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Opinions of Thursday, 13 November 2014

Columnist: Addo, Maxwell Okamafo

Are the Political Pharisees are Jealous of Prez Mahama’s Travels

By Maxwell Okamafo Addo

I have always believed that it is important that Ghanaians begin to show serious interest not only in the party in power but the opposition too This has been my conviction because the strength of a nation’s democracy is in how vibrant the opposition is but unfortunately it’s not so here in Ghana. For manydiscerning minds,the greatest threat to Ghana’s democratic culture and obstacle to a rapid socio-economic development is not the actions or inactions of the party in power but how poor our opposition tradition . In fact, political opposition is to democracy what spice is to stew. The opposition is supposed to offer the electorates credible alternatives. Unfortunately, opposition parties in Ghana have reduced itself to mere assemblage of alarmists and propaganda bearers. They are mostly known for raising alarms about plans by the ruling party to rig elections like they did in the last elections resulting to election petitions at the superior court of the land which they lost. This is not the kind of political atmosphere that opposition politics thrive in modern democracies. The quality of opposition language in the country has become not only disgusting but inciting too. They have abandoned democracy to embrace insultocracy, a negative political culture that is based on insulting political opponents . A day hardly passes without him insulting the person of the president all in the name of opposition politics in Ghana. If you are a politician in Ghana and you wake up in the morning from 6 am to 10 am and you do not hear your name on the airwaves about accusations against you then thank your stars. I know that the NPP is in opposition, but the business of the opposition should include acknowledging their opponent where he has done well. The opposition should not deny praise to whom it is due as former Chief of staff Mr kojo Mpiani has done on President Mahamas travels, but we should be Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. I do not have any grudge on politicians plying their trade, but they should stop the politicization of everything including the travels of President Mahama.

Opposition in Ghana has weakened due to the absence of a defined ideology. We have seen members of the opposition jump from party to party without any ideological framework. The only constant feature is the lust for power. As a result we do not have a formidable opposition that can make a difference politically.

We expected an opposition devoid of pettiness and cheap blackmail. We expected an opposition that would be defined by principles and ideals. We expected an opposition that would present a clear cut, well defined, and practicable alternative to the present. We expected a credible opposition based on principles.. All we hear is “Give us Power.” Nana is our next President,but what is Nana Addo going to do differently? What are his plans? Ghanaians need to know what agenda he has before they give him power. Which would not happen .

Whilst President Mahama is working hard and is focused on delivering to Ghanaians all that that NPP is doing is singing dirges and as usual songs of sorrow.

They cannot communicate the NPP agenda to Ghanaians like the NDC is doing, At the moment the present opposition style of chasing shadows and leaving the substance behind has played to the advantage of the incumbent because the populace understands the NDC and its ideologies

Like Mr. Mpini said he did not believe that the President would just get up and be traveling for its sake but because they did it to former President Kufour, hmmm.

Apart from Mr. Kojo Mpiani who is spot on the subject Presidential travels there are some Political Pharisees who wear progressivism on their sleeves but knows that Prez Mahama is working and are Jealous of his Travels. Like almost any other field of human activity, admits participants for various reasons. To some people, the essence of politics is simply the pursuit of power. But those who make the pursuit of power their sole objective do not build their programmes around the people. To an outsider, who thinks that President John Mahama is traveling to much is just throwing caution to the wind and may be a daunting exercise, simply because they look at it from a myopic perspective. To a jaundiced critic, President Mahama is seen from a different perspective and not what the grassroots think about him, thus the catalyst of change in Ghana, the desire to further help in bringing development and creating opportunities. What stands President Mahama out among his peers in opposition is the unique ability to connect with the people and make them part and parcel of the processes of progressive governance. So would want to use vile antagonism and media propaganda sponsored by Mahama’s traducers would not work. There is an akan proverb in Obosomase Akuapim where I hail from, it says we do not appreciate the result of the movements of a woman holed in the kitchen until she presents the outcome of her efforts at the table before her husband and his guests. The head of the family and his friends would hear her singing, accompanied by a clatter of cooking utensils and footsteps. But since they hardly understand what is happening, the hungry hectoring husband and friends would harass the woman to hurry up.

