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Opinions of Saturday, 6 December 2008

Columnist: Amponsah, J A

Don't gamble with your vote

Don’t gamble with your vote, who is your best bet on election day?
Human rights
There is no doubt that NPP has far better human rights record than NDC. In fact, it appears that NPP human rights records are as good as most Western countries. Since NPP came into power, Ghanaians have enjoyed an unprecedented freedom of speech and other forms of human right protection. For instance, as recent as less than two weeks ago, Ghana came 29th on a worldwide survey of freedom of speech and was second best African country on the list. In contrast, during the reign of P/NDC, what Ghanaians experienced was ‘a culture of silence’ with many Ghanaians terrorised when they say anything to oppose the P/NDC government. Even during the last year of Mr Rawlings NDC civilian government, many people were tortured. Why would you want to go back to the age where citizens lived in fear?
The NPP government has managed the economy of Ghana so well that it has prompted many international organisations to believe that if the good work continues, Ghana is on course to become an emerging economy soon, many international organisations and countries have recognised the achievement of NPP government as discussed below: In September 2008, the Thomson Financial’s International Financing Review (IFR) gave “a prestigious award to Ghana as the most emerging economy in the world for the year 2007. Ghana emerged as the winner following a year of intense scrutiny and monitoring of the emerging global economic activities by Thomson IFR's independent, global team of expert reporters and analysts”. The IFR award represents the key industry benchmark of global capital markets and national economic excellence. Further, a survey by IMF has suggested that the Ghanaian economy has performed very strong in recent years. For instance, Mr Piroska M. Nagy the IMF mission chief for Ghana reported that "Ghana is no longer a typical low-income country …it's not yet an emerging market, but it's in transition. It's at the frontier." In that survey, it was discussed that Ghana's economy has been growing at an average of over 6 percent a year and, with lower inflation, better fiscal discipline, and slightly higher growth—around 7.5-8 percent a year—the Ghanaian government could meet its goal of achieving middle-income status by 2015. With poverty now less than half its level of the late 1990s, Ghana is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal for poverty reduction. Why will you go back to NDC and reverse the economic progress? The survey continued to state that “[a]t the beginning of the decade, Ghana was grappling with high inflation, large fiscal and external account deficits, and high external and domestic debt. In 1998-99, the country registered a poverty rate of around 58 percent, but the poverty level is now less than half its level of the late 1990s. That is a remarkable result, despite all the noise that NDC is making.
The survey also discussed that since NPP came into power the domestic debt has decreased from about 31 percent of GDP in 2001 to 13.5 percent in 2006, inflation has come down from about 62 percent to below 20% (despite recent high oil prices). See: Moreover, in April 2005 Mr Kwame Boateng and Ije Ikoku, Graduates of the prestigious Wharton University wrote in the University Journal that “since year-end 2001, African stock markets on average have accumulated index returns of 127% in US dollar terms led by Ghana with a whopping return of 564%, which is the highest in the world over the period”. The authors suggested further that Ghana and other third countries are becoming emerging economies. Moreover, it is believed that Ghana Stock Exchange will be the best or among the best performs in 2008. see: Clearly, I can continue to produce uncountable list to buttress my argument. Suffice to state that the growth of the Ghanaian economy has accelerated under NPP and you should therefore vote for them to continue their good work.
In contrast, history tells us that NDC and its predecessor PNDC are anti business. When they were in power Chairman Rawlings demolished hotels and other properties if their owners were considered opponents. He burnt down Makola and other major markets to deprive poor people of their livelihood and set the progress of the economy back several years. In fact, Mr Rawlings personally sometimes supervised the destruction of properties of his opponents by hovering helicopter over the place where the demolition took place. As a result of their anti business attitude inflation, interest rate and unemployment stayed extremely high.
Clearly, NPP is the best economic manager among the two. And with the young talented Dr Bawumia on their vice presidential team, we can be rest assured and feel confident that we will not be disappointed.
Other factors
NDC does not have the interest of Ghana at heart. Most of their leading members including Mr Rawlings, Professor Mills have indicated that they are prepared to send the country into anarchy, if they lose the elections. They have accused NPP of intending to rig the elections in collaboration with the Electoral Commission, however, they have not been able to produce an iota of evidence to support their claim. Thus, for their selfish reason they are prepared to go on Kenyan or Zimbabwean way, without regard to the potential loss of innocent lives.
They have tried all their tricks of accusing the influential members of NPP as being cocaine dealers, but as it turned out, Mr Benneh who worked for them has confirmed that it is NDC which rather had a systematic program of dealing in cocaine when they were in power. Recently, their attempt to tarnish the image of Mame Dokono (Grace Omaboe) backfired when they accused her of trafficking drugs to South Africa. As it turned out, the hard working woman has never been to South Africa before.
Many people have written about the danger of returning NDC to power. NDC is poor economic managers, corrupt, human right abusers and so forth. The bloods of innocent Ghanaians are deeply soaked in the hands of Mr Rawlings and his cronies and it will be suicidal to vote them back into power. May the Almighty God forbid that such a calamity will befall Ghana again.
God bless and guide you all.
JA Amponsah