By Kwaku A. Danso
Isn't it a shame that an African-American President of the largest economy in the world would call another “brother” African President in Africa, and there is nothing better they can talk about but narcotics trade through Ghana! According to the report published on Ghanaweb, and Joyonline of April 11, 2009, “The White House says Obama phoned President John Atta Mills on Friday to discuss fighting the narcotics trade that threatens West Africa. Obama also praised Ghana for its democratic process, especially considering recent coups in Mauritania, Guinea and Madagascar”.
Of all the problems we have in Ghana, from lack of infrastructures that will help offer opportunities for our nation to stimulate our economy, to the basics we lack such as decent distribution of water, electricity, roads, health care facilities and crimes, is it quite possible that the one that affects America the most is the drug trade. American leaders think of what affects their people first and foremost and that is the way it should be.
Obama, the first African America for the job described as the most difficult in the world, and obviously under lots of pressure, in the first 100 days has worked hard and got the US Treasury to stimulate the American Economy by some estimated $800 Billion to $1 trillion or more to help Financial institutions, Banks, Automobile manufacturing companies in dire financial stress, and to stimulate the housing crisis; Mr. Obama has also signed executive orders eliminating discrimination on pay between men and women, and to release prisoners captured during the Bush era as suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of the war on terror. He has attended and offered leadership in solutions among the world’s 20 most industrial and financially dominating nations, visited NATO allies in Europe to strengthen US relations. He has issued executive orders with plans started to beef up security and the Western war against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last week, certain indicators seemed to suggest that the US economy may have hit the bottom and may be turning around, in just 100 days. As the Somalian ocean pirates captured Americans citizens, Obama’s administration is doing their best to rescue the Captain of the Ship. President Barack Obama is an open and articulate communicator, and he never seems tired of interacting with the people who voted him into power.
Mills, on the other hand seems locked in the Castle like perhaps the slaves might have felt, seemingly incapable of even getting out or getting started on any of the many campaign promises politicians make. Mills’ own staff and party are under attack for simply doing their expected work in confiscating government vehicles that a simple Executive order would have solved. President Mills sits in the Castle knowing that Ghana has an $8 Billion accumulated debt collecting interest of about $1 million every single day! The man has not uttered a word on the Auditor General’s report that in 2008 $295 million in foreign grants are missing; and neither on the $103 million grant and $500 million loan taken by the previous government for water. There has been no executive decisions made on resolving the Ghana@50 accounting, the Jubilee House over-invoicing by more than $45 million, and neither the huge deficit spending that has led Ghana to accumulate an additional five Billion in just 8 years under the former leadership. In the mean time an estimated 70% of Ghanaian homes still have no daily potable water. Ghana has not expanded our water treatment facility since 1965, according to the former Chef Engineer of GWCL. We should never forget that an estimated 55,000 per year (151 daily) die of malaria, a preventable disease.
Some are wondering why Prof. Mills took on this job? What are his Plans for the many good ideas he had, and spelt out in the NDC Manifesto? When is he going to get started!? Why should a man who has been Vice President and campaigned another 8 years, have to wait three months to executive his ideas?
Many have suggested during the campaign that perhaps the President’s health was an issue. The people still voted for him and he denies any health issues. If so why the slow pace? Perhaps the President needs to be reminded that life in the modern world is very fast and very competitive. We have opened our doors to free trade and hence must be active to compete. Everyday single day or month, changes occur in technology, customer preferences, and in trade strategies by leaders for their peoples’ survival and economic welfare. The big question many are beginning to ask is: Does President Mills feel he is up to the job, and if he cannot act in 3 months, when is he going to act? Is he healthy enough and if not, can he not resign in dignity?
There is no shame in a President resigning for ill health or other reasons if he feels he cannot handle the daily work load or pressure. Even Mills’ own Party members including the former president and founder of the NDC, Jerry Rawlings, are getting anxious. They are justified in asking for Mills to get moving! When a nation like Ghana is desperate and people are taking 4 hours in traffic, water does not run, electricity is interrupted daily or weekly causing many business and personal losses due to appliance damages, one must note that President Mills’ slow pace is causing not only anxiety and anger, but massive financial losses to the people of Ghana; and this is daily! This writer is personally appealing to the President to get cracking! Nobody is expecting Prof. Mills to solve every problem and hammer every nail in Ghana himself. No! The President has the whole nation and talent pool of Ghanaians overseas at his disposal. All he has to do is make the executive decision and get us moving in the right direction under his vision and supervision! He should issue executive orders, set Goals for his Ministers and have occasional regular meetings to discuss status, and implement solutions to problems! Simple! The trivial distractions in Ghana’s media are mainly due to the lack of news being made from the Mills office so far. In politics, negative trivial news can kill and overshadow good intentions any man may have. People need to see and listen to plans and solutions every week, and not hear of more problems.
America can be a major asset and ally in Ghana’s development, but it is our duty to initiate our vision and programs, and then ask for the needed help. Ghana so far does not even know how to set up city councils and our DCE system is not of much value, even in providing water to residents. So far as our leaders do not put the grant moneys in the daily spending coffers, America has been generous, as in the MCA grant. So also have other nations. Let us take advantage of the global alliances we have, share information and expertise, and build on to move from a third world status to a first world nation as others have. For God’s sake, Mr. President, let’s get out of the prayer-camp or meditation mood and execute ACTION! - just as Obama is doing in America. Those of us in America are proud of Obama! Let Mills make us proud in Ghana!
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso (email@example.com) California, USA