Monday, 17 December 2012

My response to IMANI again.

I've not blogged in a very long while now. The last post published on here is dated 2nd December, but to be honest that was a throwaway attempt at starting another project - an Advent of Reflection - which very easily went to dust. In fact the last post I made that was worth anything to me was the Melcom post.

Now however I find inspiration in IMANI's look forward into the President's first full term. Firstly, as the 14 comments on Ghanaweb will show you IMANI prewrote this article and have not edited to reflect the fact that the EC has declared a winner. Some of the commenters think this shows IMANI to be NPP supporters, but I think it shows IMANI to be sweet f.a. It's simply a pre-prepared article to be valid in the event of a run-off between two parties that most of the political analysts in the country would have predicted. Even I questioned Abu Sakara as to where his loyalties would lie, on the assumption that a run-off was inevitable. THERE WAS NO REASON TO SAY THAT THIS RACE WAS NOT GOING TO BE ANY CLOSER THAN 2008. Nothing on paper pointed to a 1st round win for any party, absolutely nothing. It's a simple game of who can utilise the 'hand of God' best, and as Maradona knows very well, the 'hand of God' is a euphemism for one's own handy work - forgive the slight underlying bias, I was searching for a pun.

IMANI say to us that the government must focus on the five following things to ensure social and economic development:
1. Risk Analysis on all Government Projects
2. Reform the Pension Sector
3. Determine an optimal level of taxation
4. Avoid wasteful projects
5. Review the single spine salary structure for the civil service

Now I'm no economist. I don't care for the numbers, I don't care for stats, I live with my head in the clouds looking at a strikingly monochrome world. The Pension Sector and SSSS do not concern me. People need paying that is true, but I always thought the private sector was the most important for economic growth and job creation. IMANI's top 5 priorities are all very public sector and that is probably the problem.

IMANI is right in some areas though, for instance, the presidency cannot be the policy hub. It is theoretically unworkable in Ghana. For instance, if the NPP succeeded in overturning the presidential result but not the parliamentary one, what exactly does NADAA think he could get done in the country. Policies and change must come from the representatives in the parliament based on the values their people hold.

The harmonisation of projects, discussed through the example of the BVR, is another point I agree with, must every aspect of a Ghanaian's life carry its own biometric identification tool? It's wastage. Another thing we should address is whether some of these systems, especially BVR, is merely painting over the cracks. I'm not one to advocate copying the west, but here in the UK, they don't take my fingerprint to let me vote. Registration is simple, a letter and form is sent to your home (assuming you can read) you fill it out, with details who live at the address and are/will be eligible to vote. This is kept on record and houses are taxed accordingly. It is not in your interest to put more people than lives with you, on the register because you'll just pay more. If you don't return the form in time (for whatever reason, incl. illiteracy) someone comes around and verbally confirms with you and the same is done with that data as outlined above. You get your voting documents at your residence and if you lose it tough luck. But you know what all this would require to be implemented in Ghana? Roads, named. Houses, numbered. People, literate. How's Ghana doing on that front? Elections are the closest thing to democracy Ghana has. With all due respect it's the only time that the people have the politicians sweating. To improve them you improve the electoral system, through the harmonisation of data and the alternative method to registering and voting, which might actually help the governments revenue situation.

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