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Opinions Tue, 30 Sep 2014

Spare us this unthinking emotional reaction, IMANI Ghana!

By Cletus D Kuunifaa

A question posed by Dr. Michael J.K Bokor last year still remains relevant today: why shouldn't a proper think-tank be more interested in proffering ideas and strategies for national development than setting itself up as a reactionary force that is always alert to verbally attack the government for anything it does?

IMANI Ghana must spare us their unthinking emotional automatic reaction to issues at all cost of time. Is it a ploy for IMANI to jump at any issue raised by their knee-jerk reaction to stay in the limelight?

Why are we surprised that IMANI was tongue tied on a number of past issues and projects under Kufour’s regime? How are we not surprised about what has become of the Presidential Special Initiative on Cassava that was earmarked, embarked upon and implemented under the erstwhile Kufour’s administration to sustain rural development? What then happened to the billions of dollars siphoned into this venture? Has it died a natural death? What about the infamous Ghana @ 50 Jubilee celebration saga?

At this point, folks should be reminded of the numerous other shady transactions, whether Ghana gained a pesewa or not, that went silent without comment from IMANI Ghana.

How come IMANI has all of a sudden untied its tongue to lash at issues that sometimes have not been determined for execution and or implementation?

Truth be told, the Ghanacard project will enable the government to securely and reliably, identify all citizens and other nationals who legally and permanently reside in the country in order to provide them with services, ensure public safety, and protect their rights. The idea to expand the identification exercise must be a good cause for the nation to forestall a lot of illegalities.

The National Identification Authority (NIA) has indicated that it has contracted a $115 million loan facility from the Exim Bank to undertake a fresh registration exercise of all Ghanaians under an “expanded registration project.” And IMANI Ghana thinks that the new registration is another scheme to create, loot and share? (See General News of Saturday, 27 September, 2014)

It is ludicrous to read corruption into anything that government agency does, lest government machinery remains standstill and IMANI as a policy think tank certainly does not want that to occur!

By the way, is IMANI actually concerned about the amount or the value of the project to the nation? What IMANI is doing, their assumptions, perceptions, intentions, I just don’t believe that the motley of NIA employees would have been from one political persuasion, if IMANI were imputing political corruption.

So, probing further, I want to know when will IMANI stop politicking and start to pitch in nation building. It is very interesting how they easily lambast anything and yet offer nothing as alternative solutions or ideas to move this country forward.

Honestly speaking, assertive criticisms are certainly good for reform in Ghana. Constructive criticism surely must be welcome news. But what is not good to engage in is to be rendering knee-jerk reactions which come across as senseless, and ill-perceived. That is why some think-tanks are IRRELEVANT to me.

You are a group of people strategizing for personal interest, but what Ghana needs right now are people who can come up with solutions, generate ideas, construct knowledge and put that to use to turn the nation around for prosperity and for posterity.

This, to an extent, some think tanks like the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) led by Dr Mohammed Amin Anta are up to the task and have proven their mettle, have evidence to show, by virtue of their scholarly research findings and objective critical analysis in addressing some of the problematic energy related issues in the country. ACEP is living up to its mission of working to influence energy sector policies by providing professional advocacy and analysis of energy policy for the efficient management of energy resources in Ghana.

The problem IMANI Ghana has is, some of these think-tanks, where there is nothing profound or intrinsically valuable about what they do, take delight in blowing issues that do not deserve criticism out of proportion and out of the blue, they come out with their unfounded, involuntary baseless reactions in dribs and drabs that do not move the needle at all in terms of constructive and critical thinking that they profess to be engaged in.

It is common knowledge that a national identification system, national registration system has value to the nation and must be pursued vigorously. But to preempt and suggest any nonsense and report as though it were some sage advice is symptomatic of the child-like behavior that this think-tank exhibits time and again. They are a total waste of space and time.

IMANI must have clue as to what their mission statement prescribes for and allows them to do. Lest, they are categorized otherwise! When the citizenry comes alive that nothing qualifies this think-tank to give advice on governance, when Ghanaians begin to doubt the think-tank’s expertise and ideas, when the credibility of this think tank erodes through impulsive reactions to issues, then havoc beckons and it would be about time IMANI gives us a break!

Cletus D Kuunifaa

TMC Group

Can be contacted at dipnibe@yahoo.com or Follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa

Columnist: Kuunifaa, Cletus D