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Friday, 5 March 2010


There is too much poverty in the country: in the cities and in the countryside, two-thirds of Ghanaians live on two dollars a day. That is very bad indeed for a country that has exported gold, diamond, timber and cocoa for decades.

There is too much corruption in the country: in both major political parties NDC and NPP; and in the police and immigration service; at Tema and Takoradi harbours and Kotoka Airport, and at CEPS; importers,exporters and travellers are suffering. In the universities, polytechnics, nursing and teachers’ training colleges sex is traded for grades and money is exchanged for admission. Many female students are victims.

The illiteracy level in the country is very high: Close to 30% of the adult population cannot read and write. Unemployment is very high too. Unofficially it hovers between 25 and 50%. Many of the youth have no jobs and have resorted to activities such as armed robbery, prostitution, hawking and other social vices. Graduates from our universities are without jobs either and many are doing their best to live in poverty.

In many homes basic facilities such as water and toilet are absent. Many people in our cities and towns are without quality and quantity of water. In some communities, residents have to live without water supply for weeks if not months.

In most of our rural areas people live in mud houses, roofed with raffia leaves. They are without electricity, water and social security. In the cities people have no mortgage; they face high renting and utility bills with poor services. Power cuts is everywhere in the country, yet every month the minister of energy receives millions of cedis for not providing the people with the energy thy need.

Farmers have no access to tractors and fertilisers and have to plant using cutlasses and hoes during the planting and harvesting seasons. Even when tractors are imported for them to use the corrupt politicians always hijack them. The farmers have no access to irrigation facilities and if nature fails to provide them with water then they are doomed.

Poverty is driving more and more children into the streets of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Ho, Tema and many others. Children serving as head potters are visible everywhere in the country. They are selling ice water, coconut, plantain chips and other hawking activities. They are sacrificing their education to find food for themselves. Majority of these kids have no place to call home. They sleep in the street and wherever they can. Some of them were born in the street, have been raised by the street, taught by the street, protected by the street but many of them have been subjected to abuse by the very society that has the responsibility to protect them. The MPs, the president, the vice president and their ministers drive by: some of them even stop to buy the stuff these children are selling without asking question why these children who are supposed to be in school and be trained as future leaders are on the street selling.

There is entropy of infrastructure decay in the country: break down of the rail sector, energy shortages, poor roads, poor and inadequate housing, inadequate water and sanitation delivery systems. There are no proper waste management systems. The traffic jams and pollution in Accra, Kumasi and elsewhere are unbearable.

There is food shortage everywhere and prices are beyond the reach of ordinary Ghanaians as a result malnutrition is increasingly affecting most of the children especially in the rural areas.

Most hospitals are without essential medicines and medical staff is in short supply in most health institutions. Patients sleeping on the floor of hospitals due to inadequate beds are a common feature in our hospitals. The minister of health says there is no money for medicines but every month taxes are paid to his government and we cannot tell where the money goes.

We have been told that Tema Harbour is being raped by men working with the president. Those at the helm of affairs are doing their best to loot as much as they can for themselves leaving Ghanaians to suffer. A case in point is the corruption allegations levelled at members of both the NDC and NPP.

Ghana has not modernized at all. 53 years after independence we still carry things on our head; wash our clothes with our hands and our women still carry babies on their back. They are all signs of where we are as a nation. Quality of life is very low. Life expectancy is just 57. Young men and women are dying from diseases that ought not to kill them. Poverty and the heat from the sun have turned beautiful young ladies into old one. There is walling and gnashing of teeth in every home. Out of sight out of mind a woman has to poison herself and her five children a sign of poverty, desperation, frustration that the NDC and NPP have helped institutionalised in the country. “It has now emerged that Georgina Pipson, the 31-year-old mother suspected of killing her five children at Gomoa Nyanyano near Kasoa in the Central Region, poisoned them with parazone, a powerful, corrosive detergent.
The Children are Kwaku Osae Asante 11, Nana Yaw Asante 9, Angel Akua Asante 6, Kofi Asante 4 and Esi Asante 1.” Source:, Tuesday, 05 Jan 2010.

Nothing is manufactured in the country not even bicycles let alone tractors, cars, computers, mobile phones, dish washers and heavy equipments that help nations to develop. We are a nation that depends on what others in Europe, North America, Japan, Korea, and Chinahave used and thrown away. Our economy is littered with used computers, used pants, and used cars things that most Ghanaians cannot do without because of poverty. In all this we have had presidents and their ministers who were paid huge salaries and bonuses to help develop the nation but only ended up impoverishing the people.

NDC and NPP have been promising to build castles in Ghana, yet people are living in mud houses. We cannot even device plans to help our farmers to increase food production. We have not recognised that the cutlasses and hoes they have been using since the time of slavery and colonialism cannot help us to move forward as a nation.

