Strategies For Ghana’s NPP In 2012 General Elections
Is NDC Destined For Failure; or Synonymous To Failure?The NDC can be subjected to a total loss of the 2012 elections, provided the NPP campaigns on “Sustainable Economic Policies For Sustainable Governance”. Failing which the opposite can also be absolutely true. Konongo Fordjour 15 January 2011 It is extremely difficult, in the Ghanaian context, to provide any legitimate; up-to-the-minute scientifically proven report to measure the direction of the voting decisions of Ghanaian voters. More often than not, expert reports from decision makers in Ghana itself are usually found baffling later on. Consequently, commonly emotional utterances always took the center stage in our analyses; and in most cases towards the direction of the political leaning of that particular analyst him/herself. Currently, as I write, the two opposing forces - the NPP and the NDC - are on balance. Anything can happen! One of the forces should sell differentiated products to throw the other one off balance. Political products are presentation of economic policies superior to that of the opponent’s. At the beginning of last decade, the NPP sounded superior to the NDC in the implementation of policies. Nevertheless, over the years the NDC has caught up. [Remember that the two fought over the ownership of certain areas of their campaign policies]. It was quite interesting to see the once a ruthless, gun-totting, and crime-prone NDC metamorphose its killing smock to put on Western-designer suits to talk civilized political language. Can I am confidently claim that democracy is working in Ghana? Please remember that politics is all about implementation of policies. However, modern Ghana demands smartness in the practical implementation of policies necessary and more identifiable with Ghana. Therefore, which one of the two can present the best practicable policies that can sustain Ghana’s economic recovery? Some of the NDC policy presentations that won it the elections have gone past their own proposed period without giving it a second glance. So many questions stare at it as to whether or not the NDC genuinely has any credible alternative agenda for Ghanaians. The president has argued vehemently that he has been mandated for four years; I agree with him! But technically speaking he has only one-and-the-half more years to prove otherwise. Frustrations in seeking for a second term and the opposition’s desperation to wrestle power can be nastier. Honestly, I am not impressed with the recent utterances coming from the two quarters that sounded violent! Folks, let us stick to the basics; and that is the implementation of policies. We are going to look at some works done by authorities in their own areas; such as Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University New York, expert in sustainable development in the Third World communities (Developing Nations); Professor Bill Fisher of Clark University Worcester, expert in International and Community Development; Professor Richard Vietor of Harvard Business School, expert in global economic development strategy and author of “How Countries Compete”; and Professor Nicholas Sanchez of College of the Holy Cross Worcester, author of “Destined For Failure”. And finally, some excerpts from “Decision Points” by His Excellency former USA President George W Bush to advise our contesting leaders to tread carefully along the directions where others have failed terribly. Let us stick to Political Campaigns without wild and empty promises, please! The next two pages will discuss the theory and practice of sustainable economic policies; and the last page will sum it up with a strong advice to the NPP to enable it snatch power from the NDC easily. Now let us begin; no hard feelings, please! Pardon me if my article is not favorable to you; but I will have say it as it is anyway! No favoritism whatsoever; credit will be given where it is due! Sustainable Governing Strategies in a Sustainable Economy In his book, Destined For Failure, The Havana, Cuba-born economics professor, Nicholas Sanchez argues that macro-economics (that the NDC Minister of the Economy Dr. Kwabena Duffour is leaning on) does not teach productivity levels. Although Sanchez fell short of declaring that micro-economics does,his assertion resonates my previous articles on Ghana’s Economy that discussed micro- and macro-economics stipulations. Remember my statement that macro-economics is relatively a very young developing area of economics; and that it is in a flux. I challenged the honorable minister as to what was in a flux at the time he took office that needed to be stabilized; but he has decided to remain quiet. Perhaps not to embarrass himself in the midst of ignorance in modern day economics! Professor Sanchez believes that Maynard Keynes’ macro-economics era has long ago shifted from what (the NDC knows) to a modern day developmental economics proposed by Harvard Professor Robert Barro, who believes in factors of production that bring about growth in the economy; and winning many disciples around the globe such as Konongo Fordjour. Perhaps, Jeffrey Sachs is the most favoured expert in the area of sustainable economic policies. Jeff is the Director of The Earth Institute and Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is