If whites can vote a black Man into power ....

Wed, 26 Nov 2008 Source: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

... in the name of Change, why can’t Ghanaians vote for change in their own country?

To whom much is given, much is expected. Ghana though endowed with tremendous resources for a country its size, still remains a poor country. Ghana is poor due to several reasons I won’t bother to enumerate. I won’t enumerate because the reasons are fairly obvious to the average mind. The causes have been discussed ad nauseam. Now we seek bold solutions! It is worth mentioning that bad governance is not the least of telling reasons why we continue to be shackled to poverty. Then came the NPP!! The NPP rode to power amidst high hopes agitated and calibrated by festering promises that were hard to refuse. After all, we’ve been to hell and back with Rawlings and his coterie. Change we cried and change the NPP promised. A better Ghana for all its children! Is that what we see now? I thought we were going to eat cake! Instead, we are gasping for cassava bread. Lord have mercy!

After eight years of NPP shenanigans, what really have we accomplished? A presidential mansion in the midst of searing poverty and hunger? And if you think I am making this up, follow that news. Ten million Ghanaians living on $1 or less a day? Yet we pay thousands of dollars for the jolly junkets of this lazy president? The NPP vice president wept bitterly when he went home to convince his tribesmen to vote for the very party that has neglected his folks thus his poverty/sympathy induced cry. Where have you been MB? Is insanity not doing the same thing and expecting a different result? That the NPP has been a poor steward of our scant resources cannot be denied. Never has a government in Ghana been so profligate against a backdrop of moaning and wailing from the poor and depressed people.

Under the NPP, we’ve seen the ordering of luxury jets and cars for the ruling elite. Presidential mansions have been refurbished at staggering cost even as our kids continue to study under ailing trees. Crony capitalism is festering like wildfire even as the taxpayer gets kicked in the groin with bills upon bills. There is no accountability whatsoever. It is as if the inmates have taken over the asylum. Ministers who no longer hold power continue to occupy government houses and thumb their stinking nose at the taxpayer. Why this crippling paralysis? What is the president paid for? This government is not upholding its fiduciary responsibility. If I had anything to do with it, I will let them pay with interest, the cost of their residency. Not only are we paying to support people who no longer work for us, we have to pay for incompetent people who replaced them. Such double whammy is too bitter a pill to swallow. Who really is in charge of this country called Ghana? How can those who are supposed to uphold the law violate it so blatantly? No wonder hopelessness has led to the eruption of churches and dingy fetish shrines. Our people have no where to turn to but religion in this sea of immense need.

The NPP has shown itself to be unaccountable to the people of Ghana. It is for this reason that the Freedom of Information Act has died a slow death under the hawk eyes of this corrupt bunch. The president has started parking his stinking belongings into the new presidential mansion but see no need to tell us how much it cost. His sense of timing is so silly and the attitude blatantly arrogant. Why move into a house and then move out again in a month or two? Given the simple mind of Kufour, I am not surprised. After all, it is this same kind of self centered reasoning that has led to very bad priorities for the country. And I want these NPP folks to note that no amount of accolades festooned on Kufour by our slave masters will make Kufour a gem in our eyes. We, Ghanaians, are the only ones who get to decide Kufour’s legitimacy and effectiveness. Why? Because we get to live the harsh realities of his inanities. Therefore, he is better off seeking legitimacy with us instead of his slave masters. So far, he is not getting a passing grade. Not even from NPP partisans and self conferred medals notwithstanding.

Given that Kufour has failed to move the country forward by growing it from within, it is hard to fathom what Nana Addo will do differently. Ghana needed a different direction and Kufour could not deliver. As it stands, Nana Addo is veritably the McCain of Ghana. And it is not a coincidence that the NPP mirrors the conservatives in American politics. For sure, Nana Addo is not Barrack Obama! It is hard to accept and even believe that, Nana Addo will depart from Kufour policies, just as it was hard to believe that McCain will operate differently from George Bush. After all, Nana Addo was part of Kufour government and helped saddle us with the current boatload of misconstrued priorities. He voted more than 90% with Kufour. Try as he may, Nana Addo cannot convince us that he has any new ideas or solutions. If he did, why did he not pass them on to Kufour for implementation? Why did he not resign if his suggestions rang hallow with his cronies? Why did he not speak up for the masses? A man’s character ought to be measured by where he stands in times of discomfort not what goodies he enjoys with his cronies.

