However, Ghanaians are resilient. They have learned to survive. They look after one another, too, and altruism flourishes amid surprising circumstances of adversity. What does political independence mean to ordinary Ghanaians? Independence was supposed to make life better but what do we see around us? More than half a century of independence has brought nothing in terms of real development in the country. In many parts of the country, hundreds of kilometers of colonial roads have disappeared, schools and clinics are in dilapidated state and social infrastructure have been allowed to collapse. In 56 years not even a single kilometer of railway line has been constructed and the one the colonial rulers left behind have been allowed to deteriorate and collapse. Something is definitely wrong and needs to be put right now.
I have written on this one before. The issue of corruption in government needs to be tackled head on. Just paying lip service to the slogan of “zero tolerance” fools no one. Many Ghanaians are of the believe that the perception of corruption in government, and corruption that comes to the open are just a tip of the iceberg. These are big problems that are depriving communities of the good drinking water and the electricity they need. It is preventing investment in vital health service delivery and it prevents school children from getting access to good quality education.
What happened to those the Parliamentary Accounts Committee indicted in its public sittings? Why is the Woyome trial not moving forward? What progress has been made by the sole commissioner appointed to investigate the numerous judgement debts? Why is the government not tacking the corruption in the National youth Employment program and the national Health Insurance Scheme? All this money is going waste while Ghanaian kids continue to die from treatable malaria and other sicknesses and continue to study under trees.
But before that we need to strenghten Parliament to make it perform its duty of checking executive power and also controlling the national purse more effectively. Our constitution is so flawed. It has concentrated all powers in the hands of the executive branch of government seriously constraining the work of Parliament. Our President under the 1992 constitution is just too powerful. He has the power to hire and fire everyone in Ghana, and also to order or not to order a probe into everything. If he doesn’t do it nobody can do it. Parliament must and can have the power to probe executive acts. And the judiciary must not only be seen to be independent but must act explicitly so in a transparent and fearless way that gives meaning to Judicial independence. .
I give the current President credit for trying to put together the leanest government ever in the fourth republic. But again, there are too many ministers without portfolio at the presidency, so government needs to downsize. The current size of the government is too big and costly, in fact over bloated. Japan runs the World’s third largest economy with just 17 ministers. How come a country like Ghana has that many ministers and deputy ministers. What for? We need fiscal discipline. The people are overburdened with taxes while government displays a great deal of fiscal indiscipline.