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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Columnist: Prof Lungu

Nduom can bring progress to Ghana – Except!

“…The 7-Year Development plan proposal of the CPP is a good idea. So is the idea to allow the people in the districts to freely elect the District Chief Executives and the Municipal District Executive. But there ought to be goals, targets, and schedules for even more “Campaign Ideas.” In that context, www.BetterGhana.com needs to be retooled to offer a more comprehensive agenda for Ghana, beyond (1) more efficient government and (2) government support for the private sector. A government can be “highly efficient” and not do zilch for the people or the commonwealth. Efficiency does not necessarily connote accountability, transparency, or timeliness. Efficiency does not necessarily avoid the Tragedy of the Commons…that is at bottom of Ghana’s multifaceted development and administrative tribulations...,”(Prof Lungu, 29 April 2008)

Generally, I do not respond to Mr. Peter N. Jeffrey's comments or pieces because in the past, the Peter Jeffrey “moniker” has been one of the characters on Ghanaweb, albeit a minority, that have sought to bring down this forum, into the mud, practically, with what many will consider invectives and postings without any redeeming value, whatsoever. But I understand that Ghanaweb is a community of commentators, with virtual sub-communities. I also understand that communication here is a three-way street (the commentator, the responder, and the passing reader/fence-sitter).

Recently, I articulated in detail with Black Hero and others concerned about the “Gain from Brain Drain” question (Ghanaweb, 25 Apr 08). Black Hero expressed some strong opinions on the last piece by Peter N. Jeffrey. I figured that I would provide some thoughts as a response, to see if we can agree on a few more scores this time around. It is a no brainer that the more “characters” articulate to an issue positively, the more useful Ghanaweb as a forum will become. That is a useful goal, if you as a reader care one way or the other. The sociologists and communications experts call that “Validation”!

Prof Lungu cannot hold brief for Nkrumah or CPP of old because Prof Lungu is not a historian in/of the Ghanaian tradition. But Prof Lungu is a tad knowledgeable about other important things and remembers the sense of national feeling Nkrumah inspired in Ghanaians, before and after. Mostly, it was positive, progressive, and dynamic for the new and evolving nation-state, Ghana. If you do not believe me simply ask Dr. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr. when he is his objective self!

It is elementary. We must not/cannot underestimate the international political (external) environment under which CPP of yester-years had to operate. And where you are “Adikanfo (Pacesetter) there is practically no road map. If you use the US as an example, during the same period, US government agents did things that we can safely say are as anti-democratic as any, today. American citizens will not condone those things today but they did not care or have access to that information back then. This is 2008. Even communist Russia is now experimenting with free market enterprise and the current administration has some great love for China. Free market enterprise is relative. Ghana was more capitalist, just, and free, back then, than today’s China.

Going forward with Black Hero’s point, it is hard for me to imagine that “There are a lot of unanswered questions about Nkrumah,” nearly two generations and still counting. If there are a lot of unanswered question, pray tell, how are we going to get to the bottom considering that the coup plotters did not bother to secure the evidence, but instead took time to destroy them? Can we say that the coup plotters and military dictators who overthrew Nkrumah did to the evidence what the current administration does to ceased cocaine and other evidence? And is it coincidences that today, in 2008, countless people believe that many individuals now in the NPP were behind those coup plotters and military dictators who overthrew Nkrumah? Are they some of the same people who destroyed all the evidence back then? Be my guest. But we digress!

From a non-historian, the verdict of history is clear to me at this point:

1. Nkrumah is the Father of Ghana, simple, stupid! 2. Ghana has not seen such a leader since his overthrow, a leader who has the sense of duty to carry on the national agenda in a fundamentally Ghana-centered way 3. The grand vision of “balancing market efficiency with social justice (to) create a better society” is a practical vision, it is part of the Nkrumah tradition, but it is not solely owned by Nkrumah, the CPP, or any other party that likes to “talk”.

ITEM: All that talk by Mr. Nduom may not mean a thing. It may not inspire millions to support or vote for the CPP unless there is a compelling message at bottom that addresses the historic reality of corruption and the “perception of corruption” in Ghana. That is the biggest negative with the current administration, in addition to lack of transparency. Mr. Nduom was part of the NPP administration. Perhaps he was too busy fixing things to talk about “corruption and the ‘perception of corruption’.” Mr. Nduom must now provide a loophole-proof, multi-faceted plan to deal with all that public mess and thrash.

In addition, there are two items closely associated with a strong “public” position on corruption and the perception of corruption. The way I see it, a politician who wants to be the president of Ghana cannot just complain about corruption and the perception of corruption. That is, to put it jovially, the job of Mr. PC Ofori-Appiah –MP, unquestionably the most important critique of the NPP administration on that score. It is also the job of all of us on Ghanaweb, including Prof Lungu. It is as well the job of Mr. Sallas Mensah, Chairman of the Public Accounting Commission (PAC), as he waits for the PAC findings to be prosecuted and implemented by Attorney General Joe Ghartey. (It can be more serious!).

Closely associated with a strong “public” position on corruption and the perception of corruption are strong public positions on (1) enforcement of the Asset Declaration Law and (2) passage and institutionalization of a strong Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. These are two other areas the government of Ghana has failed Ghanaians. They are items any individual who wants to be president must address concretely, with plans of action.

Considering all these requirements, the NPP administration probably has no chance considering they have had almost 8 years to make a difference and chose to ignore those requirements. Those are the only areas that can set the competing parties apart from the NPP beyond “talk.” But even the NPP can probably make a dent if they quickly fire Attorney General Joe Ghartey and put someone in charge who will objectively articulate to these requirements in a transparent way. But it is a tall order for the NPP – they would also have to reverse the Dr. Anane appointment, announce that Chief Justice Wood was wrong, and publicly apologize to Ghanaians.

Mr. Nduom on the other hand can talk all he wants about “balancing market efficiency with social justice (to) create a better society” for Ghana. If Mr. Nduom cannot lead in the fight against (1) corruption and the perception of corruption, (2) enforcement of the Asset Declaration Law, transparently, and (3) passage and institutionalization of a strong FOI bill, then we may want to conclude that he will probably be no different than others in the NPP who have had over 8 years to make positive change in these areas. If Mr. Nduom cannot lead in these areas, his team will probably be no different from those in the NPP considering that he freely chose to join them. (Observe that Mr. Nduom will not be running the government as a solitary soul).

It is a new Ghanaian World Order. There is nothing simplistic about it. It is public-mission, it is Ghana-centered. It is the type that must compel responsible action to move Ghana beyond the current smoking mirrors and darkness being conducted by the NPP administration. This brings us to the other matter. The other matter goes with “Taxes,” as in payment of taxes by Ghana’s Chief Executive and officials. Point is, it ought to be a transparently-shared-burden. Fortunately, we do not even have to squander time “talking” about altering the Constitution to address this item in a Ghana-centered spirit: Ghana’s President paying income tax ought to be the rule, regardless of what the Constitution says. How else can the President inspire others to pay their own income taxes?

So it goes!

ITEM: Send us your email address for your copy of the MP3 song/recording, “FOIB – Are You Pickable? (Please type “FOIB - GHP 04/27/08” as subject).

Send to: professor.lungu@yahoo.com

Prof Lungu Tokyo, Japan 30 April 2008


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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