a special advisor to the UN chief, Moon, and the former, Ghana’s Kofi Annan; advising on developing countries including Ghana. His brilliant work has earned him several United Nations’ assignments into his selected countries including Ghana. Ghana has always been in his heart and he has conducted several workshops to benefit Ghana, such as his recent one on Kumasi conference at Columbia University hall; and his recent visit to our President Mills in Ghana. Professor Sachs preaches on sustainable development to his selected nation clients, such as Ghana. His "Sowing the seeds for a long-term growth" considers energy conservation, water conservation and purification, locally-generated production to deliver economic growth (in agreement with Robert Barro of Harvard) such as Konongo Fordjour’s corn production strategy to explode youth investment and to add value to the nation’s economic growth. [For your information, please: The Wall Street Journal reported today, 15 January 2011, that corn is the fastest selling commodity in the market in history; gaining over 94% value since June 2010 price analysis period]. In his recent article in the Financial Times (7 June 2010), Professor Sachs gave five strategies to advise nations in our contemporary economic position. One, he proposed medium-term planning (for five years) targeting deficit-cutting; and to bring about manageable debt-to-GDP ratios. Two, Governments should intensify public education that good jobs result good education, cutting-edge technology, reliable infrastructure, and adequate outlays of private capital. Three, he strongly recommends that Governments should design secured ways of social safety nets such as: income support for the poor, universal access to basic healthcare and education, job training programs, and promotion of higher education. Four, create long-term structural transformation through exports, clean energy, and new transport infrastructure. Five and finally, he suggests that the rich must pay more taxes. I disagree with him on this issue in the case of Ghana, because the tax concept does not exist at all in Ghana. We need to develop it first, make the citizenry accept it and then make a further move. Also, taxing the rich heavily will destroy entrepreneurship and further jeopardize our investment trend. Ghana’s officially known richest person will rank less than 2-millionth position in the world (more or less a thousandneer). Therefore adopting Jeff’s fifth absolute will kill our humanism and democratic trend. I like his closing note for his fellow American Policy-makers that: we need, in sum, to reset our macro-economic timetables. There are no short-term miracles, only the threat of more bubbles if we pursue economic illusions. To rebuild our economies, the watchword must be INVESTMENTS rather than STIMULUS. [In the case of Ghana, it should be SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS rather than pre-electoral voting NDC spending spree.] Professor William Fisher, a Columbia University graduate, is also the Director of International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) at Clark University Worcester; and teaches international development and social change. His best authored book, to me, “Toward Sustainable Development?” goes closer to strategies that can alleviate desperate situations in poverty-ridden societies such as ours in Ghana. Bill is rather more of country specific and identifies factors that meet individual national development comfort levels, such as clean water projects, commercializing agrarian communities, etc. Professor Richard Vietor of Harvard Business School presents historical development strategies of some selected national development success stories. Richard has traveled extensively, critically studied almost every nation in all the six continents, and has selected model nations for case study. (Ghana is not included in his list, but it can be beneficial to Ghana). Institutionalization has been his prime factor of national development, sophistication and global advancement. Science and technology parks are common in his study on Asian countries; business incubators have featured in India, Mexico and Brazil; and continuity in the national agenda. Institutionalizing a national agenda means that the government hands off the national investments to allow the citizenry to pursue the national agenda. The government becomes supervisor with smart expert advise to the players to compete and develop their local communities. Professor Vietor’s major concerns were the countries’ strategies in education and the economy - how interconnected they may be. The only African country that got onto Vietor’s radar is South Africa because of her developed infrastructure and institutions. Developed institutions, such as law and order, transport regulatory body, independent national security, independent credible economic body, etc. over a long period of time will explain to every potential investor the characteristics of civility that nation may be. Before advancing further, let us take a look at the credibility of economic institution in a nation; what is it? Homogeneity in economic training in any given nation determines the seriousness of that nation with regard to development and advancement. Fiscal discipline and strong monetary