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Opinions Wed, 19 Aug 2009

Follow Up – People Of Ghana Let’s Wake Up

By Kwamina Mbra Panford

I am writing a follow – up to the above article (GHP: August 7th 2009) because of the tremendous comments made and my sincere concern for our dear nation. I feel very strongly that if we all work together, we could really change Ghana for the better. I listed some of the problems not because Ghanaians were not aware of them but for the fact we have to concentrate our energies to push the government to resolve them to give the average Ghanaian a fair chance in life. I can bet that most Ghanaians including Mill’s fanatics were shocked when parliamentarians were given $50,000 loan to buy vehicles!!! We all made a little noise in our pigeon holes and the parliamentarians smiled to the bank with their $50,000. One of the comments which made me write this follow – up was; “everybody can point out what is wrong but what about solutions?” in the August 7th article, I wrote: “free school uniforms policy begins in September (daily graphic 6/20/09). President Ahta Mills you know full – well that this is going to be a fertile ground for corrupt gov’t contracts for party hacks – (my solution) let the parents buy their own school uniforms and free them from directly paying school fees.” Everybody knows that corruption is our canker and so the President has to reduce the opportunities for corruption. Lo and behold: (Tuesday - 8/11/09 - PCFM) “Chinese firms get school uniform contracts.” Our fathers used to say “o yi wa” – here you are. During Ghana @ 50 celebration, the Kuffour gov’t did the same thing when the gov’t awarded the clothing and T shirts contract to the Chinese. This is sad. No, this is very very sad.

Fellow Ghanaians, believe me, the solutions to our problems are so naked. If the gov’t sincerely wants to cut down on rice importation to conserve our foreign exchange (Ghana spends about $700 million per annum on rice importation) we have to:

1) Closely monitor and help Aveyime Rice Project e.g.: give them good rice equipments for them to improve the quality and quantity of the rice.

2) Make imported rice more expensive by increasing tariffs

3) Cut down on the number of import licenses as local rice improves in volume and quality.

4) Intensively encourage Ghanaians to patronize the local rice by making them aware that in a reasonable time, this will help Ghana conserve our foreign exchange to support our hospitals, schools, road construction etc.

I find it very disheartening (I guess I am too emotional) to read from the Ghana Home Page (GHP) that Ghanaians are insulting each other for being Ashantis, Fantis, Ewes and so on. Our problem is not tribalism. Our problem is the blood – sucking politicians. They have taken the people for granted. We have to organize pressure – groups to put genuine pressure on the politicians. Are you not saddened when you read “school records 0% BECE pass for 8 years “? – GHP 8/8/09. This means for 8 good years, no pupil has passed what we used to call “ Common Entrance Exasmination” to go to a secondary school!!! What chance does a child who comes from that village (Anyinam Kotoku) have in making a better life? In 2001, I wrote in my article “Where are we going?” that “in Accra, 6 year olds are sitting in front of computers while children in the villages don’t even have chalk and slates to write on.” The gap is widening. God has blessed Ghana with so much and yet the politicians are making us miserable.
Columnist: Panford, Kwamina Mbra