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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Columnist: Adamu, Tanko Balik

A Catalog of miscues of Mills and his NDC in Ghana

January 23, 2011

A Catalog of miscues of President John Atta Mills and his NDC in Ghana since January 2009

As a young Ghanaian, I have been mystified by the level of arrogance and insensitivity of our current crop of “leaders”. To find an answer, I decided to have an open mind and do a thorough assessment of the government of today. This review exposed me to facts that I wish to share with my fellow countrymen and women. It is my hope that supporters of the government of the day will find within this piece a reason to get the government to put its act together and change course if only they have the interests of Ghanaians at heart. I will do this by looking at their performance and actions with regards to the Economy, the education sector, governance in general, the health sector, and our foreign policy and conclude with a list of serious errors that the nation should pay attention to.
On the Economy, we have been told time and again that the NDC government came into power to meet a tattered economy. We have been told of the NDC government’s economic successes through the use of various economic indicators such as the GDP and direct foreign investments in Ghana. We have also been told that we could not compare the two years “achievements” of the NDC to the eight years of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government that had been led by President J. A. Kuffour. I agree that it will not be fair to them so I decided to take a look at the last two years of the NPP rule to get the basis of what NDC was dealt with and compare to the last two of Jerry John Rawlings’ era which will also give us a basis of what the NPP too was dealt with. Then a comparison of the first two years of both parties. With this, I believe Ghanaians will understand how fair the playing field will be for the two governments. The NDC left the NPP with a GDP of $4,977,488,790, a total direct foreign investment of $165,900,000, an annual inflation rate of 25.2 and a total external debt of $6,115,902,000 at the end of year 2000. The NPP at the end of 2008 registered a total GDP of $28,526,922,399, a total direct foreign investment of $2,111,590,000 and an inflation rate of 16.5. The total external debt stood at $4,927,451,000 at the end of 2008. The first year of the NPP saw an increase in the total GDP to $5,309,158,304 from what they had been dealt with. Contrast that to the NDC that saw a decrease in the GDP in their first year, recording a total of $26,169,336,384 in 2009. The NPP recorded a total direct foreign investment of $89,300,000 in their first year which was a significant decline from what they were left with. They also failed to tackle inflation making it rise to 32.1 and only moderately increased the external debt to $6,342,650,000. Their counterparts on the other hand, significantly increased the national debt to$5,719,893,000 in their first year in addition to significantly reducing direct foreign investments to $1,684,740,000. Even with their celebrated success of controlling inflation, it ended the year at 19.3 whereas the NPP government with all the election year expenditure ended the year 2008 with an annual inflation rate of 16.5 (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator). People familiar with the numbers, can thus conclude without fear of contradiction that President Mills and his economic management team have woefully failed Ghanaians. Instead of giving them a “better Ghana”, the numbers suggests that they are trending negatively. These are World Bank numbers and they don’t lie.
On the education front, President Mills and his government came to power with a beef that the NPP government increased the number of years spent at a High School from three (3) years to four (4) years without providing adequate infrastructure. If we grant them this reason, what will naturally be the solution? People with logic will say PROVIDE THE INFRASTRUCTURE! No, not for President Mills and his ilk of poor thinking half educated people! Their solution was to cut down on the number of years spent in school back to three (3). They forgot that by returning to three years, they were going to have to hold back a graduating class for another year thereby creating a greater demand for infrastructure. The consequence of their decision has been well documented for Ghanaians. For the first time in Ghana’s history, senior high school kids had to sleep in tents and make up housing units. They were in some cases exposed to all manner of diseases and there were reported cases of some school refusing to admit new students. The NDC was perfectly willing to sacrifice the future of Ghanaian kids to satisfy their political vendetta. This might just be the “Better Ghana” I am missing.
When it comes to the area of governance, the NDC under the leadership of President Mills have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that they are in over their heads. They are yet to provide Ghanaians a clear direction of where they are taking Ghana. They have largely been engaged in “putting out” small fires here and there and do not seem to have an idea of what the needs of Ghanaians are. If this was all they did, some of us may not have been worried. Under the NDC we have come to experience a different meaning of what it meant to be a foot soldier. This group of mostly uneducated and unemployable youth has sought through the NDC to disrupt the peace of Ghanaians. They have embarked on confiscation of vehicles, toilets and locking down the offices of people they happen to disagree with. What is actually embarrassing about these people is the government’s inability to curb their activities two years down their rule. This failure by the President has seen these foot soldiers take their activities a step further. They now decide who gets to be a DCE or even a Minister from within their own party. They are on record to have chased out the Ashanti Regional Minister and a few DCEs. As if this was not embarrassing enough already, our President seem to be justifying this lawlessness when he recently proclaimed that the foot soldiers want jobs hence their disregard for the laws of Ghana. Mr. President my question to you is should you not be providing them the jobs that you said they needed so the rest of us can enjoy our peace?
