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Good Governance Promotes Peace, Health, and Entrepreneurship: Cost of Living Allowances Exposes Politicians

Post Graduate from University of Ghana-West Africa. I am a Public Health Advocate with interests in Tolerance, Quality Health, and Peace.

A Happy Worker Motivates Others: He/she is Healthy, Peaceful and Hard Working

A Happy Worker Motivates Others: He/she is Healthy, Peaceful and Hard Working

A Happy Worker Motivates Others: He/she is Healthy, Peaceful and Hard Working

A Bad Economy Wears No Party’s Color – Part 2

Abstract

Never hate any political party! Hating a political party is like saying that you will never go to the river side but you keep on drinking and bathing water (Niriwa a., 2021). We can play all the politics and “politricks” that we like; we can also pretend to have nothing to do with politics, but the truth is that whatever one does on earth is influenced by politics. So, to be able to determine whether you have made the right decision by voting a particular political party, it is very important to do some neutral self-assessment of the various political parties.


Introduction

Though religion is one of the major triggers of violence in most parts of the world, Ghana is blessed with an admirable religious tolerance; though there is still room for improvement. The first social issue that is likely to throw this peace loving nation into violence one day if prevention strategies are not put in place is politics. This is revealed by how most politicians lie against themselves and insult each other. Though there can be no peace without involving politicians, politics is amongst the two top reasons why the world has been constantly retrogressing in the yearly world freedom’s surveys (Schenkkan & Repucci, 2019). Evidence of this can be seen in Ghana, especially from 2012 to date.

Every political party always wants the best for the citizens which is the “Public interest” (Williams, 2021) or common good (Falkenbach et al., 2020; GON, ND). This thrive for public interest or common good allows individuals to freely participate in their daily economic activities. The saying that: “Wealth is health” (Phrasisombath, 2013), “Health is wealth” (Carlson, 2016; Phrasisombath et al., 2013) and that “both are peace” (Niriwa, 2022) are life realities. This is what revealed clearly, the link between peace, health, and entrepreneurship (Niriwa, 2022)!

This is what also helps them win election(s)! There is no political party that wins power with the intention to inflict hardship on citizens. What normally introduces bias or political discrimination is the inbuilt “Divide and rule” (Yahaya, 2020; Karlsen, 2019) strategy, popularly known as “Winner-takes-all politics” (Ijon, 2018), found in most political parties. The next one is the outmoded inherent conspiracies that are mostly used by most politicians against their opponents (Imhoff et al., 2022; Mancosu & Vassallo, 2022).

This review would help readers to appreciate the efforts made by the two major political parties in Ghana in helping to promote peaceful working environment. This as seen in the relationship between peace, health and entrepreneurship; would leads to healthy citizens carrying out their daily economic activities (entrepreneurial roles). Readers would also understand how failed policies of government can negative affect everyone irrespective of political colors. Readers would also understand how some of these national issues of importance are politicized by politicians for political points.

These would be seen under two major sub-headings: “The excellent policies of NPP could have been game changing experiences of Ghana” and “How Cost of Living Allowances Exposes Politicians!”

The Excellent Policies of NPP Could Have Been Game Changing Experience of Ghana

Both major political parties of Ghana have done a lot for the country! But, the truth is that though most people claim that: “All politicians are the same” (Firth, 2019; Gill, 2016); some of them are definitely genuine or real. The major problem hindering Ghana is corruption and bias over politicization of opponents’ achievement! The previous National Democratic Congress, NDC, government did very well in all areas, especially infrastructure (Wolibismark., 2021; Modernghana.com., 2020; Herald, 2020; Addo a., 2018), the energy sector (Larnyoh, 2020; Jinapor, 2018; Kumi, 2017; VRA., 2016), health (Larnyoh a., 2017; NDC., 2012-2016), and so on.

The NPP government led by His Excellency the President undoubtedly has excellent policies that are very promising; but these policies are not bearing fruits. The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) alone (Pauw, 2021; PFAG., 2018) is an excellent flagship program that could have created jobs for many of our youths and generate capital. Unfortunately, Ghana is rather importing foods like onions ($10.2M), chocolate ($5.11M), processed tomatoes ($69M), processed fish ($32.7M), sheep and goat meat ($3.17M), eggs ($718k), concentrated milk ($57.6M) and so on (Osei Tutu II, 2019).

