Have ya guessed what the ‘A’ word is? It’s AUTHORITY. I’ve high lighted it in red because ironically if you exercise it, you can get in trouble.
Ya see, here where de facto rights are communal rather than individual, it is awfully hard for those in authority to exercise it. Take for example the de-congestion fiascoes in all cities around Ghana. That’s when the city assemblies (another ‘A’ word), say enough is enough and the city’s enforcement details start clearing hawkers off the streets. Well, we all know what happens ….It’s not long before everyone is back on those same streets selling!
But the winds of change are blowing across Africa and Ghana. There is a growing realization that the word ‘authority’ carries more weight and might bolster the effectiveness of institutions to stand behind their decisions and actions. The word ‘authority’ does not always have to be equated with despot, strong man. President Obama in his speech to the Ghanaian parliament said, “Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men.” And I believe strong institutions need strong names, ones that carry a sense of conviction and responsibility.
Take for example the recent change in the name of the 53 nation African Union (A.U.). Under the leadership of Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya , the A.U. has now changed its name to the AFRICAN AUTHORITY. Note though, the name has yet to be ratified by member states.
And here’s something I can comment on, the Ghana Tourist Board, always responsible for the implementation of the Ministry of Tourism policies is now changing its name to THE GHANA TOURISM AUTHORITY or is it the GHANA TOURIST AUTHORITY? Well maybe with this change of name, it will be more effective. With the word authority to bolster its authority, maybe all those policies/regulations not enforced will be enforced! Hopefully, compromising factors like tribe, village, school, church, associations, friends in positions of power or affluence that can break the authority of officers in the Ghana Tourist/Tourism Authority will be a thing of the past in the new Ghana.
Now, let’s hope all those city and town assemblies change their names. I, for one, would have more confidence in the KUMASI METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY than the present Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly! Think of the possibilities for our cities. With the word ‘AUTHORITY’ behind them, city administrations and city departments might be more effective. And the acronym stays the same.! K.M.A.
I can think of another institution in need of a name change . How about the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AUTHORITY, not agency? And again the acronym stays the same! E.P.A.
And to carry it a step further, what about all those government services called services…..would a name change for them make them more accountable to the people?
End of ramblings….