My first impression about the state of the nation was the admission by President Mills that he is indeed slow, though sure.
One might argue that the President's admission is a show of candour.
The truth is, I don't think president Mills appreciates the seriousness of being slow. The state of slowness alienates public support for the National Democratic Congress and is a put off for young voters.
The "slow but sure" statement aside, the directive to search all users of the VIP / VVIP lounge of the Kotoka International Airport was a complete disaster. When I first heard that President Mills had been searched at the Kotoka Airport last year, I expressed my concerns when I met the Hon. Foreign minister at the Royal Gardens Hotel in London.
These kinds of directives could easily trigger a diplomatic row. What the directive means is that, the Pope, AU leaders, UN officials and other very high level visiting diplomats must be subjected to a body checks. President suggests we should subject the Ga Mantse, the Otumfuo and other respectable Chiefs using the VVIP lounge to embarrassing checks body checks. I would be very angry if a foreign country subjects a sitting Ghanaian President or a high level official from Ghana to body search.
We cannot afford to make it easier for people to export or import illicit drugs. The illegal drugs problem must be confronted head on but there are certain unspoken conventions you cannot break in the area of international diplomacy. President Mills has downgraded the authority of the presidency and made a laughing stock of his office. The directive is a flagrant breach of etiquette in diplomatic circles.
The body search faux pas aside, I couldn't believe President Mills failed to talk about the outbreak of CSM. Twenty seven Ghanaians had lost their lives according to the Ghana Health Service from CSM with several others receiving treatment at various hospitals in the northern regions.
We are talking about deaths in an area of the country where Agriculture is the mainstay of the people. Rising deaths in such areas have implications on the ability of the people to produce. The president couldn't have missed this. The address was an opportunity to restore confidence and galvanise Ghanaians but I think Professor Mills missed it.
Before the CSM outbreak, there have been concerns over the suicide rate amongst farmers in some parts of the north. Suicide amongst farmers in the Upper East Region" is getting worse" according to the President of the Peasant Farmers Network of Ghana, John Akaribo.
Increased food production means nothing if some of the farmers who have been responsible for this increase are committing suicide. It would be difficult persuading young people to get involved in the sector if those already in it are grouchy.
That aside, President Mills' assurances to turn Ghana into an industrial nation is not anchored on reality. Indeed we are too dependent on Agriculture and that is dangerous. As in the words of Kwame Nkrumah, it is “necessary to develop heavy industries in this country”. And to achieve that he got the Volta River project off the ground.
We presently have an energy situation in the country. As the President was delivering his speech, I was listening from a friend’s office because I had not had light in my community for several hours.
How can facilities meant for the storage of meat, milk, vegetable and other food products be of any good if we are experiencing unstable supply of electricity?
We all know what excessive heat could do to productivity? Heat makes it difficult for our workers to get sufficient rest and undoubtedly "interferes with efficiency in the workshop and the office".
There was no talk of the depressing energy crises in the country. Our immediate need is steady supply of power. We currently do not have that. We can catch up with the world, but the foundation for building industry is power/electricity.
We live in a country where more and more working class families are borrowing to sustain their standard of living. They don't want government to take forever to fix their concerns. Governance is about pragmatism.
Two more slow years of Professor Mills' presidency would be a disaster for the NDC. Not that the opposition New Patriotic Party are any better, but the "slow motion" would provide a perfect grist for voter apathy which could make them (NPP) slip through.
The only people who do not realise the consequences of the "slow motion" or rather "slow but sure" are people who enjoy the patronage of government.
Source: Ras Mubarak [email protected]
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