The Free Senior High School (Free SHS) Program (Nartey L. , 2022; 3News., 2020) was done in a rush! Money for that should have been used to set up factories in Ghana in the excellent but unrealistic “One district one factory” (IDIF) pledge (Ola-Morris, 2022; Boako, 2020; MOFA, 2020; PG, 2019). Excellent because even if Ghana can boast of only forty (40) welled established and functional factories, they can provide employment and process most of our raw materials like cocoa, cassava, “shea” nuts or “dawadawa” for export. But this is unrealistic because it is not possible to have a factory in every district, municipal or metropolitan of Ghana now.

These two pledges alone, the PFJ and the 1D1F if well implemented could have performed magic for mother Ghana. Then, from their exports, government could have gotten money to implement the free SHS. Unfortunately, because the foundation is not well planned before the implementation, the free SHS is currently limping. Evidence is when some heads of Senior High Schools complaint of no funding (Dzidzoamenu, 2022; GhanaWeb., 2021). Government now asking for wealthy parents to pay for their wards fees is a red flag that we are having problem sustaining it (Nartey L. , 2022; TymesAdmin., 2022). These realities have vindicated a concerned Ghanaian who said that: “Ghana will pay a price in future” for free SHS (3News., 2020).

President convincingly said that he was going to investigate any corruption allegation(s) labelled against any of his appointees (Annang b., 2020; Peace, 2018). To make matters worse, he added that: “I have dealt with every corruption case in my administration” (Annang b., 2020)! The spirit with which the President always speaks shows that things are not going the way he thinks! Example, he said that his “Gov’t has taken boldest” steps “ever” toward nipping the cancerous corruption in the bud (CitiNewsroom., 2021). Yet, it is alleged that two ministries could not account for GHC2.4b FSHS cash” but nothing is heard up to now, though they have been challenged to account for it (Dzidzoamenu, 2022).

This is something that all Ghanaians should be worried about but not only the government or party in power! The big question that we need to ask ourselves is: “Why are these promising policies not being brought into realities for the benefit of all?” Shockingly Ghana rather now import processed cassava products from China (Kojo, 2022; JB, 2022; Savage, 2021) whilst all our forest reserves are continuously destroyed.

How Cost of Living Allowances Exposes Politicians!

Whilst in opposition the NPP used increasing prices of goods and fuel to accuse their predecessors as incompetent (Ayamga, 2020) though they used to mostly adjust salaries with respect to these. The Workers Union of Ghana has threatened an industrial action due to high cost of living (Ghana, 2022). In 2014 the then NDC’s government responded positively to the citizens when they protested against “High Cost of Living” (BBC., 2014; Adomako, 2013). That was just two (2) years after Ghana has been classified as a “Middle-Income” nation (Adomako, 2013; WB., 2011).

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What this means is that, foreign aids given to support developing countries would cease (Moss & & Majerowicz, 2012), with the assumption that you can take care of yourself. Yet, the NDC government negotiated to pay workers COLA or “Cost of Living Allowances” monthly, using 10% of the 2013 Basic Salary (ILO, 2014; Graphic, 2014). But how did Ghana attain lower-middle income country status at the time that NDC took over governance and there was a global economic crisis (Singh, 2021; Thakor, 2015)? Despite this achievement they were not congratulated, they were rather still heavily criticized (Newsroom, 2021; Zoure, 2019; Mubarik, 2019).

Though previous government gave COLA to support workers depites the above achievements; Ghanaians have been complaining of hardship since 2018 and especially from 2019-2022, but no response is seen. One thing about Ghanaians is that, we are uniquely unique people who always value the love of our country over anything. So, even if government cannot do likewise they should have at least shown some concern with explanation. The only excuse that government can give is the Russia-Ukraine war which started this year (Adu, 2022) around February, 2022 (Hookway, 2022; Kirby, 2022). Even with that, unlike their predecessors, the World Bank has pledged to support nations, especially Africans (Adu, 2022).

