Opinions Fri, 29 Jul 2011

Living The Mills Dream.

Whoever decides to stand out and solicit for votes to rule a nation like Ghana might have a plan, a vision and a dream he or she will be looking forward to. A dream he will love to see come to pass or have a feeling that one day it will come to pass.

Just a few months after the 2008 elections which saw the umbrella chasing out the great elephant into the bush, the new president of Ghana; prof John Evans Atta Mills granted an interview to one of the world's most powerful media houses, CNN, where he made known his expectations and dreams for Ghana. The new president was hosted by cnn's Jim Boulden and there, he answered questions relating to the current state of our nation, the future and his plans or dreams for the tomorrow of Ghana.

Having just returned from campaign his vision and plans for which Ghanaians voted for prof Mills were still fresh in his memories so one will expect that the president would have laid out concrete plans, visions and strategies to achieve these goals.

I watched the programme with a level of expectation waiting to hear all that the new president had under his sleves for my grand parents, my parents myself and my children. At the end of the interview I was sad. If another election was to be held on that day I would have voted against president Mills. Did you say why? Ok just wait.

Jim Boulden asked our president: you've just been voted into power, what are your expectations and what do you intend to do and what do you say about the current global economic downturn? A smiling president Mills answered and I quote: "At the moment we are a bit fortunate, in the sense that our two main exports, gold and cocoa are not doing too badly. But of course I think it is a matter of time. But I think the current global economic downturn will have serious repacursions for us. We expect a reduction in donor funding, a decline in trade, we are already experiencing a reduction in remittances from our countrymen in the diasporah. We expect interest in investments, we may be winning a lot in our country but clearly we are not insulated against the adverse effects of the current global economic downturn."

It was a long interview but for the sake of the space let me highlight the points raised here for now. The correspondent wanted to know the plans of our president foe Ghana as the new president. My expectation was not met. The president's response was that, our traditional source of income which has not really changed the lives of Ghanaians was not doing badly. I dont know how you see it, but that to me was not a plan. The president was smiling that we are fortunate because the cocoa and gold was not doing badly. Every Ghanaian know we have gold and cocoa. What was (then) and is (today) the presidents personal plan and dream for Ghana. Here our president showed where all his hope is. All his hope is the Sir Gogisberg style of funding. Carrying Raw materials abroad for sale, nothing else. This is a visionless statement from someone who wants to carry Ghanaians for four years. This kind of governance have made all African nations beggers. And this has been the hope of our president.

I suggest strongly that we added quality to our products before exporting them and this will not only earn us more foreign exchange but also creat employment for our people and I expected that our president could bring such suggestions on board. This old system of selling our materials raw to the west has never helped us. It force us into submission as we look forward to them every year for better trade policies which never come.

The president on his second point said that he was expecting donor funding to reduce. Is this all the vision he has? Looking forward to help from donors? Our president on this note failed badly. What help has donor fundings been to us from Nkrumah's days till now. I was expecing our president to declare a production age for Ghanaians not a beggers age of looking for funding everyday. I dont know how I sound to you but I believe what can transform our lives as Ghanaians is generating income from within through investments in areas of production and skill development. That is one reason I like Nana Addo. Dont make it partizan, am just being frank. His constant stand against this Gogesberg system of governance and his strong desire to make Senior High School education free is a step in the right direction. His conviction of skill development is a key that will open doors of success for Ghanains and Ghana.

Our president on his third point noted that he expected a reduction in trade. He said it right, because trade trends keeps changing every year to the detriment of the developing world in which Ghana finds itself. Here I expected president Mills to have added how he planned to stand against such happenings. Which is to have pledged a strong government support for local industries and push towards ensuring that our home made products will gain respect and admiration locally and possibly export a fraction of them abroad. Here excuse me to say our president had nothing to put on the table. Instead in these few years he has been in office, many private businesses are colapsing. Even petty traders have had their own share of the persecution of private sector investors by government machinery. In other places government directly fund private bisiness, but in Atta Mills Ghana their (private interpreneurs) moneys are called dirty money. The recent rage against Kingdom Herbal and Yafo Yafo is a good example. The numerous taxes and levies has not also helped the situation at all. Did you read about the articulated drivers block of the Bolga Tamale road? It was due to high increse in their levies. Fishermen are also crying. It shows a clearly visionless leadership which is shooting itself in the foot, because a progress in the private sector would have gone a long way to ease life for the common Ghanaian and earn the government a lot of commendation.

The high cost of living Ghanains are experincing today as confirmed by our former first lady; Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (wife of NDC founder) is as a result of a leadership which lacked a dream and a plan to follow.

She said and I quote: “By the time you leave here, you will find out that Ghana is one of the most expensive countries on this continent today. Very, very expensive. We have to find a away of knocking that down,” she stated. "If we cannot go into serious production. I think that we are going to have a lot of problems.” “If we are able to go into massive production of various things or in various areas, it will help reduce the number of people who are not working because I have a vision but that vision is to see that young people are employable and are employed because it is possible." “I believe the economy can be run differently.” “We have to put young people to work and we have to train them so that indeed they can be put to work."

This is exactly what Nana Addo has kept repeating everyday and to be frank with you I admired this comment from the former first lady. Mills is lost on all these but 28 biilion cedi according Awuku, has given him the nod to lead their party again whilst the woman who has conceived all these was disgraced in the open in Sunyani.

We are living the dream today, it was the type that called hardship for Ghanains. A dream of looking forward to donors everyday whilst they pile debts on our heads. A dream of just exporting raw materials without engaging in any peoduction which at the end has increased our unemployed population. I dont think Ghanaians shoild be surprised anyway because NDC came to power preaching the Holy than Thou slogan without laying daown any concrete plan or programme. We are living the MILLS dream.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

Noah Dugubrame Asare.
Columnist: Asare, Noah Dugubrame