Tuesday, 21 February 2017

President Akufo-Addo's Maiden State Of The Nation Address - And Some Of The Day's Events In Parliament

President Akufo-Addo's maiden state of the nation address (SOTNA) impressed me. It was well-written and in parts very inspirational.

Clearly, he wants to be a leader who will boldly confront the many challenges that face our country and overcome them - by transforming the Ghanaian economy. Cool.

We must all do what we can to make sure he succeeds in his aim of creating a prosperous society in Ghana as responsible citizens who love their country.

A prosperous Ghana will benefit all the  hardworking citizens of our country - wherever they reside in the ten regions that presently make up our nation's landmass.

For that reason the vast majority of Ghanaians are eagerly awaiting details of the Akufo-Addo administration's plans to revive the national economy when the finance minister presents the new government's first budget this March.

Judging by the rest of the contents of his SOTNA to Parliament, the president has the makings of a truly great leader - if he commits to a genuine one-nation ethos to underpin the work of his administration.

Naturally, to be successful in that, he must resist the extreme partisanship of the powerful,  closet tribal-supremacist hardliners in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) he leads - who need to recognise that no tribe is superior or inferior to another in the Ghana of today.

Ghana belongs to all its people - all of  whom have an equal stake in their nation: no matter their political backgrounds; their religious faith; the resource-base of the part of our country they hail from; and their gender.

Any president of Ghana who understands the urgent imperative of having to actively protect what is left of our nation's natural heritage, ought to be supported by environmental activists across our country, to do so successfully.

That will protect the quality of life of present and future generations of our people. The president will therefore have the active support of this blog in the implementation of  his administration's policies to protect the natural environment throughout Ghana.

And any president who sees the need to have a flourishing renewable energy sector that makes independent power generation and off-grid energy independence possible nationwide to provide affordable electricity, ought to be supported by all Ghanaians.

Since the only way ordinary Ghanaians can have access to affordable eletricity, is to switch to renewable energy generation with storage and  empower themselves with the option of off-grid energy independence,  this blog fully supports the president's plans for growing the renewables sector's capacity.

In publicly condemning the lawlessness of the extremists in his party since the NPP came to power, and making it clear to Ghanaians that he has instructed the head of the Ghana Police Service, the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), David  Asante-Appeatu, to halt all such lawlessness, the president has at long last sent a signal to the world that he is an African leader who truly believes in the rule of law.

Our view on this matter is that President Akufo-Addo misjudged the national mood on this contentious issue, and failed our country in not earlier publicly demanding an end to the atrocities committed by the so-called "Invincible Forces" - who have shown by their actions across Ghana that many of them are criminals in all but name. Still, better late than never, is our verdict here.

The president can redeem his image somewhat in this matter, by making sure that all the militias operated covertly as private security companies  by wealthy party extremists in virtually all the political parties to intimidate their opponents, are banned, forcibly disbanded and their owners' licenses revoked swiftly by the security agencies.

The world is watching what the president does about the so-called "Invincible Forces" whose egregious barbarism has attracted worldwide attention and widespread condemnation on social media platforms - so he must definitely  take action against them and do so quickly through his very able and principled national security  minister, Hon Albert Kan Dapaah.

It is now up to the acting IGP to ensure that the so-called "Invincible Forces" and their equivalents in all the other political parties that maintain private militias disguised as security companies, are banned and forcibly disbanded as soon as practicable.

In an age of global terrorism we should not allow political parties to endanger the safety of our republic by maintaining private militias. Who knows when some of them will switch their allegiance to global terrorist groups for compelling financial reasons?

One could also sense that the president wants the nation to revisit the arguments about Founder's Day. It has something to do with the Akyem side of his family clan's obsession with Dr. J. B. Danquah.

That is a dubious enterprise to be truthful. For the sake of the cohesion of Ghana, he must resist the pressure being brought to bear upon him (and perhaps by his own personal inclination) by the Akyem-empire-builders in his extended family clan from Akyem Abuakwa.