policies are researched and planned by economic research institutes. A development-conscious nation must have a national development plan of action to be pursued by successive governments drawn by such an institute. [Ghana does not have one!] After the Allende-Pinochet political upheavals that rocked Chile, the nation appointed a group of conservative nationalist (Chilean) economists, called Chicago Boys (because all of its members had graduate level training in economics from University of Chicago) to design a new program for the nation. The result was Chile’s turn of events from misery to business and economic power house. A similar strategy of the Harvard Team has also turned events in Brazil. When Brazilian economists were trained from Harvard classrooms strong economic policies were designed for the nation to follow. Also, the Mexican economic recovery success story owes its ambitious decision to train its economists from Yale. It was based on this premise of his Mexican classmates’ success story that the Yale-trained economist Elder Kwame Pianim had proposed to set Ghana along a similar track. Homogeneity in economic training works! In a heterogeneous economic training (i.e. from multiple countries, e.g. Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, etc.) confusion sets in to develop a weak team - if there is any. Marxist-Leninist theories as against free market- free trade propositions become the unnecessary debate entangling the national development. Where do you think Ghana falls into today? Homogeneous or heterogeneous economic training? Winnable NPP Campaign Strategies The New Patriotic Party [NPP] of Ghana must differentiate its message now! Please campaign on practical implementation of policies. Begin with the work done under President Kufuor. The NPP has been poor or weak in public relations strategy. The Kufuor Administration did brilliant job but we have failed miserably to sell our best efforts to the Ghanaian electorate. More often than not we have cowed into the NDC lies and seemed to have accepted that unfortunate fate. The flag bearer must begin right now to engage Ghana in serious conversations. Begin with the negative campaign message initiated by the NDC since 2008. I must say that the NPP “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-See” pretence attitude is self-destructive. I believe that the NDC will want to talk about cocaine, hotel Kufuor, Jubilee-Flagstaff Palace, presidential jets, and many others that have gone unchallenged. Take each case by case and discuss them in details with the nation. For example, pick up the topic on cocaine. You may want to critically look at the origins, benefits, market value, dealers in the powder trade, and disadvantages of cocaine. Talk about the strategies your government will use in handling the powder trade and their possible repercussions. What is the extent of the drug trade in Ghana? Be realistic and straightforward (support with facts and figures) in discussions about the extent of damage of the drug trade in Ghana. Let the nation be aware that the level of usage or consumption of the drug in Ghana, although is not a good idea, IS NOT alarming. However, the nation has a reputation as the transit point for the drug trade. Cite Eric Amoateng, the disgraced NPP lawmaker (MP) serving sentence in New York, USA jail as an example as well as President Mill’s recent utterances quoted in WikiLeaks of been suspicious of his own NDC officials dealing in the drug trade. This should be clear to Ghanaians that drug dealership has no politico-ideological boundaries. Now how do we solve this problem? An NPP government could possibly stop the menace by allowing it into the country, confiscate it in all quantities, and use it for bio-scientific research at the University of Science and Technology. Similar studies are on-going in top pharmaceutical research institutions around the globe. The Theme could be: “Cocaine and the Cell Function - Preventive and Curity Measures of the HIV Disease”. By so doing, you are carefully breaking the jinx and the stigma of the drug crap on our party. The more we keep quiet over the drug issue, the more our NDC friends are motivated to ridicule us over nothing. If we are found frustrated in the drug issue such as a recent threat to take the general public to court, then we are heading towards a total loss similar to the 2008 winnable campaign day that ended with a “Yorkor-Gari-Campaign Disaster”. The drug issue must be tackled holistically using psychoanalytic strategies to cure the canker therapeutically. Do same to the rest of all the negative campaign statements. For example, the decision to build the presidential palace must carefully consider the benefits that Ghana has earned. The flag bearer must accept responsibility, as part of the decision-making body in the Kufuor Administration that collectively allowed the project to proceed. A similar strategy must be designed to respond to the presidential jets purchases. Why was the decision reached? What were the pros and cons for that purchase? If you were in President Kufuor’s position then, would you have taken a similar bold decision? Why was buying the two jets superior to clean water or classroom block elsewhere in Ghana? Nana Akufo-Addo must accept the responsibility of the perceived