Prioritisation of national interest: Timely call

The nation is considered a beacon of hope for democracy and stability in Africa after 66 years of independence. 

Granted that it is by no means a remarkable achievement, there are many political pundits who argue that what the nation's forebears fought for had not been fully achieved, leaving some gaps to be filled.

Notable among them is the need to break that cycle of politicians seeking their parochial interests to the neglect of the national interest.

Some argue that the vision of those who sacrificed for the nation to gain independence has not yielded the desired results, particularly with regard to patriotism, nationalism and other values.

Indeed, the sacrifices made by the forebears started 126 years ago when the Aborigines Rights Protection Society was formed in Cape Coast to resist the Crown Lands Bill of 1897.

It  was a courageous act! It prevented the expropriation of Ghanaian lands for the benefit of the British Crown, safeguarding the people's ownership of their lands during the colonial period.

Last Thursday, the nation commemorated the birthday of its first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and one of the country's statesmen granted the Daily Graphic an interview where he shared his thoughts on how to leverage the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah and build on what the forebears bequeathed to the nation (see page 13, Friday, December 22, 2023 of Daily Graphic).

The Public Holidays Amendment Bill, 2018, led to the setting aside of September 21 as a memorial day for Ghana's first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in recognition of his significant role in the fight for Ghana's independence on March 6, 1957.

Dr Abu Sakara Foster, who is also a development agronomist, in his submission to mark the day, stressed the need for politicians to prioritise the national interest rather than parochial interests at all levels.

He said meritocracy, equity, inclusion, integrity of service and empowerment of people, among others, were key ingredients the nation's forebears fought for, which should be restored and practised in full.

The paper supports this call which is relevant today due to recent developments on the political scene.

Meritocracy as a social system in which people get status or rewards because of what they achieve rather than their wealth, social status or political affiliation is no longer working to some extent.

It is a common phenomenon for some party apparatchiks to get political appointments not based on merit but on other considerations, resulting in the putting of “square pegs in round holes".

Similarly, equity and inclusiveness are now a challenge in governance as members of a community that should feel included and empowered to improve or maintain their well- being are being sidelined because they are not party card-bearing members.

Integrity of service which means living up to a commitment made either through explicit statements or implicitly through behaviour is also not being followed rigidly by some duty-bearers.

This has resulted in a situation where some basic social amenities such as potable water, electricity, roads and hospitals are not being provided for the citizenry as required if social justice and equity are anything to go by.

The paper would like to point out that when the citizenry are empowered, they are able to demand political accountability which is required in democratic governance.

The Daily Graphic believes that accountability is a central piece of good governance.

It enables the sharing of power (concept of checks and balances) and the public control over the use of public resources.

It contributes to reducing the risk of power abuse and corrupt practices, which in turn is essential to ensure the fulfilment of people’s basic human rights.

A well-functioning accountable system contributes to building trust in state institutions and the processes of managing public affairs.

The paper thinks that as the nation continues to celebrate the birthday of Dr Nkrumah and extol the values of the nation's forebears, it is imperative to restore all those values necessary for nation-building.

Those values must be expressions of human dignity, trust, value, respect, selflessness, among others.

Such values, the paper believes, will go a long way to prevent the winner-takes-all politics, corruption, tribal politics and monetocracy driven by material wealth which the nation is grappling with and which, if not eliminated, will eventually erode the democratic gains so far made.

The Daily Graphic therefore reminds Ghanaians to recommit themselves to seeking the national good.

That means the goals, values and objectives that a nation seeks to advance must be paramount. 

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