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Feature Article of Saturday, 5 May 2012

Columnist: Oppong-Damoah, Nana Kofi

RE: The NPP can’t win elections with an old tune!

Our attention has been drawn to an article on your website written by one Dr. Micheal J. K. Bokor under the title “NPP cant win elections with an old tune.” The views he espouses in parts of his article are very disturbing to us and we would be very happy to be allowed to exercise our right to a rejoinder.

Firstly, we are surprised that a doctor of English will engage in obvious de-contextualization and seek to use it to make political gains. His point of Dr. Bawumia joining the “Yen Akanfuo” choir to sing himself hoarse” is one that we find extremely mischievous. The statement he quotes has obviously been taken out of context and is being used by mere propagandists to achieve some political objective of portraying our party as an ethnic one. We have no problem if ordinary party propagandists who perhaps are spewing what their brainwashing masters are telling them engage in such talk. But coming from a supposed doctor of the English language, we have to correct that notion. We will want to perhaps remind Dr. Borkor of the importance of context in language semantics and discourse analysis by recommending “Semantics; An Introduction” by Professor Yaw Sekyi Baidoo,2002. Nana Akuffo Addo spoke those words within a context that in no way means what the author tried to impute. He was speaking to Akans in his homeland and thus as a politician who wanted to make the people feel he belonged to them, he used those words to encourage camaraderie and not to say the NPP was an exclusively Akan party. Such attempts to impute that meaning to him are at best mischievous. More deliberate analysts would be less charitable.

Again, the author attempts to make a point that Dr. Bawumia has “quickly fallen prey to the worn-out politics of empty fault-finding with the incumbent administration, repeating the stale old tales of the Mills government’s inability to fulfill its 2008 electioneering campaign promises and destroying the economy.” Unfortunately, that point is shockingly moot. Oppositions all over the world have on sacred task; to serve as a check on the government by criticizing the government and pointing out its faults. This is not an empty exercise but one aimed at ensuring that the citizenry of the country get the best possible advantages from everything that their governments do. It is to ensure that the peoples of all countries that practice democracy use their best minds, be they in government or in opposition, to attract the best advantages for their common good. Those who tend to find such an exercise to be fruitless and worthless are oftentimes the intolerant.

Those who charge the good economist with not offering any alternatives need to be mindful of the fact that Dr. Bawumia stated in his speech at the Ferdinand Ayim lecturers that “I found it appropriate to focus on a topic that is on the mind of many Ghanaians: “What is the real state of our economy?”… Mr. Chairman, to be able to do anything substantial about the economy, you need to know what the real state of the economy is, and to understand the state of Ghana’s economy today, we first have to understand where we are coming from, where we are and where we ought to be going.” He further stated that “In subsequent speeches during this campaign, I will have the opportunity to focus on Nana Akufo-Addo’s vision and the specific programmes and policies of the NPP to deliver this vision.” If the government of Ghana has called on Ghanaians to have patience in the investigations of the Woyome and other judgement debt scandals such that five months into the expose, Woyome still walks about in the streets of Accra a free man while investigations are ongoing, then surely the people of Ghana can wait for a few more days for Bawumia’s alternatives. All these aside, he went further to prescribe some short term approaches to help solve the problems Ghana faces currently by prescribing a paradigm shift etc. Are those still worthless views?

Lets us take a look at some criticisms that Dr. Bawumia has leveled against this government and examine their merit or otherwise. 1. That the claim that the 22 months of single digit inflation is unprecedented is false because Kwame Nkrumah managed a single digit inflation from 1959-1963, a four year period. This is relevant because the government in this case is misinforming the populace who deserve to be told the truth.

2. That all the known relationships between single digit inflation and other indicators such us standards of living, the currency trends and interest rates are not showing currently. This development could be as a result of two major things: either the government is deliberately misinforming the populace for propaganda purposes or that there are some fundamental difficulties with our economy. Whichever way you look at it, something has to be done about this development. If perhaps there is also some explanations for this development that well read economists all over the world are beginning to christen as the “Ghana phenomenon” the government will then have to provide explanations for it. The ultimate goal of this expose is to restore confidence in the Ghanaian economy for investors as most of them are beginning to be severely worried over the current economic situation in the economy, especially as the currency continues to dip. The recent folding up of some airlines is a clear indication of this worry.

