Is There Any Kevin-Prince Boateng Left In The NDC?

While our nation Ghana is receiving all the accolades around the world on our qualification for a third consecutive world cup, the number one challenge the country continues to face is the overwhelming tasks to revive the crippling economy. Some of us, the optimistic ones, not only because of our political affinity to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are confident that President Mahama�s promise to Ghanaians for a stable economy, come 2004 will be surely guaranteed. We draw some of our inspiration from the insightfully invaluable contribution made by the President to get the Black Stars to the world cup. When all seemed murky for the senior national team, at a time most of the experienced players had issues with the GFA and were consequently left out of the team, the timely intervention of the President, to resolve the crisis helped to bring back some foreign-based stars to get the Black Stars to become a winning team again. This intervention by President Mahama to strengthen the national soccer team is a valuable experience that the NDC could draw on if government is to solve the socio-economic issues that have engulfed the country. The importance of Ghana and the NDC Government making the best use of ALL of Ghana�s talents is something all Ghanaians should wish for. This especially so as Ghana has just won its way to Brazil using most of the best players the country has and the coach could call on, especially our foreign-based players. President Mahama and Coach Kwesi Appiah made strenuous efforts in recent months to strengthen the Black Stars team to ensure Ghana qualifies for the World Cup were important. They went well out of their way to travel outside the country, to meet with some of the foreign-based players and convinced Michael Essien, the Ayew brothers,Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng to come play for the Black Stars. The results are there for all to see. What the President and the national coach have demonstrated is that it makes a lot of difference the quality of people on any team. Yes, many people can play soccer but not everyone can play it very well at the highest levels of the world stage. Hence the need to bring in highly experienced and competent players when Ghana really wants to shine. One now wonders why the same principle should not apply in our national governance. When Ghana wants to shine it should try to use all of its competent people. Because of party politics, however, so far Governments in the Fourth Republic, whether NPP or NDC, have been unable to use all Ghana�s competent people. Every Ghanaian knows that there are many NPP and CPP members who could readily help the current NDC government to make Ghana achieve even more. But because of petty political considerations, the national interest is being sacrificed. At least, President Kuffuor did well by appointing a known CPP personality such as Paa Kwesi Nduom to a Ministerial post. President Mahama may be trying a little bit by appointing PNC members like lesser-known Dr. SulleyGariba and Dr. Raymond Atuguba into government positions. But that seems to be where such efforts stop. Within the NDC itself, it seems both the Mills and Mahama Governments are struggling with bringing in some of our national stars to help them who may be playing in foreign teams or are forcibly self-employed. We have written in the past about several prominent NDC members President Mahama does not seem to want to use�Alex Segbefia, Ofosu Ampofo, Lee Ocran, Dr. Joseph Annan, Dr. Kwame Ampofo, Dr. Yaw Akoto, Michael Gizo, etc. Unexpectedly, in the recent second leg with Egypt in Cairo, we saw how Coach Appiah kept the experienced Kevin Prince Boateng on the bench until less than 15 minutes to the end of the match. Then we saw what happened once Kevin was given a chance to play� a goal in less than 10 minutes on the field!!! So, the questions fans are naturally asking are: Why did the coach keep KPB on the bench for so long? Was KPB suffering from lack of stamina? Was he nursing a secret injury only known to the Coach? Or was he being punished for past comments or for previously showing lack of interest in the Black Stars? Only the coach knows. But the effect of the Coach�s actions is that Ghana scored only one goal. Could Ghana have scored 2 or 3 if KPB had been brought in right from the start or even at the beginning of the second half? This will never been known. Let us not shy from the truth that issues with choosing and deploying Black Star players are similar to those in Governance. Did President Mills have to give Zita Okai-Koi a ministerial appointment for two years before discovering she was not qualified and reshuffling her out? Will President Mahama�s government perform better if he had some more competent people than Victoria Hammah in his government? Are there more square pegs in round holes in the Mahama government? Will Ghana score more goals in the highly competitive game of economic development if the right players are made to play early in the game of public service? Would President Mahama still be in first gear after 16 months in office as President