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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NDC power struggle: President Mills should have acted better

There are reports that some leading members within the ruling National Democratic Congress are gearing to unseat President Mills as the flag bearer of the party come the NDC primaries. The circulation of such information confirms what some analysts have said regarding President Mills’ style of governance. The president is recently quoted in some section of the media as saying the nation’s energy providers cannot guarantee uninterrupted energy supply to the public during the upcoming Fifa World Cup tournament despite increase in energy tariff. Such a frantic statement coming from the president solidifies his personality as an honest man, but it also confirms him as someone who is incapable of helping the nation out of its troubles.

It is a fact that the president took over power at a time when Ghana’s economy was suffering from the effect of the world economy crunch and that we did not expect the president to magically transform the nation overnight. However, those of us who have watched the president closely have lamented over the vagueness in his administration, the lack of progress on every front of the economy and a complete lack of clear-cut strategy to move the nation forward. From a distance the President seems to have a vision which is to make Ghana better for all her citizens, but he seems not to have a strategy to achieve his vision. By strategy I mean formulating and implementing the president's vision of a better Ghana through the establishment of policy priorities that will transform his ideas into deeds. The lack of strategy and his failure to make good his campaign promises have given argumentative ammunition to his critics within his own party and in the opposition. 

What the president has failed to appreciate so far is the fact that election success does not mean political and economic achievement. At best the former could be used to achieve the latter, which means the president should have acted better and immediately commission his team to deliver on his better Ghana agenda the very day he entered office. But that did not happen because there was lack of strategy and policy direction from the president. Besides, a better part of 2009 was used to deal with ex-ministers of the Kuffour administration and the brouhaha surrounding those events diverted government’s attention from some of the pressing issues that confronted the government and the nation. The end result is that we have been left with a nation where unemployment is still high and public services are barely functioning, making the hope of a better Ghana under President Mills increasingly elusive.

To add insult to injury, the ministers who occupy the various ministries and departments seem not to know what to do with the power they have and their inaction has earned them the title ‘Team B’. The ministerial reshuffle which took place a couple of months ago seem not have changed anything on the ground. 

What is more worrying is that the president’s greatest enemy which is time is fast approaching. The president has just about two years to accomplish many of the promises he made to the electorates but given the limited time and the number of problems facing the nation there is no sign that he will be able to meet all of them. This I believe is the root cause of the power struggle in the party. The wrangling is between those in government who think they must be given the chance to continue what they are doing and those who think the government has not performed and that the NDC could lose the 2012 elections should the government current deplorable performance continue. The danger is that if the power struggle is not tamed it will consume the remaining time the administration has got to deal with the nation’s problems. 

However, I believe all is not lost. The president, his strategists and advisors could use the remaining two years to do something practical by moving fast to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy with inbuilt policy priorities that will address some of the immediate challenges facing the nation. Such a strategy must have as its component the integration of all the necessary state institutions and the involvement of all stakeholders. 

As matter of urgency I will suggest that the persistent energy crisis (electricity and fuel) in the country must be given priority along side the internal security situation and the economy. If President Mills is serious about creating jobs then he must put to rest once and for all the serial power cuts that continue to force many companies to operate at half capacity due to unreliable electricity supply. The Energy Minister must work with Volta River Authority, ECG and other stakeholders to restore confidence in the energy market by addressing the issue of inefficiency, poor management and under capitalisation that continue to affect the operation of the energy suppliers. 

The Ministry of Interior must be charged to work with the relevant state agencies to bring an end to the hostilities in the northern part of the country and to work with the Chieftaincy Department to address the many chieftaincy disputes since they have the potential to tarnish the reputation of the country and sink confidence that investors may have in the economy. 

The president must tell the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in plain language that lowering inflation alone will not meet the aspirations of unemployed Ghanaians who are looking for jobs. The president must task the National Development Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to live up to their names and build some credibility for themselves for Ghana cannot remain agrarian and poor country while these institutions tasked with planning the nation’s development continue to exist only in name. These institutions must device some ingenious schemes that will revive the economy, create jobs and put money in the pockets of the people. In the short run President Mills must focus on building, renovating and expanding the infrastructures in the country since infrastructure building has the potential of creating jobs. In the long run I will advice that the president must work to diversify Ghana’s economy from raw material reliance to manufacturing, service, and knowledge based economy. Effort must be made to position Ghana as export manufacturing country through the acquisition of advanced technologies that will take advantage of the huge unexploited natural resources in the country. 

Author: Lord Aikins Adusei


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