When a New Year dawns, as 2013 has majestically taken its place in the annals of time, men and women of all walks of life make grandiose and modest declarations and resolutions.
Don’t ask me what my new Year Resolution is because I am not going to make the same request of you, but beyond you and me and our respective resolutions, we could because we are part of a social contract demand such of our public officials, beginning with the President.
And to show the spirit of generosity that comes with the Season we could help our office holders with some ideas.
All is not that healthy on the political stage as I write. After the 2012 elections we have a duly declared President who was sworn into office on January 7, 2013. Meanwhile there is a court challenge to the declaration of the Electoral Commission by the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party and related writs at Court.
The deep polarisation of Ghanaian society reflected by the results of the elections is a carry-over to 2013 and so President John Mahama in his thoughts for the next four years should be resolving to take all appropriate measures to unite this nation.
One can see on the political horizon such tension that will further deepen the polarization of Ghanaian society. The divisions will not be driven so much by the primordial factors of tribe but more so this time by the spoils of political power.
Hawks in the two parties will be at each other’s neck and therefore it will be the task of the President as the Father of the Nation to lower the temperature.
Without diluting and compromising the vision and policies of his party, President Mahama will do well to look at some of the alternative programmes put on the table by his opponents in the last election, particularly those programmes that resonated with the public.
There is no doubt that the issue of free Senior High School education is one that President Mahama must seriously consider because the Constitution of Ghana encourages that policy and many Ghanaians even those who did not vote for the NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo need it for the future of their children.
For electoral purposes all kinds of arguments had to be mounted against a seemingly popular proposal. Now that the day is over for politicking, President Mahama can carve his name in history by getting closer to this constitutional requirement.
His ultimate resolution should be to stand firm and decisive in all matters that affects the destiny of Ghana. The fight against corruption must be intensified because we are where we are today because politics is increasingly becoming the best business where with relatively low investments, returns are so high and not subject to the scrutiny of the state.
That every young man and woman wants to be a Parliamentarian should not necessarily mean it is the most attractive profession or career in Ghana. Something else, the spoils of the office could be the magnet.
From the Executive, one must naturally turn to the Legislature and Judiciary. I sincerely believe Parliament should move from its image over the last 20 years as a rubber stamp for the Executive to a body that is independent and ready to hold the Executive in check.
Many years ago I dwelt on lessons from President Kennedy’s book-PROFILES IN COURAGE- to advise the Parliament of the Third Republic in an article to occasionally stand up for what was right for the nation.
In his book, President Kennedy highlighted the great courage, bravery and independence of mind that some US Senators displayed at great personal sacrifice that might have cost them their political careers but saved the day for American Democracy. One such Senator-Edmund Ross saved the American Presidency with his single vote that aborted the impeachment of President Andrew Jackson. It was the first impeachment process in the US. For that vote the Senator from Kansas lost his seat but became history, and an example in courage.
In all issues before Ghana’s Parliament in the 4th Republic, Members of the august house from both sides follow the whip and would hardly deviate from the official line or position. But alas there are some issues that have come before the House and will be coming that demand that there should be dissenting voices of conscience.
Shall we live to see that day under the fifth Parliament of the 4th Republic?
When it comes to the Judiciary, the resolution of our respected Judges should be one of working with the law, for the law and by the law.
Is corruption in the Judiciary a myth, a figment of vile imagination or a reality?. I am aware of many public pronouncements on the issue and measures by the Judiciary itself to deal with public perception of corruption in the judiciary. Ordinary citizens of the land and the high-profile in society who go before the courts must be treated as the law demands as equal and get their fair day at the courts.
Many are going to be the tests before our courts and whilst our judges may decide today, they should do well to remember that God and History are the final arbiters and not mere mortals that they and all of us are.
And because the media is always mentioned as the 4th Estate of the Realm, they too should be making the right resolution to save their image.
The Ghanaian media has become so embedded in recent years that they are fast losing their watchdog role. They are becoming part of the establishment.
Our democracy can either rise or fall depending on how various institutions particularly the media fulfil constitutional obligation to hold the government accountable.
Of course it is expected that every professional group, every institution in this country must from its own perspective and for the good of the nation make such policies and programmes that will contribute to a greater Ghana.
All we can hope for is that 2013 shall bring the best in all of us.
The writer Kabral Blay-Amihere is the
chairman of the media Commission
and Ghana’s former High Commissioner
to Sierra Leone and La Cote d’voire