NEW OR CLEANED: AN OPINION ON THE DEBATE ON GHANA’S VOTERS’ REGISTER- Ken Abotsi

I had initially promised and drafted an opinion piece on the brouhaha over the Voters’ Register in Ghana but shelved it when I realized that other well-meaning citizens shared the same views. For me, there was no need belabouring the point if others were speaking from the same page. However, it seems the matter will not go away so I’ve summarized my take.

At the heart of the debate is the absence of a comprehensive national database. It is a long term perspective that any serious person interested in our nation moving forward should not lose sight of. However, in the short term, a credible register is imperative. Does a new register guarantee that? Yes and no. Yes, if the processes for registering are foolproof. No, because the processes can always, have always and will always be circumvented by parties on both sides of the aisle.

The fixation with a new register and, by implication, elections is only a reflection of how short-sighted we are. Everything is about elections and then it ends there.

But since  we are obsessed with elections , let me hasten to say that a credible register is but one of many factors that may guarantee free and fair (used advisedly because the standards for meeting these have not yet been meet by any country yet) elections. In other words, a credible register is important but not the ONLY  ingredient for the conduct of free and fair polls and any election expert can attest to this. So neither a new nor cleaned register guarantees a  100% credibility of an election . Let us therefore go for a mechanism that minimises the challenges of both a new or cleaned register. It is my opinion that the answer lies in the design of a robust national identification database.

Arifin Hussain, an expert on biometric technology, argues that the design and deployment of national ID can serve many purposes. This includes the use of the ID for the distribution of social benefits like healthcare and other welfare arrangements. Thus, a national ID can act as an electronic passport, voter identity document, border security credential, and identification for healthcare and welfare service distribution.

He further states that some biometric modalities are extremely hard to clone due to their ‘sophisticated liveness detection’ features to prevent fraud and spoofing. Therefore by deploying a biometric-enabled national identification card stemming from one central biometric database, the ID card can be leveraged for several different purposes and can help save the costs of developing and issuing different identification cards for different programs.

In sum, Hussain clearly establishes that national IDs can be used for accurate citizen identification, tracking of refugees and migrants, enhancing border security and the protecting of the citizens’ right to vote.

In Ghana, we seem to have a penchant for designing different cards for different purposes- social security, health insurance, elections, driver’s licence, bank cards etc. What it means is that one has to literally carry these cards around just in case one needs to access any of these services. How clumsy and inconvenient!!

This , in my candid opinion, reflects the absence of prudence in the use of resources and a disquieting lack of focus on the issues that matter.

For now, Ghana cannot be spending millions to get a new register when we could use same resources to establish a credible national identification database. It defies both common and economic sense.

In the short term, I suggest that we should clean the old register and invest in the creation of a national database that will serve multiple purposes in the long term. If that is well done, we could eliminate the incidence of under-aged voting and alleged infiltration by people who, by our laws, are not qualified to vote in Ghana.

It does not matter how many people or political parties mass up on either side of the debate. The truth must be confronted and vigorously too. There have been occasions where one man has stood against many in a debate and has been right. And there have been occasions where many have been right and one man has been wrong. Again, popular opinion is never always the right opinion. I dare say that even as we debate, our conscience knows the truth but many will accept because for them, elections are more important than development.

We are where we are because of our fixation with elections. Even if we have such an obsession, does our conscience not ask us the bigger question: “elections and so what”? Will a new or clean register elevate the politician or elevate the nation? Let our nation Ghana and its development count in this debate

A Results-Based Approach to Development: Making Ghana’s Presidential Delivery Unit Deliver-Ken Abotsi

Over the past few days, The Government of Ghana announced changes in portfolios especially at the Presidency. One portfolio that caught the attention of many Ghanaians (and rightly so) is the appointment of Dr. Valerie Sawyerr to head a Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) . It would appear that this is in fulfilment of President John Mahama’s promise in 2012 of establishing what was at the time called a “Policy and Delivery Unit” at the Presidency which was to be charged with “monitoring, reporting and taking corrective action on this Government’s number one policy priority, the creation of stable, well paid, jobs”. However, since the announcement, it would appear that critics of government have taken umbrage in our ‘politics-as-usual’ way, heaped opprobrium on the Presidency. I guess it is important to establish that there has been always been a policy monitoring mechanism at the Presidency to ensure that governments deliver not just on campaign promises but also on key priorities of government as captured in key policy documents. This framework, as far as I know, was central to the tenure of President Kufour (Office of Accountability) and also existed during the tenure of the late Prof JEA Mills (Policy Monitoring & Evaluation Unit). Indeed, one of the highlights of President John Mahama’s first days was the appointment of a renowned policy expert, Dr. Sulley Gariba, as Senior Policy Advisor to the President. Therefore from Mrs. Chinery-Hesse, Dr. Tony Aidoo to Dr. Sulley Gariba, there has always been a centralized mechanism for monitoring the delivery on key sectors of our economy. Whether these mechanisms have been effective or not is another matter.
It is the reason why in this write-up, I intend to walk away from the politics out there to the core issues that this mechanism should address if it is to be made an effective tool for the delivery of quality services to the citizens of Ghana.

