Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

What The Papers Say

Evolving A Government Of The People

People's Daily Graphic

The alien, separate and even sacrosanct conception which many of our countrymen have about GOVERNMENT has done a lot of harm to this country. Much of the inertia exhibited by many is a sad and deep-seated trait which dates as far back as the day the colonisers set foot on our soil.

Of course the government of the colonisers was alien alright in the sense that the people they ruled could never in reality have been part of the land of the imperial overlords and through subtle ways a wedge was driven between the ruler and the ruled no matter in what fine language the relationship between the two entities was put. But for this country the attainment of independence should have curtailed the alien concept of government. It did not happen because the representatives of the people who after the departure of the colonisers ran the affairs of the State saw themselves as having replaced the old ruler and behaved very much the same way as the alien government officials.

Mark it that the impression had been created that whatever the government provided for the people was more out of benevolence than obligation. More so government was the ultimate provider of the needs of the people. Where the funds came from for the provision of the people's needs was never really explained in a way as would explain the mechanics of governance. And so it was.

Little wonder therefore that immediately after schooling at whatever level a citizen expected all the good things in life to be provided for him or her by government. For those who went through higher institutions they expected decent accommodation, a lucrative job, good salary and a car to boot. If and when these were not forthcoming the next step was for Kofi or Ama to migrate and render services else where with the aim of acquiring such things.

For the majority of the working population it did not matter if they did not work the full hours daily. At the end of the month, government would pay them their salaries. It did not also matter whether the machines they were working with were malfunctioning through their negligence. When the machines finally came to a halt, government would replace them.

To stretch a point further, it did not matter whether the superstructure (some of them edifices) were well maintained. When they became defaced and dirtied by the old hand of time, government would put them back into a presentable shape. And maybe those in government increased this reliance on government through political rhetorics and promises. And so governments" came and went one after the other always thickening and entrenching the alien concept of government in the minds of the people.

The result, we repeat, has been harmful even disastrous. To correct, indeed, eliminate this harmful effect the mass of the people have got to be disoriented. They have got to be properly educated on the subject of government. The responsibility for this change does not lie on the PNDC alone. If that should happen we would have achieved nothing three years into our Revolution when much of the groundwork for total participation of the people in affairs of state has been done. From this stage onward there is need for concerted and vigorous education campaigns on the new model of participatory democracy where every capable citizen should be rightly involved. The organs of the revolution particularly the defence committees, media, information ministry and identifiable bodies have a job in this exercise.

The government is the people and we must not fail to create this awareness this time and for all time.

Not 'one of those things'!

Ghanaian Times Ghana

THE defeat of the Ghana Black Stars cannot be taken as "just one of those things". This is the general reaction of many Ghanaians to the unedifying manner in which the national team has been shown the exit from the Africa Cup championships going on in the Ivory Coast. We went as defending champions but what has happened to us is like the very respected elder of a town who was locked out of his own house by his children. It is unfair, annoying, and preposterous. Nonsense! What right have the children to prevent their father from entering his own house! But it is humiliating all right.

The calibre of the individual players fielded by the Black Stars for the disastrous matches against the Nigerians and Algerians is convincing indication that the main problem could not be incompetent individual performance. It is reasonable, though, to expect that professional players would perform well in a game in which only the national prestige was at stake, but not really beyond the limit necessary to preserve themselves or their professional employment which gives them their livelihood in golden foreign exchange. So the many professionals brought down to join the Black Stars responded patriotically to the national call, and would do on the field what in their estimation was enough to hold aloft their nation's image and also to hold aloft their own status as professional players. It is a human issue and understandable.

So if the main problem was not the inefficiency of the individual players then it must be something else. Judging from the opinions being expressed by soccer enthusiasts, this something else was poor management. And management in this respect has several strands: Management to put the team spirit at its peak; management to enhance the psychological state of each player; management to establish strategies and to ensure the tactical amendments that are necessary according to the run of the game in order to neutralize all hurdles in the way towards achieving the strategic aims; management to maintain the national values set up for the game, etc.

The matter is not a small matter, because the responsibility for this disaster which ruined everyone's meals and sleep for two days spreads from out contingent in the Ivory Coast to the offices of the Secretary for Youth and Sports. It is common knowledge that the present government has provided every support and encouragement necessary to revive sports to play its part along the whole course of the national self-rediscovery process. What those charged with the duty of carrying this support forward into the field have done with it is an issue that demands a high level of accountability. The rumblings and raised eyebrows about this use cannot be allowed to die a natural death. The defeat in the Ivory Coast will not be accepted as a bad luck matter.

One clear public view which is emerging is that a commitment to duty, a patriotic interest in seeing sports play its potential indeed, appointed national role is lacking among those who are given the job of seeing this through. The causes of failure exist somewhere between the Ministry and the Sports Stadium, and they will be identified and removed.

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