President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is building Ghana on sinking ground. That is the impression I got from his maiden media encounter early this week, when he opened up to the Ghanaian people through the media.
The President has been in office for the past six months. In the election that brought him to power, he made a lot of promises, some of which were due at the time of the media engagement but had not been actualised. In fact I was expecting the President to list the first six-month time-bound promises and indicate achieved or not achieved. He got away with it.
One good thing that happened at the encounter though, was the change in narrative from “policies are bearing fruits” to “initiated policies will soon bear fruits.” The Vice President did not attempt any 103 imaginary achievements as he did after their first 100 days in office. Free Senior High (SHS) was a big promise in the President’s 2008, 2012 and 2016 campaigns. If you campaign on a policy for 12 years and you decide to vary the implementation of the policy after you have attained power largely based on that policy, you have short-changed those who gave you the mandate because of the promise and there is a “reward” for that.
Related to the free SHS promise is the provision of jobs for the unemployed youth. On this front also, there is great disappointment. And the disappointment might last till the next regime change. On the economic management front the value is the same, with confirmation that the debt to GDP ratio will only improve marginally. Did I hear building a solid foundation for economic take off? Or it was echoes from former Finance Minister, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey? It is obvious the way things are going that little will change until reforms of the governance infrastructure takes place.
Ability to identify, prioritise and do first things first is a mark of great leadership. The nation through the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), has spoken about reforms that must take place for Ghana to move to the right path of progress. Like the Free SHS and Employment policies it appears the President lacks the desire to implement the reforms so recommended to build the strong foundation for take-off.
Separating the Executive from the Legislature is key, to getting the fundamentals of our governance system right. If for nothing at all, it will strengthen the Legislature and we all know what a strong Legislature can do for mother Ghana. Separating the Attorney General’s Office from the Minister of Justice will deal the lasting blow to corruption.
Unfortunately, that policy vision shift has also been vitiated by the President. In the next few days there will be minority and majority fights over the Office of Special Prosecutor which will not make any difference anyway. While the solution lies in an Independent Public Prosecutor, which the President knows very well to be the way to go, he has settled for Special Prosecutor which amounts to maintaining the status quo.
The other key reform is election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) by the electorate. Well, on this front the President keeps saying the right things. In 2018, MMDCEs will be elected. But my question is where is the road map to election of MMDCEs?
Until the President prioritises these reforms and implements them on first things first basis, I am not sure the promises he made will be delivered, no matter how desirous and diligently he seeks to deliver. Why? Because the foundation on which he is building is sinking sand, when what we need to build on, is solid rock.
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