Feature Article of Tuesday, 24 January 2012
*By NPP-USA Public Relations Committee*
The past year was indeed an Action Year - only it was the wrong actions by the ruling NDC government. The preponderance of catastrophic failures, blunders, and thievery chalked by the inept Mills-Mahama NDC administration in a year they ironically dubbed "Action Year" has made the job of NPP-USA Public Relations Committee's selection team very challenging. Just like the difficulty faced by Black Stars' coach Goran Stevanovic in reducing his final squad to 23, it has been very difficult to narrow down the MIlls 2011 "Achievements" to ten. From illegal gasoline price hikes, through 31-day presidential vacation, to Woyomegate, the list for 2011 could have gone as high as 50. However, through a serious process of elimination by our team we offer our dear readers the following ten.
*Number Ten - "Dzi wo fie asem" Foreign Policy*
For a country increasingly becoming a benchmark for her peers, one would expect Ghana to exemplify continental and regional leadership. That position comes with integrity, trust, and honesty among other things. That is why we find it shocking and outright embarrassing that President Mills attended the ECOWAS meeting on the crisis in Cote D'Iviore, played an obscure role by saying nothing, and signed his name - our name - to a document that called for an ECOWAS military action if democratically deposed president Gagbo failed to surrender power. Yet no sooner had he arrived back in Accra did President Mills renege on that promise and state that Ghana would not contribute troops to enforce what he had signed only days ago. President Mills' betrayal emboldened Gagbo to stay longer, prolonging a civil conflict that claimed more innocent lives. Eventually the will of ECOWAS minus Mills as well as that of the entire world would prevail to leave Ghana's continental leadership status bruised.
*Number Nine - Worst BECE results in 13 years*
Every country hedges its future by educating its youth. In Ghana, as young students transition from Junior High School to Senior High School, they sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Since 1998 Ghanaian students sitting for this West African Examination Council (WAEC) test have chalked up a passing rate of not less than 60% with the highest rate occuring in 2008 at 62.16%. Then President John Evans Atta Mills took the reigns of power and began to slash education expenditure from its epic of 9.1% of GDP in 2007 down to 7.57% of GDP in 2011. The result showed up in Ghana's passing rate. In 2009, there was a 12% drop to 50.21% followed by 49.12% in 2010 and finally 48.93% in 2011. During this same time, Mills can spend money buying votes in Sunyani, spend $20 million on the NDC headquarters in Adabraka, and dish out GHC 92 million to Alfred Woyome for doing nothing. By the way, Mills is the only teacher we have had as president. Go figure.
*Number Eight - Corporate Exodus from Ghana*
What does corporations such as Baker Hughes, Anadarko Petroleum, SW Global Ghana Limited, and many others have in common? They all came into Ghana a few years ago to invest millions and employ thousands. Today, under the anti-business environment created by the Mills-Mahama administration, these companies have either drastically scaled back their operations and laid the bulk of their employees off, or closed their doors altogether and left the country. In 2011 the "shake-down" tactics employed by this NDC government to pressure businesses to "take care of" government officials or face harrassment was too much for one SW Global. The company's president just shut his doors in disgust and left Ghana with his millions in tow. Left behind were 240 people previously employed, but now unemployed. Under the guise of fighting for Mother Ghana, this NDC administration is driving businesses away in droves.
*Number Seven - Botched STX Deal*
When the minority in Parliament - the NPP Caucus - raised questions about the viability of the Korean STX Housing Deal, the NDC with their usual propaganda came out with blistering speed to accuse them of playing obstructionist. Undeterred, the NPP in Parliament raised their questions anyway, only to be out-voted on party lines to approve the corrupt deal. Works and Housing Minister Alan Bagbin went around the country and touted the unworkable deal as the answer to the housing needs of Ghana's security forces. Not long afterwards the cracks in the deal began to show. The questions raised by NPP transformed into boardroom squabbles between the Ghanaians and their Korean counterparts. The squabbles generated into a full blown conflict needing the intervention of Vice President John Dramani Mahama who later pronounced the deal dead. Is there a politically correct way to say "we told you so?"
