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Opinions of Friday, 2 August 2013

Columnist: Amankwaa, Afriyie

Where Is The Better Ghana?

Editorial Written By: Afriyie Amankwaa

Ghana is considered one of Africa’s most stable democracies. With a newly booming economy, the Black Star team anticipating the 2014 World Cup, and being listed as the fourth nation in the entire world to visit in 2013 by The New York Times for leisure and business, there was a sense of hope and great pride for the country. Or at least for Ghanaians, there used to be before John Dramani Mahama became the incumbent.

Prior to his presidency, Mahama seemed to bring the spirit and enthusiasm of Ghana’s first leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in his demeanor and knowledge of a nation longing to be “a better Ghana”. Coincidentally, that was the basis of his campaign and its slogan in 2012. The better Ghana would have consisted of a general community immune to corruption, a nation where social development primarily in health and education would improve and catch the attention of the world in a positive light. So, where is the better Ghana?
The better Ghana was supposed to begin with President Mahama’s re-election. In his first speech after being declared the incumbent, he demanded for “all leaders of all political parties to respect the voice of the people” adding that “the voice of the people is the voice of God”. Some Ghanaians felt God was trying to tell them something different; President Mahama and the NDC party are corrupt. As a result, he began his new term with violent protests and was challenged in the courts by the opposition (NPP) for election rigging. It was later proclaimed just by the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and a regional group, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO). According to BBC.co, CODEO released a statement claiming “the result was a generally accurate reflection of the support of Mr. Mahama and Mr. [Nana] Akufo – Addo.” Many observers felt President Mahama’s win was free and fair. In addition, there is a growing concern that the NPP and its supporters simply cannot accept defeat. Yet, President Mahama is still struggling to convince his devotees that he has the capacity to create the “better Ghana” that Ghanaians hope for.
Now, let’s fast forward to June 2013. Ghana is still suffering from an immense amount of drug trafficking from law enforcers and protectors (at least that is what they are supposed to be) from such illegal activity. The Abibimman Foundation, Global Call to Action against Poverty, and International Day of the African Child and Youth all based in Ghana released a statement regarding the negative impact on drug trafficking and drug use. Ghanaweb.com reports the statement included “tackling organized crime and the illicit drugs trade as a shared responsibility which could be achieved by working together with young people and communities.” Essentially, it calls for the Ghanaian community to raise immediate awareness on how drug trafficking not only affects health but impacts Ghana’s stability and socio – economic development. All three organizations push for the Ghana Education Service to “incorporate drug abuse into the schools curricula and provide incentives for abstinence”. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
To make matters worse, the Ghanaian Education System is doing poorly. The African Economist has released a survey ranking African countries by their literacy rate. The rates are allegedly based on the ability to read and write at ages 15 and older. Ghana is ranked very low in this survey, coming in at number 33 out of 54. The fact that Ghana is on the bottom of the survey raises an eyebrow solely because it is not one of the harshly war torn nations in Africa. Playing politics as usual, members of the NPP party quickly blame President Mahama for the deplorable education system. However, this issue affects all of us Ghanaians the same, regardless of political beliefs – a point that as of right now, we have not heard President Mahama drive home.
Briefly stated, Ghanaians are still looking for the better Ghana. The world is watching President Mahama and his reign in Africa. The people need an action driven leader to better Ghana globally, but this starts with locally. Are Ghanaians expecting changes overnight? No. But, they deserve an answer on why their beloved nation is regressing instead of progressing. Forward ever, backward never.

About the author:
Afriyie “Free” Amankwaa is a multimedia journalist and recent graduate of Rutgers University. Afriyie currently works with the Madison Square Garden Network. She also studies under NBC News Veteran Producer Joe Alicastro. She has produced several live shoots such as NBC News’s “Education Nation” and the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Free is a member of the National Association of Black Journalist and has conducted several high profile interviews with Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ and Grammy nominee Bilal, just to name a few.

Twitter - @afriyie_