Let me begin my mentioning that over the past decade or so, countries have established Delivery Units as a means of driving performance improvements in critical service delivery areas and ensuring effective implementation of domestic policy priorities towards the attainment of tangible and significant results on the ground. Alessandro et al (2014) establish that one of the first examples of a dedicated centre of government Delivery Unit was the UK Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) established by Tony Blair in 2001 under the leadership of Sir Michael Barber. The PMDU was tasked with ensuring that the Prime Minister’s domestic policy priorities were implemented effectively so that they achieved tangible performance improvements and significant results on the ground.

In some other countries, these Units were created centrally, often under the auspices of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and within line Ministries to focus on delivery in specific sectors. Indeed, Todd (2012) suggests that a Delivery Unit is an approach (emphasis mine) to results-driven performance that is aimed at:

• Shifting the focus of national level discussions and policy announcements from the allocation of funds and implementation of activities to the attainment of results.
• Addressing the lack of clarity as to the practical steps needed to turn national policy commitments into tangible outcomes
• Correcting the lack of coherence in sharing responsibilities for the implementation of policy priorities that cut across the remit of Ministries to ensure accountability in performance delivery
• Ensuring quality of service delivery once responsibility is devolved to local and sub-national levels.
• Tackling the general tendency in the civil service to focus on processes and procedures rather than results. This is due to the fact that in some areas of the civil service, there is also little sense of urgency to make a positive difference as compared to the compressed time frames within which Ministers are in post and expected to deliver results, and
• Dealing with the lack of local level understanding of national commitments which leads the failure of implementing agencies to deliver on the intended results of new initiatives

Although many countries have implemented the approach in various forms, Malaysia has been touted as having one of the most successful adaptations of the Delivery Unit approach. The Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) was established as a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department in 2009. In order to attain its mandate, the PEMANDU publicized its transformation plans, invited critical comment and catalyzed a results-based culture across the country. In order to attain this, the two key innovations introduced by PEMANDU included the creation of ‘Delivery Labs’ to bring together a range of key stakeholders and experts to work intensively to draw up detailed, practical solutions to delivery issues and the holding of Open Days to communicate the government’s change programme and gain citizen ownership. The PEMANDU also made efforts to promote its approach and methods internationally, holding seminars that were attended by current and potential partners and countries that were willing to learn from their experience. These international awareness-raising efforts led directly to Tanzania’s adoption of the ‘Malaysian approach’ in February 2013 with the launch of its ‘Big Results Now!’ programme.

What would make Ghana’s Presidential Delivery Unit work?

