PICTURES Welcome to the town of Juaben in the Ashanti Region - A town with real leadership in the form of the town Chief. Since I am not from Ashanti, I hope readers will realize that I am only doing this for academic purposes and not to praise my town Chief.
As we talk about the economic wealth gap in Ghana and city versus rural areas, and how some school children are studying under trees, and others sleeping in the classrooms, here we have a town in Ghana where the Chief took matters in his hand and offered what I call, and we call Leadership. A friend shared this with me and I can't help but share it and point out that with effective leadership, Ghanaian towns and cities can develop on their own.
The city /town of Juaben has built Schools, Library, a Hospital, Courthouse, a good six miles of decent highway to the main Accra-Kumasi highway, and decent roads within town. There is a reliable delivery of electricity supplied by the town and street lights brighten the town at nights.
This is an example of what can happen if organizations have an effective and caring leadership. Ghana has chosen an elected democracy. Modern day democracy requires elections as opposed to the old leadership system of Chieftaincy. However there is a defect in the 1992 constitution of Ghana that needs to be fixed. Whiles mentioning decentralization in the constitution, the District and town officials are appointed and not elected. We elect a President with constitutional powers to appoint more than 4,000 Ministers, Deputies, Regional, district and Metro chief executives as well as Agency heads throughout the country of Ghana. Most Members of Parliament are not seen in their towns after elections. Some of these are appointed by recommendation of party officials and executives without even interview with the President, as a former Minister confessed. They also have no offices and no contact with their constituents till the next elections time when they have rallies to trump up numbers from the national economy as a bragging point for people to vote for them again. This is not now a democracy works and the last forty years of socio economic development of Ghana compared to nations like Singapore and Korea shows that Ghana could have done far better under proper democracy with effective leadership.
President Mills, a law Professor seems to have realized this and called for a constitutional review commission which completed their task and submitted their work at the end of 2011. To date the President has not made a decision on it and one wonders why. Some question if this is because whiles many in Ghana want full democracy in the rural and town areas, the President and his advisers are reluctant to let go of some of his powers.
The morale and lesson of this is that Ghana can develop if we have effective leadership at the towns and districts. The best way for a democracy to work in our situation may be a joint team leadership with the Chief and an elected Town Mayor who will act as manager of the town whiles the traditional Chief acts as permanent Chairman so far as tradition makes him chief.
It is hoped that President Mills has the good will of Ghana as he often preaches, and he will do the right thing so election of town Mayors and district Chief executives will be done in this year's 2012 elections.
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso (email: email@example.com )
(President, Ghana Leadership Union, Inc./Moderator GLU Forum)