My name is Kwame Gyan. I am a Ghanaian. I live in Ghana. I voted in the recent elections. I am proud I voted. It gave me a certain deep fulfilment for satisfying my civic obligation. As the news broke that President, John Dramani Mahama had called to congratulate you, I felt particularly proud that we as a people had come to accept and understand democracy in a way that the world respects us for.
I have been thinking a lot about our country even before I cast my ballot during the Special Voting on December 1 and will like to share some of these thoughts with you, Sir.
Kindly permit me to speak freely, Sir. The sort of things I want to say will be hindered if I had to sound overly official. May I get on with it, Sir, with your kindest permission.
Sir, Do not embark on a needless Name Changing Exercise
Our leaders have in the past, unashamedly, set out as a a priority to change the names of national monuments, institutions, programmes, even Ministries once they assume office. Please do not follow suit, especially when the content or work the institution or monument will not be any different. There's no need to rename Ministries if their job descriptions will not be any different from what we have now. The Youth Employment concept that your party created has had its name changed twice already - please do not change it again - Youth Employment Authority is a great name as it stands.
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) also does not require any brand new name. SADA under the able leadership of Charles Abugre has launched a new 40 Year Development Plan which should be the envy of its contemporaries any where in the world - keep the name, keep the CEO but make sure they work. Changing the name from Savannah Accelerated Development Authority to Northern Development Authority without any significant change in direction will be a needless exercise.
Please maintain the name of your official residence and office as The Flagstaff House. Indeed I am not oblivious to the fact that it was your Party's government that built it but you built it for Ghana and there is a lot of proud history attached to the FLAGSTAFF HOUSE. A law to ensure that the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange does not become Accra Dubai Interchange will be welcomed though.
Set up a Bipartisan National Honorary Award Board, Sir.
My friend and colleague from our student leadership days in Presec, the learned Bright Simons explains this point in this brilliantly: "I just realised that despite being the third longest-serving leader this country has ever had, nothing of prominence is named after J.A. Kufuor. J.E.A. Mills' name, on the other hand, now adorns major roads, economic assets and monuments.
Likewise, we have our primary airport named after Kotoka, who was neither an independence hero nor a head of state. Meanwhile, we have nothing of significance named after Akyeampong, the second-longest serving military ruler. At first sight, it appears that the favouritism is linked to triumphalism: parties in power impose heroes on the country in a nepotistic fashion to stamp their authority on the country's history. Dying in office or in the course of duty also helps, I guess, seeing as Ghanaians are supposedly sentimental to a fault and politicians must pander to our base values.
The fundamental arbitrariness is however of the same character as the one that we see in the award of national honors. There is really zero sophistication about how we do this. We approach it with our usual lack of finesse. In every serious country, such decisions as whose name should be put on a national monument or is deserving of a national honor ought to be in the hands of a credible, non-partisan, technocracy, a kind of "college of heraldry" made of of the right calibre of historians and sociologists capable of recognising the strong link between patriotism and hero celebration".
May I add to Mr. Simons' suggestion that you will win a lot of respect if at the very first National Honours under your Presidency the list does not read like a roll call of the movers and shakers within the Elephant's fraternity, but we also see names of GHANAIANS deserving of their country's recognition despite the colours of the flag they wave during political campaigning. I pray and know you will not be like our Mayor who will authorise name changes to suit his emotional state. Please sir, set up a Bipartisan body to advice and indeed reward our patriots and to name national monuments.
And yes, I also find the wholesale renaming of everything and anything after Professor JEA Mills a tad annoying, sir.
Please keep the list of things you said you will do on the wall facing your Presidential Desk and Keep the 2016 NPP Manifesto even closer
This was probably Ghana's most documented elections. Thank to technology, your party and the rest shared a lot of videos and other materials on social media.
Some of us have saved those videos where you talk about Free SHS, One district one factory, Free SHS, One district one factory, One constituency $1million a year, One village one dam, Reduction in VAT from 17.5% to 3% for SMEs, Reduction of corporate tax from 25%, Reduction in utility bills, Reduction on fuel prices, Free import duties on raw materials , Reduction on general import duties, Election of District chief executives.
We will not also forget about the Payment of deposits to DKM and other financial institution customers whose monies were locked up, Zongo community development , Zonal area development, Reinstallation of teacher training allowances, Reinstallation of nursing training allowances, Changing of Mahama SHS to boarding schools, Woyome money and all other illegal monies stolen from government, Appointment of independent prosecutor, fighting corruption and the many other promises you made.
We have noted all of them and will be keenly watching you on making these mouth-watering promises a reality. The people of this country listened, believe in what you said and we will expect you to deliver same.
Please move to the Flagship House
Sir, I know how much history your famous Nima Residence holds to you and your family. There's no question about that. However we have elected you as President and as such, we need our President to live and work from the residence and offices we used our monies to build for him. I grew up with the Castle as the seat of government where John Rawlings had lived for 19 years before John Kufuor assumed office in 2001. I understand why Kufuor could not immediately move in there and thus remained stuck at his Airport Residence. Mills did not also use his official residence though he was the first to use his official office. John Mahama also kept his official residence as a Vice President.