Later, the aroma of the soup would waft through to them and that is when they would have a foretaste of what is on the way. Finally, the salivating guests would come face to face with the product from the kitchen; they would hail the woman and salute her work. It would dawn on them that what they did earlier, being impatient and raining verbal assaults on the woman while she was in the kitchen, was uncalled for! President John Dramani Mahama has repeatedly told Ghanaians not to despair about the current challenges the country is facing because it would be over soon. He says we should hold him to his word, the oath he swore to, namely to abide by the constitution and give all his best in service to the country. Like the cook in the kitchen, he says he is preparing a delicacy that would delight us all. Just Some few weeks ago, Member of Parliament for Manhyia, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, criticized what he described as wasteful foreign travels by President John Mahama.

In his view, the frequent trips abroad by the president have not yielded any positive results for Ghana in spite of the burden of huge per diems and entourage that that nation has to foot.

“President Mahama has broken the record of presidential travels abroad in the history of Ghana. In the last three months, he is virtually out of the country every week yet Ghanaians are languishing in abject poverty,” he added.

Dr. Opoku Prepmeh, popularly called 'Napo', made the comment on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Tuesday. That is why I am calling on Ghanaians especially the youth not to be deceived by people who are uninformed and warped on issues involving the presidents travels and would describe it as usual petty but moronic tantrums! As a Ghanaian, I have some few questions for Hon Napo, "How many times does he travel in a month? How many times does he travel in a quarter? In any case, is there a budget for President's travels? And if there is he should let us know, and is there a shred of evidence from parliament that he has overstretched his budget. President Mahama, who is also the chairman of Ecowas, some few weeks ago left the country for the United Kingdom and took time off to embark on a two-day official visit to Denmark. After that visit he traveled to Oslo, Norway on Monday, October 27 to address a wide group of businessmen and investors.

Prior to this, he had made several travels and visited countries like US, Turkey, China, Dubai, Japan and most of the African countries as President. What is wrong with it, as Dr. Opoku Prempeh wants to make a case out of?

Just because former President John Kufuor was criticized for frequent foreign trips, he wants to compare notes. And, for the records, former President Kufour had traveling as his hobby.

President John Dramani Mahama knows our pain as Ghanaians, because he’s been there. So as a people, we should look beyond the hardship we have endured; see a new beginning, a new direction, a new spirit. Ghanaians, so that what we see in our dreams as Ghanaians, we can achieve it together with him. There is hope in Ghana now. The moment is right. The signs are heart-warming. We are ready to take off on the path of sustained growth and economic development under President Mahama as we are gradually seeing. He’s a leader with focus, a leader that has his people at heart and a leader full of best dreams for a greater Ghana tomorrow. Go on our working Mr. President. Irrespective of challenges experienced by the administration in some months, we are still proud of you. As a privileged and an elected member of parliament, I expect him to have an idea of the extent of meticulous work being done almost all the sectors of our economy from Power Sector, marked improvements in Generation, Transmission and Distribution but especially in the Privatization of the sector. The effects the of reforms, the Bui Dam ,the Ghana Gas Project , the greatest transformation in the Power Sector in this country's history.

The most audacious developments are in the infrastructure, development energy, water, education transportation sector - rails and airports.

President Mahama told us some few days ago made us aware that oil and gas exploration at Keta in the Volta region was a reality, financing of rice production, to make the region the hub of rice production and the expansion of salt production as some of the initiatives are on course. . Roads in the cocoa growing regions, President Mahama said are on course and that COCOBOD had set aside a total $ 150 million for the construction of roads in all the six regions.

Government is also financing the construction and upgrading of all feeder roads throughout the country.

Already work on Takoradi Port expansion is progressing steadily, a project that he personally cut the sod on 4th December 2013

President John Dramani Mahama has also announced that government, in collaboration with London-based Lohnro Company, would establish a new oil services Port in Takoradi.

