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Opinions of Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Columnist: Kessey, Michael Bismark Bekoe

Change is coming like 'kakai'

By Michael Bismark Bekoe Kessey

The heat of change has gradually touched the hearts of many discerning Ghanaians without a shred of doubt as Ghanaians can now differentiate clearly between bad and good governance.

Of course, coming events cast their shadows as the wind of change is hunting the underperforming NDC like a monster all because all their efforts and plans to defame and destroy Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s credibility to make him unpopular had rather made him more popular than before.

They thought they could use their diabolic propaganda machinery to make mockery of him when he was captured in a picture drinking Kalipo. The same NDC leadership who has not spared our ears of patronizing made in Ghana goods or products have made a U-turn to tell us it is bad to drink Kalipo because it contains sugar and yet have built Komenda sugar factory.

There is no doubt that, the underperforming NDC government is being chased by their own shadows. Of course it does not need a soothsayer to say that this government has woefully failed Ghanaians when it comes to addressing the needs of the citizens since they assumed the reins of governance in 2009 and it seem the plight of Ghanaians is growing from bad to worse.

The facts are so glaring on the wall that, there has been too much rhetoric and gimmick, palpable deception and broken promises that Ghanaians have to grapple with over the past 8 years of the NDC administration. A recent survey conducted by IMANI Ghana, an economic tink tank suggests that the NDC has succeeded in fulfilling Fifty-two (52) percent of their campaign promises.

The fundamental question is that where the so-called “Better Ghana agenda” promised Ghanaians by this government? In any case if the survey is anything to go by then the NDC’s mantra of “Better Ghana agenda” was premised on a good Ghana, which means the country’s growth percentage index was pegged at around 60 percent per their slogan.

Now the findings presuppose that Ghana is declining from its precious gains in terms of economic growth.

All over the world economic growth is triggered by sound economic policies initiated and implemented by visionary and competent leaders who can pull the strings to turn the fortunes of the citizens to the path of growth. These policies serves as a link to addressing the most essential needs of the people and a framework that propels all other interrelated sectors of the economy into opportunities for businesses to flourish and creating job opportunities for all.

Given the foregoing observations, the problem may be stated by means of the big question, what are the significant policies put in place by the Mahama-led government over the past eight (8) years to provide solutions to the many challenges confronting the ordinary Ghanaian? It is obvious that the government’s interest is centered on protecting the interest of its appointees, party fanatics, excessive borrowing, corruption, bloating of contract sums at the expense of Ghanaians.

Bad governance cannot propel national development, and it is instructive to note that well- planned policies and strategies geared towards individual heads and collective interests as well as ensuring improvement and efficiency in the government machinery are the main prerequisite of a competent government.

For example, on the 30th May, 2016 the minister for roads and transport, Joe Gidisu was cited by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament to have bloated the contract sum of the Achimota- Ofankor road construction project from its estimated cost of GHC 404 million to GHC120 million.

What this means is that a whooping GHC87.6 million has ended up in wrong hands at the expense of the tax payer against the backdrop of excruciating hardship that the Ghanaian has to grapple with. The only good thing the government of the day could do is to marshal strong radio commentators to rebuff the report and the minister in question also organizing a press conference to manage a damage control without any proper investigation to disprove this report.

The United Nations define good governance as the one that promotes equity, participation, transparency, accountability, rule of law and responsive to meeting the needs of the people. By this definition it is obvious that good governance is the sir-qua-non for development and progress. Picking some of the key ingredients such as responsibility and accountability for instance, one can clearly affirm without any equivocation that this government has been woefully scanty and deficient to a large extent.

A typical example is the case of the former minister for youth and sports Elvis Afriyie Ankrah who was indicted by the Dzamefe committee of embezzlement and unsupported expenditure in Ghana’s participation in the Brazil 2014 World Cup competition.

Outlandishly, this incriminated and indecorous personality was assigned yet another ministerial role at the presidency to shield him from facing the law. It should be noted with glean concern that the Dzamefe committee recommended that the minister refund the money to the state coffers yet no serious attempts were made by the president to retrieve the money.

Unfortunately, this same government began to lament badly of shortfalls of revenues and deem it expedient to add more taxes to petroleum products in his attempt to slothfully address this supposedly shortfalls at the peril of the suffering Ghanaians.

The question is does the government has the moral right to tax the Ghanaian on this grounds even when it turns out that, the government is engaging in wasteful expenditure? Where lies the significance of the much touted slogan “People matter, you matter” as chanted by this NDC leadership during their campaign?

During president J A Kufour’s administration in the wake of the global economic downturn against the backdrop of highest crude oil hikes of $ 147 dollars a barrel, severe measures were put in place to alleviate the effort on the Ghanaian.

To this extent, a gallon of petrol was sold for GHC5.00 notwithstanding the cheap propaganda that was fizzled out by this same government of accusing the then president of being insensitive.

Now, the World prize is less than $ 70 dollar margin, yet prizes are adjusted intermittently with the rippling cost of high transportation cost and its attendant consequences of high cost of goods and services.

Again, there has been a high incidence of graduate unemployment as a result of policy credibility conditionality spelt out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put a freeze on fresh recruitments.

It is significant to argue that if some level of financial discipline and profligate expenses had been adhered to the high gap of unemployment could have been addressed to some extent.

This is also significant of the many dubious judgment debt cases that government has succeeded to use as means to loot the state coffers. Clear instances are the infamous Woyome judgment debt saga, Isofoton, Construction pioneers (CP). Savanna Accelerated Development Fund (SADA), SUBA information solution, Ghana Youth and Entrepreneurship Development (GYEEDA), the needless bus branding saga, among others are classical examples of financial malfeasance and blatant embezzlement of this Mahama-led government.

The question is, what picture are we portraying to the international community in terms of leadership and economic management? It is ludicrous to say the least the kind people we are when we go to seek financial assistance whilst we languish in need in the midst of availability.

Ironically, one could be bemused to hear the president wasting the tax payer’s money on his so called Accounting to the people tour. Again, what is he accounting for? Is it the GYEEDA money, ISOFOTON, SUBA, SADA or WOYOME’s judgment debt saga?

I can say that the president is only feeding on the ignorance of the people to display his sheer failure and deficient administration. They say the truest form of accountability is how society reacts when leaders abuse their mandate. The Mahama government is abusing Ghanaians with sheer impudence and arrogance and does not deserve a third term.

Martin Luther King Junior said “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but it comes through continuous struggles. We must straighten our backs and work for our freedom for a man cannot ride you unless your back is bent”.

Change is inevitable if Ghana can return to its path of economic recovery, then John Dramani Mahama is not an option but rather a discipline, competent, visionary, incorruptible, selfless and patriotic citizen in the person of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo ( Kayiri Naa) is the obvious choice.

It will therefore suffice to say that, change is non- negotiable especially now that the opportunity is presented to Ghanaians once again to elect a competent leader come 7th day of December, 2016 to change the country’s deteriorating fortunes. God did not put us here to be poor but it is bad leadership that has made us poor.

We can set a positive agenda in motion on the 7th December, 2016 that will mark the beginning of a positive change in the right direction.