Water pollution and poor sanitation is everywhere in our cities. The people of Teshie and Nungua are using the sea and the coast as places of convenience because they have no access to toilets. In Accra the Korle Lagoon and the Odaw River have been polluted so much so that there are no living organisms in them. The stench in our cities is awful. Illegal dumping of waste is everywhere. Apart from being eyesores these dumps have also become breeding grounds for flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, rats and mice; and cause odour problems, water pollution from runoff, and air pollution from burning.

In many of the country, for example; Sewerage is almost non-existent, with only a portion of Accra, Tema, Kumasi and few regional capitals enjoying piped sewerage services. There is no centralized wastewater treatment system in most of the cities and households and commercial premises generally have no onsite flush latrines. Within Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tema and most of the cities and towns the absence of waste infrastructures has led to a situation where solid waste sometimes remain uncollected for weeks, and is unhygienically burnt and disposed; indiscriminate dumping of waste is creating health problems.

There are few cities and towns with reliable piped water supply. Many residence of Accra do not have access to frequent supply of good drinking water and many households have to resort to extreme measures to be able to cope. In short, the infrastructures to deliver water to the people are either not existing or their capacities are too small to support the growing demand. The water situation in the rural areas is even worse. In the three northern regions people have to walk several miles in order to get water. As a result, people are not able to live healthy lives due to poor water quality and dwindling accessibility.

Rawlings and his P(NDC) spent 19 years joking with Ghanaians and the problems facing them. For better part of his 19 year reign Rawlings busied himself with celebration of June 4th and 31st December anniversaries than the welfare of Ghanaians. There is nothing remarkable in the country that can be associated with his 19 year reign. The SSS now (SHS) that he brought to Ghana has been a failure. Students still do not have access to textbooks close to two decades after it was introduced. Kuffour and his NPP also spent 8 years talking more and doing little.

The NDC and the NPP are toying with Ghana's secondary school system: 3 years for NDC, 4 years for NPP meanwhile they are busy sending their children to be educated abroad leaving Ghanaians to suffer from their selfish and ill thought-out policies. Nkrumah built universities and the current NDC and NPP leadership enjoyed it for free. During their time it was one student to a room, free breakfast, lunch and supper. But go to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana and Cape Coast University and see the condition of our students. Four students are packed in a room meant for a student and that is when a student is even lucky to have his/her name short listed by the authorities. Students in these institutions are studying without electricity and other academic facilities that produce high quality of graduates. As for the University of Development Studies the little I say about it the better. The neglect ofGhana’s tertiary institutions is illustrated in a news report by Ghanaian Times headlined: “Water Shortage: Experts Coming from S. Africa" which reported that:

"Experts from Ballest-Nedam, the Dutch company that installed the control panel at the intake pump station of the Weija Headworks are expected in Ghana on Thursday morning from South Africa to help repair the machine. This follows the inability of local experts to get the damaged electronic equipment fixed for the pump to function again”, Source: Ghanaian Times, 09-Feb-2010.

Another news item reads: "Straight-talking Charles Kofi Wayo has poured scorn on engineers working at the gutted Tema Oil Refinery, asking if they qualify to even be called engineers when they cannot manufacture common bolts and have to wait for three months for foreign expertise to fix the minutest of problems. "If you have engineers there why is it that one small bolt you have to wait for a white man two, three months. You can’t even make your own bolts…You can’t even tool anything down there, even gasket - common gasket when it blows, you shut down the RFCC and stuff like that so where are the engineers? Where are the engineers? Source:, Thursday, 21 January 2010.

The simple truth is that our students are not able to invent neither do our experts able to repair even broken machines. We cannot blame our universities for failing to produce high quality graduates and experts because they have mounting resource problems. The Universities lack well trained lecturers. They lack modern facilities such as state of the art libraries, laboratory simulation facilities, studios, computers, projectors, internet facilities, constant energy supply and books. They lack them because the NPP and NDC governments have failed to invest and build the infrastructures needed to deliver 21st century education. As a result we have to import the equipments and books from countries that have done their home work well and have invested heavily in education notably in science and technology.

Ghana has been a leading gold exporter for decades and we have been selling gold at the international gold market for decades yet ordinary Ghanaians do not know where the proceeds go. Ghanaians cannot even buy products made from gold. No one in Ghana except the corrupt NDC and their equally corrupt NPP rivals who know where the proceeds go. Now they are happy that we have discovered oil and are seriously strategising to steal so Ghanaians will continue to live in poverty again. Ghana is a leading cocoa exporter but where does the money go? Rawlings couldn't give a straight answer when he was asked. Kuffour couldn’t give a straight answer either. Are we able to even buy chocolate for our children in a country which is the world’s biggest exporter of cocoa? We continue to receive grants from rich countries in the global north but the politicians and their business friends are not allowing it to have impact in the country.

Hundreds of loan agreements have been signed and billions of dollars have been received by our governments (Rawlings and Kuffour and now Mills) and we are paying heavy interest fees for it yet Ghanaians cannot trace where the money has gone, how it was spent or the projects it has been used to complete. We only hear of the loan agreements and the interests we are paying but not the money.