We didn't build that elaborate residence to gather dust or keep as a piece of museum. Please use it. We don't want to spend a dime from the almost empty state coffers to bring your private house up to scratch to keep you and your family safe - else we will accuse you of profligacy.
Kindly tell the young people in your party and government not to be arrogant and become tin gods overnight
One of the reasons the NDC lost as miserably as they did was because the famously and perhaps aptly christened 'babies with sharp teeth' most of whose first jobs in life were to become Ministers of State had become overly arrogant and they didn't even care to hide it.
We all saw the aggression and humility of your young people during your campaign. We are keeping an eye on them and your can, sir, bet your last pesewa that we are all watching and put thumbs will teach them the lesson when they falter. Having followed politics for sometime, I know sometimes when politicians get upset at their political opponents, that's when they start to talk 'by heart'. But they must realise that not everyone is a political opponent. Some people are simply Ghanaians who do not deserve the needless arrogant posturing.
Fight Corruption sir. Not just in your government but the one before yours
"I want to remind you that it is your vote that will decide if Fifi Kwetey and I will be prosecuted and put behind bars or not" Now those are the translated words of former Transport Minister, Dzifa Attivor. Myjoyonline.com reports in part that "Dzifa Attivor who resigned her ministerial position last year following the controversial bus branding saga, was armed with this history when she mounted the campaign platform during the launch of a group called 'Ketu South For Fifi And Mahama' at Wodoaba in the Ketu South district of the Volta region.
She reminded the grassroots that the fate that befell some NDC top guns from the regions still holds true for any Ewe in the current government. The former minister explained that all that stands between her and prison time, is the Volta regional vote. She expressed comfort and confidence in the fact that the Volta region remains the stronghold of the ruling government.
We the people of the Volta region will forever remain loyal to the NDC, Dzifa Attivor said.
She asked the NDC grassroots to encourage their relatives living in border towns in Togo to come back home and register during the limited registration exercise which begins 28th April 2016". Her name has also sprung up in the other Woyome scandal.
There are a number of scandals that can simply not be wished away. Please fight these corruptions. We know your opponents will call it witch-hunt but the rest of us won't care much whatever name anyone gives that exercise as far as you go by the law and you get our monies back.
We say we are broke buy we have seen our governments care less about monies people owe us, whiles at the same time literally stealing from us. As you investigate these alleged thefts, make sure those around you do not Create, Loot and Share Part 2.
Make your 'appointments' well
In my interactions with different people, the impression I get is that people generally believe your party is endowed with the calibre of men and women ripe for government. Someone had said to me that, '...see, KG, someone like George Andah with his years of experience working with multinationals and leading brands across the continent may only nod a Deputy Ministerial role in the NPP; now tell me of any of these little boys in the Mahama government has a quarter of George's experience'.
It made sense. Even John Oti Bless was a Deputy Minister....sorry, is a Deputy Minister of State.
If you make the mistake of rewarding your campaign champions and the inexperienced young people in your party with roles above their level, we will not forgive you. We have had enough of inexperienced, students toying with the governance of the Republic of Ghana. Ghana must not be used for internship programmes nor as reward for party footsoldiers. By all means make them feel a part of your government. But by all means do not put round pegs in square holes.
Please stay away from potential embarrassments
I have no doubt in your competence, sense of duty and judgement. But I feel I must remind you nonetheless.
1. Do not accept needless gifts from questionable characters. If such people offer them nonetheless, receive and declare pronto or reject and announce pronto.
2. Do not accept an invitation to visit any country except if it's a fully sanctioned state visit where you won't have to be cramped in a seat in the public gallery nor contend with unruly lawmakers.
3. Please place the state first before all other considerations. You may place party and family later but by all means, Ghana first.
Discipline recalcitrant staffers and appointees
If any of your team members ever smashes the recorder of the most irritating journalist, please fire him. All I'm saying is that the things that John Mahama, his appointees and friends did which we condemned shall be condemned as well if they happen under your watch.
Especially sir, do not entertain another Stan in your stable.
Remember Ghana@50 as we celebrate Ghana@60
The scandal that surrounded Ghana's golden jubilee is still fresh in our minds. I'm sure most of us are happy we are 60 butI bet most of us are not happy at our achievements at 60. Let's celebrate it modestly, sir. A good reminder of where we have come from, where we are and where we want to be should suffice. No need for a grandiose celebration with special cloth, scarf, exercise books, toilet rolls and toothpicks. We don't need another set of estates either.
Simple, modest and impactful works.
Unite us; prove the propagandists wrong
We have just come out of what may be the most emotionally charged elections in our history. Indeed it may be the most expensive as well but we can ignore that for a minute. The bruises suffered by your opponents may not be healed anytime soon. If for nothing at all, the shock of the defeat coupled with the margin of victory will make your opponents bitter and pained.
That's when we need you. We need you to unite us and to help us mend and grow.
Indeed a lot of things have been said about your person, your party since you expressed interest in leading us years ago. Some of the things said in the name of politics were painful and could push many a man to pursue vengeance. Hopefullyjust as your battle was the Lord's I hope you leave Him to fight the other battles whilst you grow this bruised, hobbly, tired country.
Yours in the service of Ghana,
PS: This is what I wanted to say to you before you are inaugurated on January 7th. I assure you I will continue to write to you as often as I can and whenever anything of note occurs to me.