Let us hold our politicians to account for their promises
The political season is here again. As it is with all political seasons, politicians are roaming our cities, towns and villages, promising the moon. In one ridiculous example, a presidential candidate has promised to provide water and electricity free of charge.
In other words, the Volta River Authority, Ghana Grid Company Limited, Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Water Company Limited would all be working for free, if a particular presidential candidate wins the December polls.
The electoral promise is innovative in the sense that The Chronicle is unaware of any country on earth where electricity and water are supplied for free. In all honesty, we are unable to recommend these free goodies to Ghanaians. At the end of the day, the supply of water and electricity ought to be paid for, whether or not the state envisages them to be free.
Obviously, this is one promise which should not lose sleep for anybody. The obvious reason is that Madam Akua Donkor and her Ghana Freedom Party have not made much by way of in-roads into the heart of the electorate, to bother about forming a government.
One issue that would do a number of rounds in the court of public opinion, as the vote gets nearer, is education, which has become the main battle ground of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
When Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the NPP, first broached the issue of free Senior High School education in an NPP administration, NDC big wigs shot it down as a utopian concept that could not work.
Minister of Education Lee Ocran even went public to denounce it as a sentimental journey being undertaken by the NPP for votes. In the opinion of the man holding the education portfolio, it would take another 20 years for Ghana to afford free second cycle education.
Even President John Dramani Mahama poured cold water on the proposal. The irony of it is that the President himself is a beneficiary of fee-free education, introduced in the Nkrumah regime for the people of the north. Up till today, second cycle institutions in the three northern regions do not charge their students for feeding.
Central Government still advances money to pay for feeding students in the boarding house, but beneficiaries of the system somehow pooh poohed the free education concept.
Among the population though, it is one of the most useful proposals in the history of national politics. With the population generally buying into the concept, the NDC appears to have moved the goalposts.
Now the party is moving gradually towards a fee-free second-cycle education by 2016. The talk is of the state using the next four years to build 200 secondary schools before fees could become free. The ordinary Ghanaian though, cannot wait another four years.
We believe that second cycle education could be paid for, if the state avoids profligate spending on what does not advance society, like judgment debts and luxury living by government appointees.
Evidence on the ground suggests that the state has spent over GH¢600 million paying for dubious judgment debts in the past three years.
As Mr. Vitus Azeem of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the local version of Transparency International, has said on our front page, we need to stop the judgment debts rather than appointing commissioners to probe it, sole or multiple. Let us hold our politicians to account for their promises.
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