Ghanaians have successfully scaled through three years of NPP reign and have by the Grace of God, entered the year 2020 with a lot of hope to see what the year has in store for them. The government has made some significant progress but it is not every Ghanaian who is amused and with the NDC hanging around looking for power, everything will surely be given a bad name just to win votes in the next election. To appreciate the progress that has been made, one has to take into consideration the mess that was left behind by ex-President Mahama and his NDC for the incoming NPP administration. Some were payments of nurses and teacher allowances, the unpaid monies due to contractors, the virtual collapse of the NHIS, the mess in the banking sector etc; all involving billions of Ghana Cedis that had to be paid to free the economy to grow. Those who are criticizing the government for borrowing must explain how the government could have extricated the economy growing at three per cent at the time to the present growth rate of eight per cent. The treachery, lies, deceit and vile propaganda will obviously be accelerated as we approach the date for December elections and the government needs to remain resolute and not be detracted by the ugly noises of the opposition.
It is obvious that not all promises of the NPP can be completed within the four-year reign but many Ghanaians are discerning and can easily distinguish between the performance of the past and present governments. The gullible ones will continue to join the chorus of “ewiase aye den” and “yen nyaa hwee” but, my observation is that notwithstanding what progress the government has made, the NDC will never allow the complaints to die down. What needs to be done is to concentrate on improving the free SHS program, take strong measures against corruption, improve unemployment opportunities, double the efforts in road construction and finally put in place a credible voter register and the party will surely retain power.
The free SHS has come to stay but it has many challenges that need to be overcome, especially the yearly increase of students’ intake and accommodation facilities. I do not support the view of some Ghanaians who argue that the nation’s resources are being wasted because the money belongs to all Ghanaians and if it is being used to educate the youth, so be it. It is better to use the money to educate the youth than keeping it for some unscrupulous politicians to steal and bank in their foreign bank accounts. In support of this, I take a cue from the Chinese experience in the building of the Great Wall. The wall was originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang between 259-210BC in the Third Century as a means of preventing incursions from Mongolians and barbarian nomads into the Chinese Empire. The Wall was completed by 11 dynasties and has a total length of 21,196 km or 13,170 miles with average height between seven meters and 14 meters and thickness of wall of 6.5meters or 21.3 feet. The wall, built about 2,700 years ago is considered one of the most expensive, extensive and impregnable construction ever completed by man. History has it that when the ancient Chinese decided to live in peace, they built the Great Wall and thought that no one could climb it due to its height or breach it due to its thickness and the strength of its security.
Unfortunately, they were wrong and during the first 100 years of its existence the Chinese were invaded three times and on each occasion neither the Wall was breached or scaled by the invaders. The enemy infantry simply bribed the security guards and went through the main gates. The Chinese realized much later that the best defense against the enemy was not a fortified wall but a fortified mind or character. Thus the building of human character comes before the building of anything else and conclusively the education of our youth is the most important thing we need to develop our dear nation. This must therefore precede all things and space will not allow me to debate “quality education” advocates but I simply conclude that any form of education is better than no education at all.
The uncorrupted character of the president and his promise to fight it was one major contributory factor to his electoral victory. But the incorrupt character of the president alone is not enough if the perception of the public is that corruption persist and unfortunately is on the increase. Such a situation creates an impression of weakness or acquiescence and every effort must be made to minimize the perception. I believe the recent effort to prosecute the directors of the collapsed financial institutions is in the right direction even though it has taken too long. The perception of corruption in this country is viewed from the political lenses but I beg to differ because corruption exists in every corner of our social life. There are institutions in Ghana known for their corrupt practices such the Lands Department, the Police Service, Chieftaincy, Internal Revenue Department and its agencies, especially Customs Department. Even the institutions less known for corruption were badly exposed when Anas zoomed his cameras on them. Our educational institutions are fraught with all kinds of malpractices starting from entry qualifications to the awards of degrees and enough evidence of corruption exist even within the religious circles. In a nutshell we are all corrupt and unless we take some drastic measures, it would be difficult to predict what will happen to this nation in the future.
As far as the economy is concerned progress is being made and the abysmal performance of the NDC whose economic growth rate was three per cent, has now changed to eight per cent but these figures do not mean much to the ordinary Ghanaian unless something is done about unemployment. The social intervention programmes for employment such as Youth In Afforestation (YIA), YEA, NACOB and others have helped ease the tension but more still, needs to be done to assure many Ghanaians of a brighter future. The deplorable conditions of our roads debunks any claims by the NDC that they fixed them during their eight wasted years in office. Travel on the eastern corridor road, the much touted President Mahama “show piece” of road development and you will regret being a Ghanaian. The recent accident on the Accra-Takoradi trunk road which claimed the lives of 34 Ghanaians seems to have brought to the fore the need to construct dual roads. How sad and short our memories are. Former President Kufuor during his reign (2000-2008) acknowledged this at a time when the number of vehicle on our roads was far less than today. He began the construction of the dual carriage from Accra to Kumasi and by the time he left office, the dual carriage had gone beyond Nsawam junction. When the NDC took over in 2008 the project was abandoned and not even a FOOT of construction was added to what had been done, leaving the untarred portion of the road to breed grasscutters. With the abysmal performance that led to its defeat, the NDC is dreaming of coming back to power, God save Ghana. But can God really save Ghana if Ghanaians continue to pursue their unpatriotic, sinful, corrupt and deceitful ways? The answer is yours.
The strength of our democracy depends on a credible Voter Register and therefore whilst in opposition the NPP made efforts to convince the then NDC Government to compile a new register and provided enough evidence to support the request. The NDC refused because its political fortunes lay in the bloated register and did everything in its power to prevent the preparation of a new register. They are now justifying their resistance on the cost of replacing the old register whilst hiding the real motive. If the NDC’s resistance is accepted, the independence of the Electoral Commission will be meaningless and so will be our democracy. The replacement of the register is the sole responsibility of the Electoral Commission and the NDC should not dictate to the Electoral Commission. When Madam Charlotte Osei was the Electoral Commissioner, the NDC was the “Public Relations Department” of the Electoral Commission and not being able to perform that function in opposition, they are wailing and yelling.
The most unfortunate thing that ever happened in Ghana was the December 31 Revolution and the formation of NDC to propagate its ideals. For how long will this country continue to suffer from the ills of the Revolution? Today even the executioners themselves have acknowledged their mistake and therefore the belligerent attitude of the NDC synonymous with the Revolution must give way to some civility in our body politics. A new register is a must!
By Brig. (Rtd) Joseph Odei