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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I would rather be told the cost of the Mahama outboard motors


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I am not on Ground Zero, so I cannot quite fathom why the redenomination of the nation’s legal tender, The Cedi, during the tenure of the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has become such a big deal with President John Dramani Mahama and the rest of the Flagstaff House’s Abongo Boys, when we ought to be discussing the flagging economy and the cost, both in the short- and long-term, of Dumsor on Ghanaian businesses (See “Mahama Goofed Big Time on Cost of Cedi Redenomination – Baako” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/16/16).

That the cedi’s redenomination exercise occurred under the tenure of the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party makes raising the matter at this time seem all the more desperate on the part of President Mahama. Take into account the fact that this was a decade ago, and such exhibition of desperation could not be more abjectly so. Or maybe the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House has been hiding something from the Ghanaian public of which he has been feeling especially guilty, thus his characteristic, albeit decidedly jaded, resort to equalizing the scores in order to make himself feel comfortable with whatever may be gnawing at his conscience.

Attempting to settle scores with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, on this count will not wash because, even as one of the several deputy-governors of the Bank of Ghana at the time, Dr. Bawumia did not actually run institutional policy. He, however, is well known and widely acknowledged to have significantly assisted in running and/or shaping policy measures. The real shot-caller, of course, was Dr. Paul Acquah.

Yes, Dr. Bawumia had led the team of banking and economics experts who undertook the redenomination of the cedi. But whatever costs were involved is at this juncture decidedly beside the point. What we really ought to be talking about is the inexcusably poor management of the country’s economy by the Rawlings-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that necessitated the redenomination exercise. For well before the time that the cedi’s redenomination exercise took place, our national currency had effectively become a shinplaster or absolutely worthless.

Even so, the cost of the redenomination exercise was widely publicized and can be readily accessed via the World-Wide Web; and so when Dr. Bawumia criticizes the man he fervidly would have retired come Election 2016, by describing Little Dramani as inexcusably, as well as indescribably, incompetent, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the NPP is unmistakably on point.

For what Mr. Mahama’s query implies is that for the nearly ten years that he has been comfortably holed up in the Jubilee-Flagstaff House, the former Atta-Mills arch-lieutenant has been up and doing about everything except what he ought to be mostly about, to wit, the people’s business.

It also shows that whatever passes for a research team at the presidency is only so in name, rather than in practice. This is also another good reason for anybody to unreservedly concur with Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, the NPP-MP for Obuasi-West, that it is about time the Ford Expedition payola laureate retired in order to have more time to fully enjoy whatever else he may have ignobly used the people’s name to acquire.

We are also given to understand by the record books that the cedi’s redenomination exercise did cost the Ghanaian taxpayer some $66.2 million or approximately GH?62 billion. Now, what Ghanaians have every right to know is the cost involved in appropriating the cash-strapped taxpayer’s money to purchase and freely distribute outboard motors to fishermen in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area.

Also, precisely how many outboard motors were distributed? As well as commercial head pans? Mr. Daniel Batidam, the President’s adviser against corruption in government, claims that the outboard motors were part of the larger government budget.

Even more importantly, we also know whether using the outboard motors to promote his reelection bid or buying votes was part of our national development budget. Ultimately, though, what enthuses us the most is what this flagrant and patent act of desperation tells us about how effectively Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia have been campaigning in the Western Region.

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