Buy one get one free. That seems to be the theme of this year’s election. Or maybe more accurately, this is a game of “One for you, one for me”. Following on from his promise of creating a factory for every district in the country appropriately titled “One District, One Factory”, the Presidential aspirant for the nation’s biggest opposition party has a new Band Aid for all of the problems the Northern Region faces in agriculture. It’s so simple you wonder why nobody else thought about it before. Construct more dams! It has another catchy title too: “One Village, One Dam”.
I won’t mince words here. This latest plan is ridiculous. The only problem it solves is the creation of another mantra or slogan that can be easily shouted at the masses as proof that our politicians have the correct solutions to the issues we are facing as a nation. One would hope that someone who wanted to be in power would take note of some of the issues this country faces, get a competent team to analyse the issues and proffer the best solutions and then attempt to convince the electorate on its plausibility and effectiveness. I would be extremely surprised if anyone of an agricultural background analysed the problems with agriculture in the Northern Region and suddenly came up with the idea that the best solution was more dams. Instead what this looks like is the same old practice of throwing promises of solutions at a problem, no matter how preposterous, and hoping some of those promises stick, at least until Election Day.
This is a culture that needs to be eradicated from our politics. For too long we have allowed extravagant promises of visions of metaphoric silver and gold to cloud our judgments. This is not the bane of one person or one party. It is something that is practiced all over Ghana. At one of the series of interviews the IEA had with a number of Presidential aspirants in recent months, one aspirant was asked about what he intended to do about a particular issue. After promising to appoint the questionnaire to an important position if he secured the top job, the aspirant went on to ramble at length about working with stakeholders to solve the problem. I was disappointed at the answer. The very nature of democracy demands that leaders work with the relevant stakeholders to solve any problems they encounter but the questionnaire and I imagine, every interested party to that question, needed to know if a person who wants to be their president had a plan to solve the problem they put across. The aspirant did not have one and it increasingly seems like nobody seems to either. The ruling party, after severely denigrating the idea of free Senior High School education that the opposition proposed four years ago, suddenly seems to be its champion despite the fact that some of the arguments it gave against the policy do not seem to have gone away. This time, a seemingly good idea, despite some challenges it could have faced, was massively opposed by one party just for the purposes of gaining power, only for them to turn around and execute that idea, without solving the challenges they claimed it would face!
We cannot continue to plod on like this as a nation. We cannot continue to repeat this four-year cycle of voting for the Senior Prefect who will dole out our suffering for the next four years. We cannot continue to entertain the outrageous policies of power-hungry politicians whose answer like Idi-Amin to the threat of his country going bankrupt was, in part, to just make “more”. We need leaders with policies that will benefit the nation. We need leaders who understand that the problems we face as a nation cannot be fixed with a simple Band Aid. We need leaders who can adequately defend the policies they propose as well as make quantifiable projections of how those policies will improve the lives of the average Ghanaian. Most of all however, we need leaders who understand that the job of steering the nation from rut and drudgery of the past four years is not a game of “One for you, One for me”.
Author: Ferdinand Senam Hassan, threesixtyGh writer
Image Source: Google & The Black Narrator