If Ghana wants this approach to deliver on development objectives, we may have to take a cue from the experiences of countries that have gone along the same path. Indeed, Alesandro et al (2014) in undertaking a study for the Inter-American Development Bank for performance delivery in Latin America and the Carribean made suggestions for adaptation by governments that want to establish this mechanism. If Ghana wants to make its mechanism deliver, the President might want to consider some of these suggestions including empowering the PDU to:
• Create a secretariat or program management office that is focused on achieving results.
• Design and use analytical tools to inform decision-making. This might mean conducting an assessment of the human resource available at the Unit and taking effective steps to capacitate or overhaul the Unit.
• Establish stronger links with the delivery system, including local governments.
• Invest more attention in learning from what works, and what does not work and seeking collective approaches towards remedying what is not working. In order to do this, it is important for Unit not to strike a good balance between its policing and learning and accountability objectives. Any attempt by Dr. Sawyerr and her team to emphasize one over the other might not attain the needed results.
• Take practical steps to increase citizen engagement in the process so that value-for-money is demanded
• Ensure that the Unit is adequately resourced and that these resources (human and non-human) are focused on a limited number of key priorities that are clearly defined. There should be clear leadership so that these priorities are understood and can be articulated across the delivery system. In doing so the PDU must develop a strong link between key priorities and resources so that adequate budgets are available to support each priority.
• Focus on developing a clear understanding of citizen-centred outcomes so that key priorities are viewed from the perspective of what is achieved at the level of individual citizens rather than what government spends or what services do. This will involve shifting the focus of Ministries from what I call the “Ya Yor” syndrome to the ‘Enti di3n’ mentality. To wit, we need to move away from the implementation-oriented ‘We-Have-Done-It’ mentality to a results-driven “So-What” approach. We need to start asking the critical “so-what” question till we hit our intended impact.
• Regularly collect quality data to measure what matters. This must be done without imposing excessive cost or burden on front-line workers in the process. The PDU must ensure that data is analyzed and used regularly to inform decision-making and hold the delivery system to account.
• Use regular data as the basis for establishing effective performance management routines. Baseline data, benchmarks and other relevant information should be used to produce mutually agreed targets which are both realistic and achievable. What this means is that there must be regular monthly, quarterly and six monthly routines to review progress to ensure continued focus on delivery. As is being practised by some institutions like the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, forums, comprising focal persons from the various ministries and agencies need to be established to review progress and ensure that the appropriate people are held accountable for results.

• Actively engage relevant stakeholders in analyzing delivery issues and owning outcomes. What it means is Dr. Sawyerr and her team must work closely with all relevant stakeholders in designing corrective measures if gaps are identified. Some of the methods would include regularly publishing performance data, plans and targets and soliciting feedback so as to enhance citizens’ engagement and ownership of service delivery. Care must also be taken by the PDU not to take seek credit for success but instead ensure that acclaim is received by the relevant department and service providers. This could incentivize other departments and agencies to perform.
• Assist Government and her implementing agencies to strike the right balance between planning and delivery.
• Play an effective support and challenge function and add real value to Ministries by working collaboratively to build capacity and solving problems if they are to play a successful role in achieving outcomes. The Unit needs to gain the respect and trust of Ministries and act as an amplifier of the authority of the Office of The President rather than seeking to impose their own. Units which establish an adversarial relationship with Ministries are destined to fail and,
• Develop an effective marketing/communications strategy. A key function of a delivery unit is to rapidly engender change and reform to ‘turn around’ a perceived decline in standards of service delivery. To do this entails engaging multiple stakeholders and creating in them both the belief that things can change and the willingness to engage in change. This in turn means that significant effort has to be put into publicizing the work, and eventually the successes, of relevant Departments.

According to Barber et al. (2011) and the World Bank (2010), experiences from other places have brought to the fore certain essential features that have made the approach deliver results in other places. These features which Dr. Valerie Sawyerr might want to consider include:

• Establishing a structure that is small and which acts as an extension of the office that established it. In other words, Dr. Sawyerr’s outfit needs to be selective in choosing the best staff. We do not need a large office that ends up replicating some of the structures and functions which they are supposed to performance-manage.
• Courting the commitment of Government from the very top in order to change behaviour and improve outcomes. The experiences from other places adduce the failure of DUs to this apparent lack of commitment from the very top. What it means for us in Ghana is that the DU must have the authority to act so that leaders at all levels are held accountable for results. It is not okay to assume that since the unit has been established by the Presidency, it would automatically have the support of the establishment. Precisely because of its role, the Unit must consciously make efforts to always have other sectors and players understand its mandate and cooperate with it.
• Establishing a direct line of communication to the President and must be located outside the system’s line-management hierarchy. The argument is that if Ghana’s PDU has a line management relationship with the people whom it is trying to influence or those with direct delivery responsibility then this can compromise the nature of its advice, influence and effectiveness. There needs to be a strong connection and understanding between the PDU and the Presidency in order for the delivery system to view and respect the Unit as a direct extension of the President’s authority.
• Establishing a direct link with the Policy Monitoring and Evaluating Units of the various ministries in order to be effective.

Food for Thought
It is important to note that part of the criticism of the new arrangement stems purely from the changes in the names of the mechanism. From a policy perspective it gives a semblance of not being clear about what the Unit ought to be doing. In fairness, critics have a point and Government must accept this. From an Organisation Development and planning perspective, Government should be advised to put a lot of thought into clarifying what it wants such a unit to achieve. What the unit delivers and the impact it makes on us is more important than what the entity is called.
For the PDU to perform optimally, it must insulate itself from the Communication machinery of Government. Government must make its own arrangements to propagate what it has achieved and not see the PDU as an extension of its communication outfit. The Unit must only be a tool for ensuring accountability and improvement in service delivery through feedback and learning.
Lastly, we cannot overemphasize the fact that the intended impact of Dr. Sawyerr and her team will be jettisoned if the Presidency does not show real commitment in providing the support the unit needs in order to deliver.

