Challenges must provide opportunity for change — Dr Akwetey

Politics of Sunday, 8 March 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey

The Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, has said the challenges confronting the country should provide Ghanaians with the opportunity for change.

He said the opportunities for change could be found in the ability of Ghanaians to see the prospects of the transformational development through the kind of politics tailored to meet that need.

That, he said, required that Ghanaians challenged themselves, mobilised and lobbied for the type of party politics needed to bring their aspirations to fruition.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the 58th Independence Anniversary of the country, Dr Akwetey said politics could be the vehicle for the transformational development that Ghanaians yearned for.

He observed that apart from the hardships imposed by a weak economy and an energy crisis, some Ghanaians were suffering psychologically from their losses in business and also from the erratic nature of power supply.

He expressed worry that there seemed to be no coherent policy solutions to the various challenges confronting the country.

Dr Akwetey was, however, hopeful about future possibilities that Ghanaians could seize for themselves to turn the economy around to meet their aspirations.

“By the nature of democracy, the weaknesses will come up the way they are coming up now as the tenets of transparency and freedoms make us fearless in talking about them, in analysing, challenging situations and in demanding accountability,” he said.

He said multi-party governance had given Ghanaians, in the past 23 years, the democratic space to be expressive in action and thought, with no inhibitions to voice their views fearlessly against any public official whom they thought was not doing his or her work well.

“But the developmental dividends for prosperity and improved standard of living were still elusive.

“And this is where our independence is so critical. We have to ask ourselves, “Do we want to explode in failing to deal with our problem for a foreign intervention to help us do it or do we want our leaders to rise up and say, ‘Look we can do better, we think our politics is not fit for our developmental purpose, but we like the democracy it has brought about, so how do we re-tune it to fit our developmental purpose, accelerate development and bring about inclusive development?” he asked.

Dr Akwetey was of the view that the present development called for the deployment of the critical thinking of all Ghanaians in ways to radically change the politics of the country which was not serving all well.

“It calls for all critical minds to speak out and demand from our leaders and political parties the clear ideas that demonstrate a renewal of hearts and minds to tackle challenges and shift the focus from the challenges to solutions.

“It also called for questions on the right calibre of people to lead the change desired,” he added.

Dr Akwetey was of the view that political parties were the vehicles for that change and that citizens had the power to make them achieve that.

“For IDEG, the goal was to reform political parties in Ghana for the purpose of development through advocacy and the creation of awareness of the opportunities transformational development could engender for parties to reform,” he said.