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Monday, June 17, 2024

Between Advocacy and Balance

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…With Our Publisher

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”- Eleanor Roosevelt


A few days ago, I saw a video purportedly made by a radio station here in Accra. It was supposed to be an unedited camera report from the site of the Afari Military Hospital Complex in Ashanti Region.

My first reaction to the video was one of consternation. The video exposed several pieces of equipment, including oxygen tanks and ventilator equipment, left out in the sun and rain, overtaken by weeds, which suggested that they have been in outdoors for some time. These equipment were supposed to be part of the Afari Military Complex, under construction, and captured in the background. The construction of the project was contracted as far back as the Kufuor Administration between 2001 and 2009. That means that at least construction has taken over eleven years. Other projects commissioned at the same time have been constructed and are currently under use.

My consternation was over the simple reason that the equipment left out in the sun, wind, rain and weeds, would, without fail, be affected when it comes to time to be used. This is without doubt, and without any need to take them through a scientific examination. Both plastic and metal tend to deteriorate through expansion and contraction when they are in the sun, and these equipment would be manufactured out of nothing but these two materials, and others. And any other material would have an even less life span, under those conditions.

The video under reference also had a studio section in which the speakers, including my brother Captain Smart, made several disparaging comments about the current government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Whilst I can share the obvious distress of the speakers, I also think that emotional reactions, to certain situations, only serve the political benefit of people even less deserving, and only tend to muddy waters. Worse, since the video was a work in progress and cannot, by any measure, be termed as journalistic work, the reaction by the people on the panel was unprofessional.

Why do I say this? If the footage under reference was for journalistic purposes, then, what should have been done, was to secure the reaction of the contracting agency, and the contractor of the project. That would have ensured balance, as well as ensure professionalism. Ensuring balance would also ensure that the ultimate user of the information comes from a more informed position. It cannot be gainsaid that the impact of the video would be less.

Instead of ensuring professionalism, however, my people just went with cameras, filmed what they think is wrong, and told us their opinion. In all, quite unhelpful, in my opinion.

That said, without doubt, the funds for the construction of this project come from the taxpayer, whether it be a loan, or from the Consolidated Funds. It is therefore incumbent on government and the appropriate agencies to ensure that this project is completed in time, and put to use. I hear that the project cost is about thirty-five million dollars. It is a considerable amount of money, for a nation like Ghana. Indeed, it is a considerable financial outlay, in any nation in the world, and rightly, we should insist that it be completed in time so that we can have value for money.

The third point I want to make, with regard to this construction, is that across the nation, there are hundreds of such projects under delayed construction, or abandoned, all funded by the state and people of Ghana.

I believe that the government should commission an audit of all such projects, with the view to identifying the necessary funding to complete such projects. Where they have been abandoned or are delayed, they constitute financial loss to the nation of Ghana. It is amazing, that such a poor nation, can afford to abandon so many projects initiated by previous governments.

Last but not the least, I believe that the quick interventions by governments and previous governments as to who and who was responsible for the construction of what and what, should be reduced to reasonable levels in our country. Too often, political parties have been quick to assume credit for projects, without a commensurate effort to ensure accountability and delivery times.

Have a nice day.

(You can follow PERISCOPE DEPTH at www.dailysearchlight.com or our Facebook page Daily Searchlight.)

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