• Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bawumia And Medical Tourism

 

Let me begin by wishing the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana a speedy recovery.

“The Presidency has revealed the Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has been flown to the UK for further medical treatment after he was reported unwell last Friday.The statement signed by the Chief of Staff Frema Osei-Opare said the Vice-President is on medical leave as advised by his doctors” (Source: myjoyonline.com, Saturday, January 20, 2018).

In public platforms like this, faith interposes. This partly explains why I deem it expedient to beg the indulgence of other religious believers to state that by his stripes Dr Bawumia is healed ( I Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5). Nevertheless, sympathy and empathy toward illness have almost invariably been addictive even if they are ineffectual.

Is it not palpably risible for African leaders to be gallivanting around the globe in the name of medical tourism while the rest of their countrymen are left to their fate in times of health uncertainties?

Despite the demise of many African leaders while on medical treatment overseas, flying political leaders abroad for treatment of illness has really not been a big sacred-cow.

In 2008, the Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa died in France while on a medical tourism. Omar Bongo of Gabon and Meles Zenawi Asres of Ethiopia died while on medical treatments in Spain and Belgium respectively.

In that same 2012 that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died, President of Ghana, Professor John Evans AttaMills died. Professor Mills, until his demise at the 37 Military hospitals in Accra, had received earlier medical services in the United States of America. Koo Nimo, the doubting Thomas; do you remember the famous jogging at Kotoka International Airport? 2012 was a bad year for African political leaders.

Malam Bacai Sanha of Guinea-Bissau also died in France on a medical tourism. The President of Zambia, Michael Chilufya Sata died in 2014, while on a medical mission in England. Cases of African leaders seeking medical treatment abroad could be mentioned ad infinitum.

The thoroughgoing African leaders’ behaviour of seeking medical treatment abroad bequeathed a huge financial burden to the taxpayer. More often than not, some of these leaders are flown by an expensive chartered flight or a presidential jet with a large retinue. For example, the parking fee of Buhari’s presidential jet in London cost Nigerian taxpayer $4,000 a day. The first 50 days amounted to $200,000.00 (Source: Vanguard, July 10, 2017). Medical cost abroad without insurance is very high. Africans need a concerted effort towards improving the health care delivery system in their home countries.

Life, they say, is a thoroughfare of uncertainties and illness like death is no respecter of man. That is why it is maximally unfathomable for any sentient being to politicize healthcare delivery system at any given moment. It was really heart-rending to see Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng booted out of Korlebu teaching hospital because of his political colour. Reeling under the behest of narcissism, bigotry and idiosyncratic posture, political leadership at the time did not see the sense of tapping from Frimpong-Boateng’s rich expertise to establish cardiothoracic centres throughout every district hospital in Ghana.

I lamented over this unfortunate attitude in my article captioned “The Surgeon’s Corroded Knife: A horrifying Tale of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng” (Source: Ghanaweb.com, Sunday, October 9, 2016).

This went to the deaf ears of the then Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government. President Akufo-Addo can use Frimpong-Boateng and other experts to make Ghana a cardiothoracic hub in West Africa. Similar with the economic philosophy of mercantilism wherein exports are encouraged, and imports are discouraged, Ghana leaders must discourage medical tourism [Seeking medical treatment in foreign Countries] and encourage foreigners to seek, for example, a cardiothoracic care in Ghana.

But for conflict of interest, Ghana public health care delivery system could be very effective.

The practice wherein physicians refer patients to their own private hospitals must be a source of perturbation to all and sundry. Conflict of interest is not one of the grey areas in Ghana Law and professional code of conduct books. Ghana Medical Association [GMA] has a well-honed philosophy that “health is a right and must be made accessible, equitable, affordable and appropriate and safe at all times to the people in Ghana and a mission “to continuously promote good health among all people through…maintenance of the highest possible standards of healthcare delivery in Ghana” (Source: GMA website).

However, the enforcement of the foregoing philosophy and goal has been an illusion. There are reported cases of unprofessional conducts [by deliberately denying some clients of proper health care so that they could refer them to their own private hospitals/clinics] of some members of GMA. Government and some investigative journalists can look into such queer medical practices in public healthcare settings.

Many GMA members have been cherry-picking their professional ethical codes, albeit swearing the venerated Hippocratic oath. For example, “The Medical Superintendent of New Abirim Government Hospital Dr Osei Bonsu has been arrested for allegedly stealing items belonging to the hospital. The items were being conveyed by one Edward Damptey from Abirim to a private hospital in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, which is said to belong to Dr Osei Bonsu” (Source: myjoyonline.com, January 8, 2017).

The aforementioned incidence was a clear case of GMA standard of practice infraction with senseless and irresponsible glee. Some doctors also abuse their nurses and as a corollary, some nurses inflict their venom on their innocent clients. Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association [GRNMA] members in the public hospitals must equally follow their professional conduct of practice to the letter to improve the healthcare delivery system in Ghana.

Suffice it to say that African governments do not trust their own physicians and medical care, who then must use medical services provided by the government? What impression will a husband be creating if he always eats from someone else wife’s kitchen?

Will it not be nonsensical to be having a minister of health?The government must cooperate with GMA and GRNMA members to make healthcare delivery system in Ghana more attractive. African leaders must utilize their local hospitals to gain insight into the healthcare needs of Ghanaians. Let us say no to political leaders’ medical tourism. Let us prioritize health care delivery system in Ghana. God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

 

Source: Nana Yaw Osei | Minnesota, USA | N_yawosei@hotmail.com

HOMOSEXUALITY: IS THE PRESIDENT SHYING AWAY FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OR PLAYING SAFE WITH GHANAIANS?

 

 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dismissed accessions that he is engaging in a ‘conspiracy theory’ as far as promoting homosexuality in the country is concerned. During an interview, the President stated that though legalizing homosexuality is not on his government’s agenda for now if there is a strong coalition and agitation for legalization in the future, an amendment of the law will be considered

“This is a social, cultural issue, I don’t believe that in Ghana so far, a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact on public opinion that will say ‘change it, let’s now have a new paradigm in Ghana. At the moment, I don’t feel, I don’t see that in Ghana there is that strong current of opinion that is saying this is something we need to deal with. It is not so far a matter that is on the agenda” he said.

The president attracted controversies after his homosexuality comment on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera went viral late last year.

The president in that interview with Al Jazeera said there may be a sufficient strong coalition that is bound to emerge to push for a change in the Ghanaian prohibiting homosexuality. When further questioned by the host of the program if he would support such a movement, Nana Akuffo-Addo responded- – “I think that is sometime bound to happen”.

After this interview, several reports emerged from groups and individuals advocating for the legalization of homosexuality in the country.

During the recent presidential encounter with the press, a journalist sought to find out if the President deliberately made those remarks to urge such groups to come out in a form of a ‘conspiracy theory’.  Answering that question, President Akufo-Addo said “I am not involved in any conspiracy”

The question now in the minds of most Ghanaians is; what is the President’s position on homosexuality?

Nana Akufo-Addo remarks has left many people wondering if indeed he is not involved in any scheme to deliberately instigate a debate among the people of Ghana, or that he is not initiating provocation among the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) community in Ghana.

If the President’s answer had been yes (I am in support

If the President’s answer had been yes (I am in support the LBBT), how would Ghanaians have received such news, considering the cultural, religious and constitutional stands on homosexuality?

Homosexuality is or can be defined as romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions” to people of the same sex. It “also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

According to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the preamble states; “In the name of the Almighty God we the people of Ghana, in exercise of our natural and inalienable rights…” Therefore homosexuality can be interpreted according to the constitution as not natural (still debatable though).

Looking closely at the 1992 constitution again and comparing that to the statement by the President who is a Lawyer, you can say that he did not commit any blander on Al Jazeera; the 1992 Constitution and Act 29 Chapter five of the Constitution contains provisions on fundamental human rights and freedoms. They include right to life, privacy and fair trial, equality and freedom from discrimination, protection of personal liberty, respect for human dignity, and freedom of speech and expression (does it include sexual orientation?). According to article 33(5), the rights specifically stated under this chapter do not exclude other rights not specifically mentioned which are considered to be inherent (essential part of something) in a democratic state, and intended to secure the freedom and dignity of man. Does homosexuality secure freedom and dignity of man? Right to sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Homosexuality has been legalized in countries such as South Africa, Canada and United Kingdom, which are apparently democratic nations like Ghana.

However, culturally, marriage or romantic relationship is defined definite as a union between a man and woman. With this definition therefore Ghanaian culture frowns heavily on any act that is not in conformity. All religious doctrines practiced in the country are all against homosexuality. Christians, Muslims, Traditional (African Religion) and all other religious bodies do not acknowledge homosexuality. In this case one can comfortably say that the president was and is expected to come out boldly and condemn this act.

On the other hand, one can argue that, the President was playing it safe and diplomatic with the international community– bear in mind that these countries are the backbone of  Ghana’s budget and expenditure—who have all legalized homosexuality. He was on an international media platform with “all eyes on him”.

In this case, of almost all of Ghana’s donor partners in support of LGBT, could Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo have had the will to declare his government’s support for LGBT?

Is it a matter of the President shying away from the international community in order to continue to receive support from them or that he is playing it safe to keep his party in power?

Is sitting on the fence the most appropriate strategy for the President on this matter?

 

Source: wisetvonline.com

Ghanaian illegal immigrants in USA sit on tenterhooks

The resolve of President Donald Trump to weed out illegal immigrants from the United States of America (USA) was initially deemed a mere threat because over the years, similar statements had been made but not implemented.

Many citizens from the developing world particularly from Asia and Africa and mostly in Ghana have found the USA a safe haven to have greener pastures and, therefore, no matter the threats, they still find their way there.

On the average, it is estimated that a minimum of 100 Ghanaians leave the shores of the country to the states never to return. These are people who go in search of menial jobs because they do not have their original documents and permits to enable them to stay and work.

Why do they leave?

The major reason for their departure is because they have completely lost interest in the economy and, therefore, no matter how rich they may be in the country, they still believe that they are better off in the states than to be in Ghana and remain in a messy economy managed by politicians who seek their interest and not that of the majority of the masses. Corruption continues to deprive the people of what they are due and this canker is fast consuming the cake meant for the majority.

There are no jobs to accommodate the large number of unemployed youth, most of whom graduate from the universities. Many sit home for years without jobs and are forced to engage in all manner of social vices. Many of the young ladies, some as young as 14 years, are forced to become prostitutes just to make ends meet. The young men become rogues and indulge in armed robbery or in cybercrime.

Barely a month ago, Ghana Immigration Service advertised space for 500 people. In the end, they received more than 83,000 applications out of which it made a total of almost GH¢4.5 million from the sale of application forms. The Ghana Police Service recruitment last year also saw almost the same number of applicants applying.

Economic performance

In his address to Parliament at the tail end of last year, the Minister of Finance painted a positive picture of the saying that in just 10 months the country was witnessing a stable economy. According to him, there is a return to robust growth, with a real GDP growth of 7.8 per cent in the first half of 2017 against 2.7 per cent in 2016; there is renewed confidence in the economy; there was a decline in inflation; end-September inflation of 12.2 per cent from 15.4 per cent December 2016 and there was also an increase in credit to the private sector.

In the same period under review, there was relative stability in the exchange rate market (cumulative depreciation of 4.42 per cent; Cut in policy rate to 21 per cent from a peak of 26 per cent in 2016; Normalisation of the domestic yield curve; and the issuance of the country’s maiden 15-year bond in April 2017; Improved external balances, driven by higher export earnings and lower imports;  and improvement in the gross international reserves, with about four months of imports cover; Surplus in primary balance of 0.3 per cent in September 2017 against a deficit of 1.6 per cent in September 2016; as well as a positive rating reviews from all three Rating Agencies: Fitch, B/stable; Standard & Poor, B-/positive; and Moody’s B3/stable.

Good as this sounds, at the micro level, nothing seem to be seen on the ground. Private sector is not expanding to employ more people and that is making the unemployment situation in the country to worsen. These, among many other things, have created a hostile environment which is driving away the people to countries where they are abused.

ICE officals raiding one of the 7-Eleven restaurants

                                                              US govt carrying out threats

Yahoo news at the weekend reported that the US immigration agents fanned out to nearly 100 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide on Wednesday, arresting 21 people suspected of being in the country illegally and giving owners a tight deadline to prove other employees are authorised to work.

The operation was the largest workplace enforcement by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, since Republican President Trump took office last January, agency spokeswoman Danielle Bennett said in an email.

At a White House meeting last Tuesday, President Trump urged lawmakers to quickly reach a bipartisan deal on a programme for “Dreamers,” people who came to the country illegally as children, before moving on to a comprehensive immigration bill.