Under President Mahama government had earmarked a total of $750 million for the improvement of roads in the country for the next four years,

Under President Mahama Ghana has witnessed impressive socio-economic developments the building new roads and bridges; expand electricity generation to energize the economy and society; improve access to good drinking water and health facilities; and improve sanitation and human security.

QUALITY EDUCATION

Under President Mahama a total of 10,000 students would benefit from a three-year scholarship scheme under the secondary education improvement project.

Out of the number, 60 per cent of them would be girls, selected from low income families throughout the country.

The grant would support the Ghana Secondary Education Improvement Project, which aims to enroll 30,000 new secondary students, improve learning outcomes for 150,000 students in low-performing schools, and 2000 senior high school teachers, head teachers and other education officials.

Work for the construction of 200 new community Basic SHS has begun with the sod cutting of 50 initial schools in the Eastern Region is near completion.

Pro-poor interventions like the distribution of free school uniforms, free exercise books and free computers.

Under President Mahama,10 existing Polytechnic are being expanded to make it degree-awarding courses, Under President Mahama all teacher training colleges have been upgraded to tertiary status, a move to produce the best, qualified teachers in order to drive education in the right direction. HEALTH Construction an ultra-modern, 600-bed Teaching Hospital for the University of Ghana. Start the processes for the establishment of Regional hospitals in the Eastern and Upper East Regions; work on the Regional hospital project in Wa in the Upper West Region. Upgrade the Central and Volta regional hospitals into teaching hospitals to expand the scope for training medical doctors and other healthcare specialists. Commencement of work on six District Hospitals at Dodowa, Abetifi, Fomena, Garu, Kumawu, and Sekondi. The refurbishment of the Takoradi European hospital will commence in earnest. Ongoing works on 1,600 CHIPS compounds across the country by the end of 2016. University of Allied and Health Sciences. YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT Work on Cape Coast Stadium is progressing, the GH¢10 million for Youth Jobs and Enterprise Development Fund has been launched to encourage and support young people to become successful entrepreneurs and create sustainable job.

ROADS

commercially viable routes along the Western, Eastern and Central Corridor roads. Ongoing road projects including the Kpando- Worawora- Dambai, Asankragwa- Enchi, Navrongo- Tumu and the Achimota- Ofankor, Madina- Pantang, Nsawam- Suhum-Apedwa, La- Teshie and the Apaaso- Kintampo roads. Sefwi Bekwai- Eshiem- Asankragwa, Bomfa Junction- Asiwa- Bekwai, Tetteh Quarshie-Madina and the Berekum- Sampa roads are all ongoing.

RAILWAY

Revamp and modernize the railway sector, expansion of the airports in Kumasi, Tamale, and Takoradi is on course.

ENERGY AND PETROLEUM

Government expects the addition of over 500 MW of installed generation capacity this year. 132 MW from the Takoradi 3 Thermal Plant has been finished and inaugurated, 130 MW from the Bui Hydroelectric Power Project that has helped in the increment to 400MW Work has also started on a 161 kV Tumu-Han-Wa transmission line in the Upper West Region.

Other projects are the Kpando-Kadjebi Transmission Project, a new 330KV transmission line from Aboadze–Prestea-Kumasi- Tamale- Bolgatanga among others.

The Ghana Gas project is near completion and is progressing steadily at Atuabo in the Elemebelle district of the Western Region.

Recently there was a sod cutting Komenda sugar factor , then the Kumasi shoe factory which has started producing boots and shoes for the most organizations in the country , the Circle interchange ,Mallam and kasoa overheads, are all part of the better Ghana agenda by President Mahama.

Before this latest trip going to the Vatican, he had been to Burkina Faso as ECOWAS Chair to help resolve the political turmoil in Ghana’s northern neighbor following the ousting of President Blaise Compare by a people’s uprising. Then held the Ecowas emergency summit in Ghana on Ebola, then took off to Nigeria Friday and then headed for the Vatican all in the name of a great nation Ghana. Ghanaians should beware when NPP comes bearing gifts!

President Mahama would continue to take charge of Affairs of Ghana