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The President and Nananom are Partners in Development.

Mon, 13 Apr 2009 Source: Jeffrey, Peter

President John Evans Kofi Ata Mills was overwhelmingly elected by eight out of ten regions of the Republic of Ghana in December 2008. The Ghanaian people voted for President Ata Mills based on his policies, the conciliatory tone of his campaign, his humility and humbleness and not based on his tribal origin or class. His campaign theme focused on the following:

1) Reduction of poverty, equitable distribution of resources among all the regions of Ghana, even distribution of development and reduction of corruption among officialdom (a canker that is holding up the development of Ghana).

2) His ambition to complete the 7 Year Development Plan started by the founder and father of Ghana, Osagyefuo Dr Kwame Nkrumah is beyond doubt.

3) His willingness to listen and act on wise consul of all stakeholders is legendary.

At the heart of the 7 Year Development Plan (a plan that the president’s party – ‘majority of the members are Nkrumaist’- refined and renamed the plan - Vision 2020) is to turn the three Northern regions into Ghana’s bread basket and a major energy supplier, two new international airports to be built at Ghana’s second and third cities, Kumasi and Tamale respectively. A first class public university with school of medical sciences to be built at Ho in the Volta region. Tamale International Airport is to be turned into a major transit port for countries further to the north of the country. Tamale and Ho metropolis would be given a major facelift befitting important and strategic cities. A teaching hospital for all the ten regions with the state of art medical equipments and living facilities for the medical staff. Under the 7 Year Development Plan, a high speed railroad would be constructed from Kumasi to cities and towns further north of the country. The road network would be expanded and feeder roads reconstructed to the hinterlands to open up those remote areas for the expansion of agriculture. The President plans to reintroduce Workers Brigade to help the farming communities, especially in rice and nut production in the savannah belt and Afram plains.

Takoradi, Kumasi, Accra, Ho, Koforidua and Bolgatanga Polytechnics are to be awarded university college status, each having a faculty of petrochemicals to enhance our new found oil fields. Yes, this is a very ambitious and progressive project, a project that is very close to the president’s heart. The projects that were executed under President Kuffuor’s NPP administration were part and parcel of the original 7 Year Development Plan. President Mills, who is a former student of Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute and an ardent Nkrumaist, is on a mission to complete the work started by his hero, Dr Nkrumah, to uplift the country into a middle income status by 2020. For the first time in Ghana’s history the President and Nananom are singing from the same hymn book.

Yes, it is true that President Mills rode on the back of National Democratic Congress party, founded by ex President Jerry Rawlings, whose CORE supporters are Nkrumaists, but it must be noted that Mills was elected, not based on Rawlings past deeds, but as the best candidate at the time in question and thus duly elected. President Mills is not vindictive nor intend to run roughshod in Ghana. President Mills is a man of honour.

Like other countries with executive President, the position of President dominates Ghanaian politics. He is the head of the executive, commander-in-chief of Ghana Armed Forces and the security services. The President is not the government of Ghana, but one arm of government, the rest being Legislative power (invested in Parliament) and the Judiciary. These three parts make up the government of Ghana, with the President, John Evans Kofi Ata Mills, being the head of the government, and thus the supreme commander of the Republic of Ghana. The 1992 constitution laid down the powers of the Presidency, with clear separation of powers, though as the current events in most presidential system of governments’ points, absolute separation of powers does not exist. The same 1992 constitution, like previous constitutions, guarantees the institution of chieftaincy together with its traditional councils. Again like the previous constitutions, the 1992 did not give any legislative and executive powers to the National House of Chiefs, but only advisory role on matters affecting chieftaincy and customary laws. This is one area that needs revisiting, to ensure the House of Chiefs is elevated to replace the current ‘Council of State’, a toothless and useless body!

From the very outset of his Presidency, the humble professor of law, seek co-operation from the other opposition parties and wise consulship from some elements of the former ruling party, NPP, through Mr Paul Victor Obeng and others. Under attack from ‘certain elements’ in both NPP and NDC, the President is holding on to his guns!

As the supreme commander and father of the country, President Mills has pledge to seek consulship from the National House of Chiefs’ and eminent traditional rulers, including Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, King of the Ashanti Kingdom, Osagyefuo Nana Amoatia Ofori Panin II, the King of the ancient kingdom of Akyem Abuakwa, Togbe Afede XIV, a paramount king of the Ewe tribe in Ghana, (a financial and investment entrepreneur who is known for his tenacity to encourage more inward investment into his motherland, Ghana) among others.

