CPP young Turks are poised to continue their trends, reaffirmed at the 2007 party congress, of taking key positions in the party.
CPP young Turks stand for reclaiming Convention Peoples Party’s historic purpose of empowering Ghanaians to achieve a more just society.
Many were either too young to remember the 1980s harsh economic crisis, when over a million Ghanaians were expelled from neighbouring countries, when Ghana became the only sub-Saharan African country to lose most of her skill professionals, yet there becomes a time when the evidence of the past and present mismanagement of our country’s resources by the “so called elite” becomes so incontrovertible that it is harder to maintain the illusion by the NDC and NPP that everything is under control than it is to face the hard truth – which is that over 12 million of Ghanaians are living in abject poverty.
Speaking to this writer in London, James Bomfeh (another Young Turk returnee), CPP youth organiser said, “We stand for returning our party and country to the people by advancing,
o Basic human rights such as access to good sanitation, clean water supply and electricity. We will ensure by 2015 every Ghanaian home can enjoy the above.
o Offer universal health care for every Ghanaian.
o Provide quality universal public education including primary, higher education and vocational and skills training
o Create jobs for the citizens through private/public partnership
o Equitable distribution of the country’s resources”.
According to James some incredible things happened from 2006 when the effective organisation begun and maintained primarily by various groups within the party. Ben Atta Hayford, another CPP Young Turk said, “CPP is very adept at cultivating a vanguard among the youth. We are training leaders for the future, just as Nkrumah trained the Young Pioneers to offer selfless service to the people”.
CPP has exceptional young people in its ranks who are destined to become the future leaders of our homeland. Ben said “Ghanaians want real change and say they will vote for the CPP and Papa Kwesi Nduom to come and continue with the development started by Kwame Nkrumah.”
Another Young Turk, Kwaku Nkansah, a CPP prospective parliamentary candidate said “Majority of Ghanaians believes CPP would do better on their top issues concern than NPP and NDC”. In fact on their most important issues such as jobs, health care, education and affordable housing, Kwaku asserted that, “Ghanaians trust CPP to deliver on their promises than the NPP and NDC”.
According to James Bomfeh, there is a real opportunity this year to seize this advantage and cement the youth vote as part of the CPP bloc, a bloc that can help the party to win large swats of parliamentary seats nationwide.
“We have found our voice on the issues that means more to the Ghanaian people, by talking about how we are going to fix the health care, addressing the housing issues, including land reforms, reforming the educational system, addressing the disparity between the northern half of the country and the south” Kwaku Nkansah noted.
Kwaku Nkansah explained that Ghanaian youth are intensely dissatisfied with the direction of the country – joblessness, corruption and lack of opportunities, and thus are ready to vote for change. He said CPP represents that change. He went on to say that the harsh economic crisis that hit our country in the 1970s and 80s was as result of incompetence and bad policies. Kwaku said Ghanaian people favour a progressive message agenda by the CPP which is centred on real economic and social issues such as affordable housing, decent health care, sanitation, good drinking water, good transport infrastructure (so that development can be taken to the hinterland) good public education and equitable distribution of the country’s resources.
The assertive crucial role that these young politicians are playing in shaping the future of their country is phenomenal. They are advocating for the meaningful participation of the youth and the 80% poor (The poor have been excluded from the economic benefits of the nation by previous governments) in national politics by actively engaging them in discussions of national importance.
They want to facilitate the development of skills and strengthen the capabilities of young people and the unemployed in the job market. Kwaku Nkansah remarked that the elite party system of NPP and NDC and its oligarchic politics has failed the people of Ghana and hence the reason Ghanaian people are turning to CPP to offer them real opportunities. Kwaku said NPP and NDC are what political scientists call legislative clique, which is they only think about the interests of the elites and not the common man.
Another Young Progressive and the party’s publicity secretary, Kosi Dedey said “As Nkrumasits, we are committed to the socio-economic advancement of our people and country”. Kosi further explained that, “We need to be honest regarding what we can achieve within the existing political and economic structures. We must pursue economic growth whilst at the same time focusing on poverty reduction”.
In the 1990s Ghana achieved high economic growth, averaging 5% per annum. Ghana’s high growth enabled the country to reconnect with the large number of her nationals in Diaspora who responded by investing huge resources in their motherland, however policies that are effective in increasing the income of the poor - such as investments in education, primary health care, and rural infrastructure - were undermined by the harsh austerity measures of the Bretton Woods institutions. For the first time in the nation’s history fees were introduced in health care and education. Income disparity between the rich 20% and the poor 80% increased.
Today’s progressives are different breed to the earlier progressives of the late 19th and 20th century. Today’s progressivism is driven by the values that define morality and selfless devotion to service. It’s a very powerful concept giving the leadership of an up and coming generation of Young Turks (politicians) the tools to make life better for all, irrespective of status and tribe.
According to Ben Hayford, unlike socialists and conservatives, progressives see the world for what it is, accept that it as ever changing world where there are no jobs for life, thus it is imperative that we equip our people with skills to enable them share in the prosperity. Ben stated that, “As progressives and with the tools we have, both private and public, we can solve the problems we have in our homeland within half a decade”.
Ben said “Some people are born into poverty because their parents are poor; the problem is exacerbated by poor education and lack of skills training”. He stated that the children lack adequate education which can hurt the country in the longer term. Most youth use drugs to escape the pain of poverty and joblessness. Ben said the impact of poverty on our youth is frightening. Many graduates have been without earned income for longer period whilst others leave the country soon after graduation. Ben said the higher level of graduate poverty stands out in many urban centres.
Since the 1980s, over 60% of Ghanaians have always been ranked as living below the poverty line due to the Structural Adjustment policies of the Bretton Woods institutions.
Ben Hayford stated that under the CPP administration, the government would raise the minimum wage to ensure that no family is left behind. He said the whole insurance system would be overhauled to ensure everyone is adequately covered, irrespective of status or location. He said, “Many of our people live in humiliating, dehumanising and demeaning poverty which is totally unacceptable”. He said “It is cynical in the extreme for the NPP to talk about giving hand outs when people can be encouraged, with right policies, to earn a decent wage and contribute towards the development of the country”. He said many at times, some of these people go to bed hungry; many are children and young woman, many are homeless. Over 10 million of the poorest Ghanaians lived in households with no basic income.
Ben said the economic reforms of the early 1990s were followed by rates of economic growth that only benefit the top 20% of the population. The exclusion from voice and power of the poor and the lack of willingness to prioritise poverty reduction by previous government has contributed to the high incidence of poverty in the country. Ben stated that a political and socio-cultural aspect of poverty needs to be addressed effectively, especially in the 3 northern regions. He said the north is cut off from economic activities because they lack many amenities such as transport infrastructure, good drinking water, housing and health care. Ben said CPP Young Turks believe in maximizing the freedom of the Ghanaian people and helping them achieve their full potential.
The Young Turks are advocating for many of the tenets of progressivism such as social justice for the poor ( minimum guaranteed wage, affordable housing, cleaning drinking water for communities, good sanitation, rural infrastructure, primary health centre for every village etc).
Kwaku Nkansah said “Our country is at a crucial turning point, a moment of opportunity with huge potential to change for the better, where every one must have a stake in the country’s economic success. We must seize the opportunity of the present moment. We do not have to tell the Ghanaian people they are happier when they know they are poorer. We must tell them the truth and must involve them in developing the country and sharing the rewards equitably”.
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