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Opinions Sun, 20 Oct 2002

RESPONSIVENESS… Is This New To The Average Politician In Ghana

Ghanaians are resourceful individuals and if there is anything that one can add to all that is being contributed to the national effort for accelerated national development (as it should be accelerated), then one must beg all citizens and especially government leaders to look at national and regional past events and extract lessons learned. This should serve as guidelines for good governance.

I cannot wholly say we are blessed as nation to have the history we have, but we are, in a sense. In what I consider representative of bad governance, political instability, and most importantly chokers or retardants of economic development, Ghana has had more than its share of incidents. As though that is not enough, our neighbors today still provide us with enough material to learn from.

It is against this backdrop that I ask Ghanaians at large and especially our government personnel to be responsive to their constituents and accord them the dignity and respect as voters who put them into office. In doing so they must report frequently to their local constituents, adopt town hall style meetings, solicit ideas and continue to engage the general public in their effort to develop. We need leaders who understand their mandate, which after all is a decision to serve.

Having helicopter views and working on the big picture is important. However, at the end of the day, the average “Joe” has no clue what these strategic efforts mean to him or her. The basic individual assessment of government evolves around the basic question of if his or her life as a citizen is better today than it was yesterday. If the answer is negative then obviously they see no value to the government’s effort. The average person does not see the gaps between execution of plans and results and it is important for the sake of all in power to attempt to communicate effectively, which means clearly and in a simple manner, that all understand issues being dealt with.

When people cannot interpret actions well, especially when there is much expectation and hope by the people from the government, a great failure for the incumbent government is to assume that their actions are understood. Misunderstandings or misinformation can actually become a reality for some and this can be disastrous for any country as suspicion and discontent brews. The impact cannot be predicted as seen in the Ivory Coast.

Politicians should roll up their sleeves and get back to good governance. Just get down to the basics and be responsive to the people, in addition to all the strategic plans for national development, that all of you are engaged in.


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

Columnist: Folson, Ako