In conclusion, I want to acknowledge that these ideas may not be new and other stakeholders may have articulated them even better than my good self. What I am seeking to is to add my little voice to the discussions for the good of Mother Ghana. In making this modest contribution, I am taking a leaf and some inspiration from what the Burmese Nobel Prize laureate and international icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, told her audience in a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School in September 2012. She said, “We have just started on the road toward shaping our country into the kind of nation that we want it to be. We want to start out by creating a responsible society. … Freedom and responsibility are different sides of the same coin.”
We have a responsibility to shape our beloved Ghana. Let’s balance our freedom with some responsibility. It is never late for Ghana to work again.

Bibliography
1. Alessandro, M., Lafuente M., Santiso C. (2015) Governing to deliver: reinventing the center of government in Latin America and the Caribbean / Martín Alessandro, Mariano Lafuente, Carlos Santiso.
2. Barber, M., Kihn, P., & Moffit, A. (2011) Deliverology: From idea to implementation, McKinsey and company
3. Blair, T. (2013) “Leading for Results”, McKinsey Voices on Society Vol.5, The Art and Science of Delivery
4. Cabinet Implementation Unit, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2013) Ten Years Strong: PM&C’s Cabinet Implementation Unit
5. Todd, R. (2012) Sharing experiences of effective performance management within the context of decentralisation paper presented at the Government of Malawi/UNDP/GIZ Government and Development Partners Group on Decentralisation
6. World Bank (2010) GET Note: Center of Government Delivery Units