Why didn’t Nana Addo even try to bring some changes to the ministries that he governed? What happened to the numerous criminals who stole us blind? Why weren’t they prosecuted? Nana Addo’s promise to bring about change and get things done remind me of McCain’s promise to find Osama Bin Laden when elected, even though he could have conveniently given his magic formula to George Bush to help catch Bin Laden. For 8 years McCain knew how to catch Obama but kept the golden recipe to himself. Tweahhh! I bet McCain will be president now if George Bush had successfully found Osama! Unlike Nana Addo, Obama did not have to wait his turn. Obama was also not charged 25,000 dollars to run on the Democratic Party ticket. Obama run because he was free to run and his party did not believe in a line of succession based on political longevity. This is what I call Meritocratic Democracy. After all, democracy is not chieftaincy! Obama has no royal leanings and was only able to run because of the American system. Obama’s party believes in work over wealth. Merit is what got Obama in and I am not convinced that Nana can make that case. As far as I am concerned, this one trick pony called NPP has outlived its usefulness and must be shown the exit. Hopefully the door will not hit the elephant where the good God lord split it. Walai!!

The NPP has failed on several fronts even as it continues to pile up untold debt for future generations. This window dressing of uncoordinated low impact loan resourced projects will not fool some of us. Projects undertaken only because it benefits the partisans or out of necessity is not the hallmark of a forward looking government. Ghanaians are tired of living like slaves and paupers. All Ghanaians must be given a seat at the table not just party faithfuls, cronies and unrepenting tribesmen. We are tired of being told that we cannot know how our money is being spent. We are tried of being told that we can’t move from the politics of tribe and chieftaincy. Yes we can! Poverty need not be a cradle to grave proposition. Our development need not rest on the shoulders of outsiders who have enough on their plate. Our future surely does not rest on the institution of chieftaincy. We must develop from within and it will take a lot of real hard work and better planning than these lazy elite are willing to do at the moment. For far too long, we’ve allowed these corny and slimy tricksters to pad their stinky pockets at the expense of our progress. We surely cannot continue this way. We need change and must demand change. But we surely will not make progress if we can’t ossify around pocket book issues instead of tribe and this culture canard.

Change, as shown by Barrack Obama’s campaign, does not come easy. The people in power are not ready to give up power even if it guarantees our forward momentum. When election time rolls around, what we get is a fresh brew of puffed up promises that will and can not be kept for all intents and purposes. We must fight and die for the change that we need. And by fight, I mean neither arms nor violence. What I mean is standing up for our rights and questioning authority at every bloody turn. Nothing much will change if we don’t vote these people out and demand the change that we need now. If whites in America can vote for a black man in the name of change, why can’t we vote for ourselves to bring about change? If Blacks, whites, Yellows and people of all colors can unite and vote for change, why can’t Ghanaians of all tribes come together and vote these jokers off? We fail our nation terribly if we don’t stand up and vote on pocket book issues. We must cage tribalism and all the other divisive -isms in this election. Let us convince ourselves that change based on stirring pocket book issues is possible! When we come together, there is no telling what we can do.

The best mind altering drug, is truth, says a wise man. The NPP must be told the truth and shown the door. The question is who will take over when we kick the bums out? My answer is this, anything is better than these self seeking arrogant and corrupt politicians who imprison us in wicked and suffocating local systems while they, like fat seals, live outside the very system they hatch. So, I urge Ghanaians to try any of the minority parties. Ghana will not perish if we vote these parties into place. Even if it means sending a head whacking message to the NPP for now. Indeed, the best outcome for our upcoming elections will be voting in place, an amalgam of all the fragmented minority parties. This way, we will have a much more collective group running the affairs of the country based on the needs and dictates of our people. And if the new group fails up to live up to expectation, we will throw them out and invite another set of leaders. We must not hesitate to throw out any group of bums till they understand who they work for and what needs to be done.

My friends, the worst message we can send is to vote the NPP back to power. The good people within the NPP party cannot make any significant change. Without exception, most of these good NPP folks have been marginalized and shackled within the party. We don’t want cosmetic change and we can’t wait for the NPP to reinvent itself. I doubt seriously if the NPP has anything better to offer beyond what Kufour has offered. Their philosophy and mindset is not good for a developing country like ours. The only way to make the NPP better is to throw them out and let them look inside from without. This will give them the realization they need to prepare a comeback that can only be better for us. The NPP will have to do what the Republican Party is now painfully doing in order to latch on to the needs of the people. They will never do the kind of introspection that the party needs if we keep them in power. Never! Just like the Republicans!! In the end, it is the needs of our people that must determine where we go not the wishes of a few self centered politicians. Throw them out at all cost! Please vote for change in Ghana!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman

(Also known as the Double Edge Sword).

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell.

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka