The period immediately preceding the assumption of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President was one of excitement. It was very reminiscent to that of the election of President John Kufuor when Ghanaians could not believe that after a nineteen year-reign of the PNDC and NDC regimes led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, they were witnessing a seamless
transition from one democratic government to another. Such was the excitement characterised by optimism and renewed hope.
Sixteen years down the line, that euphoria was erupting once again, this time rejuvenated because an avowed constitutional Lawyer, human rights activist and avowed democrat had won the elections. The win was emphatic and the mandate was unequivocal, having obtained an emphatic victory in a contest that saw the sitting President being his lead
contender. The President’s private residence had within minutes become a beehive of massive crowds in jubilant mood and for days, scores of high-profiled State appointees trooped there to pledge allegiance to the President-Elect.
A meeting between the defeated President and the President-Elect took place and kicked the transitional arrangement into place. The Christmas festivities soon came and with it followed inauguration day – 7 th January 2017. The President gave a very inspiring speech which received thunderous applause across the world during which he virtually summarized a vision of the Ghana he had projected as per the party’s manifesto that had brought it to power. Excerpts of the speech are reproduced below:
“We have an exuberant and young, growing population that wants the best of what the world has to offer and will not settle for ‘Third World’ or ‘developing world’ standards. We have an adventurous people who are in a hurry for success. I have no doubt that the talents, energies, sense of enterprise and innovation of the Ghanaian can be harnessed to make
Ghana the place where dreams come true.
It took us a while, but the consensus on multi-party constitutional rule has been established, and, for the third time, we have had a peaceful transfer of power from a governing party to an opposition one. We have done it without any fuss and it is now part of what we do as a people.
Kofi Abrefa Busia, Prime Minister of the Progress Party government of the 2 nd Republic, and one of the great Ghanaians, said in these eloquent words: ‘We regard politics as an avenue of service to our fellow men. We hold that political power is to be exercised to make life nobler and happier. Our success or failure should be judged by the quality of the individual, by his knowledge, his skills, his behaviour as a member of society, the standard of living he is able to enjoy and by the degree of harmony and brotherliness in our community life as a nation’.
We should move on to deepen our democracy. It is time to make sure that we have a true separation of powers between the various arms of government. Our Parliament, the legislative arm of government, must grow into its proper role as an effective machinery for accountability and oversight of the Executive, and not be its junior partner.
The Ghanaian Parliament, the Ghanaian Member of Parliament, must stand out as institutions that represent all that we hold dear and citizens can take pride in.
Our judiciary must inspire confidence in the citizens, so we can all see the courts as the ultimate arbitres when disputes arise, as they would. A Ghanaian judge must be a reassuring presence and the epitome of fairness. We have worked with our national constitution for 24 years and we now know the areas that require change. I believe a consensus is emerging that we must decentralize more. We must devolve more power with corresponding resources to the base of our political system and to our people, in the regions and communities. We must trust the individual and collective
wisdom and good sense of our people.
We must restore integrity in public life. State coffers are not spoils for the party that wins an election, but resources for the country’s social and economic development. I shall protect the public purse by insisting on value-for-money in all public transactions. Public service is just that – service and not an avenue for making money. Money is to be made in the private sector, not the public. Measures will be put in place to ensure this.
We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy. We must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development. We believe that the business of government is to govern. Ours is to set fair rules. We will provide vision and direction and shine the light down the path of our entrepreneurs and farmers. We are, indeed, counting on a vibrant private sector to drive growth and create jobs. We will stimulate the creative juices of innovators.
We will bring back to life the adventurer in you. It is time to imagine and to dream again; time to try that business idea again.We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy. The doors of Ghana are open again. The shutters are up again. There could not be a better opportunity to ‘Make in Ghana’, and to make it in Ghana. GHANA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS AGAIN! We will build a confident Ghana which is united, at peace with itself and takes pride in its diversity.”
Were we in for a smooth sailing journey or a bumpy ride? Time was obviously going to be determinant.
PART 3 L o a d i n g S o o n!
My dear friend,