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Opinions Thu, 7 Jan 2010

Mills’ First-Year Performance Report Card

Konongo Fordjour 01 January 2010

How is the Democratic dispensation shaping up in the Republic of Ghana? Nearly ten years into her return to the traditionally democratic practice over the centuries (after years of military vandalism) Ghana has been featured as one of the most promising democracies in contemporary Africa and in the world by far. What makes Ghana interesting is about her historic practice of democracy dating as far back as 500 BC under Old Ghana Empire.

Traditions have not changed since, but the focus has never been properly defined. Although some flash points, such as Konkomba-Nanumba, Mamprusi-Kusaasi, Techiman-Ofuman, Dormaa-Ahenkro, Akwatia, etc. have mostly been nagging land disputes similar to all civilized democracies around the globe, such as Britain’s Northern Ireland, Russia’s Chechnya, America’s Chicago gangster colonies, etc. they have not been serious to the extent of reaching civil war level. There are three distinct administrations, of paramount importance, to Ghana - President Nkrumah’s Ghana, President Kufuor’s Ghana, and President Atta-Mills’ Ghana. The rest have either been short-lived and unimportant in our discussion here; too brutal, criminal, undemocratic, and forced themselves on Ghana; or simply too painful in trying to discuss them.

This report looks critically at the 365 days of the Mills Government’s contribution in shaping Ghana’s democracy. It will NOT compare the Mills’ administration with any of her two senior administrations, Nkrumah’s and Kufuor’s. Instead, it will look at Mills’ Government on its own, as an entity. However, comparative analyses with the two, relative to their similar periodic performances, will be considered as from 10th October 2010 (10-10-10). We begin with the report card below; followed by detailed discussions as to how those ratings were reached. Let us begin:

Area of Assessment Rating Symbol The Economy FAIL X Inclusiveness PASS \/ Jobs DISMAL FAILURE XXX Security *Electoral Violence, Terrorism, Murders, etc *Drug Trafficking MEDIAN Fail Improved ( I ) I X I World Affairs PASS \/ Financial and Regional Diplomacy FAIL X Education MIXED: FAIL/FAIR I Political Comedy to reduce statutory stress: e.g. Ecomini; Ommama, etc. EXCELLENT E = For Excellent E Crime Control FAIL X Fighting Official Corruption FAIL X OVERALL PERCENTAGE RATING 35% FAIL X

DISCUSSIONS

The Economy: The most important measurement of all government ratings is the smart way the guys on the helms of affairs apply to ease the burdens on the nation. Notably, the day-to-day movement of the people in going about their businesses. For example, how easy do the people get petrol to run their machinery to bring food and other services from the rural hinterlands of the country to the city centers? How are the prices of bread, cement, clothes, and chop-bars lately? What is the lorry fare in your area lately? How about the rent situation? How about our school: books, uniforms, fees, feeding, transport, tables, chairs, and teachers’ salaries? Do the general movements in the country in slow-motion or simply, in a stand-still?

One definition of economic performance of a country may be perceived; but others may be physically measurable. I do not want to dwell too much on the economic theories that may not mean anything to the man in the street just like me. Nevertheless, we sometimes hear of national incomes, gross domestic/national product, and so forth. What they mean to us in the street is simple, and that is: How many of us are working, paying taxes and increasing the national coffers?

The larger the national purse, the better affordable the government is in undertaking statutory development projects such as building roads, schools, hospitals, affordable homes; rural electrification, transport, and so forth. We shall look at more of these under jobs below. Did we see anything of the sort from the Mills Government over the last 365 days? NO!

I am going to be extremely friendly with the government because this is only one out of four years mandated to them; hence anything can change for better or for worse. We pray for the former so that Mother Ghana will eventually be the winner. The president himself has also stated repeatedly throughout the year that he is mandated for four years; and honestly we need to bear with him. I agree with His Excellency, the President!

The Collectivist Dictum: One area I have much regards for the Mills administration is its brilliance in bringing women, minorities, and the youth on board of the government. I see two pictures here, though! The young NDC ministers are inexperienced and extremely embarrassing to the standards acquired by the nation. It is the nation’s expectation that some form of correction can be made to set the nation on a high pedestal.

The pictures I see are: one, the president has consolidated his position now and can go ahead to remove Gwevlo Lartey, James Agyenim-Boateng, Samuel Okudzeto-Abrakwah, Zita Okaikoi, Koku Anyidoho, Alex Segbefia, Mahama Ayariga, etc. and fill the positions with smarter and more experienced folks to produce.

It looks like most of our articles are working because the buffoonery that the NDC trailed along to the national seat seemed to be steaming off. If the president pays attention to the warnings from both far left and center right arguments, I see a very productive Mills Government. A productive NDC will be hard for the opposition to unseat it in 2012. However, the opposite is also extremely possible, given the potentiality that behooves over the NDC group’s destiny as synonymous to failure.

Although the NDC government has not fielded any of the brilliant opposition parties’ personnel, who are in the NDC good books, the larger percentage of women in higher positions is impressive. For example, we have the Madam-Speaker, Honourable Lady Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, and many other women ministers of state. The president should also try hard by reducing tension and improve on his strongholds this year with inter-party relationships, such as recruiting experts from the other opposing parties to produce, for the sake of our country.

