Wednesday, 28 January 2015

#OccupyGhana Has A Role To Play In Ridding Ghana of Public-Sector Thievery And Incompetence

It did not come as a surprise to me to hear that unlike many of his party colleagues, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the general secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is of the view that #OccupyGhana is an organisation that is helping to fight corruption in Ghana.

Although I have been critical of him, on occassion, in the past, I have always been of the opinion that Mr. Asiedu Nketia is a very shrewd political operator - and is a down to earth, plain-speaking politician, who, unlike so many members of our political class, is completely without affectation.

An important politician with the common touch, his approachable  nature is refreshing - and is in sharp contrast with the tiresome self-importance displayed by the many who suffer from the "big-man-syndrome" in the Ghanaian political world: who take themselves far too seriously.

Few male politicians anywhere in the world, would have been able to laugh off and dismiss the embarrassment of appearing in public during an official trip abroad, wearing a female winter coat, as inconsequential.

Yet Asiedu Nketia's response to the taunting and derision of his political opponents, was that he did not travel with the president to Germany for a fashion show -  and that in his opinon there were far more important issues of concern to the country to deal with (to paraphrase him).

The positive view that Mr. Asiedu Nketia has of #OccupyGhana is one that will serve the NDC well, if a majority of the party's leading lights adopted it - and made use of the enthusiasm #OccupyGhana's members are showing for tackling corruption in Ghana: and leveraged their determination to make our system more efficient and transparent.

After all, the 1992 constitution enjoins all Ghanaians to fight corruption, wherever, and whenever they come across it, does it not? And in any case, in nation-building,  one needs not love all those one works with, in the improvement of our country, does one?

#OccupyGhana's members' sense of patriotism should not be doubted by those in  the NDC  who are suspicious of their motives - and think that they are a covert wing of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). 

When they express such opinions about #OccupyGhana in public, the world only ends up doubting the genuineness of the commitment to democracy of those  members of the NDC, whose knee-jerk reaction to those who criticise the government, is to question their motives - and condemn them as lackeys of their political opponents.

What is driving previuosly apolitical and politically inactive individuals into activitist organisations like #OccupyGhana, is love of country, and the frustration that comes from being totally fed up with endless corruption and the incompetence shown by so many of those in charge of public-sector entities - which results in poor service delivery by public-sector organisations, such as the utilities: and the negative impact that has on the quality of life of millions of ordinary Ghanaians.

The earlier those in government see what is a tectonic shift in Ghanaian politics for what it actually is - a writing on the wall for members of our political class who are drinking in the last chance saloon but seem to be oblivious of the fact - the better it will be for them.

The Fifi Kweteys of the NDC  would be wise to make use of pressure groups like #OccupyGhana in the fight against the inertia and obstructionism one comes across in so many public-sector entities.

(A small tip for the Hon. Fifi Kwetey: if he wants to leave a legacy like that of Colonel Frank George Bernasko's at the ministry of food and agriculture, he must  fight to make income from all farming, not just cocoa farming, tax free. Ditto income from  the entire value-chain of the agro-industrial sector. But I digress.)

#OccupyGhana definitely has a role to play in ridding Ghana of public-sector thievery and incompetence. They must be encouraged in what they do in the public sphere  - not derided and condemned for standing up for their country and all its people: at a particularly difficult period in the history of our homeland Ghana.

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