*Number Six - Cocaine Turns into Baking Soda*
Of all the talents, lying included, that this government exhibited, we could never have envisioned magical acts being one of them. But we have been mistaken before. First a criminal is apprehended with substance believed to be cocaine. That substance is impounded and kept in police custody for a year or so. Then as the court case progressed and the criminal had his day in court, the police was called upon to submit samples of the cocaine to the Ghana Standards Board to be tested. Why that is necessary after the police has previously tested it and determined it to be cocaine is beyond all of us. But then lo and behold, the Ghana Standards Board tests the cocaine again at its own labs, and what has it turned into? You guessed it - baking soda. Where the cocaine went, who made sure that the disapperance took place, and who walked all the way to the bank will continue to be a mistery. One thing is for sure; someone in this NDC administration could be making a killing as magician in Las Vegas instead of wasting his time in Ghana.
*Number Five - "Greedy Bastards" Take over of NDC*
Say what you may about President Jerry John Rawlings, but you can't take away from him the fact that he formed his National Democratic Congress (NDC) to compete in Ghana's Fourth Republic. And since the party's inception in 1992, he has called the shots as to who sleeps, who eats, who smiles, and who gets to run for president on the party's ticket. He led and everyone else followed. But all that changed in Sunyani where his wife, former First Lady Nana Konadu Rawlings was embarrassed with a 3.9% of the votes in her bid to challenge President Mills for the NDC nomination. All of a sudden, Rawlings finds himself on the outside looking in on the party he formed and controlled for over a decade. In a gestapo fashion Mills showed some action in his "action year."
*Number Four - Illegal Gasoline Price Hikes*
More people today are walking to work in Ghana. More people today are skipping a meal. More people today are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet in Ghana. Why you ask? Because for the sixth time in three years, President Mills and his NDC government have ignored the cries of Ghanaians and hiked fuel prices. Ironically, it was this same John Evans Atta Mills who, in 2008 when he was on his "Fooling Ghanaians" campaign, promised to reduce fuel prices if elected president. At the time, a gallon of basic fuel was selling at GHC3.08 and the annual average price for a barrel of crude oil on the world markets was $95.57 (Inflation adjusted). In 2011 the annual average inflation adjusted price for a barrel of crude oil has dropped to $87.33. In addition, Ghana is an oil producing country now. So why is a price of basic fuel selling in Ghana today at GHC7.80, more than double what it sold in 2008? A Castle aid replied "why not?" and who can blame him? he fills his tank up with a government fuel coupon.
*Number Three - $20 million NDC Headquarters*
As usual, they thought they could do it in the dark. That explains why when the spotlight was turned on and Ghanaians got to know about the $20 million Headquarters of the NDC, the scramble to lie about it was more comic than Agya Koo in action. The more they tried to deny that they had indeed stolen Ghanaians' money to build an ultra-modern office complex for their dying party, the more ridiculously clear it became that they cannot be trusted to tell the truth even to save their own lives. Now that it is becoming incresingly certain that NDC Financier Alfred woyome may end up vomitting the money Betty Mould Iddrisu helped him to steal from Ghanaians, it would be interesting to see how they would complete the multi-million dollar complex.
*Number Two - Mansion Building Spree by NDC Public Officials*
Before they came to power, NDC party secretary Asiedu Nketia was livng in a small two-bedroom home in Tema and struggling to make ends meet. Three years later, he is the proud owner of two enviable mansions - one in Accra and the other in Kumasi. He is not alone. Deputy Minister of "Misinformation" Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has never worked in his young life before being rewarded by an inept Mills administration with an undeserving position. In fact, he just recently completed his first degree. Today, however, not only is he able to afford a lavish wedding and an even more lavish honeymoon, he is said to have just purchased a mansion in Friendswood, Texas in the United States which was beautiful until he bought it. Now he is said to have thrown so much money into it that it looks "out of this world" in the words of one familiar with the house.
*Number One - "Woyomegate"*
In President Mills' Ghana, nothing is impossible. Just imagine that two people - possibly more - go out to rob a bank in broad daylight and make away with millions of Ghana Cedis. A police officer decides to leave no table unturned to catch the criminals. But before he can begin his investigations, the president terminates his employment. If you think that is impossible, then you don't know President Mills. The GHC92 million cash giveaway by this totally clueless Mills-Mahama administration to their friend Alfred Woyome, who happens to be the one bankrolling the $20 million NDC headquarters, is the single most ridiculous, most inexplicable, and largest case of financial loss to the state. And as if that was not shocking enough, the president and his henchmen - and woman - do not think they did anything wrong. One cannot help but wonder how much of the $3 billion Chinese loan would be stolen before they leave office in January of 2013.