Political independence without economic independence is meaningless. Democracy, Freedom of speech (Ka Bi Na Menka bi) in my view, is not complete, when the mass of the people live in abject poverty, and elected leaders live and enjoy underserved affluence.
Ghana is a small Country with a reasonable size population, blessed with natural resources and arable lands. Despite all that, most of her people live under $1 a day. Ghana has fortunately now discovered oil, aka- black gold, in large quantities. However, with the extent of selfishness and greed amongst our leaders and high level officials, it is still doubtful if the oil wealth can be applied to benefit the mass of the people.
Last year, as have been every four years Parliamentary term, President Mills granted every Member of Parliament 30 Thousand dollars to rent accommodation in any part of Accra, and 50 Thousand dollars for them to buy cars. Besides all these, they enjoy everything free under salary and privileges as spelt out by the obnoxious Chenery Hessey report.
Every Ghanaian knows the conditions in our major hospitals like Kole Bu in Accra, and Komfo Anokye in Kumasi. These two major facilities of the Country that cater for the health needs of the people lacks modern diagnostic equipments but our leaders do not care. They can afford to fly out to South Africa, America, or United Kingdom for medical treatment when they have to. So why do they have to think about Kole-Bu? It is hard to understand how the mind of the African leaders functions.
Dr. Nic. Westcott, the British High Commissioner said in a recent lecture at the University of Ghana, Legon: “Ghana is reasonably blessed; it has some valuable raw material. It has enterprising and well educated people. It even has reasonable assess to finance from taxation, from donors, from outside investors, from remittances and even now more than ever, from world financial markets, so in principle, there is nothing to stop Ghana growing economically”. He warned against bad policy decisions, saying, policy decisions are crucial to the country’s long term future. He went on saying that as things stand, oil would bring in no more revenue to Ghana than foreign aid currently does, And if hypothetically aid money went down as oil revenue went up, Ghana would end up no better in net terms than now.
Dr. Westcott knows Ghana’s problems, but cannot say it too loud. He has genuine concerns just as I do, and if our leaders will listen to these concerns and make policy decisions in the interest of the Country and people of Ghana, we shall be getting close to solving our ailing economic problems.
I have my doubts if the oil revenue will make any difference in the lives of the people of Ghana. If anybody thinks I am joking, let him look at our diamond and gold communities, and tell me if they are any better than any other towns in Ghana without any such precious minerals.
CAUSING FINANCIAL LOSS TO STATE.
Ghana’s economic woes are the direct result of willful misappropriations of funds by political leaders and the result of bad policy decisions. Unfortunately, it appears the two major political parties that have dominated the dysfunctional system over the years have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that shall never punish economic saboteurs. They do whatever they like and get away with everything because they consider themselves superior to the rest of the people of Ghana.
Between 2001 and 2008, a few political officials were sentenced by a competent court, imprisoned, but only to be later pardoned by President J.A Kufour. The NPP administration could not have the needed political courage to prosecute the misdeeds of the folks of the previous government of the NDC; because they were themselves seriously pursuing worse things than the NDC, and feared revenge in case power changed hands.
Power really did change hands in 2009, and now, after one year, no NPP political leader has yet been prosecuted by the Mills NDC administration. Will the NDC have the political will and courage to do so? We are yet to see, as the clock keeps ticking.
What have we done as a nation since 1966, with all the wealth of the nation, besides loans and aid that deserves mention? Politicians can only talk about road construction as if Ghana has everything but roads. Even the construction of Ghana’s roads is built so poorly they hardly last a year before developing potholes.
IN CONCLUSION – one can say that the political system of Ghana has become dysfunctional and exploitative. Until we as a people make the right selection of leaders who will have the moral and ethical fiber to implement policies, account for common funds, and able to institute the criminal laws and punish economic saboteurs as a deterrent, any hopes for Ghanaians to taste economic freedom may be a wishful thinking.
Source: Ofori Ampofo
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