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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

How the untimely demise of Mills derailed Ghana’s progress

John Evans Atta Mills John Evans Atta Mills

Apparently, there are schools of thought that contend passionately that Ex-President John Dramani Mahama, unlike his predecessor, the late John Evans Atta Mills and his successor, President Akufo-Addo, did not expect to be the president of Ghana, and therefore did not prepare for the highly important position.

Other observers also argue that it was possible the then Vice President Mahama was harbouring an ambition to ascend to the throne one day, albeit his presidency happened fortuitously following the sudden and mysterious death of former President Mills.

Suffice it to stress that Ex-President Mahama was only compelled by the Ghana’s 1992 Constitution to ascend the throne he never dreamt and prepared for, and, therefore had no burning desire or had little interest to move the country to the right direction.

If you may recall, it was the late Mills who hand-picked John Dramani Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 general elections.

Although the late President Mills met with stiff resistance on his decision to select John Dramani Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 election, the indefatigable Mills defied the fierce opposition, stood by his then running mate John Dramani Mahama, worked collaboratively and emerged victorious in the 2008 general elections.

In retrospect, the late President Mills took over the presidency from former President Kufuor on 7th January 2009.

Obviously, the late President Mills prepared adequately for the presidency, unlike his immediate successor, Ex-President Mahama. But in spite of the late Mills readiness to serve the nation to the best of his ability, the detractors within his own Party needlessly kept nagging, squalling and grouching about his style of leadership.

The general belief back then was that but for the shenanigans of the conspiratorial plotters that surrounded him, the late Mills would have been very successful in his short spell in government.

Regrettably, however, the late President Mills capitulated, got carried away, and allowed the create loot and share cabal in his government to have their way.

The incompliant cabal began to dip their hands into the national coffers. The racketeers even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (purported to be around GH600 million), with the sole objective to create, loot and share. Do you remember Woyome’s GH51.2 million scandalous judgement debt payment?

Regrettably, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse following President Mills untimely death in July 2012. The conspiratorial plotters then had a field day leading to the 2012 general elections.

It is, therefore, worth stressing that President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went berserk in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.

Unsurprisingly, many observers harbour a strong view that Ghana’s economic meltdown came about as a result of the unbridled bribery and corruption.

Dearest reader, let us take a critical look of some of the alleged wanton bribery and corruption.

• The dubious Embraer 190 aircrafts deal which prompted former President Mills to set up a Committee to investigate the then Vice President Mahama.

• The $300 million bill we incurred on the unsuccessful STS housing deal which was spearheaded by the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama.

• The puzzling GH800 million judgement debt payments.

• The undeserving GH51.2 million judgement debt payment (create, loot and share) to Woyome.

• The questionable $30 million judgement debt payment to Waterville, which the Supreme Court of Ghana ruled as unconstitutional and ordered the NDC government to retrieve, but to no avail.

• The wrongful $325,000 judgement debt payment to ISOFOTON, which the NDC government failed to retrieve despite the Supreme Court’s order.

• The scandal (create, loot and share) at the National Service Secretariat which cost Ghana millions of Ghana Cedis.

• The SADA scandal which deprived the people of the Northern Region millions of Cedis meant for development.

• The SUBA scandal which cost Ghana millions of Cedis meant for the improvement of the economy.

• The GYEEDA corruption scandal which deprived the youth of Ghana millions of Cedis meant for the creation of jobs.

• The amount of $250 million from the Euro bond which was meant for infrastructural development, and yet lodged surreptitiously in an unauthorised bank account.

• Inflated costs of infrastructural projects (the former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda raised concerns previously).

• The NCA scandal which a competent court of jurisdiction convicted and sentenced two former NDC appointees to prison.

In fact, the list is not exhaustive, but time and space constraints would not allow me to enumerate all of them at this juncture.

Somehow, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks failed to acknowledge that corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.

The general belief back then was that they bought votes with the tax payers’ money. They clung on to power following the controversial election on 7th December 2012. Suffice it to state that their victory came with a huge costs to the state.

Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).

Back then, Haruna Iddrisu, the then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, asserted: “If voted into power, the NDC government would have no excuse to keep Ghanaians in dumsor”.

Ironically, however, the dumsor got worst following the NDC’s victory. Consequently, the discerning Ghanaians rightly fretted thy souls with disappointments and curses, and, demanded answers as to why President Mahama failed to bring the dumsor under control.

However the dire consequences of the dumsor, President Mahama and NDC government could not fix the dumsor. The dumsor continued to cripple thousands of businesses. The dumsor indeed contributed to Ghana’s economic downslide.

It would also be recalled that the NDC told Ghanaians back in 2008 that the NPP government under President Kufuor had sunk the economy into the mire, so Ghanaians should give the NDC the opportunity to put the economy back on track.

However, all the available evidence suggests that the NDC government under President Mahama rather managed to worsen the socio-economic standards of living than any other government in the history of Ghanaian politics.

Back then, whenever the good people of Ghana expressed their grievances over the never ending harsh economic conditions, President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would go berserk: “aren’t we transforming lives by building roads, hospitals, schools, toilets, water facilities and many other social infrastructural projects?”

Most of the projects were not up to the required standards, albeit the projects were often overpriced. The former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda would attest to such assertion. He previously decried over the NDC’s poorly constructed and overpriced projects.

I recall when the concerned Ghanaians in Ashanti Region complained about the poorly constructed roads in Kumasi, President Mahama angrily responded: “You ungrateful lots, you would never even be appreciative if I constructed your roads with gold.”

Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous communicators refused to appreciate that exemplary governance is not all about putting up numerous infrastructural projects.

Indeed, 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.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the good people of Ghana experienced economic hardships due to former President Mahama and his NDC government’s inability to improve upon Ghana’s economic fortunes.

In ending, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government wilfully collapsed Ghana’s economy. Indeed, they broke their earlier promises, thus the bonds of trust were infringed to the utter chagrin of discerning Ghanaians.

K. Badu, UK.