While in Office (God Forbid)
We often sit and complain, huff and puff about our society, and many do not have water and stable electricity to do their businesses, but have no way of making effective complaints.
So far it seems under Ghana’s democracy the only weapon we have is voting, which we are just about learning to do.
One our Ghana Leadership Union (GLU) forum I wrote to give President Mills some Brownie Points for reducing the Ministers from 27 to 24; however one member said that is not enough because the United State of America has only 15 Cabinet Positions and still can manage the 3,000 mile wide nation of 50 states. As some of the Ministers created were mentioned, thought run of how we can change this rotten system inherited for almost two decades now. Another member of our GLU forum wrote this:
“Uncle Kwaku are you surprised? Obetsebi Lamptey was once the Minister for Beautification of Accra. Alan Kyeremateng was Minister in Charge of presidential initiatives [ like that cassava project in the Western Region] and J H Mensah was the Snr minister in charge of the office of the Snr Minister. Well J H Mensah is the brother in law of Kufour so it was being speculated that the ministry was created for J H Mensah as part of his “akonta sekan” rites. All these make Ghana's politics unique and interesting” (G. Adu, Jan 24, 3:31 am)
To add salt to injury another member wrote:
“The sad part is that parliament endorse the nonsense (A.Quaye, Saturday, January 24, 2009 4:56 PM)
Folks, this is a very serious issue for me and most of us who have been in Management in the western world and seem men deteriorate in life, and I want to hear your comments.
Would it be causing financial loss to the state if our new President Atta Mills decided to and created a Ministry for the Development of Cape Coast or his hometown, and a Ministry for Shoe Polishing for his wife’s shoes? Any person can argue that the wife may have 3,000 shoes Marcos style, and it is a difficult job that should be shared among many educated people! So far we have seen former President Kufuor create Ministries as and when he desired, including one for Aviation for our 3 or so aircrafts, Beautification of Accra, Ministry for J.H. Mensah. In addition to his 200 days travel out of 365 days as reported, raising the per diem allowance limits, he disbursed funds at will, re-hired a disgraced friend as Minister, created awards with our money and hang million-dollar silly 24k gold chains around his neck with our money. What make any one believe these are sane actions when human beings, taxpayers in Accra and the nation do not have water through pipes, 55,000 people die from preventable malaria, and 78.5% live under $2 per day!
Our democracy is weak indeed if we allow Presidents to do silly things like we have seen and write about and Parliament seems to have no strength or backbone in creating these Ministries, spending habits, or trimming down government spending while at the same time our budget is in deficit and we are borrowing money! Does this make sense to you?
I wonder if a President gets metal illness while in office, the nation, meaning Parliament and the Judiciary and the people, can do anything about it till the man dies or leaves office through votes.
Do we have any system whereby a panel of elders or professionals can evaluate such decisions by a President and advice against it? Yes, we do, but they are also hopeless and useless so far! I hope they are not being paid for the title and job! I’d say fire the Members of the Council of State, or dissolve it completely, if they cannot advice on or against obviously silly things being done in the name of the taxpayer by a sitting President and they have no powers! Don’t tell me this is in the constitution! So many things are in the constitution which are not being followed, including one of providing economic security for people and decentralization of the nation.
Folks, we don’t have to wait till an emergency occurred before designing a plan of action. Ghana’s moneys have been used almost as personal property and not accounted for under the Kufuor administration. The Rawlings administration was also guilty but not as much, perhaps. It was Kufuor who went ahead and declared HIPC bankruptcy in 2001 and annual budget deficits for eight years. He was still travelling for loans and grants. The sad story is that these loans and grants were spent without as much courtesy to the people as explaining project status and accountability for the funds. $603 million grant and loan for water has still not been explained and projects explained! Taxes and duties were collected in the 50% to 200% of value, without as much respect as providing urinary and toilets at these crowded tax-collection offices and ports. We need to find better ways!
Whiles most of our parliamentarians seem hopeless and mostly drunk on self-gain interests and will sign any legislation without reading it if it’s from the President’s office, we need to ask serious questions! We need to find better ways to manage our Presidents in case one of them actually gets mental illness! Leadership involves emergency preparedness and democracy calls for all of us to think and plan ahead.
Kwaku A. Danso, Email: email@example.com
President, Ghana Leadership Union, Inc (NGO)
Moderator, GLU Forum http://groups.google.com/group/glu-ghana-leadership-forum