Yet, they continue to play politics with everything! A government that does not cares about her citizens, as alleged by Vice President (Ayamga, 2020), has given them cost of living allowance when they complaint. But the NPP government that cares a lot about the citizens is telling them to “Park” their “Cars” if they “Can’t buy fuel” (Fullah, 2022).

Currently the Teachers of Ghana are demanding that government should give them “Cost of Living Allowance” (Nartey et al.. 3., 2022; Koomson, 2022). These realities that they gave rightly represent that of the current Ghanaian workers. This is not politics! Lorry fares and prices of goods which this government used against their opponents (Ayamga, 2020), are now more than twice their previous prices. Evidence of this could be seen from the increased prices of pure water; where the National Association of Sachet and Packaged Water Producers attributed that to increased prices of goods and fares as the major causes (Nyabor, 2021).

These increased prices of commodities are not only mostly caused by increased world market fuel prices but the dollar rate (Nyabor, 2021) which this government over politicized when they were in opposition (Ayamga, 2020). But it is never heard that this government has increased workers’ salaries in response to increased cost of living. But a recap of the 2020 elections campaign exposed them telling Ghanaians to: “Vote for free light, water and free SHS and not dumsor Mahama” (AdomOnLine., 2020). President Akufo-Addo himself in 2016, said: “NDC has nothing good to offer Ghanaians so please if you want improve living standards, vote massively for Nana …” (Opoku, 2016). Ghanaians can best tell their experiences now!

The current behavior of youths is an exposé that most of them are beginning to lose interest in education (Arhinful, 2022; Assiamah, 2022; Frimpong, 2022). Now, unlike before, majority of our female students even at the Junior High Schools (JHS) and Senior High Schools (SHS) have also resorted to selling their bodies for quick moneys. The internet is now full of their nakedness advertising for interested customers. This is a reality that would be difficult to revert! But what has informed these current behaviors of our little ones who are supposed to be our future leaders? This could be due to their own self-assessment of the working environment.

Yet, they continue to play politics with everything! A government that does not cares about her citizens, as alleged by the Vice President (Ayamga, 2020), has given them cost of living allowance when they complaint. But the NPP government that cares a lot about the citizens is telling them to “Park” their “Cars” if they “Can’t buy fuel” (Fullah, 2022). This is not polite! It is also weird that government is threatening to fire some public sector workers at the time that they are requesting for COLA (Koomson a, 2022).

Hon. Kennedy Agyapong is absolutely right for his observation that education cannot make one rich (GHPAGE., 2022). It is not going to school that makes one rich, but it is what he/she does with the knowledge acquired from school into the job or businesses. But after going to school when one is employed and his/her is on salary or monthly income that cannot help him/her, then it raises question marks. No matter how brilliant one is, if the political environment does not favors what he/she does, he/she would still be a church mouse.

If it is so, then why will one waste his/her precious time and spend huge sums of money paying for school fees? This is one of the reason that make experts in education worried that, our rulers are: “Playing games with education” (Aklorbortu, 2019). Example, if one is able to do publications it is because government allows free flow of information to influence decision making. Despite the previous NDC government giving Ghanaians Cost of Living Allowances, the then major Opposition Party, NPP still heavily played politics with the economy. Now the government that promised them better living conditions, assuring that: “We in the NPP will not make promises we cannot keep” (Opoku, 2016), wants to sack them.

If the working environment cannot help me, it is wiser to better plan something early that can supplement what I take home when I start working. Opinions are like noses! If you wear the shoes of these youths, you will realize that they have taken the best decision based on the current realities underground.

The conditions of service for government workers are what would motivate a young person to be interested in education. Unfortunately, whilst lorry fares keep flying like birds, “prices of things” keep spreading on all commodities like bush fires (Addo II, 2022; JRDAYDAY., 2022), government workers are using the same salary. They are still even taxed twice: “income tax” and “E-Levy” (Smith, 2022; Fullah a, 2022) on the same salary. This is even after Ghanaians were promised by NPP in 2016 that they are going to be relieved from paying too much taxes under NDC (NA, 2017). Ghanaians can best tell whether they have been relieved or not!