3. As regards corruption, Dr. Bawumia thinks that “what is increasingly clear is that corruption in Ghana is on the increase, as documented by the worsening performance in the Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International. The overpricing of supplies contracts in areas such as health, education, infrastructure, etc. as well as judgment debts paid for work not done is a major area of concern. Government is not getting value for money and is paying monies for work not done. The increasing resort to single-source procurement compromises the transparency of the procurement process. When monies are paid for no work done, as is the case of some judgment debts, it creates a liquidity overhang (i.e. too much money relative to output), which finds its way into prices and ultimately results in the depreciation of the cedi.” Is this can be called “empty fault-finding?”

PERSONALITY ATTACKS. Ghanaians are increasing crying for a political terrain that has its debates focused on issues instead of personalities. We are most shocked that an educated man will however refuse to heed to such calls but rather engage in such detestable conduct as personality attacks. Dr. Micheal J.K Borkor in attempting to respond to some very important issues raised by Dr. Bawumia resorted to the use of such statements as: ”They won’t root for Bawumia and the NPP just because this self-same story is being told and re-told by the political neophyte that Bawumia is.” “You see, when political neophytes are given the limelight, they don’t take too long to expose their immaturity.” “Or how he was humiliated when he attempted becoming the flagbearer of a “Yen Akanfuo” political cabal?” Ghana does not need this sort of talk. We will work hard to restrain our supporters from using similar language though our task has just been made a lot more difficult by this article written by a very learned man.

ATTEMPTS AT ETHNIC DIVISION In his Ferdinand Ayim lecture, Dr. Bawumia clearly said: “The selection of me, a Muslim from the north, to partner he, a Christian from the South is also a message to the nation on the need for unity and to build bridges to each other and to the future. We are one people. We should not allow anybody or group of people to tear us apart.” This had no meanings or connotations on elections and electoral victory. Mr. Bawumia was seeking to make a point on the need for national unity and what the NPP is doing to ensure that that need is made clear. How this point lead to the various statements and calculations of electoral victory in Mr. Borkors article is alien to our understanding. How that lead to the various interpretations and conspiracy theories beats our imaginations. We will however not give those statements any more prominence by responding to them. In our opinion, such statements will flow into the abyss of eternal damnation where they rightfully belong.

Ending, we would want to remind all Ghanaians that as Dr. Bawumia said, “our competition (as team Ghana) is with other countries and not primarily with each other. Our competition is China, Malaysia, Thailand, South Africa, Brazil, India, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, etc. Our businessmen and women, our contractors, our teachers, nurses, engineers, etc. are our players on the field of international competition.” We have to make use of our best minds to ensure that we win that competition. Intolerance will not get us there. The wise Dr. Bawumia said “We have to build a country in which none will be denied the opportunities for maximizing his order God-given potential. A Ghana where access to quality healthcare and education shall no longer be a luxury for the privileged few, but a right for every citizen. A Ghana where every young person desirous of working will find the skills and employment with a decent wage. A Ghana where we do not only build a future for our youth, but also build our youth for the future. A Ghana where our hard-working entrepreneurs can easily access capital. A Ghana where our young people will be well-educated and empowered to better compete in the global economy. A Ghana where each will be his brother’s keeper. A Ghana where the elderly will spend their last years in dignity. A Ghana where our flourishing wave of freedom of expression will be guarded, respected and deepened. And,a Ghana where the safety and security of every individual andcommunity are well assured. This Ghana that we all desire for ourselves and for our children’s future, can only be attained when we guard the freedoms that enable us to unleash our potentials, and manage our resources with competence and integrity.” Let us think on these things.

NANA KOFI OPPONG-DAMOAH DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR NANA ADDO FOR PRESIDENT(NAFOP) 2012 -- Charles Nii Teiko Tagoe Jnr

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