Hey, Little Dramani, Hands Off My Daughter's Crotch!!!
The normal trajectory of good governance is progression or development; but in Ghana today, what we have is an avoidably shameful climate of rank regression. That such political regression would be expediently couched in populism, is all the more to be immitigably decried. Well, it began with the propagandistic promise of a one-size-fits-all cheap uniforms for some of our public elementary schoolchildren by the erstwhile Mills-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
And then the late president's successor and former arch-lieutenant, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, promised the distribution of a pair of shoes,each, for all our public schoolchildren, almost as if to cavalierly imply that parental responsibility no longer counted for anything in the scheme of our age-old culture of parental responsibility and respectability.
And now, one again, President Mahama has come out with a partial educational policy entailing the importation and distribution of sanitary pads to our schoolgirls, especially those resident in the most deprived areas of the country. I would not be surprised, if tomorrow the Bole-Bamboi chieftain unveils a plan aimed at taking up the monthly rental tabs for the target parents of this tampon scam. For that is what it is, a veritable scam!
I also have yet to hear the Mahama government define precisely what it means by "deprived areas of the country" (See "Kwesi Pratt Backs Free Sanitary Pad Initiative, But...." MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/3/14). That this cynically populist policy initiative comes at a time when we are being told that the NDC-fangled Cash-and-Carry healthcare policy is back in full-swing at missionary and other private health facilities around the country, primarily because this government has perennially and consistently failed to adequately fund the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP)-initiated National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), ought to swiftly and vehemently provoke all the national outrage that it deserves.
Is the Mahama government, for example, telling Ghanaian couples and parents that they can just go ahead and have as many babies, girls and boys, as they desire and not worry about the daily upkeep of these offspring, merely because they happen to reside in the most deprived areas of the country? You see, when I frankly and boldly talk about the abjectly regressive era of ATINGACRACY, as opposed to democracy, government-sponsored reprobate media wags and demagogues like Mr. Kwesi Pratt would rather have some part of my body delivered on a diamond platter and gobbled up by the freeloading GYEEDACRATS of the so-called National Democratic Congress.
The managing-editor of the Insight newspaper ought to be frontally made to fully appreciate the fact that a World Bank loan is not a gift or a grant; which simply means that such funding ought to be wisely put to use in the form of measurable long-term investment. In other words, I would rather have our legion Sugar Daddies and satyriatic politicians pay for the sanitary pads of these underage girlfriends and mistresses.
Not long ago, for instance, a well-known Ghanaian parliamentarian and member of the ruling government bought and shipped a brand-new Mini-Cooper automobile for his 16-year-old girlfriend right here in Bronx, New York. Just as this past March, a presidential staffer who was just the other day named to the most lucrative cabinet position in the country shipped four brand-new Mercedes Benzes right here from the Bronx to Ghana.
In short, I would rather have the bulk of the $156 million World Bank loan facility which, by the way, is mere peanuts in the context of palpable development of Ghanaian public education, go squarely into the construction of school buildings and textbook and curricular development. Let the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection pick up the tab for the sanitary pads by passing a bowl around and taking collection from our parliamentarians and executive political appointees for that purpose.
Then also, the reported $ 15 million of the World Bank loan that has been earmarked for the provision of some ten-thousand scholarship awards to senior high school-bound students amounts to a grossly misplaced and utterly misguided policy initiative. Take such scholarship money out of our oil revenue, just as the hard-earned monetary wealth of my cocoa-farming grandparents and relatives went into the provision of free education for Ghanaians in the "most deprived areas of the country" for more than a half-century and still counting.
And, of course, the dear reader is not too naive not to fully appreciate what a barely coded phrase like "deprived areas of the country" means.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 3, 2014
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