THE PEOPLE’S REVOLT & MILITARY TAKE-OVER IN BURKINA FASO: THE VIEWS OF AN UNSOPHITICATED MIND- KEN ABOTSI

In recent days, we have witnessed the unfolding events in Burkina Faso and the ensuing debate on the effectiveness or otherwise of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to curb such occurrences. I have had many calls to make my position on the people’s revolt and the subsequent statement by ECOWAS known. While I cannot pretend to be an authority or expert on regionalism especially as it pertains to West Africa, it would seem that my previous association with institutions related to regional blocs like ECOWAS might be the only reason for my intervention. Not being an expert, I have struggled with putting together my thoughts, being fully aware that it might not sit well with many who might know better. However, I am more than convinced that not speaking at all will be doing a greater disservice to mankind. After all, all we live for is to serve God and serve humanity. In putting this piece together, I want to acknowledge that ECOWAS is not without its own challenges. Like any other institution, it has had to grapple with challenges from within stemming from the renegade behaviour of some of its key actors, especially some Heads of State. But even more challenging has been the sometimes subtle attempts by some former colonial powers and present-day superpowers to influence the politics of not just the regional bloc but also its member states. My position on the events in Burkina Faso matter is very simple: I am in support of the people of Burkina Faso resisting every attempt by Campaore to retain power through what has become known loosely in political lexicon as “tenure elongation” but I do not support a coup d’état. Burkina Faso is indeed not the only West African country where this has happened. In Nigeria, where Obasanjo attempted such tricks, it was vehemently resisted not just by the people but by their representatives in the lower and upper houses of the legislature. Indeed, Senator Ken Nnamani, who was then the Senate President earned high marks for leading that resistance. His role was even more remarkable because as a ‘PDP-ite’ (as we fondly call members of the People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria) he was supposed to conform. He didn’t. The Nigerian military never invited themselves into the fray. Obasanjo completed his tenure and left. In Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade tried to go along the same path. The people resisted violently. Wade was stopped and the military never invited themselves into the debate. Wade finished his term as mandated by law, got roundly defeated by Macky Sall and left office. What many do not realize is that the military, by inviting themselves into the fray, defeat the aim of the resistance- to register disapproval for any accession to power by unconstitutional means. When ECOWAS transitioned from an ‘ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of Peoples’ one of its cardinal pillars was the policy of zero tolerance for unconstitutional accession to power. So the statement issued by ECOWAS stating unequivocally that it will not support the nuanced military take-over in Burkina Faso is totally in tune with its own values. If the reason the good people of Burkina Faso marched unto the streets was to stop Campaore from manipulating the Burkinabe Constitution, then I am of the considered opinion that the statement by the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State cements the people’s position. I say in all humility that anyone berating ECOWAS for issuing the statement, calling it “too late” and “ill-timed” is perhaps not aware of how the structures of regional blocs like ECOWAS function. Those persons are perhaps, also ignorant of the mediation processes that were triggered by ECOWAS years ago with Campaore when the regional bloc foresaw what he was attempting to do. Indeed, the ECOWAS Early Warning System picked up these signals 2-3 years ago and Campaore was accordingly advised. We all know that he refused to heed the advice and went ahead with his plans. The result is the violent protests that occurred a few days ago. This is not the place to enumerate the litany of delegations that were sent to Blaise to admonish him not to attempt any gymnastics with the constitution. But for the sake of those who need some education, permit me to mention that ECOWAS leaders did impress upon Campaore to respect the term limits as captured in the Burkinabe Constitution but he did not accept the caution. The US, at the African Leaders Summit in Washington also raised the same matter with him but it fell on deaf ears. France was not left out. Indeed, President Hollands went as far as sending an open letter to Campaore in October 2014. This is, in addition to the several diplomatic interventions by ECOWAS involving people thought to be Campaore’s friends but all these did not work. To have anyone assert therefore that ECOWAS was sleeping on the job while Blaise was planning this is to say the least, unfair. Indeed, it is a sheer display of ignorance on the work of ECOWAS and its intervention on this matter. The thing about diplomatic interventions is that they are not necessarily public. Even though these interventions are not public, it does not mean they do not happen. Those who argue that ECOWAS could have done better have forgotten that Campaore’s colleague Heads of State could only advise and caution but could never compel compliance. On the recent statement of ECOWAS regarding this matter, anyone reading that statement with an open mind would understand the message. The statement of the Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS was simply saying that while ECOWAS supports the people in resisting any attempt to manipulate the constitution, ECOWAS will not condone a military take-over. How this statement could be ill-timed and out of place beats my unsophisticated mind. A brother wrote to me last night and without his consent though, I will share. He said “I ceased making clarification and educating ignoramuses on Facebook a long time ago. I realized that those whom we expect to know do not know. Unfortunately, they pretend that they know and display their ignorance by having an opinion on every matter. These days, I read the highly opinionated posts which lack substance and remember the wise saying that it is better to keep quiet so that the extent of one’s foolishness is not exposed”. I agree with him hook, line and sinker. The level of ignorance on the work of ECOWAS is painful. It’s painful because it is coming from some of the most respected and educated in our society. If we do not know, let us ask. Displaying ignorance on a subject matter is not necessarily bad if the culprit makes genuine efforts to unlearn the ignorance. But to persist in this ignorance even in the face of facts that negate one’s position is not only disingenuous but mischievous. Some have opined that the military stepped in because the exit of Campaore created a vacuum. Which vacuum? For the records, Campaore’s resignation could never have occasioned a power vacuum morally or legally! Article 43 of the Burkinabe constitution mandates the Speaker of the Senate to assume the reins of government, in the event of the President’s resignation, and elections must be called within 60-90 days. There is absolutely no plausible reason therefore for the military to fill the interregnum in Burkina Faso. It is disingenuous to speak against coups in other situations and sing a different tune when it suits us. As I write, there is confusion in Burkina Faso regarding the leadership of the country. This is not what the thousands of Burkinabe who marched towards the Presidential Palace bargained for. The voice of the people is not synonymous with the voice of guns. The guns in African politics must be silenced and kept where they belong so that the voices of the people will persist. This is the crux of my argument. This is the heart of the matter.