“Notices of inspection” were delivered last Wednesday to 98 7-Eleven stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia beginning at 6 a.m. in each local time zone. Owners and managers have three business days to produce documents showing their employees are in the country legally or they could face civil and criminal penalties, ICE said.

The states where the employment audit notices were served were California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, ICE said.

Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven has 60,000 convenience stores in 18 countries, including 8,500 in the United States, according to its website.

The federal operation was a follow-up to the 2013 arrests of nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers, ICE said in a statement. Those owners were accused of hiring employees living illegally in the United States and giving them identities stolen from US citizens.

The 21 people who were “administratively arrested” on Wednesday on suspicion of being in the country illegally were given notices to appear in immigration court and could be deported.

Shivers down the spine

The action by the government has sent shivers down the spine of many illegal Ghanaian immigrants in the states, some of whom are refusing to go to work for fear of being rounded up.

Some of them who spoke on grounds of anonymity asked the Trump administration to soften its stance on the implementation of the Act and pledged their commitment to work within the law.

“We Africans are not terrorists and, therefore, we should not be feared,” one told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.

But with President Trump now using unprintable language to describe the illegal immigrants, it is not clear if the laws would be relaxed.

Way forward

The Trump administration does not seem ready to listen and, therefore, the exercise will be carried out more rigorously. It is likely to see more Ghanaians pushed back home and the situation will likely worsen the unemployment situation.

To this end, the government needs to ensure that the various initiatives such as the one district, one factory (1D1F) and the planting for food and jobs are well implemented to achieve the intended purpose. If properly executed, it would absorb a larger number of the unemployed masses to reduce the burden on the government. Ghana will be attractive enough to prevent its citizens from seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

 

Source:graphiconline.com

MANASSEH’s FOLDER: The Craziest Presidential Appointment

 

Dear President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Add.

I have not touched base with you this year because certain tight schedules have kept me busy I have lot of outstanding issues to discuss with you. I wanted to send you my new year’s message. Then on the 7th of January, I felt a strong urge to write to you on the first anniversary since you took office as President of our dear republic. I have been too busy and a bit lazy to do that, but your latest appointment has relegated all other businesses to the background. And I cannot resist sending you this letter.

I have written in the past and told you how disappointed I was with your handling of some issues in our republic, mainly the madness of your party’s vigilante groups, your appointment of 110 ministers and deputy ministers, the irresponsible attitude of your government towards the Kumasi Academy deaths and the manner in which you dealth with some allegations of corruption in your administration. Your handling of the BOST scandal left much to be desired. And the indiscretion of your visit to Jospong and unfortunate statement you made there, did not go down well with many well-meaning Ghanaians.

Mr. President, my disappointment over these issues, which I wrote strongly about, is not because you have lowered the bar of governance, generally speaking. It is because the standards to which I hold you are higher than that of any other leader in our fourth republic. I’m not alone. I know many Ghanaians who have said, “If Akufo-Addo fails us, then we are doomed.”

Those disappointments notwithstanding, I have had moments to be proud as a Ghanaian since you took over the affairs of Ghana. For the first time since you took over, I have decided to point out some of these issues in the area of corruption and encourage you to do more.

It was clear that you and your government had agreed that former President Mahama should keep the official residence of the Vice-President as he had demanded. But Ghanaians objected to it. Your government listened. And when the former President realised it was becoming too embarrassing to hold on to that request, he withdrew his interest.

The issue of illegal mining or galamsey had become a national security threat. The government did not act because politicians, chiefs and other powerful individuals were deeply involved. When the media launched a serious campaign against galamsey, you listened. They threatened to vote against you in the next election if you stopped them, but you called their bluff and launched Operation Vanguard. The fight against galamsey is being taken more seriously than ever.

Mr. President, one of your greatest achievements, was your insistence that the fraudulent tow levy contract be discontinued. Knowing the kinds of forces behind that deal, it was a moment of enormous victory those of us opposed to it when your government listened to the protest of Ghanaians and directed that the law backing it be repealed and the contract discontinued.

The ridiculous and exorbitant first aid kit which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) forced motorists to buy also raised serious protests from Ghanaians. Your government said you did not know about it, and went ahead to stop it.

