<![CDATA[ This week, I have several things on my mind to comment on as every day comes with its issues. I begin with the issue of the 60th Anniversary cloth. It happened that, Ghana marked the 60th milestone of its existence with a colourful ceremony, graced by international guests. The display of military precision by the security services and students from various first and cycle schools was something worthy of loud applause. Remarkably, our three living past presidents and the widow of our former president who died in office were all at the ceremony and added to our national cohesion and pride. But, there were a few issues including why the sitting president and his vice who supervised the anniversary by setting up a committee were not robbed in apparels made from the anniversary cloth. However, our two former presidents were in shirts designed from the tailor-designed anniversary cloth. As expected, this was the issue widely discussed first thing on morning radio and TV across the country on Monday. In fact, my beef is not about the two first gentlemen not wearing the designed cloth. It is the various reasons given from different voices representing the current government which got my goat! In the political culture we have now, I weighed the responses against how these spokespersons would have responded if it was the NDC in power. It drums home how hypocritical our politics is and the kind of values our politicians espouse. I heard excuses even from a planning committee member saying, it wasn’t obligatory for anyone to wear the anniversary cloth. I also heard someone say that, after all, the president and his vice wore local cloths and not suit. Really? By the way, former president wore suit on Ghana’s 50th Anniversary and didn’t wear the 60th Anniversary cloth either. One other reason I heard was that the president had to wear a bullet-proof jacket and couldn’t have put on an African print shirt. I hope a security expert would come out to convince me, because the president could have wore a ‘batakari’ or ‘agbada’ made of the anniversary cloth to make it convenient to still wear the bullet proof jacket. So far, it was only one NPP MP who got my thumbs up for admitting that, without knowing the reason, it was not defensible and hoped that it won’t happen again. Most callers into the show praised him for his stand. But I can bet that most of his party people may kick him in his side. Wednesday was International Women’s Day, one of the few occasions women were idolized in our society. A lot of good things were said about women and especially, the few who have climbed up the social and corporate ladders. Not that women do not deserve appreciation but sometimes, some of them carry their gender based agenda beyond logic. For example I heard one woman complain about why in the security services they say ‘officers and men'(which includes women). That same person disagrees with contractors putting up signs that say ‘men at work'(which may include women). Aba! Is that what ‘Affirmative Action’ is about? The good book in Genesis 5:2 says God created man and woman and called them ‘man’. Mankind, has always referred to men and women. So if on International Women’s day, we eulogize women and discuss how to get more women in responsible national positions etc, I expect the few who are icons to come up with ideas on how to get the younger ones to aspire to get up there and not to trivialize the issues of gender. The week recorded some more incidence of suicide by young people. One cannot fathom the underlying reasons for these incidents. But some antidotes have been proffered. The first one is to do with having counselors who can be trusted and confided in by people who have personal issues they find difficult to share. It also brought up the role of psychologists and psychiatrists and how most of our countrymen and women have not been made aware of the need to access their services. As a media person, I get saddened that our platforms are not used to educate the public on such important social and health matters to protect our people but use over 80 percent of our airtime and space dabbling in partisan politics. I even heard a cynical comment that, people are taking their lives because of the change in the leadership of our country. Within the week too, the recently read budget was discussed, not leaving out the usual politics. Our Politicians have always either taken advantage to score political points by rubbishing whatever their opponents bring out or to embellish what they have to deceive the citizenry. So NPP’s ‘Asempa’ budget or Budget of hope has been described by the NDC as ‘Me dofo adaa daa me’ budget and ‘419’ budget even before the implementation of a single policy from the budget proposal. One major issue from the budget is the ‘Free SHS’ which is now being debated. From funding to infrastructure and whether there will still be the need to use WASSCE results as the condition for gaining admission to SHS to enjoy the fee free benefit or to make it open to all who have gone through basic education to the JHS level. The debate rages on so we will see how the programme rolls out with the first batch in September. The poster of Former President John Dramani Mahama (JDM) has surfaced from an unknown source putting him forward as the NDC’s 2020 candidate. His spokesperson says, the former President didn’t know the source and could therefore not confirm whether JDM would accept to run or not. Coming after JDM’s family came publicly to say they have advised or restrained him to return to politics makes it interesting. If I can offer some advice to the NDC, I would not hesitate to say that they should let JDM stay out of the race and enjoy his ‘retirement’. The reason is that it is not in the interest of the party to let him run as he has only a term left. It won’t be easy for him to win and stay for four years and succeed to market a new candidate to pick up from him. If the party will be okay with another one term in office, they should go ahead. But they should analyze it critically.