The kind of democracy practiced in Ghana can best be described as a “one man show.” The president is voted for by the people. He is said to derive the authority to govern from the consent of the people – a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Sounds nice! In practice, the vast majority of people working with the president, including mayors and municipal chief executives, are appointed not voted for. In Ghana, the president appoints the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Chief of Defence staff, Head of National Security, Head of Customs and Immigration Service, all Ministers of State, all Regional Ministers, all supreme court judges, all heads of government departments and agencies including the civil service. Even the national media commission, the national commision for civic education, national labour commission and the list goes on and on… All these have the president’s appointees on the board often as chairpersons. If you look at this system of affairs you will realise it’s just an arrangement of instruments loyal to the president. This creates a one man show. A disagreement with an appointee of the president could also mean a disagreement with the president himself and such a person is quickly kicked out. So over time we have a devolving governance system run by a group of mediocre appointees who, in earnest desire to maintain their positions, are more concerned with singing praise songs to the president than doing the job that needs to be done. This works for them anyway but it is the tragedy of Ghanaian leadership.
Everywhere I go, almost everyone is talking about artificial intelligence(AI). I ask myself, is humanity making any real progress at all? The Human brain is designed to solve problems relevant to or related to humans. It’s not a perfect machine but it fulfils its purpose. In Ghana, there are a lot of socio-economic problems that do not require AI but we have also joined the band wagon. As if technology is the solution to all our problems. I want to ask all those people who are crazy about artificial intelligence, how about natural intelligence? I mean the one that helps us to promote peace, democracy, political tolerance and development. How about that? Since I think this is what we need. After which we can then pay attention to what computers and machines think we should do.
When I look at the entire political landscape of Ghana, I realise that Wole Soyinka was right – contemporary Africans are a wasted generation. Wasted because they are not politically conscious, not like in the days of the liberation struggles. The typical African youth of today will much rather pay with his entire life savings in order to simply leave the African continent to go and pick apples or oranges in Spain or Italy. Those who don’t travel out of Africa spend their life swimming in alien cultures that don’t add value to their lives. Many young Ghanaians don’t know that Ghana worked under Kwame Nkrumah. Now the more educated they are the more ignorant they become of their own culture, values and heritage.
African politicians don’t like or even respect African intellectuals because they present too many obstacles to power abuse. Politicians instead love the ignorant masses whom they entice with money and entertainment. This is how they get the votes. Today, Ghana spends millions of dollars to promote football and music though according to the UN, Ghana has no food security and healthcare is poor in rural areas. Has any of the leaders read Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Why would anyone priorise entertainment above agriculture. If we attempt to conclude regarding all these issues, we would say African leaders are conspicuously deficient in leadership skills and vision. Ghanaian leaders have never completely achieved any of their objectives since [in]dependence. Each government tolerated massive corruption during their rule. The masses are also not informed enough so we end up with a democracy that is running on three wheels instead of four.
The efficiency of representative governance largely depends on the education of electorates. If citizens are educated they will have discernment. They will know, from reading manifestos, what is practicable and what’s not and vote accordingly. At the moment four out of five Ghanaian youths don’t have a clear idea what a manifesto is.
On March 6th, many school children will march again in the sun. Some will faint. Others will suffer fatique. All in the name of Ghana’s [in]dependence anniversary celebrations. These anniversaries have come to mean nothing to me. They are like rituals characterised by long monotonous speeches, egotism, pomp and ofcourse propaganda. The real problems of misleadership and poor planning remains. When the floods come people will be caught in it again just like every other year. And when the fire comes people will be caught in that too. Thanks to the negligence of the mayor and city authorities.
But I can already anticipate what issues and promises will take preeminence in the dependence celebrations. Everything around the celebration would be to inspire hope, even if it’s a hopeless hope. Ghana is a failing nation. Millions in the countryside (who vote every fours years) do not have access to healthcare and jobs etc. Free for all senior high school education (which doesn’t even require a pass will produce nothing but semi-literates). Mass education, like mass cooking, often tends to produce mediocre results. And when it comes to trade, Ghana imports several tonnes of chicken from the U.S., tomato and fish from China and pork from Sweden etc. Yet there are poultry, fish and pig farmers in this country who produce more than enough but can’t find markets.
In all of black Africa, I believe the real colonialism began after so called independence of African states. And though the average African leader now keeps atleast 30 cars in their motorcade, none has managed to develop their own countries and uplift the dignity of their people. Over time voting will also likely devolve into a mere ritual, having no real value and significance to the voters. The interesting part is that the solution to the problems of Africa are in Africa. The solution to the political problem lies with its leaders. The solution to the economic problem lies with its natural and mineral resources. The solution to its societal and cultural problems lies with its people.
O Kwame Nkrumah,
Man of integrity.
Father of the nation.
Why did you leave so soon?
Come for your stone.
Your predictions are true.
Ruling for only nine years,
You built more than 200 institutions.
