the next leadership. We also need to stress the importance of selfless service to our nation and to extend the gesture of appreciation to accomplished, experienced, honest, dedicated, and assiduous Ghanaians like Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and others who have made enormous sacrifices to serve he nation with honor and excellence as a way of attracting such caliber of Ghanaians to follow suit in the supreme interest of Ghana.

Fellow Ghanaians, there is hope for Ghana and we can achieve our goal with the right leadership, attitudinal change on the part of Ghanaians, and a renewed sense of patriotism and altruism. This current political dispensation is a crucial one and we all need to make sure that we elect leaders who campaign on issues and have demonstrated the need to learn the rudiments of governance from scratch, and have proven ability, capability, experience and knowledge to take us to “the promised land”. We need to shun politicians who resort to the old and counter-productive campaign of lies, intimidation, character assassination, empty promises and rhetorics. We cannot fail to achieve prosperity for Ghana if we do not give up. God Bless Ghana.

Kwarteng Amaning
Virginia, USA


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