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Opinions of Friday, 29 July 2016

Columnist: Statesman Opinion

Mahama should not be allowed to use state funds to buy votes again

Many Ghanaians fear the GHS1.8 billion additional amount being requested by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress to meet expenditures for the rest of this election year will eventually end up being channeled through vote-buying schemes.

And the people cannot be wrong because President Mahama is known to be the mastermind of the worst ever reckless election year overspending in the country, witnessed in 2012.

Ghanaians have not forgotten the fact that the last three months to the 2012 election witnessed an unusually shocking disbursement of huge state funds under very bizarre circumstances. The funds which were siphoned through some organizations, using phantom programmes, eventually ended up in the coffers of the NDC to execute the vote buying scheme.

The evidence included the distribution of rlg laptops embossed with the campaign pictures of Mr Mahama. Also, truck load of motorbikes, bicycles, outboard motors, sewing machines, rice, cloth, and phones followed NDC campaign vehicles as the governing party invaded communities in target areas buying votes. That unpatriotic act of reckless and criminal overspending is what eventually combined with other self-inflicted factors to engender the current economic crisis facing the country, with excruciatingly untold hardships foisted on the people.

Ghana is now facing serious economic crisis, with the economy financially cornered, leaving the Mahama government with little money to effectively carry out the responsibility it owes the nation.

The near-collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme, the collapse of the free maternal health care delivery system, the cancellation of payment of allowances for trainee teachers and nurses, among others, are all the result of the serious financial challenges confronting the nation.

And after wrecking the nation's coffers beyond repairs, and having failed to put in place effective measures to remedy the situation, President Mahama and the NDC have given the clearest indication that they intend to employ the same means in their desperate bid to perpetuate their failed regime.

They want an amount of GHS1.8 billion for this obvious unpatriotic agenda. Where will this money come from? They claim the money will come from the energy sector levies. But that will still not be enough; so they will go and borrow to make up the difference: and use the money to buy our votes.

Already, the reckless spending is in motion with almost every media space secured to advertise common and normal projects the government has executed, after taking loans on our behalf for such projects. And it is nauseating to see even artist impressions being showcased to the nation as an achievement for which we should vote to retain President Mahama in office.

The plan to buy votes with state resources even becomes very crucial for the Mahama government, considering how the president has become unpopular with the electorate in view of his stinking governance record: corruption, naked stealing and gross economic mismanagement, lies, deceit and propaganda. Ghanaians therefore need to be smart, this time around, and ensure that the evil scheme of President Mahama and his cohorts does not work, for our suffering to escalate in the next four years after the elections.

It will be most unfortunate for Ghanaians to allow President Mahama to use our resources once again to buy our votes, only to turn round to foist extreme hardships on us, through imposition of killer taxes and extremely outrageous hikes in utility tariffs, as it being experienced now.

Once again, we want to draw attention to the fact that the worst ever mishap we can ever bring upon ourselves as a nation is to allow a failed, incompetent and corrupt government to use our own resources to buy our votes, to stay in power and perpetuate the gross economic mismanagement, with its concomitant excruciating hardships.

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