Is Ghana?s success story a ?Miracle? or ?Mirage??

Wed, 29 Jun 2005 Source: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

The peace and ?success? that our homeland is enjoying now should be credited to Flt Lt Rawlings (rtd) and then Capt. Boakye Gyan (rtd) and their men whose intervention on that faithful morning on June 4th 1979 save our country from total anarchy.

Examples of what would have happened was what the international community witnessed in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Congo Kinshasa, Rwanda, and the Balkans. Thus it is important that elements in the ruling NPP should be warned to be extremely careful in their utterances when it comes to the issues of tribe and national security and be mindful of not disturbing this peace.

This writer listened to the interview that Major Boakye Gyan granted to Joy FM live in London ( via the Joy FM website). Although this writer broadly agreed with the notion behind the June 4th coup, which the good major stated that it was to send a clear massage to the Generals that intervening in the political dispensation in any elected democracy is a crime. The assertion by the major that the 31st December Revolution was illegal is quite wrong.

The 31st Revolution, being the last of the coups sent another message to the politicians that they cannot raid the state coffers with impunity. Sadly this precisely is what is happening again. Lessons learnt are soon forgotten. Ivory Coast is now divided into two with the north being controlled by the rebels? What is the underlying grievances given by the rebels for this divide? This is exactly what some mindless individuals in both the NDC and the NPP are advocating for and should be warned by their respective party elders to STOP IT.

Since we embarked on the road to reforms, our homeland once again is being hailed as a model democracy which should be seen as a beacon of hope for rest of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa (apart from Union of South Africa). We now have rule of law that protects any investor or foreign company that wants to set up base in our homeland We have competent members of parliament in both the ruling party and the opposition who are upholding the constitution and enacting laws to push our homeland forward in our quest to achieve rapid development. This foundation stone was laid by Flt Lt Rawlings and is being built upon by the current president. The press in our country are enjoying the sort of freedom that can only be found in mature democracies, thanks to our liberal laws and the essence to uphold freedom of speech.

This writer and various commentators have argue that in spite of this freedom the institution of the presidency should be respected??.it is not the office holder, but the institution as it is, Then the opposition will argue that (with justification) that when they were in government the NPP drag the institution through the gutter (most of what leading proponents of this current government said is on record, and thus cannot deny any bit of this accusations. A very bad precedent.

The success that has been accrue to Ghana since the inception of the Structural reforms is largely concentrated in the urban areas where 43% of the population lives. The majority of the people live in the rural areas where poverty is rampant. This degree of poverty is so marked that the impact on child mortality is quite high and unacceptable. Also illiteracy among the poor is growing larger and thus will seriously affect the process of achieving middle income status. The simple reason being there are very few disposable income to generate the spending that would demand production of goods. Education and creation of jobs is the sure way to facilitate the sort of middle class that the country would need to relied upon in terms of both savings and spending at the take off phase. That lack of middle class and the high incidence of poverty among the rural folks is what makes the success story a mirage. In Northern Ghana, illiteracy is about 70% and this is quite unacceptable. It is the same in certain regions. In some parts of the country school children had to abandoned school to hawk, thus becoming breadwinners for their family at the tender ago of 10 plus. It is true that in most sub-Saharan African societies children of school going age sometimes have to go and sell goods at the market before going to school, including this writer. But the situation have changed somewhat. Now kids stayed on the street from dawn to dust, some not going to school at all, especially in the major cities and towns across the country.

During the time that this writer was growing in his home town of Sekondi in the mid 1970s every child of school going age goes to school. Elders within the community had the right to punish a child who is find wandering during school period without parental consent. Education was the key for most children and young men during the period in question.

It has been acknowledged that the introduction of user fees in health and education as apart of the Bretton Woods Structural reforms deprived a whole generation of Ghanaian children basic education. Uganda, which also adopted most of the Bretton Woods structural programmes in its totality opted not to introduce user fees in education, but rather offered free primary education to all Ugandans, thus raising a whole generation of Ugandans from poverty. Ghana could have adopted the same strategy, but chose not to?and this has been criticised by various academics and commentators including this writer. Thus the success story that we were made to believed were fraud to an extent. What it did was to open up the economy through liberalisation for exploitation by the MNCs of the industrialised West, some going to the extend of stripping down the assets of the enterprises that were taken over.

In an earlier article that this writer wrote ?Can Papa Owusu Ankomah emulate the Asian Tigers by setting a strong socio-economic development agenda in 2008?? this writer highlighted the underlying causes of lack of progress and argue that when Papa Owusu Ankomah is nominated as his party?s flag bearer for the 2008 presidential elections, some of the urgent issues that he would need to address include: Brain Drain, Education, Primary health care, Agriculture (scientific agriculture that is) Drastic agricultural land reforms, Gender equality and access to school for girl-child, HIV/AIDS, which is having a dramatic impact on our productive group, and Remittances and diaspora. And with the NDC, John Mahama, like Papa Owusu Ankomah, another brilliant and thoughtful professional is clearly emerging as the favourite to be the flag bearer for his party. In the aforementioned article this writer replied to the assertion made by Kimberley Louis?s article posted on Ghana Web (30th June 2005) about the issue of leadership.

As it is looking increasingly likely that the 2008 Presidential elections would decided on which candidate would be best placed to move the socio-economic agenda forward, this writer will concentrated on the policies of the likely contenders from the NPP, NDC and the CPP and how they intend to provide a clear leadership. Especially with our association with the Bretton Woods Institutions, a charge that Kimberley Louis made about the lack of vision of our leaders. As my brother and compatriot Bonnar stated in his article ?what should be the qualifications of our next President?? (and a rejoinder that I wrote Ghana web 19th June 2005) the issue of leadership will be paramount at 2008. Both Bonnar and I agreed that 2008 would be a defining year in our nation?s history. Most of us who has been away from the homeland since are teens are now yearning to go and help with the development of the motherland. Most diasporas answered the call of the homeland earlier, others are still sitting on the fence. However all share the same dream of answering the call. As this stage of our development there are talents all over who are willing to forgo personal luxuries in the service of the homeland. Those leaders emerging have the foresight of our earlier independence leaders. The 6 that this writer will concentrate on during the next few months are Papa Owusu Ankomah, Dr Konadu Apraku, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo all of the ruling NPP, John Mahama of NPP, Dr Sekou Nkrumah and Major (rtd) Boakye Gyan of CPP. Ghana is awash with talents and in 2008 Ghanaians will have the opportunity to examined policies in detail and ascertain which of the above mentioned candidates can initiate the take off. Our goal is to achieve rapid socio-economic development by becoming a middle income country by the year 2020. In 2032, Our country will lunch her bid to stage the Olympic Games in Accra.

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

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

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