66th Independence anniversary - 5 Parties call for economic liberation
FIVE political parties have called for aggressive development and action-oriented leadership to provide economic independence to Ghanaians.
It is the conviction of the five political parties that 66 years of political independence had not reflected in any meaningful economic well-being of the ordinary Ghanaian.
The political parties are the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the All People’s Congress (APC).
The General Secretary of the CPP, Nana Yaa Jantuah; the National Chairman of the PPP, Nana Ofori Owusu, the Leader and Founder of the LPG, Percival Kofi Akpaloo, the General Secretary of the PNC, Janet Nabla, and the Founder of APC, Hassan Ayariga, made the call in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic on the commemoration of the country’s 66th independence anniversary, which falls today (March 6).
This year's celebration is on the theme “Our unity, our strength, our purpose."
Ms Jantuah said successive governments after Kwame Nkrumah’s regime had not lived up to the ideals of fostering economic liberation and financial independence.
She urged Ghanaians not to give up as there were chances of sailing through the current economic difficulties.
“Our spirit should not be broken, we should have hope in these difficult times," she said
Ms Jantuah called on the government to open up to the people by organising national dialogues to discuss the best ways to equitably share the burden of restoring the broken economy and to solicit solutions to transform the country’s economic challenges.
Aside from that, she said the government must also reduce the size of its appointees as a measure to reduce the strain on the public purse.
Beyond that, the general secretary said there must also be in place a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure the performances of governments, adding: “So that if after a certain period, you are not able to achieve the targets, you will find your way out”.
She lauded the government for the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), but advocated the need for all the bottlenecks, including currency, among other things, to be removed to ensure its success.
For his part, Nana Owusu said political independence must be used to pursue the economic development of the country for the benefit of all citizenry.
"True Independence must give competitive advantage to the Ghanaian without regard to their ethnic, religious, geographic or social standing," he said.
Nana Owusu noted that the celebration of the day must be based on the collective prosperity of the citizenry but that had not been attained yet.
He urged Ghanaians to hold steadfast to the idea that the country would be better in the near future when good people get the opportunity to rule.
"Our form of democracy has deepened inequity, tribalism, an economy dependent on raw export of natural resources, witch-hunting of political "foes" and a wider gap between those who have and those who do not have," he said.
Nana Owusu, therefore, expressed the hope that alternative parties would join hands with the PPP to bring about the change required to deliver prosperity to the people.
"We must blend the energies of the pre-1966 and that of the youth who will forward match with us into the 21st Century," he stated.
For his part, Mr Akpaloo said the current economic challenges needed an action-oriented and solution-driven leadership to address the agony of the working class and ordinary people.
“It is high time we recognise the suffering of the workers and the masses and offer them a better condition of work and livelihoods,” he stated.
He expressed regret that the majority of Ghanaians had only tasted political independence but were still under the shackles of socio-economic oppression.
Mr Akpaloo called on the government to create an environment where citizens felt and appreciated the founding values of the liberation struggle and make them the foundation of the society.
Mr Akpaloo said the recent threats of industrial actions upon the announcement of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) and demonstrations from workers and some individual organisations in various sectors, clamouring for better working and living conditions was testimony that economic freedom and independence were fast diminishing in the country.
He said Ghana, which was rich with fertile arable lands and rich natural resources, deserved better governance and management of its resources.
“We envisage a Ghana free of corruption, deprivation, inequalities, repression and free of violence in our preparations towards the next general election,” he stated.
He also called on the authorities not to pay lip service to peaceful and non-violent elections in 2024.
He, therefore, urged the government to put in place practical modalities that would ensure a free and fair election.
“Political parties on the other hand must not preach peace by day and unleash monsters during night.
Government institutions also need to be non-partisan and not apply the law selectively,” he stated.
The General Secretary of the PNC, Ms Nabla, said after 66 years of independence, Ghana was still dependent on foreign goods, services and aid, a situation she said was retrogressing the progress of the nation.
She urged Ghanaians to reorient themselves on their perception regarding governance amid the world economic turmoil.
Ms Nabla said the prevalence of corruption and dishonesty in the country, could not be tagged to the politicians alone, but Ghanaians as a whole.
“We have concentrated our discussion on corruption so much on the politicians such that we have lost sight of the corrupt market woman, the civil servant, the public servant, the private sector, among several others, who are wallowing in gargantuan corruption that is dragging the country backward,” she said.
“When you fix the root causes, the politician will have no means to indulge in corruption, which is usually propelled by those from the root.
Our cry on the negative impacts of corruption as individuals shall continue until the person crying about corruption is incorruptible himself.
May we become incorruptible as individuals and as a whole as we celebrate the 66th Independence Day,” she said
For his part, Mr Ayariga said 66 years after Independence, there were schools in Ghana where pupils in basic schools sit on the ground to write and receive lessons from teachers.
He said more than six decades after declaring independence, the healthcare system in Ghana was confronted with no bed syndrome and people’s inability to pay bills, adding that Ghana’s infrastructure, including roads.
continued to deteriorate while many communities across the country lacked access to potable water and electricity
He said although Ghana was endowed with natural resources, successive governments after Dr Kwame Nkrumah had ruined the economy and had not given the true meaning of what it took to be an independent country.