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Opinions of Friday, 21 October 2016

Columnist: Nana Akwasi Sarpong

Election 2016: The voter’s manifesto

Woman casts vote.      File photo. Woman casts vote. File photo.

Elections are very important especially in representative democracy where electorate elect their own officials to authoritatively allocate and distribute scarce resource in the Country.

Ghanaians especially registered voters have a role to play in shaping the future of the country through participation in elections.

The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties such as voting in an election.

This article addresses issues and things that voters should take into consideration.

This article is without any partisan inclination and motive, but seeks to enlighten voters to look far and think critically before settling on which candidate or party to vote for.

Employment/Job creation should be a priority for every voter irrespective of age or among the working class in the forthcoming election. Ghana’s population is a youthful one and hence every political party that seeks to create job is in its right direction.

Unemployment in recent time has reached its peak. It feels bad and disgusting to hear Unemployed Graduate Association. ‘As I sit by television or radio and hear these vibrant and energetic youth sit at hope jobless I am unable to find hope for the future’, said by a mother of a graduate nurse who has stayed home for about four years.

I also share the sentiments of environmental health nurses, community nurses, health assistance, unemployed graduates and many other who have been laid off as a result of unstable electricity supply and high tariffs.

The fortunate ones who are employed earn very little that does not correspond to the high cost of living in the country Government cannot employ everyone in the formal sector but what needs to be done is to create an enabling environment that will allow private/individual companies to strive.

These enabling environment will help these private sectors enjoy economics of scale and can employ most of our youth. The incumbent government is on record to have created millions of jobs contrary to the speculations by most Ghanaians especially the youth. The question I ask is; where are the jobs?

Research by policy think tanks such as Center for Democratic
Development (CDD),Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research(ISSER )have warned and predicted that unemployment among young people particularly graduate have reached unacceptable levels.

I am of the opinion that these unemployment among youth have peril consequences if pragmatic solutions are not found. We need a government that will create employment and make job available to the citizens, a government that will create an enabling and conducive atmosphere for industries to survive, a government that will solve Ghana’s long power crises for industries to produce to its full capacity, voters should not look beyond money that will be spend on them only for them to cast their vote but a party that will give them jobs to enable them prepare for the future Education is very essential in every nation especially in developing country like Ghana.

Education could be the only way for governments to eliminate people from abject poverty. Ghana’s educational system has been a checkered one especially at the secondary level. A good example is the four year secondary education by the NPP which was later reversed to three years by the NDC for reasons best known to them.

These interference does not help the development of our education. We need a government that will let professionals and able technical men in the educational sector to reform our educational system. We need a government that will shift our education to just passing exams but one that will shift our curriculum to both theoretical and practical work.

Technical and vocational education is also relevant because it will help unearth talents and potentials who may not be academically inclined. Teachers play key roles in developing and training of students. We need a government that will be committed to the welfare of teachers and respond to the needs of our teachers especially those in the rural areas where there are no classrooms and teaching materials.

Electorates should vote for a party that will be committed in channeling resources to the tertiary level of education. We need a government that will reduce tuition fee, motivate staff both teaching and non-teaching. We need a government that will improve on the existing infrastructure and build new ones to train university students practically to meet the demands of industries.

The conversion of Polytechnics to technical universities is a step in a right direction. We hope they are not mere paper works and the vision for its conversion is not cut short in the future.

Education of the girl child is very important since the girl child is very venerable and prone to ills in society such as early marriage, child labor, prostitution and others. Education of the girl child will enlighten them and help develop their potential and bring out the best in them. We need a political party that will be committed to women empowerment.

Anti-corrupt government is one of the essential ingredient that voters should look at before casting their vote. In the past years there have been series of corrupt practices by government officials where necessary steps and actions have not been taken against them.

Politicians that spend state resources for their personal gains (resources that could be used to build hospitals, schools, roads etc.) are mass murders and should not go free. In Ghana less attention is given to government officials who engage in such malfeasance. It often turns out to be a battle between the media and these official and fade out as the day go by. Legal actions are not taken against them and in cases where commission of enquires are setup their reports are not implemented wasting the tax payers money

Many experts in governance and anti-corruption organizations are of the view that until the attorney general is separated from the ministry of justice government officials who engage in corrupt practices and misappropriation of public funds will go free because the government will not have the political will to pursue these cases to its logical conclusions .Perhaps if the government goes against its own official its integrity will be in disrepute. Ghanaians must vote for a party that will be committed to ensure that there is sanity among government officials.

A government that will pursue cases to its logical conclusions and ensure that elected representatives are accountable for their actions and eradicate this social cancer of corrupt practices. One of the key concept resilient economy and sustainable development is good governance. We need a government that respects the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balance. We need a government that will not interfere in the activities of the security agencies and public institution.

A healthy body is a healthy mind. The health of citizens play a critical role in national development. Voters must look forward for a government that will expand health infrastructure, reduce maternal mortality and make health services accessible to all people. We need a political party that will strengthen the NHIS so that all essential emergency drugs and surgery is covered Election is ironically refer to the choosing between the lesser of two evils but there is hope for the future if electorates vote base on policy and not on ethnic, clientilistic politics, physical appearance and other material characteristics of candidates. We all need a good government, jobs, robust economy, better and quality education to enable us unearth our potentials.

Nana Akwasi Sarpong
nanasarpong389@gmail.com