President John Dramani Mahama
Dear Mr. President,
You have finally been sworn-in as president after a “hard contest.” You must be pinching yourself wondering how you managed to slip in there with ‘Idey be keke’ when ‘it no dey be’ for so many Ghanaians. Yours will intrigue students of politics for a while, you run for office at a time when power supply across Ghana was most erratic. Not only that, you had a huge judgment debt scandal on your hands with many members of your government facing corruption accusations. There were the many gaffes by members of your team and your respectable self on the campaign trail. And yet you cruised to victory with a wider margin than your predecessor secured in 2008.
Analysts have said maybe Ghanaians bought some of your populist messages- you know a free laptop with your picture on it and as a screen saver is such a soft campaign tool. Others say your charming personality was all it took. Whatever you did, Ghanaians resoundingly choose ‘idey be keke’ and as a Ghanaian who cannot confidently do the twist of the mouth to say ‘idey be keke,’ it has fallen to me remind you of some of your promises and the changes Ghanaians are expecting and maybe you’ll leave a legacy while you are at it.
Sir, I believe you have heard it said that cleanliness is next to godliness and you may have also read that the great British Premier, Winston Churchill once said “healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” Mr. President, Ghana is a dirty country and the filth is killing many and will kill all of us before our time. You need to implement the fine policies that will actually transform Accra into a millennium city and the rest of the country into a proper gateway to Africa.
This means you must implement one of the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission, the election of local governance officers, Mayors, MCEs, DCEs and all those other people, residents can hold accountable for the state of their communities.
Trust me on this one Sir, you need to shred that white paper your party issued which said residents will choose between five people selected by government. Ghanaians elected you, they can elect other capable people too. Forget the concerns! If an opposition candidate is elected, bi-partisanship will deal with challenges which may arise.
Two, can you just pick two sectors of this economy to focus on for transformation for the next two years? You made a zillion promises on the campaign trail but we both know the jack-of-all trade method of developing Ghana hasn’t worked. And unless we resurrect Okomfo Anokye, no one can give you a wand to wave our problems away.
I suggest you begin with education and health. I know you plan on building as many secondary schools as possible in pursuit of the NPP’s free SHS policy. Good plan. And while you are at, do ensure existing schools do not produce half-baked graduates across all levels like they have. About sixty percent of primary school graduates cannot write or read, some Junior and Senior High School students can barely string three sentences together. If Ghana will ever become a tiger in Africa, it needs a skilled and well-educated labor force. It costs less employing from such a pool and Ghanaians will benefit from the growth of the economy.
As for the health sector, I bet you do not want to read another story of another politician or someone in government dying abroad. It’s easy; the South Africans treated Nelson Mandela at home and guess what, he’s alive and well. I believe you know what to do- proper hospitals with modern equipment, well-trained and motivated healthcare providers.
My to-do list isn’t such a big ask, we have the money and the resources, let’s make use of it.