Feature Article of Saturday, 23 February 2008
Columnist: Nuviadenu, Kobla
ELECTION 2008 – A CASE FOR RETAINING THE N.P.P
The measure of the success of any political administration is its ability to bring about a transformation in the governance of the affairs of the governed far and above how it came to meet it. Does this befit the present N.P.P administration under President Kufuor, for which the party deserve another term? What was the state of affairs prior to its assumption of office, and is it different now, with barely about ten months to leave office? Does the major opposition party, the N.D.C have any moral justification and conviction to stage a comeback?
The N.P.P government under President Kufuor took over the reigns of governance at a time inflation had plummeted to over 40%, with interests rates having crossed the 50% mark. The cost of health care delivery was nothing to write home about. That was the period of the obnoxious cash and carry system. And the tradition of that government had been in office for close to 20 years.
The economy was so unreliable that it was unattractive to local and foreign investors alike. Many local industrial giants had been compelled to fold up. The only thriving businesses were those with close ties to the government and its allies. Even with these ones, they were struggling to break even due to the fragile and unpredictable economy.
Youth unemployment was on the rise, with its attendant vices, and labour unrests were the order of the day. There was wanton neglect of state facilities put up by previous regimes, especially magnificent edifices put up by Nkrumah. I don’t know if it was a deliberate attempt to erode the legacies of such a statesman. They however forgot that it was state funds that were used to put up such structures.
The press was cowed in what was sometimes described as the culture of silence. Power-drunk people and dictators who had transformed themselves into democrats, with indemnity clauses protecting them wanted us to lay for them the red carpet for ceding power unwillingly. They did not see that act of handing over after serving a constitutionally mandated term as an obligation they were compelled to do, but rather as a favour. Well, judging by their "coupist" antecedents, who can begrudge them?
Now however, latest inflation figures for January stood at about 12.8%, with interest rates very low. Recently, the World Bank rated the country as the most attractive emerging market to do business. No wonder this attractive rating can be manifested in the influx of numerous reputable banks into the country, as well as the commencement of an off-shore banking service.
With the introduction of pro-poor policies like the capitation grant, school feeding, and free bus ride for pupils, which a professed socialist party failed to introduce since its almost two decades rule, basic school enrollment has more than doubled. The National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), even though admittedly facing some challenges, which is normal with every new initiative, has come to give hope to many a youth. The Programme has so far employed in excess of over 108,000 youth.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has also been brought on board to alleviate the hell the under-privileged and vulnerable ones in society go through in their quest to gain access to affordable health care. This replaces the killer cash and carry system which was allowed to run by the so called champions of the less-privileged for close to 20 years.
Labour unrests are on the decline with the establishment of the National Labour Commission. There is a free and vibrant press which can function without looking over to see when its premises will be shit-bombed, or when the detestable criminal libel and seditious laws will be inflicted on it. With the introduction of concepts like the Peoples Assembly, the Presidency has been demystified and at least the ordinary Ghanaian can dream of interacting with the number one citizen of the year, at least once a year.
Rather than allow state edifices to rot under the unpardonable excuse that it will not be credited with starting and completing it, Kufuor’s N.P.P government has set out to bring the lost glories of the Akosombo, Peduase, and Akuse Lodges.
There is the fact that the country under the reign of the N.P.P was the first to subscribe to the APRM, the reality that two new state of the art stadia have been constructed with two existing ones upgraded to international status, the truth that the Takoradi, Tamale, and Kumasi Airports have all been upgraded to enable them cope with bigger aircrafts and flights.
There has been unprecedented non-politically motivated road construction works, and the forgotten Bui Dam Project has been revived, with a loan facility acquired to carry it out. Oil has been discovered in commercial quantities estimated to be over three billion barrels. The country benefited from a whopping chunk of $547 million from the US Millennium Challenge Account
After all this analysis, there is no gainsay that President Kufuor and his N.P.P. government are leaving the country better than they came to find it and deserve appreciation from all Ghanaians. There can be no better decision for the nation to make than to retain the NPP in office in the December Elections