Recently, the state broadcaster got the Chief Justice to set up special courts to prosecute people who default in the payment of TV license. The TV License law is unjust and its enforcement is senseless because the state broadcaster we have in Ghana has outlived its usefulness. GBC does not present itself as a serious media house that deserves a pesewa from the citizens. GBC has more resources than any broadcaster in Ghana. GBC also has quality staff. But the station is not just serious. GTV was showing drama when all the major media houses were airing the crucial ITLOS ruling on the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. This same GTV was showing a beauty pageant when other private stations were broadcasting the gas explosion at Atomic Junction. GBC is like a man with a strong waste and a huge and healthy manhood, who does not know how to satisfy a woman. It is not wise to invest in viagra as a solution to such problem.

Your government distanced itself from the GBC, saying you were not consulted on GBC’s recent actions. The Corporation has relented in that relentless step.

Former President Mahama recently lambasted you and your government for always saying you’re not aware of issues when they happened. But I see it differently. It is embarrassing and your government ought to punish the officials who take the scandalous decisions. Besides that, however, your government appears to be a listening one. on a number of occasions, you have proven to be sensitive to the criticisms and the concerns of the people you govern.

When I wrote an article criticising you and your vice for leading an entourage of ministers to Asantehemaa’s funeral twice in one week without paying a visit to Kumasi Academy in the wake of the deaths, the Vice President visited the school the following day.

When the first part of my investigative work on Jospong’s shady contracts with the assemblies and the Local Government Ministry first aired, I received a call from your Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo. She said her ministry was interested in taking up the matter.

“I suggest you wait because this is only one angle and the first part of the series,” I told her.

“We cannot wait,” she said.

She told me she wanted the police to start the investigation as soon as possible so that as the other angles unfolded, they would take up those ones too. That same evening, I had a meeting with the Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service to discuss the scope of the investigation.

From what I know, the police have covered a lot of grounds in their investigation and what is yet to be seem is whether your government will have the political will to go ahead with the prosecution of those culpable in this case.

With these and other successes your government has chalked, I feel it is only fair that I congratulate you on your first anniversary while reminding you that Ghanaians are not satisfied, especially in the area of fighting corruption. I have written extensively about the specific cases in in my previous letters to you so there’s no need repeating them here.

In my last letter, I talked about the fact that your body language did not present you as someone who was serious about fighting corruption. Yesterday, however, you did something that communicated the desired body language. I’m talking about your appointment of Martin A.B.K. Amidu as the Special Prosecutor.

I have always maintained that the Office of the Special Prosecutor will be as strong and credible as the people who will be appointed to occupy it. Martin Amidu has demonstrated enough courage and commitment to fighting corruption. He was sacked as Attorney-General when he started tightening the noose around the neck of Alfred Woyome, who had illegally received payment of over GHS51 million as judgment debt from the state.

Martin Amidu went to court as a private citizen and, with his own resources, fought and won the case for the state. He is also known to have pursued other such cases in the interest of the state, which have won him high commendations from the Supreme Court of Ghana.

When the Office of the Special Prosecutor came up, I thought Martin Amidu was a good candidate for that office, but I least expected that you would appoint him.

I felt Martin Amidu was too “crazy” and people within your own party would be uncomfortable with having such a “mad” man to police corruption. Martin Amidu is not a member of your party. He did not spare his own party when they tried to shield corruption. Like the proverbial crocodile which eats its own eggs, the flesh of a frog does not enter its mouth with any form of sympathy. Knowing what goes into political appointments, my conclusion was that you could not go for such a “crazy” fighter who would not hesitate to hold your own people accountable.

But yesterday, you proved that are “crazier” and “madder” by appointing Martin Amidu as Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor. The applause from well-meaning Ghanaians is unanimous. A few disgruntled voices dissent are pointing to the fact that Martin Amidu is not neutral. But that argument is lame. As far as I am concerned, there is no politically neutral person in this country. We all vote. The judges, police, soldiers, and even officials of the Electoral Commission vote. It is our duty as citizens and one is not expected to be neutral.

As a journalist who exposes corruption in the government, I cannot claim to be neutral. I am not one of those who claim not to care about which political party governs Ghana at a point in time. I will not even claim to be voting for the smaller and harmless political parties. I vote for the two main political parties in whose regimes I work. In every election, since 2004, I have voted and had my preferred political party.

That has not stopped me from doing my work. And it should not stop any sensible person from doing what is right because of which party they vote for. In practice, the neutral person may not exist. If someone is neutral enough not to care about who and how Ghana is governed, then that person does not qualify to hold any serious public office.

