Tuesday 4th August, 2009 marked the laying of another milestone towards our quest for a more perfect democracy. It marked the day when Ghanaians, especially the youth, undertook a previously improbable journey towards ensuring that their destinies are written by them, not for them. Men and women, not necessarily of all tribes and political backgrounds gathered together, and with one voice, they expressed how the worsening economic situation in Ghana is having it tow on their individual lives.
Do I commend an effort to express disgust through civil protests? YES I do. Do I also accept the need for a government of the day to be kept on its toes by a strong opposition? Certainly. Do I agree that any reputable organisation in our dear country has a solemn obligation to stand up for what is right, especially when it affects the masses?. Why not?
Yet in all these, I reject with vehemence the demonstration by AFAG on two levels. One being the lack of credible alternatives on offer to the Government, with regards to all the concerns they raised: And two, is the shadows of doubt that linger around the true intentions of AFAG. Is it for the goodwill of Ghanaians, or is it for expediency sake? We have seen before in Ghana, when a group of young Ghanaians stood up, masquerading in the name of CJA only for Ghanaians to wake up to find out one day that they were just on their own quests to seek their parochial interests by demonising their opponents. CJA never really had the plight of poor Ghanaians at heart, but were just a hastily formed click of self-seekers who had no alternatives to Government policies, but were bent on pursuing expediency. Not surprising, most of the leading members, were quickly absorbed into the NDC government and on that day, all they campaigned for was zipped away. I would have loved to see Okudzeto Ablakwa, Omane Boamah, Fiifi Kwetey etc. being firsthand advocates of publishing monthly expenditure or outgoings of their respective ministries at least online, standing up against Mahama Ayariga and Alban Bagbin purchasing state property, just as they stood in the way of ex Hon. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey. Rather, all these former accountability advocates have shrunk into their rabbit holes and for most of them, we will hear from them again in 2012, when the start crawling out (that is if they are not too fat then, to come out through their exits).
It is really sad for people like me, who would have loved join a legitimate group to fight for justice, accountability and human rights, but unfortunately, still with my love for liberal democracy, rule of law and all the core ideals of the New Patriotic Party, AFAG is not really a thing for me. It would have been more interesting if it did not have any political undertones. It would have been more attractive to some of us if it did not had Pro NPP young men as leaders, but rather, invited all young people across party boundaries. A lot could have been achieved for our dear country in that case. Unfortunately, AFAG has already lost its credibility to the treacherous lies and masquerading of CJA, and it will be extremely difficult to gain it back.
AFAG has not been very different from CJA, in the sense that they are only complaining without offering alternatives. The Government claims to have raised the price of fuel in order to service debts already owed, on our journey towards reducing our budget deficit and obviously, having more to spend in the future on job creation. Excellent thought to reduce budget deficit, by working hard to pay off as much debts as possible through cutting government expenditure, full cost recovery at tertiary education level, removal of petrol subsidies etc. but are these the only ways to do that? I don’t know! But that was what I was expecting AFAG to spend time finding answers to.
Young people in Ghana, if we continue to play politics with everything, for the sake of propelling our images politically, we will not do mother Ghana any good. We will only end up selling ourselves lies, just like the leading members of CJA who campaigned vigorously for accountability, yet spent $1000s of our tax money weeks after assuming power on air fare, only to once again come back to Ghanaians to feed us with lies. We will be like them, that say it is wrong for a government official to buy a state bungalow even after following due process, yet it right to buy 5 state tractors if you follow due process.
This is time for young people to get a bit more serious and channel their energies into much more productive ventures. As write now, 100s of 1000s of hectares of Ghanaian farmlands are being sold to young Europeans and South Americans for the cultivation of Sugarcane for producing industrial chemicals and biofuels. This should mean more to young Ghanaians than merely jumping off on to the streets, clad in red and making noise on radio stations without any alternative plans for our dear country being self sufficient. Our debts have to be paid, yes. NDC is right in saying that. We will have to endure pain and sacrifice during the time while our budget deficit is being reduced. No doubt. Even if IMF asked government to freeze public sector jobs, did we need IMF to tell us that? Why can we not just be truthful to our conscience for one second? We all know the apathy, inefficiency and laziness in the public sector of Ghana. The only way to do solve a problem is to arrest the situation, subject it to proper scrutiny and put reforms in place, and in this case, the freeze is 100% necessary. But a freeze in the public sector does not imply a freeze on the intellect of young graduates! It does not in any way dampen business acumen; it rather calls for young people to start thinking of; instead of wearing out their shoe soles, dropping CVs; start calling for CVs.
No one should get me wrong, but for any pressure group to gain credibility after the monkey antics of the CJA last year, it would have to cut across party lines. This is why I advise the youth in NPP(Young Elephants) to arrange talks with the Youth wing of NDC(YAN) and discuss issues that affect Ghanaians of all creed, the ways to ensure accountability on a sustainable basis like monthly publishing of ministries expenditure; job creation, like incentives for young entrepreneurs and youth who have interest in agriculture like myself: and together with one voice, that coalition can take to the street in their numbers and present their case to government.
Wake up, young Ghanaians. Fight for what is right, not only when your party is in opposition, but when it is in Government as well. Join the campaign to empower young people with job creation abilities; stand up against selling our country to enterprising non-government dependent foreigners and let us make us non-government dependent as well. That is true patriotism that is true wisdom.
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