General News of Saturday, 1 March 2014
Former Member of Parliament for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, has slammed President John Mahama for possibly stealing a policy plan from the campaign promise of his closest contender in the 2012 general elections, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address, President John Mahama indicated that his government will soon introduce a free education policy for Senior High School (SHS) students to enhance the country's education system.
He noted on Tuesday at Parliament that government will abolish the fee paying system in Senior High Schools for the 2015/2016 academic year. The free SHS, he said, will 'progressively' be administered under his watch.
The Education Ministry in “consultation with other stakeholders has prepared a report on the roadmap for a progressive introduction of free secondary education in Ghana as required under the 1992 constitution," and further added that the "roadmap will be presented to cabinet for approval and subsequent implementation. Under the guidance of this roadmap, we can anticipate that fees for day students will be abolished at an estimated cost of Ghc71 million in the 2015/2016 academic year...Architectural drawings, designs and quantities have been completed. Sites for the schools have been selected, and the procurement process for the first batch of schools is ongoing," he added.
But speaking in an interview with Peacefmonline.com, Hon. Kofi Jumah expressed disappointment in the President for making a sudden volte-face to now voice support for the campaign message of Nana Addo.
According to him, the President's declaration of free SHS education dents his reputation and so, was utterly surprised that "it was him talking about it, giving what had happened earlier. Giving what he had said about the free SHS earlier on during the elections, and then barely two years after the elections…that was really surprising."
He stressed that President Mahama misled the Ghanaian citizenry into believing that free education as pontificated by Nana Addo prior to the 2012 elections was not feasible.
President John Mahama "campaigned on a platform that rejected free SHS…The whole thing is bizarre. This is misleading and undermines his credibility as President," Hon. Kofi Jumah opined.
The former Asokwa MP further stated that President Mahama was virtually "reading Nana Akufo-Addo's manifesto”.
“President Mahama was reading Akufo-Addo’s manifesto, and this shows that during the period he was campaigning…He was just opposing for opposing sake. All of these things were spelled out clearly and articulated very well by Nana Akufo-Addo during his campaign,” he said.
Maxwell Kofi Jumah further believed the President's behaviour is a contradiction of the principle he stood for when soliciting for votes from the Ghanaian electorates.
To him, the President seems to have now bought into the idea of his closest challenger in the 2012 general elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.