So Martin Amidu does not need to be neutral. He needs to be fair and firm. He needs to be incorruptible. He needs to be a difficult person, a hard nut to crack. He needs to be someone who cannot be easily manipulated or bought. His party affiliation is not necessary. When it comes to corruption, the NDC and NPP are tarred with the same brush and the line between them is blurred. In my line of duty, I have come to realise that the NDC and NPP are more united than the Holy Trinity when you put the spotlight on the major corrupt persons in the country.

Martin Amidu is your best appointment. His appointment is your greatest Achievement. His appointment is the strongest statement that you’re committed to fighting corruption. But that’s not enough. The battle has only begun.

Appointing Martin Amidu will be meaningless if he does not get your support and backing. His office needs to be funded. His office will need the independence to function. And you’re key to the success or otherwise of that office.

The biggest thieves in our republic often run to powerful chiefs, religious leaders and so-called statesmen to intervene when the law catches up with them. The corrupt traditional rulers, and religious leaders who have no sense of shame will call you to drop the cases. They will give all manner of reasons ranging from ethnicity, the affiliation and support of the corrupt people to your party and their so-called influence and contribution to the society.

Mr. President, if you succumb to those dumb reasons and allow the fraudsters to go unpunished, our republic will be doomed. And your legacy will be in tatters. If you stand your ground and allow the law to follow its course, you will be hated by the thieves and their influential accomplices, but the ordinary Ghanaian will sing your praise. Even those who will hate you will respect you. And Ghana can be saved.

Finally, always keep in mind that the fight against corruption is a lonely battle. Psyche yourself to walk alone. And always remember how you came into office.

The two major words that your party used against your predecessor were “incompetence” and “corruption”. The problems confronting our nation are basic ones. They don’t need the brains that manufactured spacecraft to solve them. The incompetence is brought about because of greed and corruption. A wise person can take foolish decisions because of selfishness and greed. According to the Zimbabwean businessman, Strive Wasiyiwe, “Mismanagement and corruption are identical twins. Where you find one, the other is always nearby.”

Your government ended 2017 on a bad note. Your appointment of Martin Amidu has raised your ratings. Continue this way and let’s see something meaningful. This is the change Ghanaians voted for. And it must not be a nine-day wonder.

The writer, Manasseh Azure Awuni, is a journalist with Joy 99.7 FM. He is the author of two books “Voice of Conscience” and “Letters to My Future Wife”. His email address is azureachebe2@yahoo.com. The views expressed in this article are his personal opinions and do not reflect, in any form or shape, those of The Multimedia Group, where he works.

 

Source:myjoyonline.com

18 years of TESCON; 25 years of 4th Republic – Ghana will rise again

 

This article is to commemorate the 18th Anniversary of the formation of the Tertiary Students Confederacy of the New Patriotic Party (TESCON). It also coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the birth of the Fourth Republic.

From its humble beginnings as a tertiary students wing of the NPP, TESCON has steadily evolved into a powerful political machinery, occupying an important place within the structure of the NPP. Since its inauguration on January 8, 2000 by the venerable John Agyekum Kufuor, the distinguished former president of the Republic, TESCON has been at the forefront of student and political activism, and grass root mobilisation.

It has produced a wealth of talented individuals, whose skills and drive have been aptly utilised by the NPP to build capacity and enhance its stock as a demonstrable political guild, not only in Ghana but Africa. I must take this opportunity, yet again, to commend the founding members who gave birth to the Confederacy and the Patriots whose Herculean sacrifices, over the years, have nurtured it into the formidable political force it is today.

The 2016 elections, like that of year 2000, was a defining moment, not only for TESCON and the NPP, but Ghanaians at large. Eight years of economic mismanagement, flagrant abuse of power, unbridled corruption and incompetent stewardship was threatening to bring Ghana yet again to the brink of economic and social degradation.

Indeed, we were at the abyss and only an undiluted resolve of the citizenry could savage this precipitous decline.

While the task ahead remained enormous, it did not seem to daunt hardworking party members or sympathisers who were disillusioned by the poor level of governance the NDC had bequeathed Ghanaians. Lacing boots and girding up their loins, the presidential candidate of the NPP and his running mate traveled extensively across the country, rallying the base and bringing the message of hope.

