Feature Article of Sunday, 27 May 2012

Columnist: Dzidzoamenu, Isaac

Election 2012 Roadmap For Ghana’s Economic Development

By: Isaac Dzidzoamenu

Ghana is on the cross road of having a major economic development in the West Africa Sub-region and for that matter the whole of the African continent. The upcoming 2012 Election would pave the way for such an economic revolution to be achieved in the history of the West African state.

Some individuals would argue that we are doing well economically by quoting current economic indicators to buttress their point, but in reality, we are not there yet with regards to the flagging nature of those economic indicators. The unemployment level and living conditions of Ghanaian have not improved yet especially in the savannah zone among other regions in the country. This speaks volumes of the fact that the state is lagging behind economically and infrastucturally.

There have not been countries that have developed economically in a situation where bullets are flying over day and night with inherent instability and other minor disturbances. Ghana has issues of infrastructure development, private sector development, agriculture and political stability to tackle head-on in order to bring about economic development to our nation.

With agriculture this current administration has invested a lot which have brought about a drastic reduction in the importation of rice and other food crops into the country. There have been increases in maize, rice and yam production. Mechanization service centers, combine harvesters for maize and rice production and the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities for food production across the country. More than 1 million tons of cocoa produce have been recorded in the history of the nation. The Shea nut factory at Buipe in the northern region would be producing 40,000 tons of Shea nut every year when in operation.

The over 1,000 communities that have been added to the national grade of the electrification projects, production of 376 mega watts of power, building of water plants and hundreds of boreholes provided are successes chalked yet there are still a lot to be than, which stands to reason that a peaceful elections would pave way for more to be done for the good people of this country.

Government is taking pragmatic measures to resource the security agencies in the country. It recently took delivery of one of the two newly acquired aircraft CASA 295 to air lift military personnel in times of emergencies. The commissioning of a Forensic Laboratory for the police service and four newly acquired vessels for the Ghana Navy for the protection or our maritime domain was witnessed recently. Three (3) more aircraft are expected this year including the embraer jet to increase air force capacity for troop’s movement and other responsibilities the military would engage in succeeding years.

The construction of a world class road from Tetteh Quashie round about to Mallam junction which is the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) project, initiated by the previous regime, elimination of classrooms under trees and building of bungalows for teachers just to mention a few are among major projects being undertaken by the current administration. Even with all these interventions, the country is still lagging behind and therefore still need political stability for the needed economic development to be attained.

Let us imagine what might happen to our oil and gas that currently brings at least some substantial foreign capital into the country. We all boast of the oil and gas in the country and want to know how the revenue accrued from these natural resources are used for the benefit of all, forgetting that this natural blessing was discovered in a stable country and therefore stands to reason that we do all within our powers to maintain this peace.

Whenever there is a conflict in a country, government institutions cease to operate, and complete lawlessness becomes the order of the day. Ghana is still on the path of economic and infrastructural development, and strengthening of government institutions like the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and resourcing our security agencies to deliver on their constitutional mandate.

Successive governments in the 4th Republic have performed their best to better the living conditions of the citizenry, but there are still a lot yet to be done for Ghana’s economic development.

Ghana has had five (5) consecutive elections devoid of any hitches or acrimony from any quarters, the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Ghanaians can count on it and is among the best in the World. The Electoral Commission should be well resourced to deliver on its constitutional mandate, which it has performed to its maximum over the past years, so Ghanaians and the International Community are looking forward to seeing a replica of what the Electoral Commission has done in the past to propel the democratic credentials beyond the confines of Africa.

RUPFA would advice that government give the needed resources and facilities to the Electoral Commission that would make the commission carry out the needed exercises on their programmes for a smooth election.

Since the fifth demonstration of Ghana’s democratic capability, there have been a massive inflow of foreign investors into the land with those already here increasing their investment levels, the private sector is also confidently doing well in that regard because of the serene working atmosphere it is enjoying.

Unemployment, abject poverty, raping of innocent women and hunger are fruits of any nation that takes the gun to resolve issues and have no respect for rule of law. The forthcoming parliamentary and presidential election is the litmus test that the Ghanaian community has to pass to emerge as the icon of democracy on the African continent through which spontaneously, we can continue our hard work toward economic development.

The economy of Ghana is now picking up with single digit inflation recorded in the history of the nation, a sign of good and promising economic indicators to be experienced in the coming years. These achievements are being chalked due to the stable democratic political environment that the country finds itself and needs to be nurtured and protected. Election 2012 is indeed Ghana’s roadmap for economic development.

The private sector that includes investors and their industries and companies can never operate in a chaotic environment. Every private sector and small scale businesses in the world over, needs time to grow, so a stable political atmosphere would make these businesses grow to their full potentials. Any political instability would mar the progress and would not allow such small scale enterprises to develop to meet the giant ones.

Development of the Telecommunication Industry in the country is one typical area among others that has flourished because of the stable working environment in the country.

These telecommunication industries have employed majority of our youth thereby bringing employment opportunities to many in the country. If only the nation would continue to nurture and protect the conducive and peaceful working environment, then we should expect more investors coming into the country to boost our economic fortunes.

Instability means there is conflict and lawlessness whereby people cannot go about their normal working duties. Peace is never a sole responsibility of one or two institutions or political parties in the country; rather it is a collective responsibility from all and sundry.

In this vein, media practitioners should know the kind of news to be brought to the public domain that would not incite passion and division which at the end would destabilize the nation. Words are powerful, so utterances made in the public platforms should be checked and it is incumbent on media practitioners particularly those in the electronic media such as radio and television to advise their panelists and ‘serial callers’ on the kind of language to use. However, recalcitrant callers can be dealt with decisively ‘cutting them off air’. The media can solidly be used as a vehicle for peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections through professionalism and the adherence to the ethics of their job.

Whenever there is conflict in a nation, the architects of the conflict rather are protected leaving the vulnerable that are mostly made up of women and children. Messages that would not bring peace and tranquility must be edited thoroughly by newspaper editors so as to have a more refined and decorous language for public consumption. The final messages for the public should also be balanced and not one sided before publication, by so doing the Ghanaian media houses would be contributing to successful elections devoid of acrimony and tension. Television stations should also report on issues that are peaceful.

National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) must try as much as possible to sensitize the public on the fact that irrespective of one’s political affiliation peace should be the paramount watch word in this electioneering season. The NCCE should come up with educative programmes that are peace centered. The messages in these programmes should also be in the local languages so as to have a wider listenership.

Political parties on the other hand, who are main players in this whole game, should be very circumspect in their choice of words. The two main political parties, that is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) should know that mounting political stages or platforms and speaking on radio stations does not mean that they should spew out all kinds of words that would bring tension and division that might eventually destabilize our nation.

Being the main players in this enterprise, it is incumbent on them that the peace and tranquility of this nation continues unabated.

Conflict in a nation would not give way for the citizenry including the politician to go about whatever he or she intend pursuing. Holding political position should not create a do or die situation that the citizenry would have to see bloodshed before one attaining to the high office of the land. The situation in Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Libya and Kenya among other Africa Countries should serve as a great lesson for us here in Ghana.

Religious leaders also have a role to play by ensuring that Ghana is peaceful before and after the presidential and parliamentary election by preaching peace to their congregation. Being partners in development through their interventions in agriculture, building of schools and creation of jobs in the country, they should see themselves as partners and stakeholders of Ghana's development.

Countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom including some South American, Europe and Asian countries are doing well economically because of good economic policies employed and the adherence to the tenants of democracy, “government for the people and by the people”.

By: Isaac Dzidzoamenu