If you claimed that President Akufo-Addo had cleansed Former President Mahama’s “mesh” (Ghanaweb.com(b)., 2021) and “laid a solid foundation for socioeconomic” (Muhayu-Deen, 2020) growth, why burdened Ghanaian workers? The salaries which are not enough for them, considering the current cost of living, are again taxed twice! To make our education attractive, we must rethink about government work in Ghana. The previous government realizing this, was paying government workers cost of living allowances to balance it. Yet, this current government falsely accused them as not caring (Ayamga, 2020).

Are Ghanaians Learning from Their Political Environment?

Yes, Ghanaians are beginning to hate dirty politics! Just as applying Newton’s Third Law of Motion (Nguyen, 2020; Lenzen, 1938) in “throwing a ball” helps people to learn how to catch it well (Singh a, 2020; GS., 2020; Dirksen, 2016), Ghanaians have learnt a lot from the various governments. The reactions that followed immediately after President Akufo-Addo’s speech during commissioning of the Tema Motorway Interchange show that most of them were not happy!

Playing politics with physical infrastructures that everyone can see physically, has the possibility of resulting into “honor crimes” (Niriwa, 2021; Björktomta, 2019) and “honor killings” (Niriwa, 2021; Gibbs, 2019). Assuming someone out of anger says something bad against the President in the presence of strong NPP supporter(s), what will happen to him/her? It was therefore not surprising that some Ghanaians started publishing pictures of these physical infrastructures that he politicized (Evalisa., 2020). The experience shared by Mr. Mathieu Kwao Bentho who has been a member of three political parties are evidence that Ghanaians are learning (Addo II, 2022).

Some also even decided to refer the President to Former President Mahama’s Projects that he has renamed after himself (Herald, 2020; Odoom, 2020). Journalists interviewed traditional rulers who praised the Former First Gentleman and counted some of these infrastructures in their localities (GNA., 2020). Others openly praised him for that too (Wolibismark., 2021). They did that not to only proof that the President accusation holds no water, but as a sign that they are learning and cannot be deceived.

He has done an excellent job that most Ghanaians could have praised him for that. However, he spoiled everything when politicized the massive infrastructural achievements of his predecessor by trying to create a false impression that the previous NDC has done nothing. If workers would be happy and prosperous, though government does not share money directly to people, their policies can indirectly put money in their pockets. Every citizen benefits indirectly from physical infrastructures without knowing. The Ghanaian has learnt that playing politics with infrastructure or any national interest is not healthy.

The current economic hardship which is worse than during the NDC’s time is something that the major opposition party could have taken advantage of. This is because this government whilst in opposition have over politicized whatever the NDC government was doing. Even after they have won elections and are now ruling they still continue shifting fake blames resulting reactions like: “Mahama Is Even Responsible for the Delay in Jesus’ 2nd Coming” (Ayamga, 2021).

One of the major reasons why Ghanaians are facing economic hardships since this government takes over power is corruption (Koomson a., 2022; Addo, 2020; News, 2019; Nangegbe, 2018) which they over politicized whilst in opposition. The President appointing majority of his family members and friends (Ola-Morris a., 2020; Arhinful b., 2020; Ansah, 2019) to form a voluminous government was the first issue of corruption. (Nangegbe, 2018)

The bitter reality in Ghana’s politics is that; corruption in this Akufo-Addo’s led NPP government far outnumbers corrupt cases of each previous governments in the fourth republic. Comments by some Ghanaians and even some sympathizers of NPP attest to this fact (Koomson a., 2022). Yet, though the major opposition party is not playing politics with Ghana’s problem, some members of the ruling party are rather still accusing them (GN a, 2022; Badu, 2019). The major opposition not playing too much politics with the current situations is an evidence that the Ghanaian politician is learning something from these.

The reactions of most Ghanaians upon the alleged illegal accusation of properties by Sir. John that pushed the Special Prosecutor freeze his assets is another evidence that Ghanaians are learning from their political environment (Arhinful c., 2022). Another excellent example is the reaction that follows after some delegates have confessed that they were given GHC10, 000.00 in last month NPP’s Constituencies elections. These are confirmed by reactions quoted from Kwamena Duncan that: “The NPP of yesterday is not the NPP of today” and by Vim Lady that: “The party which once fought for the poor have suddenly lost its value and only interest in creating, looting and sharing” (Koomson b., 2022).

