20
Mon, Feb

Of reminders about election promises

Ajoa Yeboah-Afari

Surprisingly, the victory of the NPP in the general election had hardly been confirmed by the Electoral Commissioner than some people and organizations started urging President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo to honour his campaign promises! I find such calls most unfair.

 At least wait until the President-elect is sworn into office on January 7!

Nevertheless, the campaign promises reminders should underline to our politicians the general belief: that politicians are people who don’t keep their word.

The thinking appears to be that a politician will promise anything to get votes and then once elected that is the end of the matter. And who can really blame people for this cynicism, going by our political history?

How to erase this negative perception and win the trust of the electorate, is a major task of the incoming administration.

It is not likely that Mr Akufo-Addo lacks the gifted men and women to help him carry out his plans. The indications are that there is no shortage judging, for example, by the number of qualified and experienced people who held political office when the New Patriotic Party was in power, as well as others who might be interested in serving in the new administration if invited.

And it would be great if some non-NPP best brains, too, could be among the appointees for the sake of national harmony.

But the sheer numbers available in the talent pool could also be problematic: Who do you put where? Who do you leave out? Who is the most suitable for certain positions? How do you tell when a seemingly highly qualified candidate is likely to be the wrong choice for a position?

While the general belief is that Ghana has great prospects, in some ways, too, the outlook is quite discouraging. Even a cursory look at recent news headlines presents a vivid illustration of the perennial developmental and other challenges – from health and sanitation, through educational facilities, literacy, environmental degradation and political impunity.

Excerpts from some news reports this month: “20,000 Household Toilets for Accra

“The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda has disclosed that about 20,000 household toilets under the Greater Accra Area Water and Sanitation project (GAMA) will be constructed in various homes within the Greater Accra Region by the end of 2027” (Daily Guide, December 8).

“Wankyi Presby Primary gets classroom block

“An eight-unit classroom block for the Wankyi Presbyterian Primary School has been inaugurated at Akyim Wankyi in the Asante Akyim South District in the Ashanti Region to enhance the educational standards of the community.

“The block … was constructed for the school by (an old boy) …. Mr Kwame Ofosuhene Apenteng” (Daily Graphic, December 8).

“Project to solve malnutrition launched

A project which seeks to solve malnutrition associated with the lack of consumption of milk and other dairy products has been launched at the University of Ghana” (Daily Graphic, December 9).”

“Soldiers Beat NPP Officials

“Some military officers who were tasked to maintain law and order at the Agona Swedru Taxi Rank Polling Station in the Agona West Municipality of the Central Region …attacked three New Patriotic Party supporters ….

“(Explaining), the Deputy NPP Regional Women’s Organizer, Justina Assan, said they realized that the NPP had one agent at the polling station while the NDC had five agents which compelled her to convince the presiding officer to allow another person to replace the agent who had asked permission to go and vote elsewhere …”

The presiding officer agreed but the NDC representatives got angry and called the military who without any provocation “stormed the place and beat the people mercilessly”.

She expressed concern about the way the military officers intimidated voters (Daily Guide, December 9).

 “Foundation undertakes adult literacy programme

“The Belle Bijou (beautiful jewel) foundation is collaborating with the Students Representative Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to provide formal education to non-literates in the Kumasi metropolis” (Daily Graphic, December 12).

“Dua Junior High School gets computer lab

“Thengashep (Pty) Limited, an electrical company, has handed over a computer laboratory to the Dua Junior High School in the Bongo District in the Upper East Region….

“Thengashep also presented two bicycles to two female students of Dua Junior High School WHO COMMUTE ABOUT 10 KILOMETRES DAILY TO SCHOOL” (Daily Graphic, December 12, emphasis mine).

“Nurses, midwives assist Accra Psychiatric Hospital

“The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana (has) donated items worth GH¢15,000 to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.

“The items included 20 boxes of A4 sheets, 50 foolscap notebooks, 10 packs of cartridges, 100 adult diapers and 50 bed sheets. Others were 10 boxes each of blue, black and red pens and a pack of brown and white envelopes” (Ghanaian Times, December 21).

“Water Shortage Hits Tamale Children’s Home

“Water crisis has hit the Tamale Children’s Home for the past three months. The home’s water system has been disconnected due to its indebtedness to the Ghana Water Company” (Daily Guide, December 23).

 “Ghana loses $54 billion through environmental degradation

“The acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, John Pwamang, (has) disclosed that Ghana lost over 54 billion dollars in the past two decades through environmental degradation and added that the figure had more than doubled, given the spate of “unprecedented devastation” by artisanal or illegal mining” (Ghanaian Times, December 24).

We’re about to enter 2017, our 60th year of Independence and the above are still part of Ghana’s narrative?   Why does it seem like we’re fetching water with a basket or a strainer?

Meeting the high expectations of a somewhat cynical populace could be daunting. There is also the “against” issue, political opponents, those hoping that the new government will fail – and not forgetting the proverbial ‘insect biting you from within your clothing’ factor, the enemies from within.

Nevertheless, my belief is that the lessons learnt by the NPP during the years in opposition, which evidently guided their approach to the Election 2016 campaign, also mean that they have done their homework comprehensively and thus will be able to deliver.

Therefore, to those giving the reminders, one can only refer them to that apt, one-word ‘Ghanaian speak’ response when at gatherings it is felt that someone is being heckled or treated unfairly: “Allow!”

 

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