When Ghana’s Transitional-President, John “Paradigm-Shift” Dramani Mahama, asserts imperiously that “No individual can claim to be the brain behind [the] fee-free Senior High School [proposition],” and that Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution “makes provision for a progressive institution of free Senior High School in the country,” he is only partly correct.
The fact of the matter is that the Constitution itself is no ideational human personality that enshrined the obligatory provision of free Senior High School into itself. The Constitution is indisputably a veritable instrument of human will and ideals. In other words, it was some human beings called “Constitutional Framers” who foresightedly inserted such provision into our proverbial working political bible.
Mr. Mahama seems to clearly recognize this fact. What his woefully cynical and parochial imagination prevents him from honestly acknowledging, is the glaringly inescapable fact of reality that it was a nameable individual whose free-education proposal was collectively endorsed by the framers of our Constitution, who consequently enshrined the same therein.
And so, yes, historically speaking, it is possible for an individual Ghanaian citizen to lay a wholly legitimate claim to having originated the constitutional ideology of free-education. In modern Ghanaian history, for example, it is clearly appreciated and widely recognized that free-education as a national political agenda was originally articulated by the pre-Nkrumah and Danquah-Grant-led United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), although many woefully misguided followers of the former and late Ghanaian dictator casually credit President Nkrumah with the same.
But even more significant is the fact that any Ghanaian scholar who has ever bothered to study the celebrated, albeit little known, Working Papers of the Danquah-led Gold Coast Youth Conference is indisputably aware of the fact that the primal proposition of free-education in colonial Ghana, as a prelude to the creation of a progressive Independent Ghana, was both first publicly pronounced and authored by Mr. William (Paa Willie) Ofori-Atta.
What is rather insulting is the insufferably arrogant suggestion by President Mahama that Ghanaian children and youths, somehow, have to wait at his beck until 2016, while he presumably prepares for his second term in office, imperiously assuming that, indeed, he has already won Election 2012, before they can be able to access their constitutionally mandated right to a fee-free education from Pre-K through Twelfth Grade.
Needless to say, even as the Okyenhene rhetorically retorted recently, why does President Mahama curiously suppose that he can casually put self-employed mercenary journalists like Messrs. Kwesi Pratt and Ben Ephson, for ready examples, on criminally fat monthly salaries reportedly in excess of $40,000.00 (Forty-Thousand Dollars) a piece, with free access to government-owned gas-filling stations, while, somehow, it is decidedly tabooed for anybody to raise the critical question of a tuition-free education for our children and grandchildren?
Couple the preceding with the entrenched neocolonialist and exploitive policy of providing free housing and automobiles for Ministers of State, among a plethora of other so-called public officials and public servants, and the imperative need for an immediate change of government becomes non-negotiable.
As for his incessant and annoying talk about “schools under trees,” maybe somebody ought to remind the former NDC-MP from Bole-Bamboi that his National Democratic Congress has dominated Ghanaian politics for at least 21 of the last 30 years!
Interestingly, even as I write this piece, I have in front of me a copy of an article captioned “How to Score the Presidential Debate,” in which the globally renowned and award-winning New York Times columnist Dr. Thomas L. Friedman, attributes the precipitous decline of the American economy to the moment that Washington, or the United States Federal Government, ceased to studiously and generously fund public education from Pre-K through an undergraduate university degree (See New York Times/San Jose Mercury News 10/17/12).
And in Ghana, President John Dramani Mahama would have his people passively wait on him until 2016, in order to have our children offered a fee-free senior high school education? What insolence!?