This week, the focus will be on the President as he delivers the final State of the Nation Address (SONA) for his first term.
In the analysis below, CPDA Policy Tracking Team takes a look at the five most topical national issues dominating public discourse that the President must speak on.
The State of the Nation Address is the single most important speech of the President in any given year. According to Moen (1988), it is the “…clearest expression of an administration’s priorities (p.775). As we already know, communication and the media serve as connective tissues between the politician and the citizenry. The President must, therefore, use this opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of the prevailing challenges in the country and the solutions his government will set forth to address or mitigate these challenges.
The fight against “galamsey”
One of the raging debates or issues in Ghana for the past few weeks has been the case of illegal mining or ‘galamsey’ activities in Ghana. Despite efforts by various groups such as the Media Coalition against Illegal Mining, this issue continues to be a daunting one with very serious or dangerous repercussions for the nation at various levels. In July 2017, the President stated that he’ll put his presidency on the line to fight ‘galamsey.’
Almost three years after that pledge, it is apparent that ‘galamsey’ is still with us and even getting stronger in its quest to decimate our environment and water bodies. Several developments over the years have affected public trust towards the presidency in the fight against ‘galamsey’. These include events such as the release of Chinese national Aisha Huang, comments by Yaw Osafo Marfo regarding her non-prosecution, leaked videos involving party officials and their deep-seated connection to some ‘galamsey’ activities and other videos involving Presidential staffer Charles Bissue.
In fact, in order to regain the trust of the public, the President must accept that the fight against illegal mining is lacking. The issue is still as serious and as contentious as ever before. Clearly, this fight is far from over.
A good State of the Nation address, within this context, must then head-on this seemingly intractable problem bedeviling the nation.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the corruption canker in our republic has come to stay due to the insufficient efforts being made by successive governments.
The President’s party labeled him as the “incorruptible one” in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Three years into his government, many anti-graft campaigners including Investigative Journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni have described his government’s fight against corruption as a “sham and cosmetic”. The Australian Visa Scandal, BOST Contaminated Fuel scandal, Galamsey Fraud, PDS Power distribution agreement, among others, have forced people to posit the view that the fight against corruption unsatisfactory..
The trust of some people in the government’s fight is waning. It is, therefore, pressing demand for the president to assure the nation, this time, truthfully of specific cases that have been prosecuted under his tenure and any additional steps to ensure transparency and accountability in his government.
The World Bank, African Development Bank and many international organisations have rated the management of the economy by this government positively. Moody’s latest concern, however, says we need to work on our debt sustainability model particularly in this election year. Since we are seemingly on the right path, the most needful action Ghanaians expect from this government is to scrupulously stick to its Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The reason why the adherence to this Act is extremely important is that, no matter how we complain about the current economic system not being able to ensure sustainable employment and the alleviation of poverty, only consistent maintenance of the gains we make over time, will help us progress. That is why this year, the President must assure as that his government will not run amok in its expenditure because it is an election year.
Perhaps, only a few people living in Accra will be satisfied with the results after the President’s promise of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa. Last year, the President in the SONA sought to indicate that he didn’t mean to fulfill the promise in his first term but in two terms. This is misleading because further reports suggested otherwise.
He must account for the two hundred million cedis that was given to the Sanitation Ministry to fight the growing unhygienic situation in the capital.
The millions spent on dredging the Odaw River last year was clearly a waste of time and resources since the river is engulfed with sand than water now
Election year security
This year is an election year. It is therefore incumbent on the President to calm the nerves of the citizenry concerning the security of this nation. The issue of militias or vigilante groups as witnessed during the Ayawaso bye-election must also be addressed by the President. We cannot approach December 7 with an inconclusive front concerning the stability of the country.
These salient issues struggling for attention must definitely feature in his address. Source: myjoyonline.com