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The weird things that matter to some of us!

BY: Collin Essamuah
Vice President Bawumia at the town hall meeting Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
Vice President Bawumia at the town hall meeting Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

I was all set to write on two or three of our daily living problems such as ‘dumsor’, cleanliness and waste disposal last Wednesday morning when my memory pricked me that was exactly the time Vice-President Bawumia had planned to hold his town hall meeting in Accra.

So I decided to take that on board before my usual position.

I was disappointed by two very important matters which I nonetheless considered remarkable and worthy of sharing with you.

Just as soon as I settled down to listen carefully to Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the lights in my neighbourhood went off.

Of course I immediately switched to radio and must have lost lots of the atmosphere accentuated by explanatory graphs captured on television.

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The second disappointment was more philosophical because we know that the Economic Management Team (EMT) is neither a constitutional or implementing body.

It is a coordinating body of important relevant ministers established by all Presidents since the beginning of the Fourth Republic.

Its legal role is like that of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) of our Electoral Commission.

It is very important, but not as we are being led to believe.

It cannot lay legislation in Parliament.

With one important difference.

Whereas our IPAC is made of political parties, each of which could be a ruling party someday, the EMT is staffed solely by the President with some of his ministers to coordinate more effectively urgent matters which have inter-ministerial reach for faster resolution.

Our current government is now behaving as if its EMT is a special creation of the ruling New Patriotic Party.

It is not.

More importantly, the penchant for the current chair of EMT for spilling data available in official publications and really used by policy makers and implementers is not democracy but intentional and deliberate confusion of the public.

Who in his right mind will give a list of government financials, past or present, to the spouse in addition to chop money as she goes to the market?

What is the wife of Professor George Gyan Baafuor to do with a list reciting how expensive plantain was in 2016 as she goes to the market today?

This is an area of governance which worries my mind.

It appears the historical NPP is transfixed with their pointless and ultimately futile comparison of the academic backgrounds of their respective leaders, state ministers and top officials since 1951.

I think it stems from the confusion which is basically ideological in nature.

The last previous Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, went to Harvard while the current Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, went to both Columbia and Yale. Obviously Harvard ranks above Columbia and Yale, but the three are all Ivy League universities, the tippy-top of American higher education.

The difference is ideological. The NPP believes in private enterprise and property-owning democracy, which for them means that as soon as it assumes power, they dismantle the socialist state bequeathed by colonial Britain and Nkrumah before they do anything resembling their type of democracy.

What this means is that as long as spending time re-engineering a State running perfectly well is concerned, the NPP never get to the end of their changes and end unsatisfactorily.

Unfortunately for them, the ideas of running governance since the beginning of the last century include a major sizeable portion of State intervention in the resolution of national problems.

And that intervention directly affects popular welfare, hence grudgingly the rightist governments have abandoned the restriction to private initiative.

A perfect Ghanaian example is the debate over national insurance which began in the second term of the regime of former President Jerry Rawlings and is ideologically in tune with his party’s beliefs and met the fierce opposition of the then opposition NPP.

I was astonished, however, by the Damascan change of the NPP concerning across-party co-operation regarding the vital necessity of engineering a consensus on government activities.

He had said last week in Parliament that it was the desire of the President for meetings to fashion out consensus on the depreciation of the cedi.

It will only be fair that he apologises profusely for his party and its extremely negative reaction to the Senchi Meetings held in former President Mahama’s time at the beginning of our engagement with the International Monetary Fund.

I hope the opposition National Democratic Congress make it a condition for participating in any talks on cedi depreciation.

Disappointment

I was disappointed by the government town meeting by a few other things.

I am still waiting for a comprehensive implementable policy of changing our public elementary schools called ‘cyto’ in our local parlance.

The Free SHS idea at this time seems suspiciously like a determined effort of the NPP to build a class society seeing that the overwhelming majority of students in our SHSs are products of private elementary schools largely sited in our large towns and cities.

The overwhelming sense I felt, however, was the feeling of impartial observers at the public launch of President Kwame Nkrumah’s book Consciencism in 1965 or so.

Among the invited guests to this high-faluting function were Makola women who proclaimed that that was the best book by Nkrumah so far!

I got that feeling when the GUTA president was praising the town hall meeting.

Trade is very important, but our import-dominated trade confirms our parlous economic situation and threatens regularly our cedi’s power and in effect, harms our standard of living as it promotes consumption over production and exports.

His presence and contribution were adequate proof of his irrelevance at such a function.

Today’s title suggested itself to me when pondering over a lively conversation I had this week with a public-spirited colleague over how things happen and take root and become the perceived wisdom of society without any shade of reason behind their existence in our society.

Every major mistake we made in this country concerning our living conditions is the result of perfidious thinking by some of us.

No questions were asked of the progress of the presidential vow to turn Accra into the cleanest African city.

Waste disposal, which is a money-making venture in several countries, has virtually been left to care of itself.

I am prepared to wager any so-called expert that it would not take over two years to perform a tie-in to resolve our dumsor problems.

But as the NPP used to say from opposition, sleeping in the dark is not a pleasant experience, neither is it now.

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