Political watchers have been worried about the levels of profligacy and reckless wastage of the public purse under the watch of President Akufo-Addo. From naming an oversized team of 110 Ministers, capped with a humongous 1000 Presidential Staffers, Ghanaians have witnessed other acts of wanton defalcation of the public purse under this government.
Just as the Ghanaian people thought they had seen enough of ostentation under the aegis of Akufo-Addo, events leading up to the NPP National Delegates Conference over the weekend left many trembling and gasping for breath. As a stock in trade of the NPP, from day one, the campaign has not been one of ideas and competence, but the key highlight has been who can outwit his contender in a game of ostentation.
Indeed, this weekend was the climax to the contest of showboating politicians, who converged to exhibit their prowess in displaying the wealth they have fleeced from the hardworking Ghanaian people.
Of all the wanton profligacy witnessed, there is no gainsaying that the jaw-breaking exploits of Freddie Blay (now Chairman-elect) of the NPP left many awe-stricken. Here is a man whose quest to lead a Political party in it’s highest office, a party he had barely joined a little under a decade ago, led him to make an audacious pledge of supplying a brand new bus each to every single constituency in Ghana. Some of us initially saw this as one of the braggadocios talks of a politician eager to impress. However, to our shock and disbelief, three days to the much-awaited Delegates Conference, Mr. Blay crystallized his promise by taking delivery of a first consignment of 100 out of the 275 buses he promised.
It was at this point that all, including the media and Civil Society began to realize that we are dealing with dangerous folks who are capable of carrying out every ‘threat’ of showmanship. But need we ask questions of Mr. Blay’s source of wealth for financing the greatest Political Showboating of our time? Of course not! He is the Board Chairman of GNPC, which oversees Ghana’s oil, and his wife is Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany. So Mr. Blay has made a fortune within less than two years of power, which he intends to ‘generously’ give back to the people who gave him the power.
So wanton was the reckless display of opulence at the just-ended Conference, that when the Representative of the UK Conservative party, Dr. John Hayward got to the Conference venue at the Koforidua Technical University, he got the shock of his life at what he had witnessed. Such was his disbelief, that when he mounted the podium to address the Delegates, the Diplomat threw his diplomacy to the dogs and yelled out “… is this the best use of our resources?”. The man could not simply fathom how he saw so many posters, banners and giant billboards, much more than delegates. I dare say the Diplomat would have collapsed upon seeing Blay’s buses and the elegantly customized Cedi Notes that exchanged hands at the venue! John Hayward may have been asking himself, have these people learned anything at all after over 60 years of Independence?
Many of us, like the British Diplomat, are still recovering from the callous dissipation of the public purse we have witnessed, and we are dreading the fact that the worse is yet to come. This is a Government that has made highfaluting and grandiose campaign promises to the people of Ghana, many of which have become castles in the sand. Today, in place of one Constituency, $1million promised the people, the NPP has successfully delivered 275 brand new buses to their party cronies. In place of an all-inclusive government, President Akufo-Addo has successfully operationalized the concept of Government for family, friends, concubines and cronies. In place of protecting the public purse, President Akufo Addo and his NPP have redefined corruption and given it it’s true meaning!
I have no doubt that the Ghanaian people are patiently expecting this government to come to understand politics as the call to service it is meant to be. Some of us have lost hope in the ability of this Government to successfully drive the Ghana Project. However, in our sorrow and grief, we still have faith in the Ghanaian people to punish showboating politicians and save the soul of our nation in 2020.
God Bless our Homeland Ghana.
By SAMMY GYAMFI