Feature Article of Sunday, 3 June 2012
This NDC Government seems paralysed and constipated. There is no sign yet of President Mills Agenda to create a ‘Better Ghana’ coming to fruition. The country is turning into a hellish place to live. His Government lacks political principles and vision, and has embarrassingly suffered series of Court defeats due to lack of professionalism and consequence of incompetence. President Mills is presiding over an omnishambolic mess. He has become more Episcopal than President. Admittedly, the NPP has failed to capitalise on NDC Government’s economic failure, political ineptitude and fumbling incompetence. Nana Akufo Addo has so far not risen to the challenge of leading NPP as an alternate and ready government. In politics, the tide doesn’t just turn – you have to turn the tide yourself.
Firstly, Nana Akufo Addo’s inability to come out with clear cut policy statements[manifesto], and slow in articulating constructive alternative argument on competence, failings and weaknesses of Mills’ NDC Government as a party ready to govern. Secondly, Nana Addo should publicly announce his provisional ministerial team for his Government. This will be highly symbolic and send a clear message to the electorate about the direction the leader is setting for the NPP party and the nation. It will also publicly show that an NPP Government is ready to govern and restore credibility. Without these basic requirements, a government will find it hard to function effectively. If a party is elected to power after general election, it must have policies ready on the very same day that it officially takes over the country. A failure to do so would be a failure to govern. Therefore, I expect a potential NPP Government to have shape, direction and the organisation in the run-up to 2012 General Election. A cynic might conclude that NPP’s only desire is power for the personal rewards it brings. Over to you, NPP!
Importantly, for Nana Akufo Addo being the opposition leader, clearly should seize initiatives from the NDC Government and forget obviously being accused of unbridled opportunism. This will outmanoeuvre NDC Government and badly wrong foot President Mills. In Ghana, for example, many are living in a state of siege from crime and disorder. Nana Addo should identify the desperate desire for order and security. Women are woefully under-used in Ghanaian politics. Nana should draft intelligent, determined women with new ideas to help form his shadow government. Ghana’s economic growth is sluggish at best, and unemployment is rising by the day, and worst among graduates and young people. We need realistic strategy to stimulate the economy and curb unemployment. Voodoo economics won’t rescue Ghana. We need coherent set of policies with economic credibility. Yes, in Dr Bawumia, the NPP has the intellect for the economic argument but Ghanaians can’t afford to fall for the charms of any ‘Bawunomics’. He needs to develop a credible and compelling economic position.
Nana Akufo Addo’s ‘free education’ statement is an admirable one, but it will require radical reforms and massive investment to pursue that policy. As it stands now, it’s very short on details. Ghana is blessed with enormous mineral wealth. While the oil, mining and quarrying industries have brought great wealth and development to many countries, Ghana’s story is a depressing one! Ghana is being raped by Australian, American, British, Canadian and Chinese mining and oil exploitation corporations dressed up as ‘investment’! Ghana has nothing to show for with mining licences, royalties and taxes. Our Governments have allowed these foreign corporations to devise legal schemes to escape their corporate responsibilities, and tax loopholes of tax avoidance and evasion. Ghana is left with toxic dust, polluted water, loss of farmland and rain forest due to the destructive and encroaching activities of these mining corporations. Is Nana Akufo Addo ready for the challenge of taking on these foreign corporations? I expect policies from the NPP to strengthen environmental regulations and increase the Government’s share from oil exploitation and mining revenue. I expect NPP to introduce a Corporate Offence legislation to ensure that mining and oil exploitation rights go with corporate social responsibilities.
Finally, Nana’s campaign of ‘Restoring Hope’, given the scale of NDC’s challenge, he has to reassure those beyond NPP’s electoral base on what he stands for in a campaign that personify and promise change. The NDC Government is divided, distracted and directionless. However, the NPP must not underestimate its main rival with any sense of complacency. If the NPP and Nana Akufo Addo wish to return to power in 2012, they must articulate their political principles, national aspirations, enjoy almost universal support amongst party membership, and need a coherent plan for government and policy initiatives to attract floating voters.