“Working together, bouncing back better” is the theme chosen to mark the country’s 65th milestone last Sunday.
Since then, I have been reflecting on this theme and trying to figure out how this can be better achieved as we have just marked our independence anniversary.
The theme is even more apt if one considers especially the continued misunderstanding that has bedevilled the House of the Legislature where our Members of Parliament (MPs) appear divisive and not ready to see eye to eye with each other.
Many people have decried the developments in our Parliament and suggested steps to quell the rising tension.
Council of State
It is for this reason I doff my hat for the Standing Committee of the Council of State whose aim is to try and find an amicable working solution to what appears to be gridlock in the business of Parliament.
The past two weeks have seen members of the council engage in a series of stakeholder dialogues with the Legislature. They first met the leadership of the Minority, then the Majority and finally the Speaker of Parliament, to the delight of many citizens.
It has been a long while since we visibly saw the council openly undertake such laudable initiatives, which is positive for a budding democracy such as ours.
Established by Articles 89 to 92 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the council, a small body of prominent citizens, is mandated to counsel the President in the performance of his functions.
Although the council is expected to discharge this honourable national duty in the public interest, this is the time we expect its members to intensify such patriotic initiative which goes a long way to foster good relationships among stakeholders in the affairs of governance.
It is said that a nation divided against itself obviously cannot thrive and that is why it remains worrying that there seems to be some militancy in our democratic dispensation.
It is even more worrying to think that our parliamentarians cannot agree to disagree and would only resort to militant behaviour in the bid to resolve national issues.
Beyond the basic challenges of poverty, hunger and poor sanitation habits, we have huge deficits in infrastructural development – our roads are not in the best of shapes, we still have many schools under trees despite the fact that we are in year five of implementing the Free Senior High School policy. A large section of our population do not have access to potable water and many communities, especially those on islands, are still struggling to be connected to the national electricity grid.
Our farmers and fisherfolk have not ceased complaining about the lack of inputs to aid their work and more recently are the recurring incidents of strike actions on the labour front.
I would therefore want to believe that the outcome of the engagements of the Council of State, the Minority and Majority Groups in Parliament, and the Speaker will usher in a fresh lease of life in our body politic that would engender hope among citizens; hope that assures us that we can collectively solve our many problems.
All these myriad of problems demand a wake-up call for all of us to arise as citizens and turn the fortunes of the country around in our generation as our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, rallied in his 65th Independence speech for the nation to bounce back better.
To be successful at it, we should begin to leave behind our suspicions for one another and build trust among ourselves as that is the pillar upon which our developmental goals would be anchored.
Fortunately, we just celebrated our 65th Independence anniversary in the historical city of Cape Coast which was our nation’s first capital. This celebration I trust should send us back into time to study and adopt the core principles that guided our founding fathers in the struggle for independence.
Even though there were disagreements among the various groups, the ultimate goal of an independent country was attained to the admiration of the entire African continent and it became the reference point for the emancipation of the continent because they worked together.
Today, we must overcome extreme partisanship, with all of us putting our best foot forward because the pull him down attitude will not take us anywhere but will only delay our national progress and the wellbeing of the ordinary person.
The Council of State has set the right tone and leadership path for all of us to follow and build consensus for the general good of the Republic. Without working together, we cannot bounce back better as a nation. For this reason, placing national interest above partisanship and selfish ends as well as inculcating the values of patriotism in whatever we do as a people will serve us far better.
Once again, my appreciation to the Council of State. I know that much of its work is done behind closed doors, so such visible and open engagements with stakeholders are not just inspiring but important for our national psyche.
BY: Kobby Asmah