As if to add insults onto injuries, the current government of Ghana does not even appear to know how to organize anything besides demonstrations and fake surprise visits. We all saw the humiliation that Ghana was subjected to when the Vice President and the Koreans met to sign the infamous STX agreement. It was at this signing event that the parties realized they could not sign the agreement for reasons we all do not know yet. Apart from the fact that this had wasted everybody’s time, it also cost money even if it was just to the Koreans. Where quality of work is evaluated, somebody would have been fired and if I were the Koreans, I may not have gone ahead with this deal. If the people I am working with are unable to organize a simple signing event as a nation, I will have little confidence in their ability to execute.
Talking about the ability to execute, the organization of the recent population and housing census and the District Assembly elections have exposed the incompetence of this government. I have head the excuse of not accepting responsibility for the failure of these institutions with the argument that they are independent institutions. Imagine if this excuse had been given by the NPP for the failure of Ghana Army, the police and telecom during the murder of the Yaa Naa. I guess when it comes to the NPP every government institution is run by the government but it is different with the NDC. These were not the only bungled events within the last two years. We saw the organization that became an embarrassment to Ghana during the World Cup. We did not only have our brethren stranded in Ghana, but we took it to South Africa and put ourselves out there for the entire world to see. I will not talk about the Hajj organization due to my disapproval of the government’s involvement in personal religious activities but there was a mess in its organization nonetheless. We got so bad that we even manage to mess up events even when they are not organized by the government. The examples that come to mind are all the destructions the NDC manage to secure not only at festivals in the Central Region but also at funerals in the Northern Region. Shouldn’t the president take personal responsibility for hiring whoever he has hired to create all these mess?
Still in governance, this government has managed to confuse the entire country on the subject of single spine. As I write right now, I do not know where it stands. Its implementation has become such a nightmare. All we know right now is that it is going to be implemented in phases thereby dividing the Ghanaian population. This might just be an illegality for I smell discrimination amongst Ghanaian workers. I will be curious to know how the decision of who gets to go on single spine now and who gets to wait is taken. Apart from this fact, it is going to cost Ghana money in terms of salary arrears whenever the government gets around to implementing it. Ghanaians should start calculating the cost to the state for everyday that this policy is not implemented in full. Another question I will like to ask the president is what he thinks will happen to the economy should he implement this policy in full?
What about the health sector? The government unrealistically promised to get Ghanaians on a single premium. This policy is yet to see the light of day, thank God! It is safe to say at the moment that the only damage that has been done so far is the forceful closure of some NHIS offices. We have also been told my sources that the scheme itself is broke and is about to fail in just two years of NDC rule. Once again, they have been quick to blame the NPP for not setting up a stronger scheme as if they were elected to be spectators of what NPP was doing. Please President Mills, I am pleading with you to start fixing the problems you are seeing. Do not make them worse if you cannot fix them. You have so far started to build hospitals and clinics. That is a good thing and I just hope you take steps to make the scheme solvent again.
When it comes to how we relate with other countries, President Mills through his desire to eat his cake and still have it has managed to confuse everybody around him. Our foreign policy (if we have any) is one of destroying our alliances thereby making us as unreliable as we can be. If you remove the President’s clear desire to align more with China rather than the West, his stands on the Ivory Coast saga makes for a scary scenario for our country. We as a nation need to explain to our President that Ghana is not an island and therefore cannot live by his “mind your own business” foreign policy. Everything he is afraid of if Ghana’s troops were sent to Ivory Coast is still feasible if other countries were to go to Ivory Coast for the reason of enforcing democracy. The choices President Mills has is either to fight for democracy in Ivory Coast and fight for peace in his country or fight against democracy when others do it in Ivory Coast. Either ways, Ghana is still vulnerable and he has to choose a better master. For somebody who draws his lessons from China (A country with no democracy), I am not surprised by his choices in Ivory Coast.
A short litany of other miscues by the NDC government under President John Evans Atta Mills that are worthy of noting include but are not limited to;
1. EEOC raiding the offices of the GFA and confiscating their computers. This prompted FIFA to warn Ghana and who knows what will follow?
2. Government interference has already led to the banning of Ghana by the IOC. First in our history.
3. The leadership of President Mills has seen two Ghanaians arrested one for calling the president names and the other for daring to suspect that President Rawlings might have burnt his own house. We also saw the arrest and detention of one Amina Mohammed for well over 48 hours without any charges being preferred against her. These are serious threats to one of our fundamental freedoms as a people and Ghanaians should demand explanations.
In sum the two years of President Mills has seen Ghana make a lot of avoidable mistakes. These are by no means all of their mistakes. There are even mistakes that we in the general public may not know about. These mistakes if they are not corrected will see them being repeated over the next two years and only God knows how large they will be. It is my hope that this piece of mine will be used as a way to look back and reflect on the questions that will arise in 2012. The NDC apologists can choose the easier way of insulting and giving excuses and we can all see where Ghana will go.
Thank you for the space and time.

God bless Ghana!

Tanko Balik Adamu
Pittsburgh, PA
USA