Bringing our nation together


Today, outgoing President, John Dramani Mahama, will deliver his last state of the nation address as required by the constitution of Ghana. Naturally, he will be expected to account for his stewardship and undoubtedly present a good report of himself.

Transition

Next Saturday, President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will, in accepting the presidency at the formal inauguration at the independence square, in Accra, share his vision with the people of Ghana. Saturday will be a big day for the people of Ghana, but more so for the people whose party -the New Patriotic Party (NPP)- won the December 7, 2016 elections.

Prior to the elections tension heightened leaving some international observers with the feeling that our nation would break apart during, before or after the elections. Thankfully nothing untoward happened, safe a few reported, isolated but avoidable cases of clashes between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and NPP supporters.

Without going into the merits of the matter as regards who provoked who? Who threw the first stick, stone or blow; which both of them are good at doing, there is the need for leadership of NDC and NPP to keep in view bringing the nation together by all means and through the due process of justice, law and order, if the nation is to make the most out of the mandate and the goodwill Nana Addo is enjoying and is most likely to enjoy for a long time to come.

Expectations

In their book, “Why Nations Fail The Origins Of Power, Prosperity And Poverty” world class economists, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, conclude firmly that “the huge differences in incomes and standards of living that separate the rich countries of the world, such as the United States, Great Britain and Germany, from the poor, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and South Asia” is as a result of the governance systems that the two divides operate.

They go on to provide good examples, one of them make the point strongly; “THE CITY OF NOGALES is cut in half by a fence. If you stand by it and look north, you’ll see Nogales, Arizona, located in Santa Cruz County. The income of the average household there is about $30,000 a year. Most teenagers are in school, and the majority of the adults are high school graduates. Despite all the arguments people make about how deficient the U.S. health care system is, the population is relatively healthy, with high life expectancy by global standards. Many of the residents are above age sixty-five and have access to Medicare….

Life, south of the fence, just a few feet away, is rather different. While the residents of Nogales, Sonora, live in a relatively prosperous part of Mexico, the income of the average household there is about one-third of that in Nogales, Arizona. Most adults in Nogales, Sonora, do not have a high school degree, and many teenagers are not in school.

Mothers have to worry about high rates of infant mortality. Poor public health conditions mean it’s no surprise that the residents of Nogales, Sonora, do not live as long as their northern neighbours. They also don’t have access to many public amenities. Roads are in bad condition south of the fence. Law and order is in worse condition. Crime is high, and opening a business is a risky activity. Not only do you risk robbery, but getting all the permissions and greasing all the palms just to open is no easy endeavor. Residents of Nogales, Sonora, live with politicians’ corruption and ineptitude every day…”

New Dawn:

On Saturday, we can expect a new dawn akin to Nogales Arizona. Ghanaians will for the first time, elect their city mayors, cut-throat taxes will be removed, every district will have $Million United States Dollars for their choice of development, there will be one factory in each district, there will be free senior high school education etc.

Many people seem to like what President-elect, Akufo-Addo, has been saying about building one strong united nation state – Ghana. Indeed he has said the right things from his victory speech to thank you tours he has undertaken to many communities where he provided some policy directions as well as hints of who might be part of his cabinet.

Clarity of Reforms:

The tenets of good governance; include bringing people together and around ideas that create a just and disciplined society. Certainly the people of Ghana are not happy with the level of corruption perceived or real that has gone on in the outgoing administration. To fight corruption surgically, majority of Ghanaians, according to the Constitution Review Commission report, want the Attorney General’s office separated from the Minister of Justice. The conflicts of interest inherent in the current arrangement are well known.

While the people of Ghana want separation in favour of an Independent Public Prosecutor, the President-elect has been talking about a Special Prosecutor.  Will the Special Prosecutor replace the Attorney General who is the only one imbued with authority to prosecute or not to prosecute? The President-elect needs to clarify this matter.

Will the President-elect address the issue of winner-takes-all, excessive powers of the executive that happen through appointment of majority of ministers of state from the legislature with the corresponding diminishing of the legislature’s powers to check the excesses of the executive?

Bringing the nation together goes beyond search and calling for peace and one nation. It is powerfully manifested in the visions and ideas we collectively share of the direction the nation must go. That way, it is easier for majority not necessarily everyone to come on board to work for the collective good of the nation.

 

By William Doworpkor/The Last Uprising

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