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Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A question for President Mills. Who doesn't owe?

.....Mr. President please stop the blame game, get serious, solve the problems

I heard our dear President Atta Mills on Joyfm addressing the chiefs and people of Tain telling them how the debt his predecessor incurred is preventing him from delivering on his campaign promises. I was surprised because I have heard the same complain from the President when he addressed the Chiefs and people of Goaso. The central theme of his tour of the Western/Brong Ahafo regions was Kuffour incurred debt so we are unable to deliver the promises we made to Ghanaians. Adom FM also reported that the Vice President on his trip to Volta Region during the weekend also made a similar statement telling Voltarians that the debt incurred by the former administration is hampering his governement effort to deliver.

So I asked where are all these complaints from? Who doesn't know Kuffour left Ghana a huge debt? Haven't we heard this from the President and his Vice over and over again? Did President Mills campaign during the elections to tell Ghanaians how much debt we owe? Did he campaign to tell Ghanaians that we owe and therefore those without jobs should remain jobless?

The situation in the country is getting worse by the day. We have seen unemployed youth seized toilets in Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi and many other places. We have seen fuel shortages in Accra. Fishermen cannot get premix fuel to go to sea despite the fact that they are in their peak season.In all these the President, his ministers and advisors look on while the economy is being shaking to the ground. Is this why we voted for you Mr. President, to complain to us? No.

Since the premix fuel shortage begun the President has not told Ghanaians what he is doing about the premix fuel problem which is preventing fishermen from going to sea despite their threat to hit the streets to demonstrate their displeasure over the shortage of the fuel. More importantly they have so far not shown any sign that they are in control of the economy.Since taking office, inflation has been soaring hitting 20% in May. Fuel prices are higher today than they used to be 6 months ago. Unemployment is rising steadily with companies like Vodafone promising to slash over 950 jobs. Our currency the Cedi has lost more than 30% of its value putting prices of commodities beyond the reach of ordinary Ghanaian. Simply put Ghanaians cannot associate President Mills' administration with a new project, programme or even maintainance of conditions that was existing before he took office. All that we have been hearing from the President are complaints of debts, confiscation of cars which are relatively less important compared to the many daunting problems confronting Ghanaians today. Readers should not get me wrong. I am not saying confiscating stolen state assets or asking former ministers to account for their stewardship are not important, what I am saying is that it should not take 80 to 90% of government time, energy and resources.

Mr. President, Ghanaians voted for you and your party to create jobs for the unemployed; to bring electricity to the rural areas; to provide irrigation facilities and tractors to our farmers; to provide books and computers to our schools and colleges. We voted for you to provide premix fuel to our fishermen. We voted for you because you said you could fix the rot in our education system and the collapsed railway sector. You said you would fight corruption, cocaine trafficking, armed robbery, fix our wretched economy.We voted for you because of these promises that you made to us but seven months into your administration we the poor people cannot tell which direction the nation is going. We cannot identify any clear cut policy from your government regarding unemployment, energy supply and sustainability, infrastructure investment, inflation, education, export diversification and positive interest rate regime.

We the poor people of Ghana want to remind you that we did not install you and your government to tell us how much Ghana owes or in what manner or ways the debts came about. We overthrew the NPP because you told us you would drastically reduce fuel prices, fix the economy and put money into our pockets.

Therefore no more dithering and indecision regarding Senior High School education. Senior High School students still do not know whether they are finishing school after three years or four years. We need swift action in that direction. No more protection of corrupt elements in your government. We consider the purchase of five tractors by Ayariga and Mutaka khebab and pampas saga as corruption. No more freeing of drug barons. We are seriously watching every action of your government in order to help us decide when 2012 comes. Therefore the bottom line is that if you fail to deliver we shall punish you and your party in 2012 as we did to NPP a short while ago.

I still do not know why the President and his vice are spending a lot of effort telling Ghanaians about the debt we owe when farmers need irrigation facilities. Is Ghana the only country that owes money? Even Banks and powerful multinational corporations whose entire asset may be bigger than Ghana's economy do owe. Even big super power nations like US, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada, Italy, Malaysia, India, Brazil, South Africa, and France owe hundreds of billions of dollars but we do not hear them complain or blame their predecessors everyday. Rather we have heard the numerous efforts they are making to solve the many problems confronting their citizens. Healthcare, education, investment in roads, energy, fast electric trains, harbours, telecommunication, irrigation, silos, housing and many others. This is the direct opposite of what my President and his ministers have been doing for the past six months. They have spent ours and days telling Ghanaians about how much we owe without doing anything concrete to alleviate the sufferings of Ghanaians.