You didn’t even build a house
Today, the country has been
Turned into a thieving fraudulent nation.
The republic is too dirty for God sake;
Political filth, economic filth,
Moral and spiritual filth.
When there was crisis in the Congo
– Blood in Lumumbashi,
You were the first to intervene.
But now your children are under the
Rule of toddler kings.
You told us to seek first the political
Kingdom and its righteousness.
You told us the Blackman is capable
Of managing his own affairs.
You said “Forward Ever!”
How come we are in this mess?
Come back Kwame Nkrumah.
Come back great leader.
Come and teach Ghanaians how to
Manage their own affairs.
There has never been a time when Ghanaians heard a positive news article about the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). Everytime this company is in the news either some money is missing or funds have been diverted to unknown accounts or dubious contracts have been signed. At the moment the CEO and the Board Chair are almost at eachother’s throat over the hiring of a procurement manager. Why do we behave like kids in this country?
Every amateur business student knows that the job of the board of directors of an organisation is that of governance and that the correct organogram is for the CEO to report to the Board. He should not act contrary to the board’s decisions. The bone of contention is not clear but there certainly are parochial interests at play. It also turns out the CEO was appointed by the president not the board so ofcourse his loyalty lies with the president therefore he clearly has no regard for the board. Why do we need a board if the CEO is not going to obey its decisions?
There is a reason for everything including why GNPC has never really made any substantial gains in the last 30 years or so. The reason is simple, GNPC is a fat cow that has suffered multiple milking by successive governments. This fat cow is screaming in pain as the president’s agents and other political appointees within the company have grabbed its teats, squizzing every bit of profit out for their pockets and parties.
It seems leadership is all about speeches in Ghana. Everyone is making noise. They’re on tv, radio, social media etc. When there is a disaster they all condemn it – religious, political, business leaders, as if the condemnation is the solution. Meanwhile these are the people who are supposed to be responsible. They were voted for to solve problems not to try. Anyone can try. When I listen to them talk, it’s clear they don’t have anything to say but they are talking because they’re expected to say something. Ghana is a dysfunctional society and a failing state under NPP.
And the people? Well they see the solution to every problem in music and dancing. There are about 500 radio and tv stations in Ghana. 90% of the programs on these stations are music related or entertaining in nature. There is no sustained intelligent discussion on pertinent matters. If you happen to occupy a leadership position in Ghana and you want people to believe you’re working, create accounts on all social media platforms, trot from tv station to radio station, change your website design every month. This is what many heads of public institutions and departments do to convince people that they’re working hard. Meanwhile they leave office only for a backlog of unfinished jobs, erroneous contracts and projects to be discovered. What happened to accountability?
In Ghana one’s guilt or innocence depends on one’s political affiliation. In times past, many government officials found guilty of financial crimes, trialed and jailed were released by their own government upon assumption of office and declared innocent. An example is the case of the CEO of MASLOC who is now on trial. Even if she is found guilty and jailed, I’m afraid she may soon be freed by her party when they come to power.
The interpretation of the Constitution differs from party to party and the party that is in power has the final say. The constitution has and continues to be abused, which makes me wonder why a constitution that is written in English and could be understood literally could not be easily enforced. Anyone who has read Ghana’s constitution will agree that it requires many important amendments. For instance there are British colonial laws that date back to the 18th century. Also, phrases such as “use reasonable means” or the use of “reasonable force” is vague and has no objective meaning. What is reasonable to one may not be reasonable to another.
Aside the economic hardship imposed on the good people of Ghana, there is every indication that voter turnout in 2020 election will be low considering the recent violence and intimidation tactics by the NPP. Public confidence in the democratic process is generally low. Polling station agents might even be scared to go to the polling stations because of indiscriminate gunshots. Wielding an unlicensed gun is illegal in Ghana so why are these thugs not being arrested and prosecuted straight away? Does the laws in the constitution apply to only certain kinds of people or everyone?
Since the electoral commision disqualified Dr. Nduom in the 2016 election for late submission of forms, I suspect he has not fully recovered from that humiliation. He occasionally laments the loss. Maybe luck will smile at him in 2020 if he stands again as presidential candidate. He has money to waste on dreamy presidential ambitions, why shouldn’t he be helped? My advice to new political parties, including the PPP is: do not waste resources trying to go for the presidency. You will never win, not in the first 30 years. Instead, start the journey by winning seats in parliament. The good works of your MPs will testify to the party’s vision.
Dr. Nduom boasts a chain of hotels and resorts, financial services companies, a radio station and more recently a private university. But up to 90% of all his top ranking employees belong to his own tribe and they jealously guard him. It seems he appoints based on tribal affiliations and not based on qualifications and experience because he has someone who has been a housewife all her life as an academic in his university.
Nepotism is as a canker as corruption in Ghana. Dr. Nduom’s business and political association can best be described as a “Neo-Fante Confederation.” If majority of his employees and associates are indeed Fantes, why not campaign for the votes of only Fantes?