The Daily Graphic of yesterday, Monday, February 24, 2014, had a cartoon with a message that is spot on.
The cartoon depicts President John Dramani Mahama, or someone who looks like the Head of State of this republic, at a meal with two visitors. The menu is in the form of a map of Ghana, embellished in the national currency, the cedi.
As soon as the napkin covering the food is removed, the President’s two guests, the dollar and the pound sterling, begin tearing through the cedi, with the ferocious intensity of hungry greyhounds, while the Head of State sits dejectedly and unable to free the cedi under attack.
For me, the cartoon tells everything about the economic hopelessness of the Republic of Ghana. The cedi is on a free fall, with those appointed to superintendent over it, powerless to act.
We are almost at a point of hopelessness, as a people. The economy is nothing to write home about. Poverty is on the rise, with infrastructure crumbling around us. This nation has never experienced this level of hopelessness, since the culture of silence begat the Fourth Republic.
Beyond the roof-top advertisement of building a ‘Better Ghana,’ authorities are yet to articulate a concrete plan for getting this country out of the woods. So far, all national programmes have failed to put any package in place to rescue the falling cedi.
With the national currency descending at break-neck speed into the pit, the nation is exposed to all manner of economic malaise.
At mid-morning today, Tuesday, February 25, 2014, President John Dramani Mahama will mount the rostrum in the Chamber of Parliament to deliver his State of the Nation, obviously full of intent, with little or no solution about how this nation would redeem itself from economic degradation, with its pangs of hunger and poverty afflicting our people.
I am afraid there would be much talk with very little or no direction on how the talk would lead into action. I am not an iconoclast. I only tend to nurse the feeling that one does not only talk to achieve his or her aims and objectives.
When officialdom, directing the state, does not walk its talk, it is as clear as today is Tuesday, that nothing concrete would be achieved.
Last year, on Thursday, February 21, 2013, President John Dramani Mahama was in Parliament House to deliver his maiden State of the Nation address. He had a lot to tell Ghanaians. The head of State enumerated what he termed four thematic areas that he had chosen to drive the nation forward.
According to President Mahama, the Government of the National Democratic Congress, which he is leading, would improve the parameters that supports economic growth and move this society forward, which alone would lead to improvement in the quality of life of the ordinary Ghanaian.
President Mahama identified four thematic areas his administration intended pursuing to rescue the people from poverty and depravity.
These were; (a) Putting the People first, (b) A strong and Resilient Economy, (c) Expanding infrastructure, (d) Transparent and Accountable Governance.
Renewing his social contract with the people of Ghana, President Mahama repeated the following pledge, which he first made at his inauguration at the Black Star Square in Accra, on January 7, 2012.
“I will work hard to place us on the right path. I will lead us over the hurdles and past the obstacles that might threaten to keep us from meeting our goals.” President Mahama went on to state the conviction that brought him into politics.
“I entered public service out of a genuine desire to help make a difference in the lives of our people. My vision for this country is to create a conducive national environment in which our children grow happily to become responsible adults; where workers are proud to work and defend our national values; where improved maternal health reduces the hazards of child bearing; where teachers use influence to positively mould the next generation; a Ghana in which we create and share in the benefits.”
Evidence abounds of creating and sharing. The beneficiaries though, are never the entire people of Ghana. There are a few aides and cronies who have surrounded the Head of State. Mr. Justice Jones Dotse, sitting at the Supreme Court in Accra, identified several areas of the economy, where state officials have “created, looted and shared.”
It tells much about our developmental efforts that nearly one year after the Supreme Court directed the General Legal Council to investigate the conduct of some identified lawyers who paved the way for a few individuals to invade the state treasury and used the resources of state for themselves, no one has even invited a statement from any of those so indicted.
A calendar year after the Presidential promise, life is becoming more unbearable for the mass of our people. The ordinary Ghanaian is battling with more difficulties, before eking out a living.
It tells much about how the President is improving the quality of life of the Ghanaian, that I had to carry empty gallons to Ekumfi Ekrawfo at the week-end, with the hope of drawing water for use in Accra.
It turned out that most parts of the Ekumfi Traditional Area is without water. I had to trek to Ajumako Bisease to draw water, in the process of which the old banger got seriously damaged.
As you read this piece, many are able-bodied Ghanaians who have no jobs and no hope. For the first time in the history of this nation, an association for Unemployed Graduates is busily articulating the concerns of its members on the scrap-heap of unemployment, than members of the association finding jobs and paying taxes to the state.
The free fall of the cedi has given room for all manner of Socialist policies in a free market. We are being told, for instance, that people with accounts in foreign currencies could only draw their deposits in cedis. I am not an Economist, but I find it very difficult to believe that the new directive would encourage more deposits in foreign currencies.
There is much talk about the need to export more than we import. Meanwhile, we have a very strange policy of selling the state’s share of our oil in its crude form abroad, and importing refined petroleum, while the Tema Oil Refinery sits idle.
This is a very strange society. In the name of getting re-elected, the operators of the state machinery just dipped their hands into the state treasury and threw as much as GH¢8.7 at poor and hungry voters, who promptly returned the Government in power to Government House. State officials clothed the new scheme under a new economic model christened – ‘over-expenditure.’
The new economic model was outdoored barely three months after President Mahama had announced to the country that the economy had shrunk to the bare bone.
For more than five years, this administration has failed to meet the GH¢158 asking price for constructing the 31.7 kilometer Suhum-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi Highway. At the same time, the President keeps talking about improving infrastructure of roads, schools, hospitals and public utilities.
If you want to work out how this administration has been less than candid with Ghanaians, just look at how the state has conned Ghanaians to pay more for water and electricity, with the promise of massive changes in service delivery. The return of power outages, without announcement, while the people trek for miles looking for water, is your answer.
This morning, the President would go on the usual roof-top advertisement of how he and his NDC have created utopia out of the mess around us.
The true state of the nation though, could be deduced from many Ghanaians going hungry, with several castles built in the air.
Of course, the state of the Suhum Road tells it all, about how the President and his Government has truly moved this nation forward on mirage.
For this reason, I would not condemn the Minority in parliament if they decide to shoot down the Presidential promises this morning. TWEAA!