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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I Promise NOT to Promise (Part 1)

The election season is here in Ghana once again. One cannot begrudge the hopefulness of everyone standing for election to public office. Even the bloke who is very much aware that members of his own family wouldn't vote for him if even he was the sole candidate is brimming with hope that he will be given the nod.
I have always wondered - once I attained such capacity - why politicians would do everything and anything to get elected; in fact why it becomes a do or die affair to serve the people. Woe anyone who stands in in their way towards attainment of such "noble aspirations".
Noble Aspiration? Indeed. I believe public service is a noble aspiration which we must cultivate. However, selfishness appears to be the drive of most of the people who seek public office today. Why not? We see the tremendous change that comes upon those who occupy such positions; from the lavish homes to the high-end vehicles they would hitherto not have bothered to read the prices off of magazines. Who no dey love better chop?
Promises are a regular part of campaigning. Politicians would promise reincarnating your mother if that you would get you to vote for them. The mischief is that most politicians who make these promises have no intention of keeping them or do not properly think through their promises before pronouncing them.
The presidential candidates of almost all the political parties in Ghana have recently made some promises, some major, some minor. Some of the major promises made by the NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akuffo Addo, include 1 village in the North 1 dam, 1 district 1 factory, creation of a new region carved out from the Western Region. The president and candidate of the NDC wouldn't be outdone; he came out with the promise to increase the number of regions to 15, build more community day schools, 1 student 1 tablet, etc.
Of course the crowd goes wild upon hearing such promises. But people who have observed the political history of promises in Ghana would tell you that the bigger the promise, the more likely that the candidate making the promise has no intention of keeping it. The primary reason for this is that they make such promises as a counter to other promises made by their opponents and so do not properly think through the implications of their promises within the context of prevailing capacity and resources.
My Critique of some promises I find Unnecessary
Mind you, I think very little is impossible. Now with that out of the way what are some of the promises which I think are unnecessary or achievable within any four year tenure of a president.

1. One District, One factory:
I personally believe this is possible but unnecessary. First and foremost, the promisor has not defined what type of factories he is thinking about only that "every district has a dominant industry". But factories by themselves are nothing if they are not assured of regular market and raw material. Again, if we intend being relevant to modern trends, government has no business setting up factories. I would rather that government create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. At least our history as a country has taught us that much. It is unnecessary because of the simple law of diminishing returns.

To be continues.....

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