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Ghana my beloved country is witnessing some very interesting governance system after the outcome of the December, 2016 elections. The country witnessed two extreme campaigns, one hinged on lies and the other on the reality of the Ghanaian economy. The then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) saw an opportunity to promise a hungry child pizza knowing very well that it never had the money to buy same, while the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had to explain to the same child why that pizza could not be bought for him at the time.
It was a matter of interest to many after the outcome of the elections, to see how the new government headed by Mr. Akufo-Addo would execute all its promises to the people of Ghana. While I must admit that 6 months is way too early to rate the performance of a government, 6 months is equally enough to examine some steps taken by the same government towards issues of national interest.
From the very day of taking over, the entire exercise was shot down by international speech theft which brought international embarrassment to our nation. The several explanations failed to give course for one to assume the attempt as a mistake as mistakes of the nature could not have been executed with tact.
It is worthy of note, that the NPP, when it took power in 2001, engaged in acts that infringed on the rights of workers – both appointees of government and ordinary civil servants. They introduced the “proceed on leave” phenomenon which was never known except for the events of their father’s after the 1966 coup that exited Dr. Kwame Nkrumah under the infamous Apolo 565 operations.
Workers were either asked to leave their offices, or report to one office or the other, or were chased out of same. The phenomenon appears to have returned in its more primitive form. Today, a supposed human rights lawyer has been elected president of the Republic and even though the fundamental rights of ordinary citizens are being infringed upon by his party faithfuls, he turned a blind eye as well as a deaf ear to them.
The cases of Ridge Hospital and the Tamale Teaching Hospital are just too recent for anyone to forget. Medical Directors who were employed, not by any political authority, but through the appropriate quarters of state, designated as such, are being chased out of their offices because the NPP had won power.
What is more interesting is the shamelessness with which the government is backtracking strategically on its heaven-reaching campaign promises. I have come across a news item that reported Mr. Akufo-Addo of saying that the National Health Insurance cards would be operational in 2019. One may want to understand what had changed over the past five months. Were we not in this country when the NPP led by Mr. Akufo-Addo promised to revamp the National Health Insurance without delay? Why must it take three solid years to get that in place?
The shamelessness of the New Patriotic Party have assumed some interesting positions. Were we not told that Ghana could be developed without us borrowing? Today, the government’s attempt to land the biggest investment from bond issuance had turned into some form of scam which has affected the confidence of investors in our economy. Today, we are being told by the people who adviced that we could develop without borrowing, to commend and applaud them for being able to borrow heavily six months into their four-year mandate. As if that was not enough, the same government has taken its borrowing basket to China for loans that they condemned the NDC in the past, over.
Were we not in this country when the New Patriotic Party promised to, with immediate effect, after winning power, to post all nurses who had completed school and remain home without being posted? This is a promise the government has abandoned soon after winning elections.
When the Finance Minister appeared before Parliament early this year, in his concluding remarks during the budget presentation, summed up that some taxes they claimed were nuisance taxes during the campaign, were abolished. Today, these taxes remain on our books and are being collected. Examples are the 17.5% VAT, taxes on import of spare parts, Import Duties, the energy sector levy among other taxes. They remain silent and are benefiting from their accumulations.
Were we not in this country when the New Patriotic Party headed by Mr. Akufo-Addo, promised to reduce electricity bills? At the time, he gathered the courage to present tariffs from our neighboring countries and projected them to justify his claims that electricity tariffs were expensive in Ghana. After winning, he, through his minister of energy, tell Ghanaians to pay realistic tariffs, with the previous tarrifs which were said to be higher to rent remaining unchanged.
Then, I must stress this point very forcefully. The then presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Akufo-Addo, promised to allow galamsey operations in this country. For my personal position, acts that are resulting in the condemnation of our future, must not be entertained. However, should we not be bold to tell people in their faces when they lie to power? And in this case, should we be shy from Mr. Akufo-Addo by telling him he lied his way to power only to turn around? This is very significant because, had this not been the case, the late Major Maxwell Adam Mahama may just be alive. The people would have voted for truth and would not think someone other than the president was trying to take their jobs that were promised by the president, away from them.
And to crown it all, the vice president, Dr. Bawumia is telling Ghanaians today to pray for Mr. Akufo-Addo because according to him, being president is not easy? Well, it is good to realise your mistakes some day. However, when those mistakes are realized, it is important to admit where you went wrong. Were we not in this country when the former president, John Dramani Mahama was insulted for telling him (Dr. Bawumia) that he did not qualify to call him incompetent as president because he had never been president before? It’s interesting that my country has gotten to the point where we have worshipped some individuals to the extent that they do no wrong any more.
It is inherent to draw the line that the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, have all been in power over a considerable number of years. The nation Ghana can boat of witnessing the investments in the economy in the areas of schools, roads, hospitals, electricity among others. The nation would equally agree with me that many of these tangible social infrastructure we see across the country were either built in full, or engineered by the National Democratic Congress.
In the record of the nation, apart from Kwame Nkrumah and the colonial regime, any other public university added to the national stock was by the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The remaining regional hospitals were added by the NDC. The completion of one Polytechnic per Region policy was fully executed by the NDC. Major roads we drive on were constructed by the NDC. Today, over 80% of public Senior High Schools were constructed by the NDC.
The National Democratic Congress has a record that cannot pale into insignificance at any attempt to compare records. As it stands, all projects started by the then John Mahama administration, apart from those for which funds were secured, have been stalled and without hope of seeing the light of day.
In all of these, the National Democratic Congress must begin mobilizing around its strengths to communicate. Communication for me, will determine the future of the NDC. If the party can speak for itself and tell its story as it remain on the ground for the ordinary man to understand what the party stood/stand for, it cannot be lost in a positive and a brighter chance to announce its come back in the governance of this country, Ghana.
Source: Stephen Kwabena Atuh, ASK