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Opinions of Sunday, 21 November 2021

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Governance by propaganda: How the unprecedented infrastructure turned out to be a hoax

A photo of a deplorable road A photo of a deplorable road

In September 2017, I arrived at Kotoka International Airport with a view to embarking on a fact-finding mission.

I began my travels in the company of other family members. We managed to tour some remote parts in six regions, including Greater Accra, Eastern Region, Western Region, Central Region, Brong-Ahafo Region and the Ashanti Region.

In fact, some of the roads were so deplorable to an extent that we could not travel by saloon car. Suffice it to emphasise that we only managed to travel around in a Land Rover Jeep.

Dearest reader, I could not believe what I was witnessing. I murmured in amazement: ‘barely nine months into the NPP administration and Ghana’s roads have become unmotorable all of a sudden despite the erstwhile NDC government’s much touted infrastructural projects?’

In a state of utter bewilderment, I continued with my soliloquy: ‘for argument sake, the NPP government could not have deliberately messed up the roads within nine months in office, far from it.’

‘We can, therefore, draw an adverse inference that the outgone NDC administration unprecedented infrastructural pronouncement was either a charade or a conspiratorial plot to dupe the nation.’

Given the deplorable state of the roads, we cannot help but to conclude that some individuals within the erstwhile Mahama administration wilfully caused financial loss to the state.

Dearest reader, if you may recall, Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous NDC apparatchiks cunningly took refuge in their much touted infrastructural projects after failing abysmally to initiate expedient policies and programmes to overturn the failed policies of agriculture, poverty reduction and resource allocation in the areas of healthcare, education, finance, supply chain management and security sector planning, amongst others.

I remember whenever the good people of Ghana expressed their grievances over the NDC’s maladaptive governance; Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would go berserk: aren’t we transforming lives by building roads, hospitals, schools, toilets, water facilities, amongst others?

It would therefore appear that most of the projects were not up to the required standards, albeit they were overpriced. They have indeed caused financial loss to the state.

Take, for example, the former Minister for Local Government, under Mahama administration, Collins Dauda, would attest to such assertion. He decried the NDC’s poorly constructed and often overpriced projects.

I remember when the concerned Ghanaians complained about the poorly constructed roads in Kumasi and Ex-President Mahama was reported to have responded angrily: ‘You ungrateful lots, you would never even be appreciative if I constructed your roads with gold’.

In fact, Ex-President Mahama and his appointees were refusing to appreciate that exemplary governance is not all about putting up numerous infrastructural projects.

It is worth stressing that excellence governance goes beyond the provision of social infrastructural and amenities. As a matter of fact, praiseworthy governance also involves continuous improvement of socio-economic standards of living.

As a matter of fact, we choose to elect a government to oversee our national affairs. And, we, in turn, are obliged to pay taxes to the elected government so as to run the country to our satisfaction.

In addition, the elected government has our unwavering support to go for prudent loans to support the day-to-day management of the country. In effect, we (the citizens) pay for all the expenses pertaining to the management of the country.

It was for that reason that I was in agreement with President Mahama for suggesting poignantly in somewhere 2008 that it is an exercise in mediocrity for any government to take delight in infrastructural projects.

Apparently, Ex-President Mahama meant to suggest that every lousy government could easily undertake that role of governance. By inference, the erection of infrastructural projects is as easy as ABC.

No offence intended, though, Madam Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) could put up more infrastructural projects if given the opportunity.

Since discerning Ghanaians are obliged to pay taxes, it would be boundlessly unconscionable for any government and its teeming supporters to hide behind social amenities and infrastructural projects such as public toilets, schools, roads, water, electricity, amongst others.

After all, to whom much is given, much is expected.

Regrettably, however, the erstwhile Mahama administration abandoned the vast majority of the uncompleted infrastructural projects, including the important Kumasi-Accra high road which former President Kufuor initiated.

Indeed, the NDC government blatantly failed to complete most of the projects former President Kufuor initiated, including ‘Sofoline interchange (Kumasi), all the affordable housing projects, the mini dams meant to provide electricity to small towns and many other abandoned projects started by the previous NPP government.

I must, however, confess that I unhesitatingly admire President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government’s enthusiasm towards completing most of the uncompleted infrastructural projects initiated by the NDC government and funded by the Government of Ghana.

That notwithstanding, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians into believing that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance. Indeed, vague apprehension of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who prefer narrow party coloration to defending the national interests. How pathetic?

Well, whichever way you may place the argument, it is absolutely true that if discerning Ghanaians had not graciously intervened by showing the ravenous and phlegmatic NDC government the exit during the 2016 election, the dreadful errors in decision-making would have wiped out Ghana off the world map without a trace.

I do not intend to be patronising, far from it. But if governance is all about putting up infrastructural projects, then I will dare state that even my unlettered and untrained mother would be able to perform exceedingly better than what the outgone Mahama administration achieved with all the copious resources.

In sum, we acknowledge the painful fact that Ghana has more deplorable roads, but the good news is that the Akufo-Addo administration is prudently using Ghana’s bauxite in a barter deal worth around $2 billion with the Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction outfit, Sinohydro, to construct roads across the country.