At the instance of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, in December 2007, the late Supreme Court Judge, Prof. Emeritus Tawia Modibo Ocran, delivered a lecture in Accra titled “the Ideology, Leadership and Aspects of Kwame Nkrumah’s Political and Social Agenda.”
After arguing strongly, and receiving praises for it, about the sparkle of Dr Nkrumah’s ideological postulate, calling him “an icon in the manner of George Washington and Mahatma Ghandi,” Prof. Ocran spent some time to advise leaders on the relevance of ideology.
“A leader who genuinely lacks an ideological framework for action is bound to be a clueless leader,” he said. “Such leaders might think that they are pragmatist but without ideological framework, they are obliged to indulge in the basest form of ‘muddling-through.’
But the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), whose leadership, including flagbearer Dr Papa Kwasi Nduom, has Nkrumaist antecedents, seems to disagree with the former Supreme Court Judge.
In its 24-page “Policy Statement” or manifesto, if you like, for the 2016 elections, the PPP says unlike the other political parties, it is “not selling an ideological mission to the Ghanaian people but rather practical solutions to the problems of our country.”
The party says: “We believe in the progressive way of thinking and we are pragmatists. Ghanaians want food to eat, they want a home to live in, they want good health and safe roads, they want the best education for their children, and they want good jobs.”
Over the past 24 years, it argues, the “property owning” and “social democrat” ideologies of the NPP and the NDC respectively have only managed to bring to Ghanaians “change of the slow, incremental kind which sometimes has led to a ‘one foot forward and on foot backward’ experience.”
To reverse the trend, therefore, the PPP which, by the way, is the only party to have made public its manifesto so far, as the NPP and the NDC are not sure which one of them should go first, has proposed a ten-point plan.
In the middle pages of the Policy Statement, the party summerises the ten-point plan thus: give power to the people for development; strengthen parliament to perform its legislative duties effectively; provide better health care and cleaner environment; attack crime, the drug trade and corruption; and create a just and disciplined society.
It also intends to improve the performance of government, provide quality education for every Ghanaian child, provide energy for industrialization and rapid development, empower the diaspora, and create jobs.
Using Agric as the lever
A PPP economic policy, the document says, will revolve around agriculture and the use of the state’s purchasing power to ensure “we eat what we grow and use what we produce in Ghana.”
Whilst modernizing agriculture and providing “good roads” to go with it, the PPP intends to use “the state’s purchasing power” to create a ready market for farmers, by insisting that “all basic schools on the school feeding programme as well as Senior High Schools patronize strictly, made in Ghana commodities for cooking.”
That’s not all: “ministries, departments and agencies will also be instructed to consume strictly ‘Made in Ghana’ food and beverages for refreshments at all their programmes.”As part of its agriculture policy, a PPP government will invest in storage facilities, make processing factories viable, and give farmers low interest loans and technical assistance. Also, a PPP government will revive “the almost defunct Kwadaso Agricultural College” and collaborate with universities “to enable Senior High School graduates to pursue courses in Agriculture extension services, soil management, etc, to fill the manpower gap in the sector.”
Jobs, jobs, jobs!!
“Jobs for millions of Ghanaians are our goal,” the PPP states boldly, and to accelerate the creation of those jobs, “an inter-region highway will be built with the same high quality throughout the country to open up the country for investment and development.”As part of the opening up process, the party says it will implement “with a sense of urgency” a railways project across the “four corners of the country” to facilitate the movement of goods and people.Touching on every one of the ten regions and their potential for job creation, the PPP wants to start, in four years, a solar panel assembling facility in Accra, build a state of the art Sports Centre in Accra with an Olympic size swimming training school, expand and clean up water bodies in the Accra-Tema area, and develop the Old Fadama area into “a first class park with gardens…”
It also intends to resolve issues pertaining to property rights to facilitate large scale salt production, and to use the “powers of the state to make the pharmaceutical industry become a jewel for West Africa and beyond.”
In the north, the 25,000-acre Mole part would be fenced, and roads leading to it would be done, and an airstrip and other forms of infrastructure would be put in to make the park rival other game parks in Africa.
“A six-year development plan will be initiated to open up the forgotten areas of the region,” whilst the region’s potential to become the breadbasket of the country with factories to process meat, maize, groundnuts, soya beans and mango will be developed.
