All-inclusiveness is not just about political appointments

Fri, 1 Feb 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A group calling itself the “Kwame Nkrumah Inspired Citizens Movement” has urged President Mahama to implement the 7-year Development Plan of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. In a statement issued in Accra, the group said the plan will boost Ghana’s progress and sustainable development (Myjoyonline, Jan. 30, 2013).

I agree with the group and add my voice to its appeal. I challenge President Mahama’s administration to act on it immediately to dig up that Development Plan and implement whatever is feasible in it and relevant to our contemporary Ghanaian development agenda. Remember the saying? “Nkrumah Never Dies!”

Undoubtedly, the Great Osagyefo implemented development programmes to actualize his policy of indigenization/Africanization of the Ghanaian socio-cultural, political, and economic regimen, although overspeeding in some areas, making atrocious mistakes in others, and creating enemies for himself thereby.

But his overarching vision for Ghana is still relevant at several levels, which is what this group has drawn attention to. Nkrumah’s infrastructural development programme, especially, holds the key to any effort to alleviate suffering in the country. There must be something special about that 7-year development programme to warrant its being revisited.

Of course, a number of projects initiated by Nkrumah earned the infamous tag of “prestigious projects” from his political opponents in the United Party, but they have stood the test of time. I have in mind the Tema Motorway, Akosombo hydro-electricity dam, Job 600 (State House), Ghana Education Trust schools, and many others that were either being initiated or had just been started when those cowards in the security services overthrew his government. There ended Nkrumah’s vision.

The huge silo project in Tema is still standing there as a white elephant and an eyesore on the Tema skyline. The purposes for which this silo project was initiated are still relevant. Grain storage might be the most obvious one but it could serve other useful purposes for food preservation rather than being left to remind Ghanaians of their post-Nkrumah era leaders’ misguided attitude to national development. This project must be re-activated and put to good use.

Another interesting aspect of the group’s statement is the support that it has lent to President Mahama:

“The Kwame Nkrumah Inspired Citizens Movement wishes to congratulate the President on his winning the December 7, 2012, elections and his subsequent assumption of the High Office of the Land as President of the Republic of Ghana. We wish to convey our heart-felt gratitude to the millions of Ghanaians who went out there to vote to ensure that he became the President.”

And he did not become the President to repeat the mistakes of the past. He was elected to implement policies and programmes to alleviate suffering and move Ghana out of the woods. That was his own message for the first batch of 7 ministers whom he swore into office today.

Congratulating the President on his electoral victory is a clear demonstration of this group’s desire to see peace and tranquility prevail in the country for development programmes to be implemented successfully. Those who still think that President Mahama colluded with the Electoral Commission to deprive their Akufo-Addo of victory can save themselves from more woes if they come to terms with reality.

As for me and my household, we have accepted that reality and moved on. So have the many millions of Ghanaians who aren’t anymore bothered about the temper tantrums on display, even in the dark chambers of the Supreme Court, where the “Apostles of Liberal Democracy” and “property-grabbers” have pushed their grievance, hoping against hope that there is a God who is ready to do a miracle for them with an “Open Sesame” declaration to install Akufo-Addo as Ghana’s President by Christmas this year!!

I am more than persuaded that Ghanaians are more invested in what the government can do with their mandate to solve their socio-economic problems than buying into the wishful thinking that a Messiah would emerge from the Supreme Court’s proceedings to wave a magic wand and rain down manna for them to gorge.

That is why it will be reassuring if President Mahama listens to this call to energize his administration to tackle the problems that have kept the population below the poverty line all these years.

Not only should the government turn to Nkrumah’s 7-year development programme but it must also revisit all others enunciated by the various governments but abandoned. There is much to glean from those disparate development programmes to be put together to enhance the government’s own “Better Ghana Phase Two Agenda.”

For instance, we know of Busia’s Rural Development Programme and how it began being implemented before the overthrow of that government. Although much has been done to extend development projects to rural areas, there is still more to be accomplished. The government must not shy away from development programmes whose tenets are still useful. They should be mined and put together for use in raising living standards.

We also recall Rawlings’ “Vision 2020” agenda, which the Kufuor government jettisoned, replacing it with its own version, which ended up in smoke. Efforts to glean ideas from these development programmes must be made without any delay.

There is nothing shameful about using those development programmes to serve the country’s needs. What is shameful is that the government will waste resources devising development programmes to only end up replicating what is already available but sidelined for unne3cessaqry political expediency.

I have already condemned the negative politics of abandoning development projects started by previous governments just because of political differences. This spiteful attitude doesn’t help the country and must be discarded. That is why it is imperative for this government to make the difference by revisiting some landmark development agenda left behind by previous governments to implement.

So also should it be good for the government to consider closely the development agenda of political parties that couldn’t win the elections to be in power to implement them. I listened closely to all the Presidential Candidates in the pre-election debates organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs. Indeed almost all of them had very laudable development strategies that they can’t implement because they aren’t in power.

Their development agenda can be mined and implemented to boost national development. Any talk of “an all-inclusive government” must not be limited to appointment of personalities into offices only. It must be extended to cover development strategies too. That is why it is really important for the government to re-appraise its own agenda for the “Better Ghana Phase Two” and determine where to fit in the significant ones from the other political camps. It is not stealing of others’ ideas but a purposeful political-economic strategy, which may end up doing much good for the government.

The point is that if it doesn’t do so and concentrates on its own agenda, it may be denying the country the benefit of the others’ development agenda. Generally, I don’t see any major difference between what the Mahama administration has up its sleeves and those of its political opponents in terms of national development. It’s just the approaches toward realizing the objectives that differ.

If anything at all, the obvious difference may be at the political level—that it is the NDC administration that is implementing those development programmes. Putting these political differences aside, we can say that national development will be catalyzed instead.

No matter what happens, it is the public good that will be served if genuine efforts are made to tackle the problems hindering national development.

Those who may easily deride the government as not having a development agenda of its own and scavenging should be disregarded. After all, considering the current political trends, whenever does anybody think that apart from the NDC and the NPP any of the other mushroom parties or Independent Candidates will ever win political power to implement their development programmes?

The government must be determined to tap into all available resources to boost its efforts at serving the needs of the population. That is what this pro-Nkrumahist group’s call entails at a larger level.

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.