The second picture projects a stubborn Atta-Mills defying all odds to maintain his veranda-boys ministers. They can be switched around to gather skills from many departments with periodic visits to overseas for short training, such as the one rumoured about the NDC camp in Boston-USA. The main reason why President Mills would want to maintain his current young poor performing male and female ministers is that they were the very same young energetic people who had the winning master plan and will give another winning strategy for Mills in 2010; and not the Gunman Jerry Rawlings’ old destructive campaign crap. The reader may dispute my observation here; but elections end with the result pronouncements by the Electoral Commissioner that finalizes the winner. And the winner is the one who receives the most results, less the rejected ballot papers because of the complacent opposition man’s refusal to be vigilant on the voting day.

The other reason may be that the young ministers, perceived to be poorly performing, can become most psychologically torturing recalcitrant robots such as those that operated in Malawi and Zambia that dealt with their respective corrupt former presidents. President Mills’ boys may not be far away from dealing with the Gunman Jerry Rawlings. In my February 2009 article titled: “Amidst Abuakwa Trials and Tribulations, Kwaata is Whirling at Crossroads”, I forecasted the possible direction of the Mills Government in the first term; and offered some advice to the Government, if it needed it. Also, I commended the president’s move to track down politically motivated murderers from the Three Judges era to the Yaa-Naa era. Political developments in 2009 points directly to a possible Chiluba-Muluzi style of disciplining former presidential crooks, such as Jerry Rawlings. The first term in office might not be good enough; and they may hang on until winning the second term to finish hard. Overall, however, the president’s inclusiveness strategy is a plus.

Job Creation and Poverty Alleviation: The Mills electioneering campaign attacking waste, largess, and poverty; and promising jobs seem to be deceptive. The Government has been complaining of meeting empty coffers; yet diapers and MP luxury car funding was easily sourced. This is the area that the Mills administration has fared extremely poor. The Government has been extremely discriminative in driving away Ghanaians from public toilet investments and replacing them with NDC card-carrying folks.

Instead of the Mills Government creating more jobs for the unemployed, it simply replaced the employed with the group’s unemployed sycophants. The employees of the existing cocoa spraying exercise were also replaced by the NDC sycophants; as well as the replacements made at all the country’s hospitals with elevator contracts awarded to best performing professionals by the previous government. Apparently, the NDC definition of job creation differs from the standard definition.

Earlier in 2009, the nation witnessed numerous Government promises of sourced funds from the IMF and the World Bank, purposely for creating jobs. A year has passed and sadly, the Mills Government seems painfully quiet over her much dramatized world-class loans in their several billions of dollars that never arrived home safely. The Mills Government is too noisy, desperate, and out of smart governing strategies. For instance, there is a much talk about issue of the discriminative NDC planning to polarize our beloved country along ethnic militarization. This issue will be revisited under security.

Meantime, permit me to signal that in its desperation to ward off some pressures inherent in its lies in the campaign message, the Mills Government plans to satisfy its supporters to some extent and blame the rest on NPP and global economic recession. This minimum employment requirement must be achieved so that the militarization strategy can be used to boost the winning master plan; more especially in a political milieu in which the opposition is deeply buried in personality confusion.

But does the Mills Government need to be desperate over job creation? In my recent article, in two series, titled: “Loans and Economic Resuscitation, Where is the NDC Job Creation Plan?”, I advised the Mills Government to concentrate on rural agribusiness investments, which apparently, tended to fall into deaf ears. Nevertheless, President Mills does not need to go and beg for money from overseas to initiate investments. One easy strategy is to sell crude oil futures, secure US $100-billion, and invest in corn production in the vast land in the northern sectors of the country. Corn is the fastest selling commodity in contemporary derivatives markets.

Corn sells for $4.00 per bushel right now and the global demand for the commodity is extremely high. The USA wants corn for ethanol production, animal feeds and human consumption; the United Nations wants corn to feed refugees from war-torn and disaster areas. The world report on corn demand points to trillions of bushel in a year. Right now, Ghana has a secured order to supply the United Nations with 20,000 tons of corn per year; but still cannot do that. The nation keeps crying over hunger while enjoying absolute peace! Shame!

Farming is getting expensive to manage in the USA soil; hence commercial farmers have directed their moves towards Brazil, which supplies less than a fifth of what the US needs for itself alone. The US also is the hope of the world out there supplying nearly 40% of world corn demand. The world corn managers demand at least 100-billion tons of corn immediately, in case of unexpected global hunger of the late 1930s magnitude preceding the second world war, striking at our time. Ghana is blessed with more than two times corn producing seasons in a year and should not be poor.

A nation that chooses to be poor is not because it does not have world-class economists like Dr. Cadman Mills, Dr. Kwabena Duffours, genius Tsatsu Tsikatas, warrior Kofi Awornors, and so forth. Rather, it is because that nation is ruled by visionless people, with no clue as to how the nation’s human resources can be effective put into productive limits. Atta-Mills’ job creation economists are miserable failures. [TO BE CONTINUED]

Konongo Fordjour Koafordjour@yahoo.com

Columnist: Fordjour, Konongo