Still, up north, a “first class highway” would be built to link Bolga to Wa, to promote investment in the Upper West and East Regions, whilst the trade corridor from Bawku, Garu, Tempane and Widana to Pusiga will be developed to serve as a hub for trade with Togo and Burkina Faso.
The party’s plans up north also include mechanized farming to facilitate cultivation of mango and other fruits, large scale cattle ranches to enable meat processing, and an international hospital in Wa to attract patronage from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Cote D’Ivoire.
The PPP is at pains that although gold abounds in the Ashanti Region, it does not serve as a source of mass employment. To reverse this, the party intends to set up a gold refinery there, alongside related factories for jewelry making.
Kumasi, under a PPP government, will have a new international airport to reduce strain on Accra, whilst a technical training centre will be built to “modernize the skills of the Suame artisans,” in an effort to make the Ashanti Region “the first to manufacture cars and bicycles.”
Still in the Ashanti Region, the PPP intends to use public-private partnerships to establish a factory to produce cocoa sacks and footwear for export.
In the Brong Ahafo Region, wood processing and poultry businesses would be given technical and financial support so they can serve the needs of the Ghanaian market. “With regard to poultry, the state’s purchasing power will be used to save the industry from collapse and push it to serve the needs of Ghanaians.
With the Central Region being the “heartbeat” of tourism in the country, the Tourism Authority and the Museums and Monuments Board, would be “empowered with the resources needed,” to boost tourism. The region would also benefit from “world class fishing landing ports,” fish and fruit processing companies, and expanded secondary schools to rope more students, both local and international.
The Eastern Region, under a PPP government, will host “large scale commercial farming,” backed by the abundant water bodies in the Afram Plains and Kwahu lands. Its gold and bauxite would also be exploited with “proper respect to the environment…”
In the Volta Region, the Aflao-Lome border post will be further upgrade along with other business/industrial parks in the area to serve as a regional trade hub, to facilitate job creation. If voted into power, the party will also establish rice processing and fruit and vetagble canning industries in the region.
“We will work with our neighbours to plan for rail lines to Nigeria to access their market of over 150million people in that country alone.”
Finally, in the Western Region, a PPP government will reward the people with “first class highways, whilst Sekondi-Takoradi becomes “a proud railways hub.”
The petrochemicals industry, the party says, will be critical to the Western Region, and so the region will refine oil for the by-products to be used for bitumen, polyester, plastics and petroleum jelly.
“We will encourage oil and gas companies led by GNPC to relocate their headquarters offices to the Wetern Region.
The region, under a PPP government, will also become a leader in the African biofuels industry, as firms would be assisted in the development of palm plantations, whilst science and technology are employed to develop hybrid plasnts that mature in 17 months instead of seven years.
“Countries like Australia have done it and we can do it here in Ghana if we work with a sense of urgency.”
A PPP government will give true meaning to the concept of Free and Compulsory Basic Education by expanding and standardizing facilities. “An integral part of this objective will be an objective to significantly increase vocational training so that all school leavers gain employable skills.”
To ensure success in its overall education policy, the PPP intends to invest in the building of complete school compounds across the country including housing for teachers and the upgrading of teacher training institutions.
“Science, technology, English, Math and Arts will be at the heart of our efforts. With this, no child living with disability, poor or rich, male or female, would be left out.”
Energy for industrialization
The PPP’s energy plans include tax incentives to encourage development of alternative fuel and power sources like bio fuels and solar.
“We aim to ensure that the contribution from renewable sources of energy reaches in a decade, a minimum of 10% of what we need. We will harness our natural resources (particularly oil, gas, bio-gas, wind and solar) to ensure maximum benefit and prosperity for all Ghanaians.”
To achieve its lofty ideals, the PPP believes the “toxic, winner-takes-all political culture” which prevails in the country would have to be defeated.
“If we do not take concrete, sure steps away from this culture, we will remain a nation made poor by leaders who just want to win power for the sake of winning power further their aims of self-enrichment.”
Ultimately, the party believes that a win for it the 2016 elections will be a win for the people of Ghana. “You will win power because the PPP believes that no political party can bring true progress to Ghana unless we share power with the people.”
Author: Basiru Adam, thebftonline.com
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