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Opinions of Saturday, 1 March 2014

Columnist: Asare, Kwame Ohene

He stole your Presidency, your Verdict & your Vision!

THE SHOCK OF A NATION ADDRESS – He stole your Presidency, your Verdict & your Vision!

By Kwame Ohene Asare Esq.

Fellow Ghanaians, I guess if you may have had any doubt that Mahama had graft and ruthlessness, he erased all of your doubts on Tuesday – He steals a man’s Election, His Verdict and now he attempts to steal his Vision or just to damage it, in an address punctuated by jokes not too parliamentary and he just does so unscrupulously. Again without any apologies to the late Professor Mills of blessed memory, he dropped the late Professor’s portrayal of his vision as a ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ like a tonne of bricks. That may well be funny if the theft is against a single person, however visionary. Regrettably, it is the whole Nation he is subjecting to such utter ridicule & contempt!

On Tuesday, President Mahama stunned his audience with his promise to make Senior High School education free for Ghanaians, commencing in 2015. Everything he said was simply about plans being afoot to achieve that aim. You would think that for an Economy that was struggling to stabilize its currency, even invoking public prayers to that end, the last thing the Government would do will be to announce a massive increase in public expenditure.

Besides, it’s a Government that had a monumental and inexplicable record breaking budget deficit in 2013; a Government that cannot adequately finance its public sector wages. Need I draw your attention to the twi proverb which says “S3 kwatrekwa se ob3ma wo ntoma a wh3 ne tri ho”. Mahama and his predecessor woefully failed to manage projects/policies that were properly founded and handed to them, namely, the Single Spine, NHIS, etc. How do the propagandists convince anyone of sound mind that they have the capacity to manage a Policy that they have clearly stolen? I have never known anyone handle any stolen property with the care, attention and diligence that the true owner would have exercised.

Whether consisting of mere promises or real action plans, such a project with significant demands on the Tax payers’ purse should have been shelved to await a better economic milieu. There would appear to be no rhyme nor reason to what this Government does; no evidence of long term planning, just inconsistent and uncoordinated policies aimed at either generating income to finance elections or for populist reasons.

I shook with discernible trepidation as I pondered the extent of procurement involved in the implementation of this giant project and the consequent potential for abuse. I didn’t know whether to treat it as risible or one of sheer misery. I simply had to bow down my head in a moment of downright despair as I listened to video clips of a recording of the address. If Mahama is able to break ground with this project as he is indeed threatening then it is yet one huge opportunity for looting and Ghanaians must watch every step of the project with eagle eyes!

Ghana is bleeding badly but her tormentor is not yet ready to let go, joking as he continues to terrorise her! My heart bleeds for the Land of my birth. It was Mahama who professed not too long ago that our funds were merely skeletal yet months later he is insisting on building many hundreds of schools and extending so much largesse to our Senior High School children in spite of all the incongruous economic indicators, barring even the specious arguments he advanced against the viability of the vision when his opponents initially revealed it on his blindside.

The timing of a policy is fundamental to the planning process and the mindset of the policy maker is also paramount. It is the pursuit of bad policies that is responsible for the poor state of the economy and not the handiwork of some evil force imperceptible to us mere mortals. It is the lack of effective Government planning that is causing the plummeting of the cedi’s value and not the invisible dwarfs of gargantuan fame.

This policy may undeniably be good but it is in the wrong hands and above all, its implementation is definitely not in season.