President Kofi Ata Mills, like his predecessor, President John Agyekum Kuffuor, respects the institution of chieftaincy (Kuffuor and his associates in NPP were known to consult the three eminent traditional rulers regularly). The President particularly respects and accepts the traditional authority and influence of Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II and Togbe Afede XIV. The influence of these Nananom and others in the body politic and development of Ghana is such that foreign guests of state usually visit them. The contributions of Nananom to the development of Ghana (not only Asantiman, Akyeman and Eweland) are phenomenal. Various commentators have question why President Kuffuor and now President Mills ask the above mentioned Nananom and others for advice? The answer to the question is clear. Unlike the old traditional rulers of the mercantilist era, the modern day rulers, including Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, Osagyefuo Nana Amoatia Ofori Panin III and Tobge Afgede XIV know that the country’s economic management and governance must be a collective responsibility of all stakeholders. As successful professionals in their private lives before ascending onto their respective thrones, Nananom understands that the development of Ghana (and not only Ho, Kyebi or Kumasi) is not negotiable and thus must not be left in the hands of politicians alone. Nananom, as custodians of the country’s land and heritage, will be there for us long after the politicians have left the stage! The unity and prosperity of the motherland lies in the hands of Nananom. Nananom are the only people who can guarantee the unity of the motherland. They are our only hope! Nananom are the embodiment of our homeland, Ghana. The traditional approach to economic development in most developing countries is widely held as the best approach. The 1992 constitution did a good job by factoring in the prominent and sophisticated role of Nananom and their immense contributions towards nation building.

President John Evans Kofi Ata Mills made a campaign promise of an inclusive government and a President for all Ghanaians, including the ex Presidents (Jerry Rawlings and John Kuffuor)! He also pledged to actively support the efforts of Nananom, both at the local and national level, to ensure that people experience the benefits of national growth. To ensure that every one share in this national growth, President Kofi Ata Mills knows that more fundamental approaches are needed and this is where the President must work together with the supreme traditional rulers, as the recognition of culture at macro level becomes important. The framers of the 1992 constitution accepted that development has a cultural perspective by reinforcing of the national and regional house of chiefs as a credible institution where issues of local, regional and national affairs can be debated by our Nananom, though without any executive powers.

Thus, in the area of human development, the Asantihene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II Educational Endowment Fund is one such success, by helping needy but brilliant children from every region and various institutions across the country. Otumfuo’s Educational Fund is being replicated across Ghana and the West African sub-region by other traditional rulers.

The Okyehene Osagyefuo Nana Amoatia Ofori Panin II, through his charity work has helped many needy ‘street children’ across the country. Nana Amoatia has spoken passionately about the level of poverty in the country. His charity has donated generously to many orphanages. Through his Okyeman Environment Foundation, Nana has been at the forefront of educating folks on environmental issues and campaign for a sustainable environmental development across the country, a project that is close to Nana’s heart.

Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbogbomefia of Asogli Traditional Area is at the forefront of fundraising for the establishment of a first class agricultural and medical university to be sited at Ho, the regional capital of Volta region. When completed, this educational establishment would benefit the nation tremendously in human capital development. Like Osagyefuo Nana Amoatia Ofori Panin, Togbe Afede want to see the country become self sufficient in renewable energy and thus is working feverishly with foreign investors to build solar powered stations in the savannah belt of the country (northern half of Brong Ahafo and Volta regions plus the whole of the three Northern regions), part of his drive to ensure the country becomes the hub for the whole sub-region for inward investment.

As custodians of the land and her people, Nananom must be given stronger powers to provide advice, checks and balances to what Parliament does, similar to the House of Lords in England. No President can rule Ghana without seeking the wise consul of Nananom.

At the local level, the role of Nananom is seen as an improved version of the role played by their forbearers during colonialism. The younger generation of Nananom, majority educated at the best institutions in Europe, North America and Ghana, have brilliant ideas of how to move our homeland forward than many of our elected officials. The greatest injustice to our people is that the western mode of democracy has reduced these brilliant institutions that served our people so well to irrelevant spectator. The problem many Nananom face is they have neither budget nor staff to deliver projects tailored to the needs of local people. Nananom have shown that development would come through a greater affirmation of our traditions and bringing them together at the core. We cannot achieve political and economic independence without the sterling contributions at both the local and national level by Nananom.

God Bless Nananom. God Bless our Homeland Ghana.

Peter Jeffrey.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter

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