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General News of Sunday, 21 August 2016

Source: adomonline.com

Mahama’s claims election petition affected economy unfounded - Lawyer

Law Lecturer, Yaw Oppong, says suggestions by President John Mahama that the 2013 Presidential Election Petition created a gridlock which affected progress in the country are unsupported by the facts.

He said data presented by the government itself in the 2014 budget are clearly at variance with the claims made by the president.

Addressing party supporters at the Cape Coast Stadium during the campaign launch of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), President Mahama listed the election petition as one of the things that affected the economy negatively.

“Dissatisfied with the results of the [2012] election, our opponents tied the whole nation down in court for much of our first year in office and because of the novelty of screening the court process on TV, the whole nation was glued to the TV set for much of each day walking through pink sheets and legal arguments about the electoral process. While government continued to function optimally, the distraction of the public attention and the wait-and-see-attitude developed by sections of the international community, negatively affected national output,” the president told the crowds.

But analysing the comments on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis show Newsfile, Mr. Yaw Oppong who teaches law at the Central University Faculty of Law said the facts couldn’t be different.

“The facts as contained in the 2014 budget which is a reflection of our performance in 2013 will not speak to that,” he argued.

He said the evidence showed that there were “serious improvements in terms of exports; we did better in 2013 than in 2012; in terms of agriculture we did better in 20013 than in 2012; in terms of services sector, we did better in 2013 than in 2012; the GRA, Ghana Revenue Authority said they even exceeded their [revenue] target which we were paying taxes so overall i do not think that the immediate indices for measuring our performance...will support a claim that because of the presidential petition, we did not perform as we were expected to.”

He said it was instructive that in 2014 when there was no election petition, the economy rather performed poorly.

“We jumped from about seven growth in GDP in 2013 to about 4 percent in 2014 and 2015 was also worse [until] the latter part of 2015,” he said.

On the basis of this, he said it couldn’t possibly be argued that the petition had any noticeable effect on the country’s economy.