For the past 28 years Ghana has been governed by two main parties: the ruling National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party but it is no point arguing that both parties have been the cause of Ghana’s economic demise. For decades they have toyed with Ghana’s economy, its infrastructure needs: energy, roads, rail lines, education, telecommunication and health.

Frustration, hopelessness and desperation can be found in the face of many Ghanaians. Since Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 Ghanaians have been without a true leader. A leader who will provide jobs for the youth; a leader who will provide infrastructure for the economic take off, a leader who will transform Ghana's railway sector into viable transportation industry; a leader who is a problem solver and not just arm-chair president.

Come 2012 NDC and NPP politicians aided by some corrupt media practitioners will come with the same pack of lies, deceits, pledges and promises and with smooth words: vote for us and we will do this and that but once they get to parliament they cannot even put a bill together to solve some of the problems. Once they become ministers they cannot even formulate policies let alone implement one. Ghanais poor today because of NPP and NDC who have no idea how to turn the huge natural resources into goods that will benefit Ghanaians. For 28 years both parties have mismanaged Ghana.

Ghanaians are suffering not because we are poor in terms of natural resources. We are poor because those entrusted with the management of the nation have sought create wealth to benefit themselves at the expense of the poor majority who live in 18th century conditions. We are poor because we have of bad political leaders who are interested in getting power without using the power to help develop the nation for all to benefit. Those entrusted with the management of the nation are simply visionless. They love to drive in convoy at the expense of the nation yet have no idea how to help Ghana become a food sufficient nation. 53 years after independence we still import rice from China and India and there is no sign that the importation will stop soon.

It is so sad that the leaders who came after Nkrumah have done very little to add to the foundation he laid. I don't know what would have happened to Ghana had Nkrumah not built Akosombo dam. I don't what would have happened to Ghana had Nkrumah not built Tema city and the harbour with all the infrastructures and industries such as VALCO. Nkrumah spent 9 years from 1957 to 1966 doing all these landmark projects, Rawlings and his PNDC spent 19 years selling what Nkrumah built and where did the money go? The Asia Tigers (Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore) took the same 20 years wasted by Rawlings to turn their countries around. Ghanaians would have been better off than they are now if the PNDC/NDC leadership had used the 19 years judiciously.

Rawlings and his P(NDC) couldn't even maintain the things Nkrumah developed let alone adding some to it. Rawlings and his bootlickers had to allow them to decay because they did not have any idea how important those things were to the economy of our country. Kuffour spent 8 years selling Ghana Telecom and he cannot tell us what he used the money for. He thought Mo Ibrahim would give him 5 million dollar reward for managing Ghana to benefit himself and his circle of friends but Mo Ibrahim was smart.

If Nkrumah had been alive he would have turned the oil find into jobs for Ghanaians to enjoy; he would have used it to build houses for the poor in the country; he would have constructed another Akosombo dam to solve the energy crisis facing the nation; he would have developed and modernise the railway sector to ease the congestion facing our cities.

Can Mills save Ghana? Well his style of governance shows that unemployment and many of the woes he came to meet will worsen. He has not shown any clear policy direction as what he wants to do or achieve for Ghana. He would be best remembered for his penchant for silence and dithering when major issues need to be addressed. Can President Mills emulate the extraordinary leadership of Nkrumah and save Ghana from its current economic quandary? I doubt it. President Mills has been in power for over a now year and has not found his feet yet, though his ministers are enjoying tax payers' money, driving Land Cruisers while fishermen have no premix fuel. His government is so pathetic that it has become a laughing stock in the country and even within the NDC. Has Mills been able to practice what he preached during the elections?

Will NPP's Alan Kyeremanteng and Akuffo Addo save Ghana? I don't think so because they are part of the same wagon that has not delivered to Ghanaians. No wonder both of them think the only way they can serve Ghana is to be president and have been quarrelling since the NPP primaries.

NPP and NDC share one common characteristic: both parties rely on lies, deceits, bribery, and corruption to win votes while doing nothing to improve the social and economic situation in the country. That is why for the 28 years that both parties have governed Ghana standard of living continue to fall and every statistics either official or non-official is in the negative. Both parties like to share the nation’s resources among themselves and their peers forgetting the ordinary Ghanaian who stood in the sun to elect them. Rawlings and Kuffour and their NDC and NPP could not use proceeds from gold, timber, bauxite, diamond and cocoa to develop the nation and there is no doubt that both parties have contributed immensely to impoverishing the people with their short sighted, ill conceived and vote buying economic policies. If Ghana is going to be a nation for all her people then there is the need for a leadership that will aggressively implement policies and programmes that will transform the nation from its current economic predicament; a leadership that will mobilize all the resources in the country to develop Ghana for all its citizens to benefit.

Such leadership cannot be found in the NDC and NPP and that is why it is important for Ghanaians to consider voting for independent candidates or parties that have the track record of laying the foundation for Ghana. Ghanaians must sit up and must be cautious of the people they vote for in 2012 otherwise they risk living in poverty for another four years.

By Lord Aikins Adusei


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