THE VIEWS OF A FOOTBALL IGNORAMUS- SAVING THE BLACK STARS

I am writing on a subject matter that I am not very familiar with so I am proceeding on the premises of being a self-confessed football ignoramus. Even as a former school goalkeeper (No. 2) in teacher training college, I cannot lay any claim to being a football analyst. Even at the time, all I got from football was the fun in saving my Hall from the blackmail of an errant regular goalkeeper who thought he was indispensable and subsequently going on to serve my college both as a player and a cheerleader. Not even my being selected to participate in the inter-zonal competition could make me a football die-hard. These days, I watch football though because I have no competing alternatives here in Uncle Bob’s country. I therefore speak as no football guru. Why am I playing the lawyer before I speak as if I care what some will think? Football is at the heart of our national cohesion. I therefore speak as a citizen whose taxes have been used to regulate this passion. If the way it is being ran is in sixes and sevens, we ought to speak up!
Over the past few weeks, we have been struck by the shocking and sordid revelations of the deeds of some persons who were given the onerous responsibility of managing our World Cup campaign. In the middle of such an important enquiry, the sacking of the Black Stars coach was foisted on us. This was a coach whose head was being called for weeks ahead of the renewal of his contract. Most people felt he did not deserve a second term on the basis of our performance at the World Cup, yet the FA called our bluff and renewed his contract. This same FA comes back a few weeks after that to announce his removal with its attendant avoidable costs to the nation. Big question: what changed? What changed between when he was appointed and when he got sacked? What informed the renewal of his contract in the first place? Have those conditions changed?
Then comes a torrent of social media write-ups that blame the coach for all our woes right from player selection, discipline to matters as extant to his mandate as how he should not have allowed the players to be distracted by the pecuniary matters that sunk our campaign and brought us world-acclaimed shame. Some argued that in addition to pursuing his mandate as a coach, he also should also have been concerned about correcting a dysfunctional system which, by the way, is not his forte. Yes, he should have exerted some energy into re-engineering the dysfunctional system that has generated its own gladiators and devices over the years, much to benefit of these same people.
I accept that the coach could have done better with the way he handled some disciplinary matters. However, why are we not looking at the system that tied his hands behind his back and threw him into the fray? Why have we always blamed our coaches for our woes and never taken an honest look at the system that makes them under-deliver and yet expect different results? Why must the coach suffer due to the ineptitude of others? Why are we not willing to accept that the system is also to blame? Why are we not accepting the fact we probably may have misdiagnosed our problems in the past and, by implication, applied the wrong remedies?
Somehow, many have been swayed by the argument that Kwasi Appiah, by his demeanor, is not a Black Stars coaching material. I need some answers right there. Please can they kindly define who a Black Stars coaching material is? What are the prerequisites for becoming a Black Stars coach? Do we have clear Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding what qualifications you must have before becoming a coach of any of our national teams? What coaching certificate must one have acquired as at the time of appointment? How many years of experience and levels of achievement must the person have garnered before becoming the coach of a national team, and indeed the Black Stars? When those who have applied do not meet of any of these basic requirements, what becomes the basis for selection? What kind of basic remuneration/perquisites must be given a coach, whether they are black, white or yellow? What are the legal safeguards for the tenure of the coach? What is the system of selection of players for the national team? What are the laid-down procedures regarding player discipline? What levels of legal and functional independence must a coach have in order to deliver? What are the remedies a coach can seek if he smells interference? What levels of discretion are allowed a coach? What are the limits of these discretionary powers? When can the FA legally step in? What are the limits of the FA’s powers?
When it comes to player remuneration, to the extent that money issues could affect the demeanor/commitment of our players at the last World Cup, I will ask further questions. Do we have clear structures/processes for negotiating player packages or does this happen at the discretion of the FA and the Sports Ministry (representing the Presidency)? How should players be paid? Is the method of payment also discretionary or is it dependent on precedence even if that precedent flouts our current national laws? Is there a Code of Conduct for the players? Are they made to sign that Code of Conduct? Does the Code of Conduct clearly spell out what levels of behaviour are considered inappropriate and the sanctions that go with it? Does the Code of Conduct tell us what remedies are available to players who feel wrongly sanctioned? Are we applying the rules or are we still leaving that to the discretion of the coach and the FA? Where are all these written and documented? If they are documented, are they public knowledge? I need answers…..I surely need answers!!!
For a system that has produced an average of a Minister per year in the last 14 years (I am told), we need a rethink of the way we diagnose our footballing (and indeed national) challenges and seek solutions to them. A misdiagnosis obviously leads to a misapplication of remedial measures. Kwasi Appiah, no matter how average we think he is, was planted in a dysfunctional system. It is my humble opinion that the FA has only found him an easy target and scapegoat to cover their ineptitude. I dare say that he has been treated even more terribly because he is one of us. If we don’t purge the system, the sore we are trying to heal will fester and become gangrenous. We probably might be left with no legs to stand on. We cannot continue doing the same things and expect different results. We cannot put a good driver on a bad road and blame the driver for driving us into a ditch. Let us purge the system! Let us save our football! Let us save our passion!!
Wait a minute! This is the view of a football ignoramus……..for God and country!!!!