The desire to foist Dr. J. B.  Danquah on the nation as a national hero must be resisted by all fair-minded Ghanaian nationalists of today.

He was an unalloyed and unrepentant tribal-supremacist. And, bottom line: Danquah was a paid agent of  Western intelligence agencies. National heroes are neither quislings nor paid agents of foreign intelligence agencies. Period.

No amount of revisionist maneuvering can change the reality of the vision that eventually prevailed in the twilight years of the Gold Coast colony and led to the nation-state we all owe allegiance to,  today, and are proud citizens of.

The fact of the matter is that Dr. J. B. Danquah & Co wanted a completely different nation to replace the Gold Coast after independence from the occupying British colonialists.

The last thing Danquah and his elitist-acolytes wanted - but which the non-tribalistic, and egalitarian Nkrumah and his Convention People's Party (CPP) government wanted for the masses - was  the unitary Ghanaian nation-state of today. Nkrumah was acutely aware that inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of meritocracy.

Essentially, Danquah & Co wanted a federation that would be a modern version of the pre-colonial traditional system - governed by the progeny of its ruling elites, who  would dominate a federal state made up of the pre-colonial tribal entities that existed before the first Europeans set foot on our shores - to replace the Gold Coast after independence.

That post-colonial vision of our newly-independent nation parlayed by Danquah & Co, was rejected by the masses of our people in the elections of 1951, 1954 and 1956 - because they recognised that it favoured an elite whose sole qualification for leadership was based on inherited privelege, who would thus dominate them in perpetuity.

They therefore voted freely to make Nkrumah our first post-independence leader because they preferred his vision of the meritocratic society in the new African nation that would emerge after independence, in which there would universal adult suffrage that would enable them elect the nation's leaders.

Not for the masses of the Gold Coast an ossified, backward and nepotistic-system, in which kingmaker-mothers could select their own offspring as leaders - who then subsequently select their own female siblings as new  kingmakers to succeed their kingmaker-mothers: upon their death. Incredible.

That is the reason why Nkrumah - who incidentally acknowledged the efforts over the  decades prior to his arrival on the scene from the UK of all those nationalists who throughout the occupation by  Britain of the Gold Coast fought for our nation's independence - is indeed the founder of modern Ghana and deserves to be recognised as such. But I digress.

To continue with one's observations about today's events at Parliament, one also needs to comment about the security of our leaders - or the lack thereof. To be charitable, it leaves a lot to be desired.

That is why it is vital that those in charge of the personal security of our leaders are sent to the UK as soon as practicable, to see how the Queen and other members of the royal family, the UK prime minister, leaders of the opposition parties, cabinet ministers and other UK dignatories are protected in an age of global terrorism -  and to be trained by the Metropolitan Police Service in the latest VIP protection strategies to better protect our leaders.

It is outrageous that in an age when terrorists have the capacity to strike randomly at outdoor public events around the globe, we are so relaxed about the security of our president that photo journalists are allowed to race each other in haphazard fashion inside the security cordon around him to get good photographs of the president  inspecting the guard of honour formed by a detachment from the Ghana Air Force in front of Parliament.  How can that be?

As much as is possible, there must always be a tight security cordon around the president and vice-president, access to which must be severely restricted. Let us not wait for disaster to strike before we decide to offer better protection for those who lead our country.

The laxity in the protection of our leaders is shocking and scandalous - and must cease henceforth. The security agencies must do better in this regard. We must not take chances with the lives of any of our leaders.

Hopefully, the Hon Kan Dapaah, the minister in charge of national security will arrange the training  in the UK for the Ghana Police Service's VIP protection unit soon. The training of trainers in the UK can then proceed after that first batch returns  home.

Finally, President Akufo-Addo must be congratulated for delivering a very good maiden state of the nation address. He has given many  Ghanaians  reason to be hopeful about their nation's future.  Fantastic.
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