As is commonly known, bilateral relations involve the conduct of political, economic and cultural relations between two sovereign states. Such relations are carried out to promote friendship and socio-economic development for the mutual benefits of the two countries.
A day after the Black-Stars lost to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun in the semi-finals of the just concluded AFCON 2017 in Gabon, a Nigerian journalist, temporarily resident in Accra, came to me in the house for some discussions.
Maame Afua is the manageress of a Charity Home; Sedem Adavor is a budding singer who left home 10 years ago and Korkor Addison is in love with Aeron Amoah but can’t be with him.
When life gets difficult for these three, they realise that reaching out is the best form of therapy and Rainbow is the right place to start.
When there is a change of government, Christians must continue to live as salt and light in their communities, discharging their spiritual and social responsibilities diligently.
It is a nightmare for parents and independent prospective applicants to tertiary institutions when admissions to these institutions are advertised.
This academic year (2016/2017), application vouchers to enable online application to most tertiary institutions in Ghana cost an average of GH¢ 200.
Every week in the Brong Ahafo Region (one of Ghana’s major food baskets), vehicles loaded with men between 18 and 40 years embark on a journey to Europe and other advanced countries in search of greener pastures.
Many of them, mostly the younger men, hope to reach Europe, while others head for more prosperous countries in Africa. Irrespective of their final destination, they have common aspiration; hopes of good jobs and better lives for themselves and the families they leave behind.
Since 1951, Ghana has tried different policies and approaches to ensure free compulsory universal basic education with varying degrees of success.
The 1992 Constitution under Article 25 provides for equal rights to educational opportunities and in particular, introduces progressively free education at the secondary level.
Last Wednesday was International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD), which highlighted the need for concerted global actions to address the growing challenge posed by this non-communicable disease.
In spite of numerous interventions from the government and donor partners, malaria still remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, and if pragmatic steps are not taken to help tackle the problem, it could affect Ghana’s efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It used to say on my passport in the profession column that I was a Journalist. Now it says WRITER. The change from journalist to writer occurred in the early 1990s. The world had suddenly changed from the innocent place I had known where we journalists wore dust jackets with PRESS emblazoned on them as a form of protection in dangerous areas, to journalists becoming deliberate targets.
There are many things I want to write about today. The vetting by Parliament of nominated Ministers of State, the one-upmanship of the committee members is very much in your face. It does seem we must give them a crash course on how to conduct interviews to get something useful and interesting out of the nominees.
This fortnightly column has been on a short break since the year commenced. During the period, many things happened to the country’s governance process, some of which are very good, but others, not so good.
It was healthy watching our democratic journey unfold, particularly soon after the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. Ghanaians took their democracy much seriously when they came out enthusiastically to vote for their candidates of choice during the last elections.
Compared to some African countries, we can say our leaders are mature and it was refreshing observing former President John Dramani Mahama accept electoral defeat in good faith, while President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo showed magnanimity in victory. Both Mr Mahama’s concession speech and Nana Akufo-Addo’s victory speech were also very refreshing to say the least.
Making politics dirty
Regrettably, all these good gestures from our two leaders, and the peaceful transfer of political power from one administration to the other, brought in their wake some cancerous acts that seem to undermine the nations democratic credentials touted globally as one of the best in the sub-region.
For the third time, under the Fourth Republican dispensation, the country has witnessed transfer of political power from one different administration to another. It began with the transfer of power from former President Jerry John Rawlings to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by former President John Agyekum Kufuor on January 7, 2001; and from President Kufuor to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader, the late President John Evans Atta Mills, on January 7, 2009, and currently from President Mahama to the opposition leader, now President Akufo-Addo, on January 7, 2017.
In all of these transfers, the people have seen some redemption in the new administration and the same naturally goes for the Akufo-Addo-led administration.
Ruling at pleasure of Ghanaians
Indeed, lovers of good democratic practices were expecting the nation to have learnt useful lessons associated with the bitter transfer of power in the Rawlings/Kufuor and Kufuor/Mills era.
