Saturday, May 3, 2014, at the Community Centre in the mining town of Tarkwa in the Western Region of Ghana, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) propagated a national agenda for change that sets the new course for transforming Ghana from the so-called developing middle income country to a developed, high income nation, as envisioned at the party’s birth two years ago.
On February 25, 2012, Progressives from all over the country, about 4,000 of them from the then 230 constituencies, gathered at the First National Convention to launch the agenda for change. That national convention offered Ghana an alternative to the NDC/NPP duopoly and showcased the party’s true character, strength and the depth of human capital that had enlisted in the preparations for a genuine public service.
Days after, the propagandists said PPP would not last. “It will not last long; it will die like the others after election 2012,” they swore!
Unknown to them, the Progressives had responded to a solemn, almost divine call to bring incorruptible leadership into governance to make Ghana great and strong. And that call is bigger than the 4,000 people that had gathered at the Accra Sports Stadium on that hot, sunny February 25, 2012. It was also a call to liberate and redeem our people from the bad, exclusionist, opaque and extractive governance and offer open, inclusive, accountable and good governance for Ghana’s transformational development made. Today, it is settled that the fire accompanying the call for change cannot be quenched.
The PPP’s vision to create a just and disciplined society with a passion for excellence within a generation and with science and technology as the cornerstone continues to generate high interest among many Ghanaians, especially the youth. The vision seeks to modernise agriculture and provide the local and foreign markets that can sustain the nation’s farmers and fishermen.
It provides a realistic strategy for dealing with corruption and doubling the government’s revenue which will be used to pay for proposed transformational initiatives in education, health care and job creation. It will see state institutions reformed, make the government efficient and raise revenue to be able to pay public servants well to motivate them to facilitate the work of the private sector and the Ghanaian society in general.
Fully aware that the current governance infrastructure cannot support the transformation as envisioned, the PPP proposed to work to change portions of the 1992 Constitution to facilitate the agenda for change and make it a reality.
First is to allow for the election of all district assembly members and district/municipal/metropolitan chief executives to ensure local accountability and rapid development. This proposed reform has been endorsed by majority of the people of Ghana. It is one of the key reforms presented in the Constitutional Review Commission’s (CRC) report. But President John Mahama has issued a White Paper contrary to the will of the people, just to maintain the status quo.
The second key reform is to abolish the provision that allows Ministers of State to also serve as Members of Parliament. The PPP believes that the abolishment will not only make available for governance a large pool of qualified, experienced Ghanaian talent whose expertise is currently unused and, therefore, lost to Ghana but will tone down the excessive, discretionary and monopolistic powers of the Executive. Related to this objective will be a solid determination to give Parliament the facilities and resources needed to pass good laws and scrutinise effectively proposals submitted by the Executive.
The PPP envisions quality education for every Ghanaian child. It intends to standardise school facilities from kindergarten to senior high school with libraries, toilets, classrooms, kitchens, housing for teachers, playgrounds, etc. and ensure free and compulsory education in public schools from kindergarten to senior high school (including computer training).
It has promised to deploy an “education police” or “school tankassi” to enforce the compulsory aspect of the policy. An integral part of this objective will be a scheme to significantly increase vocational training so that all school leavers gain employable skills. This will include a comprehensive sports programme to instil discipline and promote better health.
To change the fundamentals of the Ghanaian economy, the party plans to provide cheap and abundant energy for industrialisation and rapid development. It will provide energy solutions with a sense of urgency to meet industry and domestic needs and make Ghana a net exporter of power again. To achieve this objective, the party will provide tax incentives to enable the development of alternative sources of fuel and power – biofuels and solar. The PPP administration aims to ensure that the contribution from alternative sources of energy reaches a minimum of 10 percent of what we need in a decade, harness the nation’s natural resources (particularly oil and gas) to ensure maximum benefit and prosperity for all Ghanaians.
The PPP will ensure a cleaner environment free from preventable diseases such as malaria, cholera and guinea worm infections. The party believes that just like countries in Europe and elsewhere have become malaria-free, so can Ghana, with the right leadership from PPP. We will ensure emergency care throughout the country to save lives. Our focus will be on prevention, where education is key.
The PPP will aggressively attack crime, the drug trade and corruption using leadership by example, being modest in governance, passing and implementing the Right to Information Bill and ensuring an independent public prosecutor’s office, separate from the Ministry of Justice. We will strengthen the Narcotics Control Board with all the human, financial and other resources needed for success to make it the agency responsible for fighting the drug trade. We will strengthen the Police Service by providing resources and training to fight crime.
The PPP will establish a secretariat to cater for the needs of Ghanaians abroad and the African Diaspora within 12 months of attaining power to provide the support system to encourage re-entry, investment, safe and healthy vacations and the transfer of knowledge and technology.
The strategy to use the government’s purchasing power to ensure that we (Ghanaians) eat what we grow and use what we produce in Ghana is an idea that has arrived and is consistent with the PPP’s economic policy of bringing the economy back home.
We will improve Ghana’s business climate to enable investment in job creation so that our people will stay at home to help develop the country and its economy. We will be relentless in providing support to Ghanaian industries and our farmers and fishermen through low-interest loans, technical assistance, tax incentives and priority access to the Ghanaian market.
To accelerate job creation nationally, an inter-region highway will be built with the same high quality throughout the country to open up the country for investment and development. The party continues to show through its policy visions how it will find the money to implement its programmes by strengthening and reforming institutions to fight corruption and give to the government the monies that are going into private pockets.
Unlike the duopoly, PPP is not selling an ideological mission to the Ghanaian people. Ghanaians want food to eat, they want a home to live in, they want good health and safe roads, they want the best education for their children and they want good jobs. We are bringing governance that will help Ghanaians meet these challenges.
We care about governance that works for all Ghanaian people. When the best individuals who can deliver results to the Ghanaian people are at the helm of this nation (at the presidential and parliamentary levels), Ghana will achieve the transformation that has been denied Ghanaians all this while. Progressive, pragmatic leadership, the type that focuses on education, job creation, industrialisation, housing and dealing with preventive diseases, will lead Ghana to prosperity in peace!
A new future beckons but it will not come into being unless we make that clean break from the old way of doing things. Now I pose the question: will the Progressive train carry Ghana to the promised land of a developed nation? Are the Progressives for real? When the transformational development history of Ghana comes to be written, will you be there? What would you have contributed to that achievement? Would you be counted among the redeemers, liberators, dreamers or change agents? The time for action is now!