Friday, February 18, 2011

Haven’t we had enough of the ‘WE WILL’ speeches?

President John Mills on Thursday afternoon delivered his state of the nation addressing, asking Ghanaians to see the country in a mighty nation worthy of spotting opportunities from afar. He said it was time for Ghanaians to think big, positive and be confident. Again, he said as a country we can’t hold ourselves up as a small nation and continue to let opportunities slip by our hands.

Listening to the president’s speech, I felt he was, as usual, wordy but empty on substance. His ability to deliver has never been in question, though his opponents are often on the lookout for slips. Thankfully the president did not give them that, and most of them were very much let down. What were they thinking in the first place-that he is not articulate?

As an independent minded person and a Ghanaian citizen who is very much concerned about the direction of this country, I think the president’s speech did not carry significant development that had been executed through. Rather, it was laced with ‘WE WILL’ or ‘WE’RE ABOUT TO type of speech, which has become very much part of the country’s political leadership- which has no clear vision good enough to uplift Ghanaians from the doldrums of abject poverty.

Next month Ghana will be 54 years as a so-called independent country and there is nothing to show for it, apart from soaring unemployment and increasing shortage of water supply. As for energy the least said about it the better. I wanted to hear the president talked about on-going measures put in place to reduce unemployment, give meaning to the drop in inflation and reduce the scale of opulence in government.

Our ruling elites have developed a penchant for raking empty. Some see the coffers as their haven of loot, grabbing anything they see with their eyes or even stumble on. Nothing seems to be working in this country, as we approach 54 years of a so-called self rule.

The direction of the country is very much hinged on baseless political party manifestos. Be it NDC or NPP who gets into power, the policy or direction at which they want to take Ghana (even if there is any) is purely based on their own manifestos full of ideas they care less to implement. No wonder we are still struggling as an independent country. we have become beggars to such an extent that even countries in the Far East who crawled out of colonialism with us are firmly walking on their legs, leaving us to sit at the same place-without even crawling any further. We have become a wasted nation.

“Madam Speaker, I have had occasion to state that too much has passed us by as a nation and we need to move as fast as we can; of course at calculated speed.

“Past failures seem to have created a mentality that has restricted national ambition. It is time for this country to think big and think positive. “

The president’s call for us to be confident and positive thinkers is in the right direction but sometimes the question I ask myself is whether he and his team believe in the things they say. it is nice to be confident and think positively but how does that manifest in mine getting constant supply of water, power supply? Been confident and thinking positively surely are brilliant but will do bring an end to the soaring unemployment?

Today in my office for example, the power went off in the morning and came back after 4pm. It is almost like a daily ritual. We expect the president to be telling us work done so far to eliminate that mess. No country determined to develop thrive on an unreliable power supply, that will be suicidal. We expect the president(s) to focus on the job instead of often telling us things we already know.

Ghanaians are self-confident but that confidence can easily erode in an environment that is very much embedded with massive inefficiency, with state corporations like the water and energy supply sectors performing below point one. Managers of the country’s power supply come across as primitive persons who don’t know we are in the 21st century and things ought to change.

We want the president to resolve such problem not to be telling us inflation figures that end up reflecting in the pockets of his own people and not the larger populace. What is the essence of single digit inflation to a civil servant who is collecting less than $300 a month after serving his country for decades?
Such a civil servant a speech laced with ‘WE WILL’ is bound to further depress him.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

State of the Nation Address

President John Mills delivers his state of the nation address, the third time since assuming office in 2009, and expectations are that he’ll be genuine with his approach-telling Ghanaians things are not as rosy as he wants us all to believe.

A political ritual started by former President John Kufour, Mills has kept the tradition, offering Ghanaians an insight, or supposed insight, of current state of affairs at the country. At his first address to the nation, he touched on governance, private sector development and agriculture, among others.
President Mills said he’ll move “beyond rhetoric and execute a programme to rehabilitate existing irrigation schemes to ensure their efficient utilization.” He made the statement with respect to how the government plans to boost agriculture production in the country.

“The Government will address simultaneously the issues of food availability, access to food, response to crises situations and malnutrition. The Government will invest adequately to maintain the production level of those crops for which we have surplus production and put in measures to increase significantly the production level of those crops for which we have deficit production.”

The said ‘rhetoric certainly applies to every facet of the plans he put forward to Ghanaians. It includes how to tackle soaring unemployment, create jobs (certainly not the one point six million ghost jobs), corruption, education and health. Then there is also security.

The president is in his third year and the views out there are that ‘people no dey see top.” Forget the insincere rumblings from the opposition NPP (they are just waiting in the wings to continue from where their looting ended) and their everyday cries of ‘enkoyie.’ The average Ghanaian is struggling to hold on to a job. Even those lucky to be employed the salary at the end of the month is absolutely nothing to talk about.

The state of the nation at this time is that at almost 54 years of age the ordinary Ghanaian continues to lose hope in the country of his birth, because he cannot find any decent opportunity to better himself. At the state of the nation today our education system is in crisis, with students at the tertiary levels struggling to fit into lecture rooms.

We are still struggling with the exact figure for our population size: 24million, 25million? That is still shrouded in mystery.

The state of the nation is that people have no access to water, even in the capital-Accra. Power outages have become very normal. It is a blessing to have uninterrupted power supply for a whole week, at 54 years. We have enough sunshine but not thinking through how to tap into it.

The state of the nation is that our economic paradigm is still unclear, though we are told Rome was never built in a day. So, must we wait for 300 years to develop?
The state of the nation is that inflation figures for the NDC are different from that of the NPP. Despite their silly argument
The state of the nation is that there is no policy plan that all the political parties are following to put the country on a sound footing. The state of the nation is that corruption is rifled.

The state of the nation is that if you are in opposition you think right but in government? Your thinking leads right into your stomach.
That is the state of the nation.