But the expectations have been dashed as acrimony, accusations and counter-accusations have become the order of the day and the current transfer of power from Mr Mahama to President Akufo-Addo is bedevilled with numerous challenges.
By their acts and deeds, particularly from the camps of the ruling NPP and the opposition NDC, it is increasingly becoming very difficult for the citizenry to know who is leaning on the side of truth or propaganda.
The game play, in the name of good governance, in my opinion, is making politics look really dirty and unattractive to the discerning.
Since the transfer of power on January 7, 2017, no day passes without the ruling NPP government accusing officials of the erstwhile NDC administration of not keeping faith with the people in the management of the nation’s assets and resources which the NDC strongly disagrees with, explaining rather that the NPP is being mischievous and disingenuous with the truth.
By the actions of both the NDC and the NPP, there is the need for caution in order not to get to a point where the people will feel let down.
Rawlings and God’s intervention
Former President Rawlings, on the way forward for the NDC after its 2016 electoral defeat, has explained that his call for God to lead the NDC is for members of that party to recognise and appreciate the divinity in noble principles.
“If we cannot recognise and appreciate the divinity in truthfulness, justice, integrity, loyalty, faithfulness, good work, respect and concern for one another, the environment and the divinity in the golden rule, then the God we are fearing and worshipping is a big waste of time,” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
Furthermore, former President Rawlings asserted that “if we gave God his due, we would not have allowed mortals in position of power or authority to get away with negative or corrupt behaviour.”
By extension, the call and admonishments by the former President in my view holds true for the entire nation if it is to encounter real progress and prosperity. If truth, justice, integrity, loyalty, respect and concern for one another are seen to be missing in our body politic, then clearly, our politics will be dirty and could get even worse for everybody.
Working for change
President Akufo-Addo himself has time and again stressed the need for Ghanaians to be citizens instead of spectators, and it requires all hands on deck to effect the needed development change.
The time for empty and careless talk is over and the hour to effect change has come.
Already, the NPP government is rolling out its Free Senior High School programme in September this academic year. Other laudable social intervention policies are also on course for implementation.
The nation definitely cannot attain these goals if it is divided along partisan interests. That is why it will be in the collective interest of political actors to first and foremost work in the nation’s interest first.
Anything short of this will lead the nation Ghana no where and it will continue to play the catch-up game.
Ghana 60 yrs on
Next month, the nation Ghana will be 60 years old and in the life of the working person, he or she will be retiring from active service. In the case of Ghana at 60 years, what has it got to show! No doubt it has chalked up some success but a lot more could also have been achieved. Since every new year comes with its new resolutions, pledges, promises and declarations, I am hoping that the nation go through a fulfilling 60 years celebration which will steer the country along the path of clearly defined policy directions which will lead to sustained progress and prosperity.
Now that Election 2016 has come and gone and its outcome known to all, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will be sworn in on January 7, 2017, as the fifth President of the Fourth Republic.
Just before Christmas, the Bank of Ghana announced the opening of a Contact Centre to enable the public know more about its work.
Had it not been for the appearance of Otiko Afisa djaba before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, I would never have guessed that there are senior people in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who disapprove of abuse, and elders and statesmen being insulted.
I imagine that some people, especially those who take an interest in the criminal justice system, have at one time or the other wondered what they would do if they were accused of a crime they didn’t commit.
People expected life to change significantly for the better for all after independence. But what they saw were a few Ghanaians discharging the administration and high-profile functions of the colonial regime while the Prime Minister and a few ministers were supposed to determine policies and give direction for economic, social and cultural progress.
Frankly, I do not know what is wrong, but the atmosphere has changed.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, might have set the hearts of many Ghanaians at ease when he condemned in no uncertain terms the impunity by some party activists and functionaries, who take it upon themselves to seize public property which they perceive to be in the hands of wrong persons, those they perceive to belong to opposition parties.
One charitable action undertaken by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) last year was the translation of the party’s manifesto into braille.