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Ghana Is Doomed If ....

Thu, 5 Oct 2006 Source: Kwaning, Martin

Susan Lyne, the President and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc, once said, “Nobody is perfect. But you can create a perfect team if you celebrate what people do well and complement them with people who have different talents. If you celebrate what people do well, it’s like giving them oxygen and they perform way beyond your expectations”

The furore that has greeted the CHRAJ findings on Dr. Richard Anane - Minister Of Roads leaves much to be desired. Instead of celebrating with CHRAJ for embarking on their constitutional-mandated functions and given genuine suggestions on how they could improve, we turn to crucify them.

The proponents of Public and Civil Service concept have maintained the need for State institutions to serve the people with the best of their ability. Arguably, State institutions are the bedrock of every country’s development.

A Professor once said, “destroy State institutions and you destroy the soul of the Nation”. A spokesman for the Police Relation Directorate in an interview granted to an Accra Radio Station on 2-10-06 said “ if we continue to treat and question the method used by the Police Service and ridicule them in the public domain then the country is doomed”. Unfortutanately for Ghana, frequent military takeovers have dislocated the direction of State institutions and as things start to change for better under our current democratic dispensation, the signal that is emerging from a section of the public gives a concern for panic.

It is a very disturbing situation when after the CHRAJ Reports those who should know better are behaving as if they have been given “a commotion injection”-which to the best of my knowledge there is none.

CHRAJ has been given all sorts of names and even some have branded this noble institution useless. I am not for one moment claiming that I totally or partially agree or disagree with their Findings on Dr.Anane. But when a constitutional body makes it’s findings and you do not agree with them, the most sensible thing to do is to echo your stand with evidence to counteract their findings in a decent manner. At least a Press Conference or an interaction with the media in a mature way to state your case will be better than the vigilante posture that has been adopted by a section of the public.

When State Institutions are branded in such a manner, it discourages qualified and dedicated individuals from serving in such institutions. It is totally unacceptable the way and manner some individuals disregard and cast all kinds of insinuations against State Institutions; I am truly convinced that they have some cynical motives-to paralysed state authority and entrench their wish.

On countless occasions it is reported that even the second most important state institution-Parliament – called certain groups or individuals to either appear before them or respect their directives and those concern have ignored this important state institution directives with much impunity. Our inability to appreciate the workings of state institutions is what is bleeding corruption. When majority of the people presume that they can get away with crime, the middlemen solicit for money and justice is buried.

In the civilised world, state institutions are respected, you flout their directives at your own peril for, the consequences are more harmful. The Food and Drug Board gives directives on how Food and Drug vendors should conduct their activities to conform to the laws of the land and all kinds of people are anxious to lynch this institution to death. There are so many ways to address your concern in our current democratic process if you think your rights have been infringed upon, and it does not do you any good by insulting state officials through the media just because you do not agree with them.

I strongly believe that Politicians have contributed significantly to the current mistrust towards State institutions. For when you have Politicians who vociferously attacked state agencies, and considering that their actions are infectious, you give ammunition to ordinary Ghanaians to also attack these institutions.

Not quite long ago Mrs. Rawlings, the Former First Lady, was quoted as saying that she does not trust the Judiciary and the Police Service, what Mrs.Rawlings failed to realised is that almost all the top people in those institutions- she now have no confidence in- were appointed when her party NDC was in power.

When a section of the working class goes on strike and a constitutional mandated body instruct them that their strike is illegal and therefore they should rescind their actions, these groups will not budge. I can say from hindsight that so many strikes and demonstrations have taken place in the country when sadly all the necessary channels of addressing their concern have not been exhausted.

Frankly, the way some Student bodies, identifiable Groups and a few Ghanaians show disrespect to State Institutions is unhealthy to our quest to develop as a nation.

When investors from the outside world realize that we place no regard towards State Institutions, they think twice if they want to invest in this country. No country can develop when there is mistrust and paranoia towards State institutions, admittedly, it demises the soul of the Nation to shine in the midst of current Global challenges.

However, some state institutions are part of the problem, for many years, they have failed to embark on changes to conform to global demand, this, by and large is what necessitated the NPP government to create a whole ministry under Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom to spearhead the re-structuring of some of our State institutions. State institutions have been perceived as antiquated, dysfunctional and alienation, seriously, a sound public institution is a prerequisite for a buoyant nation building and therefore the establishment of the ministry is in the right direction.

Workers in some of these State institutions are obsess to change and will do all things to stifled reform, I will not mince words, Dr.Nduom has a huge mountain to climb if he is to succeed in reforming our State institutions, but I think a sincere dialogue, devoid of prejudice and instability, could convince them to understand that reform is for their eventual benefits.

So many state institutions are performing below expectation, either because of lack of the right calibre of people or lack of tools to work with. They have continued to use outmoded data, equipment etc. It is a general concern in Ghana that workers are ill paid but it is unthinkable why Ministers and Directors will sit down for workers to embark on strike before calling them to the negotiation table. When there is continuous communication and the true situation of the National Coffers is made known to workers union, they will at least appreciate the difficulties of the government. But when Ministers attitude seems to be “Bazooka style”, workers will presume that there is some money laying somewhere, which should be given to them. Not surprise, some leading members of The Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT-currently on strike) are championing the fact that when the Doctors went on strike, the Government found the money to pay them and therefore they will continue their strike until the government find the money to pay them, they bemoaned, “who teaches the Doctor? Am sorry, NAGRAT, but this statement is unhealthy and does none of the parties any good.

Equally disappointing is the manner some media houses, which frequently set the agenda for all kinds of people to castigate our State institutions. State Officials are human and when they err, it is our collective responsibility to give suggestions to them. When we continue to show mistrust it invariably gives ammunition to coup makers to take advantage of the situation and launch their diabolical activities with the pretext of saving the country, but they end up doing worst than those they overthrew.

When state institutions are powerful, efficient and respected, it sends the strongest signal to all that you cannot mess about.

I will equally urge Officials in State Institutions to be circumspect in their dealings by serving the people with the best of their ability, for when persistently they show signs of ineptitude and misdemeanour it makes the public to be hostile to them.

Ghanaians have the finest chance to let democratic institutions work and all things must be done to protect our current freedom and respect for the rule of law. Indiscipline society profit no one, the time is ripe for all to put away our political uniform and build this nation together irrespective of which party is in power.

For once let us cease the unnecessary attack on CHRAJ, EC, POLICE SERVICE etc.

MARTIN KWANING
MITCHAM, SURREY
LONDON. UK


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Kwaning, Martin