We were to discover on those worthwhile journeys the true state of the country. Despite the song and dance about transforming Ghana, which the NDC claimed was “unprecedented”, we witnessed unfathomable hardship of many who were wallowing in abject poverty and social exclusion. We also saw at first hand, the deplorable state of our road infrastructure. It seemed the die was cast, win to competently steer the affairs of State or perish into political oblivion. It was a stark reality that confronted us as a party and we were determined to rise to the occasion.

Ghana Beyond Aid

TESCON was to play a critical role in complementing the efforts of the presidential candidate and his campaign team. With determination and incomparable vigilance, from polling stations to collation centres, TESCON members joined fellow patriots to deliver a crushing blow to the faint hopes of an incumbent which had resolved to conduct a divisive and tribalistic campaign, devoid of substance that addressed the legitimate needs and concerns of the Ghanaian people.

The resounding electoral victory of the NPP, unprecedented in the history of Ghana, was a clear rejection of the myopic policies of the NDC but more importantly, a decision by the people of Ghana to embrace the new vision that the NPP was seeking the mandate to implement. This vision has been reiterated by President Nana Akufo-Addo on many occasions, but none more fortuitous than during the visit of the President of France to Ghana: A Ghana Beyond Aid!

The battle for electoral victory having been comprehensively won, the newly sworn-in government on January 7, 2017, has set about to reverse the decline of our economic competitiveness and swiftly laid an impermeable foundation for the new industrialisation agenda to take off.

The challenges have been many and the tasks arduous, but this government would be unrelenting in its pursuit of building a more just, equitable and progressive society, where all have equal opportunities to realise their dreams and fulfil their potentials, irrespective of social status.

Pledges

The implementation of our flagship campaign pledge, the Free Senior High School remains a radical but necessary step toward the socio-economic transformation of Ghana.

The One District One Factory programme has begun in earnest and gathering steam. Restoration of nurses and teachers allowance, payment of accrued arrears to road contractors and other government suppliers have been done with minimal fiscal implications to the economy.

Revamping of the National Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme are but a few of the social interventions that government is committed to as part of efforts to broaden the social safety net.

Without a doubt, job creation remains a key priority for the NPP government. Commendable efforts have been made, through the dynamism of the Vice-President, to create a formal and digital economy, evidenced by the National Digital Address System, E-registration of businesses at the Registrar General office and the Paperless Ports Project.

While enhancing efficiency and reducing cost of business, the digital economy will undoubtedly create opportunities for new businesses to mushroom, not least e-commerce. It will also help government raise the needed revenue to meet its obligations to the people.

Aside the digital economy, government continues to adequately resource the Youth Employment Authority to perform its duty of developing feasible policies to engage the youth.

As eloquently stated by the President, ‘it is people who build nations. It is not gold, cocoa, diamonds, timber or oil that is going to build nations. It is Ghanaians, especially the youth of today, who are going to build Ghana’. Maximising the demographic dividend requires a new mindset coupled with the creation of an ecosystem that stimulates new thinking, fosters innovation, creativity and unleashes the entrepreneurial spirit of the youth.

Government has set up the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), a flagship initiative, aimed at stimulating investment and providing timely support and advise to budding entrepreneurs.

Contribution from TESCON

TESCON, as a youth platform with dynamic minds can contribute meaningfully to the realisation of this ecosystem. The seeds for growth and jobs have already been sowed. Now is the time for it to be watered by honing skill sets to take advantage of the opportunities that a buoyant economy will present.

We must inject the same levels of energy, drive and zeal that characterised our collective efforts in winning the elections into discovering new pathways for success and prosperity. Not everyone would welcome our success as a government and party nor seek the collective interest of Ghanaians with genuine intention.

As such, the response must be to strengthen our resolve to deliver on the promises made and to build the capacity of the youth to navigate this brave new world driven by technology and innovation.

As we mark a year into office and also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth Republic, my appeal to TESCON is to remain united, resolute, focused and diligent in helping government implement its laudable initiatives. The accelerated development of Ghana is a shared responsibility of both a purposeful government and a dutiful citizenry.

The flame of hope has been lit and all productive forces, including TESCON, must put their shoulders to the wheel in driving the transformation agenda forward. Being Ghanaian must mean something. It must mean living a life of dignity, self-respect, discipline and personal responsibility. It must mean a dedication to our cherished values of fearless honesty, commitment to service and a desire to see each other strive for excellence. Ghana will rise again as the Lord continues to bless us with good leadership and patriotic citizens.

Happy New Year 2018!

 

Columnist: Francis Asenso-Boakye

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