Everyone knows that it is not every secrete that needs to be exposed! Some an NPP Chairperson confessing she has been given over “GHC 100, 000.00 out of the Covid-19 Funds” means that she is an unselfish person who is not happy with what is going (GN, 2022). There are countless evidences that show that Ghanaians are really learning a lot from what is going on in our politics! This is not to defend opinion leaders, but many of them are silent about issues in this government (Newsroom, 2021; Zoure, 2019; Mubarik, 2019) not because they are happy with that. It is obvious that some of them are silent because of political affiliation, but most of them are silent out of shock of their failed expectations.

The same can be said about the Ghanaian workers! If Ghanaians are not demonstrating for increased salaries, it is not because they are satisfied with what they take home. It is because they have learnt lots of lessons from our political system and have decided to sacrifice. But the little ones out there who are still growing up do not know these realities; for them, once you are working you must be rich. Their guardians’ living conditions are what would motivate them to want to go to school. So the Ghanaian child is also observing what is going on and is learning from them, this is one of the reasons why our politicians must be careful with what they do because of politics.

Sadly, the President rather chose to play politics with this too; trying to create the impression as if there are less strikes because he performed better than the previous governments (Nyavor, 2022). However, there are evidence out there that even some NPP members themselves are very disappointed in this government; it means that they have also learnt their lessons (Broadcastghana., 2022). The lamentation of the NPP USA Chairperson that: “Even in the rank and files of the New Patriotic Party, the level of disappointment and loss of trust is very high” clearly indicates that Ghanaians have learnt a lot.

Her conclusion that: “We know voters have lost trust in the NPP but we shall fix it and win election 2024” (Broadcastghana., 2022) is evident that even government in power are learning from their mistakes. When Ghanaians we calling on government to fix the country during 2021 “Dumsor”, they were still insulted and government was trying hard to get a different name for it (Niriwa b, 2021). Some renowned NPP members, like His Excellency Former President John Agyekum Kufour (Admin., 2021) and Hon. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong (Ghsplash., 2021); who are experts in politics, at that time already knew the consequences of such utterances. So they condemned such and supported a national interest (Niriwa b, 2021).

Based on what this Chairperson has also acknowledged, parties’ supporters would also learn their lessons from it and stop attacking people who disagree with them. What they should learn from this is that; when one disagrees with you, it does not always means that he/she is against you. The person could rather be putting you on your toes to avoid a big disgrace and also help save the nation. That is the beauty of democratic politics; it also excellently explains why there is the need for political opponents. So, your political opponents are never your enemies: they are your “friends and partners in nation’s building” (Niriwa a., 2021).

From the lessons of past and current political experiences, people are beginning to welcome politics of issues and not politics of lies and deception. A politician who is constantly lying against his or her opponent might end rather promoting him or her. People are fed up with the outmoded and cyclic ways of doing dirty politics where politicians assassinate each other’s character for political point. You can lie all the way to impress electorates, but know that electorates would also search for the truth to confirm whether you have been truthful or not. Some of these are what normally influence the decision that some politicians make to join a particular party (Addo II, 2022).


Conclusion

It is very funny and strange when people hate each other because of political difference. Belonging to different political parties is not a crime and it must never be so! If politics is rated amongst the top two promoters of global insecurity (Niriwa b., 2020; Muggah, 2016), it is because of the mentality that most politicians have about their opponents. The mentalities that most politicians have about their opponents normally inherently create negative perceptions; these are why they easily insult each other for any small provocation (Niriwa a., 2021).

Suggestions and Recommendations

  • Never try to sabotage any government in power. Anyone who sabotages a government is sabotaging himself, others, and the nation.

Fig. 1. A Happy Worker Motivates Others: He/she is Healthy, Peaceful and Hard Working.

For some of the suggestions and recommendations, read these articles by the same author: “POLITICAL POLITICIZATION: POISONOUS POLLEN PULLING POLITICIANS FOR POLITICAL POINTS - A Bad Economy Wears No Party’s Color – Part 3”, “Politicization of the Economy Affects Everyone, A Bad Economy Wears No Party’s Color - Part 1.”, and “Shunt Economic Politicization for National Peace, Health and Entrepreneurship: A Bad Economy Wears No Party’s Color – Part 4”.


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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Benjamin Pulle Niriwa

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