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Opinions of Friday, 13 October 2017

Columnist: Emmanuel Siisi Quainoo

An insulting President and his populist offerings

President Akufo Addo, last Tuesday, heaped scorn on Ghanaians who have expressed reservations about the propriety of some of his policies and their impact on the fortunes of the nation. According to the septuagenarian President, persons calling into question the viability of his proposals are “professional sceptics and cynics”.

The Presidential attack came during his address at a most unnecessary and profligate event, financed at great cost to the tax payer, to announce to Ghanaians that nursing trainees have received the first payment of their allowances promised in the heat of the 2016 electoral campaign.

We are astonished that the President can exhibit this level of intolerance akin to the near-childish tantrums of erratic United States President, Donald Trump and proceed to launch such a vituperative broadside against Ghanaians freely expressing their views and cautioning against the implementation of populist policies intended only to win votes but which could plunge the country into far deeper problems than we currently face.

As President, he is required to demonstrate equanimity and more gravitas than he displayed in Sunyani. Akufo Addo must also realise that the implementation of ill-considered policies intended to earn praise rather than resolve fundamental problems of the country cannot form a basis to deny citizens their say.

We will not be petrified like cavemen being introduced to the concept of fire simply because some uncritical media hirelings will sing his praise all day on account of his meagre offerings. The payment of allowances to nursing trainees, flawed as it and the half-hearted implementation of the so-called Free SHS cannot be the be all and end all of national development. As things stand now, his government has not even begun to scratch the surface of the hydra-headed problems that confront our nation.

Yet, many of his promises stand unfulfilled even as Ghanaians smart under excruciating hardships brought upon them by rampant fuel price increases, high electricity tariffs and an escalating cost of living.

Not even the implementation of all the promises contained in the NPP manifesto of 2016 will resolve all of our problems and as such, Ghanaians will always be in with a shout regarding the governance of the country.

We notice that Akufo Addo will prefer that Ghanaians lie prostrate and shower appellations on him as was the case when a handful of nursing trainees were drafted to “thank” him for restoring allowances. It is not clear whether Akufo Addo and his henchmen are even aware of the illogic inherent in paying students to go to school only to be unable to employ them when they graduate because money cannot be found to pay them.

We will not shrink form our responsibility to draw attention to the ills of this government and keep it on its toes. If it earns us the tag of professional sceptics and cynics, we will wear it proudly like a badge.