and almost four (4) years as Vice President, if he had better advisers who could help him to change gears quicker? What kind of car can stay in first gear for even 15 minutes? Who can tell? Let�s remember some of the serious public accusations of party bigwigs like Alban Bagbin. Or other office holders like Dr. Tony Aidoo who has been openly telling Ghanaians that all is not well at the Presidency. We shall not even cite the periodic written statements of Martin Amidu, one who dines, wines, and sleeps with the core values that founded the NDC � probity and accountability. Most Ghanaians and NDC people cannot tell whether what people like Bagbin and Tony Aidoo are saying are correct or not. But it must take a very high level of frustration for paid government appointees to come on radio to air their grievances, when in theory they have internal channels to use. Or for even Martin Amidu, who is an NDC stalwart, to continue to make direct serious accusations against the President. Does this not mean that internal communications channels have broken down in both party and government levels?? But while all this is going on, all Ghanaian spectators at the football field can see is that people like Dr Ekow Spio-Garbah, the possible KPB of the NDC, are sitting on the bench or not even in the stadium. They are nowhere to be seen near President Mahama or contributing anything to Ghana. We have not heard of their names even as Chairman of any public board, or even adviser on rubbish collection. I remembered Dr Spio-Garbrah mainly because of the recent brouhaha over another VAT increase. The whole parliamentary process, where NPP claim the NDC government smuggled the VAT increase on their blind side into law, reminds any Ghanaian who is more than 40 years old of the VAT crisis of the mid-1990s. At that time Kume Preko demonstrations by NPP and its allies caused then President Rawlings to withdraw the VAT in 1995. Between 1997 and 1999, it took Dr Spio-Garbah, at the Ministry of Communications, supported by Mr. John Mahama, to persuade Ghanaians to accept VAT as a tax policy and regime. Some of us, then teenagers glued to our TVs, saw the work Dr Spio-Garbah and his team did to convince Ghanaians that VAT is good for us. We all agreed and VAT came back and was accepted. So many Ghanaians are surprised that the same NDC Government which first introduced VAT, and know how sensitive it is to Ghanaians will simply try to impose a VAT increase in less than 10 minutes without Parliamentary debate or even public education. The VAT increase can be signed by President into law any day. But does that mean that Ghanaians have accepted it? Does that make our NDC government popular with many consumers who now have to pay more for everything they buy? Just as we asked regarding why KPB was brought in at such a last minute, did NDC also impose VAT without any communication or public education because Dr Spio-Garbrah is not in the government? My good friend, Finance Minister Terpker, I am told by Finance Ministry contacts, used to work at the IRS and was actively part of the public education exercise on VAT in the late 90s. So was even the current Ghana Revenues Commissioner George Blankson. Did they advise the President properly on how to go about this increase? Did the President himself forget his own experience in this area of effective information sharing in strategic planning process? Anyway, Parliament has passed the law and we assume the President will sign it soon. Ghanaians who are not happy may wait until 2016 to teach the NDC a lesson. We shall never know whether Spio-Garbrah or anybody else could have helped Ghanaians as happened between 1997 and 1999 to better accept such new taxation or even harsh utility tariff increases. All most Ghanaians can continue to see is that with our best players Ghana can qualify for the World Cup. With proper dedication, commitment, training, focus and good player selection and deployment on the field at the right time, Ghana can go far in Brazil and even win the Cup. Can we say the same of our NDC government in Ghana? Are we using our KPBs? Are we punishing some of our best national players in government for unknown offences? Are we waiting to the last minutes of the economic development game before bringing them onto the field to score late goals? What if the first match with Egypt in Kumasi was a drawn game, and we had the results of 2:1 against Ghana in Egypt? What would have happened to Ghana�s hopes for Brazil then? Ahaaa? That is the challenge of the Law of Unlived Realities. Our country deserves its most competent players, both on the soccer field and in the Governance process. And we are hopeful that, the President will take useful lessons from his brief experience with the Black Stars so as to proactively inject more resourceful and competent people to strategic positions into the NDC government. In this way, public confidence in government will grow and we can be conceited as a party to proclaim The Better Ghana Agenda in 2016. As we salute the Black Stars for a job well-done, it is over to you Mr. President. Long Live President John Dramani Mahama Long Live the NDC God Bless our Homeland Ghana