In the next coming months friends and supporters of Papa Owusu Ankomah in United Kingdom and North America will travel to Accra, Ghana, to persuade this humble politician and devote Christian to run for the office of the President in 2008.
From his humble back ground in his native Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah, like his predecessor Late Kwasi Lamptey of Progress Party, he has been the voice of the voiceless and an advocate of the poor in his beloved hometown of Sekondi.
Despite the ongoing debate about corruption in public life, thankfully there are talented, tireless and honest individuals in Ghana like Papa Owusu Ankomah, Hon Osafo Marfo, Konadu Apraku, John Mahama of NDC and others who are dedicated to the eradication of poverty and squalor that most Ghanaians find themselves in.
During the period that his party was in opposition Papa Owusu Ankomah spoke with the poor, the working men and women across his home region, the Western Region, to discover how they were coping in the face of dire economic hardship and how the New Patriot Party can help them when the party gains power. This was as far back as the early 1990s when Ghana was being hailed an ?African Success Story? by the Bretton Woods Institutions and the International Financial Organisations and their supporters.
In his time on the opposition benches in Parliament, Papa Owusu Ankomah portray the plight of his people and argue passionately that what can take Ghanaians and not only the poor in his hometown out of poverty, is to make access to education easy for all children as well encouraging creation of jobs by the SMEs.
Papa argue that persistent hunger, malnutrition and under employment and unemployment, income inequality and poor health are not isolated factors but they interact with each other, thus exacerbating and deepening poverty.
Papa stated that without the government setting a clear and concise poverty reduction strategies to fight poverty, then sadly the country cannot achieve her goal of Vision 2020 in our life time. Papa called for involvement of all including the diaspora community in the nation building.
During his time as a lecturer at Takoradi Polytechnic in his home region, Papa saw how children of school going age have to abandoned school to hawk in order to enable their parents to get money to feed them and their siblings. This experience moved the honourable MP from Sekondi. Instantaneously Papa devoted his time and energy to fight social justice for his people and thus setting himself up as the champion of hard working men and women. Papa argued that by creating more jobs and encouraging wealth creation that the huge income inequality and poverty can be overcome.
Papa to some degree is following the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor, Late Kwasi Lamptey who was the deputy Prime Minister in the short lived Progress Party government.
This writer?s late parental grandmother benefited immensely from Dr Kofi Busia?s small scale industry project, a project that has been close to Papa Owusu Ankomah?s heart, that the only way to help move our country forward is to initiate such projects countrywide. President John Kufuor?s Presidental initiative partly reflects the benefits that Ghanaians would have gained if the government of Dr Busia was not overthrown by thugs who paraded as saviours. This writer is non partisan, but rather studied the economic policies of the parties and on reflection argue that there is not much difference between the policies that ex-President Rawlings adopted and what President Kufuor is pursuing. The difference is in the presentation. Before the petrol prices were increased (after the 2004 elections), this writer was among those who advocated that the subsidies on fuel should be removed in its entirety while at the same time making public mass transportation easier to ease the pains on the working people and the poor. This is commonsense as those who use most of the fuel are the urban rich who can afford to pay for their fuel. Why should the government subsidise them? Many Ghanaians are still struggling to make ends meet and the income disparity between the urban rich and the rural poor is as great as ever.
It?s a national disgrace that after almost 50 years after independence our country is still being aided. Aid forms over 50% of our Gross Domestic Product and our national budgets are subject to approval by the Bretton Woods Institutions.
It?s a national disgrace that children have to abandoned school to take up work in the farms or to hawk or to work as labourers ?Kaya Kaya? in order to help feed their families?children becoming breadwinners. This was unheard of when this writer was growing up in his home Sekondi. Papa Owusu Ankomah has seen the deterioration of services in his home town of Sekondi-Takoradi (the twin city).
It?s a national disgrace that school children have to carry their own chairs and tables to school in order to be able to study. When this writer was growing up, Sekondi-Takoradi City Council supply chairs and tables to every primary, middle and secondary school in the Sekondi-Takordi Metropolis. This writer vividly remembers those officials who come round to schools to check for any damages to desks and chairs and are replaced with a week, the latest being fortnight.
It?s a national disgrace that after almost 47 years of offering free education for our Northern brothers and sisters, there is still over 67% of illiteracy and poverty in that part of our country.
During the campaign for his first term in Parliament in the early 1990s Papa Owusu Ankomah met families who work hard in his hometown of Sekondi but yet struggle to pay the school fees of their children, struggle to pay their bills. These families cannot save up for family crisis such death in their families because all their resources goes into food, bills and school fees, hence cannot build assets for that rainy day or emergency.
It?s a national disgrace that the houses being built are beyond the means of our workers, Police Officers, men and Women of the Armed Forces, our teachers and lecturers and others. As President Kufuor prepares the stage for his successor, we the friends and supporters of Papa Owusu Ankomah will plead with Ghanaians to unite behind this committee to persuade the Home Affairs Minister to run for the Presidency. Let us unite behind this humble and God fearing son of the motherland and the values that he hold. They are good values. Those are the same values behind Dr Kwame Nkrumah?s push for independence, Dr Kofi Busia?s project of self empowerment and President Kufuor programme of building a better Ghana. Let us make our voices heard loud and clear to the King Makers of the New Patriotic Party that we want a candidate that the nation can unite behind him as we prepare for the take off towards the nation?s VISION 2020 Project. Encourage your friends, family and churches to join Papa Owusu Ankomah to continue the reforms when the President leaves office in 2008.
God Bless our homeland Ghana.
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