I would like the President or his Minister of Finance to ask the US authorities how much they owe China. According to Ron Paul, a member of the US House Banking Committee, US owes China about 2 & 1/2 trillion American dollars but do we hear Obama using every opportunity to complain to Americans how Bush built over one trillion dollar debt for them to pay? No. He is bussy selling his policies and programs to the American people.
Since taking office Obama has implemented a stimulus package aimed at helping struggling businesses to stay in competition and to stabilise the US economy. He has directed that Guantanamo Bay detention Camp be closed. He has reached agreement with Russia to cut down the number of nuclear arsenals that each country has. He is working hard to withdraw US combat forces from Iraq by 2011. He is working with Congress to send more American troops to Afghanistan to contain the Taliban and bring stability in that war torn nation. He has made US a key player in the fight against global warming and Climate change, an unthinkable thing under the Bush administration. He is working hard to get US Congress to pass his Healthcare Bill that would overhaul US Healthcare system and makes it more affordable to all Americans at a cheaper cost. He has sent his envoys to the Middle East to get the Palestinians and Israelis talking again in the hope of finding solution to the ME problem. His Ministers are everywhere in the world to repair broken bridges in the international system. In what has been called US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue he has acknowledged that the future of our planet and what happens in this 21st Century would be shaped by what goes on between his country and China, as a result he has declared a new era of cooperation, not confrontation with China. All these he has done within six months of taking office, the same period that your Excellency President Mills has occupied our Castle. What makes Obama's efforts so enviable is that these are the issues he campaigned to address when elected and he seems pretty anxious to deliver.

Besides, Obama's Defence Secretary Robert Gates does not come from his Democratic party. Gates worked as Defence Secretary under the Bush administration and Obama maintained him without hell breaking loose in his Party. President Mills should compare that with the call by the founder of NDC to drive away from office Ghanaians who do not hold NDC Party IDs. Obama has resisted every call within his party and that of the Republican Party to prosecute former Vice President Dick Cheney because he says that is not his priority. Compare that with the arrests and the detentions and confiscations of cars which seem to be on top of President Mills' agenda. What I am saying is that President Mills and his government are not making any in roads to heal the economy and meet their campaign promises because that has never been their priority.

Obama and other leaders around the globe are pushing forward to save jobs and help their own citizens obtain employment despite the economic crunch and the fact that they owe a lot of money to their creditors. What we hear everyday about them is that they are arresting the collapse of their financial system, they are reducing the soaring unemployment problem, they are working with Russia and Ukraine to ensure steady flow of gas to their countries, they are working to contain inflation, they are supporting small businesses to increase production and provide jobs to the unemployed, they are working with the opposition to cut down deficit and are working to inject sanity into the world economic system not complaints, complaints and complaints.

I want to remind President Mills that as Chief Executive Officer of Ghana, your job is to solve the problems that exist in the country not to tell Ghanaians that there are problems. Ghanaians know the problems already and that is why they dethroned the NPP by voting for you and your party. So the debt that Ghana owes cannot be an excuse for you to defer on your promises. I do not want to believe that you are a bad worker who is quarrelling with his tools hence the complaints and accusations. It is only when you and your ministers get serious and find solutions to the problems facing Ghanaians that you will be able to deliver. So get serious and stop thinking that by accusing your predecessor, the people of Ghana will forgive you for not honouring your promise. We the people are matured enough to know that such blame games are political gimmicks and publicity stunt designed to divert attention from the main problems. I would like to remind the President that whatever he does or says, we the people of Ghana have resolved to demand that he honours his promises or face our wrath in 2012 which is just at the corner. We have noticed that we have been fooled for quite too long with promises, pledges and what have you but this time our eyes are wide opened and we have come of age to be taken for fools. Therefore it is either you deliver or you suffer the same fate of your predecessor.

Mr. President remember when NPP took over power in 2001 they too complained bitterly about the debt at the time but in 2008 Ghanaians overthrew them from office not because of how much we owed our creditors, but because they failed to deliver what they promised the good people of this nation. It is as simple as that. You promise us you deliver and we vote for you, you promise us you fail to deliver and we drive you out. So Mr. President, please stop the blame games, get serious and solve the problems. We know Ghana has been owing since the day we started managing our own affairs so the complain that there are debts and therefore you cannot provide premix fuel to our fishermen is neither here nor there. The simple truth is that you and your ministers have not gotten serious to solve our problems and that is why you want escape goats but it will not work this time. Failure to deliver is not an option, Mr.President.

I will only advice you to reshuffle your cabinet and bring in more experienced and qualified people like Dr. Spio Garbrah to do the job. You must also work closely with the opposition to speed up thing in the country as you know we have a hung Parliament. I rest my case.

By Lord Aikins Adusei
Activist and anti-corruption campaigner. He blogs at www.ghanapundit.blogspot.com

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