Friday, 6 January 2017
President Mahama's Final State Of The Nation Address
Once again the President of the Republic, John Dramani Mahama, has delivered the annual State of the Nation Address at a colourful ceremony in Parliament. 2017’s ceremony the final one by President Mahama, shall go down in history as a significant one for many reasons. It comes at the end of one of the smoothest transitions in recent times, where after one round of voting, the winner of the polls was determined to pave the way for change in government. This necessitated a longer transition period. It is believed that handing over of notes from the outgoing National Democratic Congress to the incoming New Patriotic Party went on successfully. In another vein, President Mahama made some important statements on continuity in change of government that should catch the attention of many an observer of the political happenings in Ghana for some years now.
President Mahama urged his successor, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo to endeavour to continue with all uncompleted projects initiated by his government in line with the true principles of governance across the globe. This call means a lot to Ghanaians in view of what has prevailed in the past where project are abandoned to the detriment of the national interest. Since the overthrow of Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, there has been a negative culture of abandoning projects initiated by earlier governments in a bid to discredit it. This culture saw the neglect of many projects undertaken with the hard-earned tax payer’s money. Scattered across Ghana today are several silos constructed by Dr Nkrumah meant to store enough food to ensure sufficiency and fight hunger in the country. The silos have been abandoned by succeeding governments, without consideration for the huge amounts of money invested into them.
However, a careful observation of our political scenes in this fourth republican constitutional era shows the ugly surge of that culture with dire consequences to the tax payer. At a time resources are scarce and governments across the world are doing their best to maximize the use of everything at the disposal of the State, we have cases of projects being abandoned or neglected in the name of political expediency, to discredit one’s opponent and win cheap political points. It is unfortunate that, in doing so, politicians fail to take into cognizance the wastefulness of the practice and the harm they are doing to the people who spend precious time to queue to vote them into power. Perhaps when a system is developed to hold them accountable over how they treated previous government’s projects, these politicians would sit up and spare the nation the waste in the name of cheap political points. It is about time that politicians understood the principles of accountability and probity and more importantly continuity of whatever one inherited from their predecessors.
Governance is about the people and those whose resources are being managed by leaders given the privilege of enjoying the largest of leadership. No leader owns the nation to waste its resources with abandon and the earlier they realized this, the better for the future of this country. This nation has bled for too long in the hands of those who have been misled into thinking they can get away with whatever they do in government. The President’s message to his successor is very relevant at this time of economic challenges where resources are badly needed to save the people from poverty. The incoming President, therefore, has a moral duty to ensure that political sentiments do not override the moral responsibility towards the people who have voted him to power.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is expedient at this time to insert into the transitional provisions, a clause that mandates incoming governments to complete every project initiated by their predecessors. The clause should be made so binding on office holders so as to prevent them from finding any excuses. That would ensure that they carry out their duty of protecting scarce state resources for the benefit of the people, Ghanaians have suffered for too long and this is the time for things to change.
BY RUTH ADJORLOLO, A JOURNALIST.