shortfalls of Kufuor Administration, defend them, and match on to the Administration’s best performing functions. It will be ridiculous to have issues with the Administration you were party to and claim to pursue its development projects today. Some decisions, such as those taken by President Kufuor discussed above, may appear very controversial; yet we still have to take them. In his book, “Decision Points”, USA former President George W Bush argues on critical decision making periods during his tenure in office. Clearly detailed, the author draws in several of his personal experiences to make informed decisions as they were taken, controversial as they appeared, though. Leaders are made to take critical decisions; may be controversial but not hasty decisions. The next line of communication should look at the policies you will pursue. They must be SUSTAINABLE. As you can see above, all the USA academics, economists, and policy-makers are shifting from the dysfunctional macro-economic policies to the productive sustainable economic policies. A sustainable economy is the one that connects the citizenry directly with the development of the nation. In the Ghanaian context, purifying borehole water in the villages into commercial quantities, building silos, warehouses, corn farming, fruit juice processing, etc. are all small businesses that focus on the citizenry; and are all sustainable. NPP must campaign on “Developing the Nation in Partnership with the Citizenry”. I strongly suggest that the German model of Apprenticeship must be factored into the partnership deal that NPP intends to have with the citizens. This will require brilliant and dedicated experts in their fields of study to lead and train their subordinates. In the German context, the leaders must be PhD holders; and in most cases, in the technical fields of study. Now where will we find these dedicated Ghanaian experts in their fields of study to steer the drive? It throws us back to the days when NPP-USA initiated the home-coming conference to create data for such exercise in 2001 but was thrown away by the very same home-resident politician it was intended to help simply because of domestic xenophobia among equals. My party must promise a “National Development Plan” campaign on it, and demand future successive Governments to follow. Our campaign message should be detailed in the development plan. An entrenched citizen-focused development plan becomes an inseparable bond between the people and government which will be Sustainable Governance in a Sustainable Economy. Conclusion I strongly believe that if NPP campaigns on sustainability of our economy, we will win hands down. In my previous article, “Elections 2012: Using the Institute of Strategic Studies’ Winnable Games”, I advised on some possible ways that the NDC can use to smartly rig the elections (a sophisticated electoral fraud). They are: the expected addition of about 360,000 young adult voters; the bi-metric vote rigging system; the economy; and a possible coercive rule to scare some voting areas. With a sophisticated National Development Plan to campaign on sustainable economy, the NPP will win the forthcoming general elections. Unfortunately for Ghanaians, but fortunately for political campaigns, the NDC has no agenda to develop; they have no clue! Certain things that the NDC claims to have done in the economy may be true from the short-term point of view (common in the macro-economics milieu - it is in a flux!). However, the question the NPP should ask the NDC is simply: “How sustainable are their policies for Ghana?” Consequently, the development plan erases the NDC noise making on the economy altogether. We must design strategies to campaign on Early-Voting-Go-Home to remove confrontation and violence during voting. We should also encourage steady voting but no queues (or lines); that will remove the NDC coercive strategy. Then, we are down to two - the 360,000 new voters, and the bi-metric voting system - that we will have to work hard to recruit from and urge everyone to get involved in the bi-metric voting system. We should also train smart and dedicated polling agents to benefit our party. Finally, please this is very important! Ghanaians, by nature, are not bemused with a person’s riches, education, or greatness. They attach absolutes such as: nobility, handsomeness, politeness, God-fearing, respectfulness, tallness, etc. in rewarding a higher position to their people. We may not have reasons attached to their individual decision-making sentiments; but they do! Consequently, I will strongly suggest that NPP must pick Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng as the running mate to balance a lot of concerned reservations. I honestly trust that the civil society, the clergy, floating voters, and even those not intending to vote in the next general elections will all turn around to vote for Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng’s ticket. This is a must win voting period! Hopefully, this piece of advice would be seriously considered. However, should all these advice be neglected and eventually thrown away as usual, then go to elections and lose again, then I can promise one thing that heaven and hell will fall.
Source: Fordjour, Konongo
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