Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ghana: What Are The Scenarios?

South Africa's Dinokeng Scenarios make for an interesting study into the role of citizens and NGOs in shaping the future direction of a nation. How do we as citizens influence the decision making processes in our countries in such a way that our politicians and leaders are exposed to as many plausible scenarios as possible before they arrive at the point of making those decisions that ultimately affect all of us?. Should citizenship in democratic governance be centred on the right to vote in an election? Should we sit back and give a carte blanche to the elected into office to do as they please or must we take responsibility and come together in one way or the other to explore alternative agenda for the development of our nations?
The Dinokeng group serves to bring into the mainstream arena of politics and national discourse the plausible scenarios which need to be looked at but more often are conveniently ignored by those entrusted with national leadership.
According to the group, there are three plausible scenarios that confront South Africa at this period in her development. There are: the Walk Apart, Walk Behind and Walk Together scenarios.
* Walk Apart: the state plays a role that is either weak and neglects to reverse its failings. The Walk Apart option posits the idea that the country limps along much in the same manner as it has up to now, beset with worsening poverty and unemployment. Coupled with this are growing insecurity and an ailing public health system which is unable to meet the needs of the poor. Crime becomes endemic and corruption is the order of the day.
* Walk Behind: the state becomes increasingly interventionist, crowds out private initiative and leads to unpopular and destabilising economic reform measures.
In Walk Behind we all sit back and wait for the strong and capable state to do everything, but that is unlikely to happen, because the state lacks the resources and expertise to be that capable, and the result of the heavy interventionism could be unsustainable public borrowing and an increasingly authoritarian state. This is the likely scenario should the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the left-leaning trade Union (COSATU) be allowed to take over the policy mechanism in the Jacob Zuma administration.
* Walk Together: in the third scenario, the state plays its most useful role when held to account and forced to respond to demands made on it by a newly resurgent activist society. An activism not against the government, but one that works with the government to build a better tomorrow.

These scenarios were presented yesterday at Johannesburg's Constitution Hill. According to the group, the three scenarios were a starting point for discussion at different levels of South African society about the direction the country should follow in this period of transition.
As a broad church pulled together by citizenship, scholarship, leadership and a desire to ensure that South Africa moves along a sustainable trajectory, the dinokeng group is a bold and commendable attempt to broaden debate and bring into existence a responsive and accountable government under pressure from ordinary people.
Looking at the dynamism of the dinokeng team under the felicitations of the convener/chair Dr Mamphela Ramphele I had to ask myself what Ghana's scenarios are? It seems to me that the three scenarios painted are as applicable to Ghana as they are to every country on the continent.
Ghana clearly cannot remain a state-centred society where we always look up to the government as our source of development. Nor can we build a viable state in an environment of weak institutions. Nepotism, tribalism and corruption must be tackled aggressively through a broad partnership between citizens and the state. The extreme partisanship being practised in Ghana can only lead us to a dead end. We need to team together in order to move forward.
I wish the conclusions of the dinokeng team would be preached throughout the continent of Africa and its plans of action replicated throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Check this.


Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

How enlightening, Posekyere? And I agree that Ghana is not "walking together" right now. Nor have we ever, really.

posekyere said...

Thanks NY.
As matters stands, the pull of partisanship is much stronger than the desire to come together.
Let's hope that Ghana's civil society will come to the realisation of the importance of holding hands together to build a nation and not waste our time and efforts on following political winds blowing here and there.
Bless you!