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Opinions of Thursday, 16 February 2012

Columnist: Atta-Krufi, Hayford

Mills Must Answer The Following 24-Gargantuan Questions

In His 2012 State Of The Nations' Address – NPP UK

On Thursday 16th February, barring any unforeseen circumstances, our President - J.E.A Mills will go to the Parliament to address the nations on his 4th State of the Nation address. Last year, the NPP UK posed 20 key questions from his 2010 State of Nations’ Address which our President had failed or forgotten to address in the course of the year. The President failed to address those failures in his 2011 address at Parliament but conveniently went ahead to deliver his action year’s key promises, ending with his famous statement of “Ghana will not die”. It was in that same address that the President informed the Ghanaians that he has put Ghana on “red alert”. 12 months into his last address, the President is lacing his boots once again to beat the path to Parliament to address us in 2012. As dutiful citizens we want the President to feed back on his 2011 promises and what his government has been able to achieve so far from those promises, after all it was delivered in his “Action Year,” and it will also determine if we should take the 2012 address seriously.
Mr President you said, “Madam Speaker, right behind us, work is progressing on job 600 to provide offices for our Honourable Members of Parliament. The on-going work is a statement that slowly but surely we are making progress. And in this year of action, we will continue to fund the project for it to be completed so that our lawmakers can have functional offices to operate from”. Mr. President, where are we on this project? Is this another litany of failed promises? Mr President, remember you made a similar promise in 2010 to construct and furnish a standard "Member of Parliament Constituency Office in each of the 230 constituencies and to pay one Administrator identified by an incumbent Member of Parliament a fixed monthly stipend. Ghanaians would like to be informed about where you are with this.


Mr President you reminded Ghanaians in 2011 that “The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) which is one of the NDC 2008 manifesto pledges has already commenced work”. You said “Madam Speaker, a donors’ conference is in the offing to commit funds for SADA’s operations. Mr President when was the donors’ conference held and how much has been committed to SADA so far and for the long term?
Mr President these were your words “Madam Speaker; on our visit to the Far East last September (2010), we carried with us our blueprint for the rehabilitation and expansion of rail network in Ghana. We also had our blueprint for roads covering the Eastern Corridor spanning Ho all the way to Nkwanta, Kadjebi, Worawora, Yendi and beyond”.
You said also, “We had the blueprint for the Western corridor stretching from Elubo through Enchi, Juaboso and all the way to Wa in the Upper West Region and beyond. These and other extensive road projects envisaged in the oil enclave namely Takoradi, Mpataba, Bonyere and elsewhere and economic roads in Tarkwa and Bogoso etc, are a statement of intent on where this Administration wants Ghana to be within this year (2011)”. Mr President, where are we with the Railways and the Roads projects?


Mr President you said in 2011, “the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs will work with the sponsors of the Women’s Manifesto and other stakeholder to incorporate its key demands in a revised “Affirmative Action for Women” which we hope to finalise by the end of the year (2011). Mr President where are we on this Affirmative Action? Please kindly remember your 2008 manifesto promise of 40% positions for women?

In 2011, Mr President, you said; “The provisional results of the 2010 census put Ghana’s population at a little over 24million compared to the 2000 population figure of around 18million.While awaiting the final figures for the 2010 census, it is clear that we have a lot of planning to do to raise living standards commensurate with our middle-income status.” Mr President we are in 2012, and the census was conducted in 2010. Don’t you think, Mr President, that Ghanaians deserve an apology from your government?


Mr President, you said that you have been reliably informed that the Constitutional Review Commission had targeted the 1st -5th March (2011) for the National Constitutional Conference that will finalise the amendment proposal to the constitution.

You added “your objective is therefore on course”. Please Mr President, it is almost 1st March 2012. When is the conference coming on to finalise the amendment and when should we expect the reviewed constitution?


Mr President you said “the construction of a 132 megawatts thermal power station in Takoradi also began last year (2010) as part of the expansion of Takoradi Thermal Power Station and is schedule for completion at the end of this year 2011,” which will increase the total capacity to 792MW when completed. It is 2012 now, Mr President, has the project been completed as promised and if not, could you please tell us why?
In his address in 2011, President Mills said, “Madam Speaker; there have been notable increases of maize, rice, sorghum, plantain and yam production. That the National Buffer Stock Company will this year (2011) improve its storage capacity of 34,000 metric tones to a least 60,000 metric tonnes.” Mr President, for your free information, it was reported recently in Ghana that more than 42,000 metric tonnes of foreign maize was imported in 2011 alone, causing a huge problem for the local farmers. Mr Prez, doesn’t this suggest to you that you were probably misinformed about the food security in Ghana?


The implementation plan for the National Irrigation Policy will be completed and launched during 2011. The first phase of the Accra Plains Irrigation Project, covering an area of about 5000 hectares will be implemented to promote double and where possible, triple cropping of vegetables and cereals. Mr Prez, Ghanaians will be happy to get an update from you on this important policy, please.

Mr President you informed the nation that “in fulfilment of a promise in 2008 NDC manifesto, the Ministry of Agriculture will collaborate with the University of Cape Coast to establish a Fisheries College at Anomabu in the Central Region.” Please Mr President, are you aware that no sod has been cut yet and the people of Anomabu and the whole country are still waiting for the college?


The Prez said in his 2011 address that “Madam Speaker; in the area of health infrastructure, the construction works on District Hospitals will continue. Regional Hospitals and staff housing at Wa, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema will commence. Please Mr President, what is the state of those regional hospitals and staff housing that you promised? Can you please brief Ghanaians the state of the NHIS today? And should Ghanaians continue to expect the introduction of the one-time-premium you promised?


Mr President, you announced in 2011 “that from the 2011-12 academic year the policy of selecting 30% of first year students from within 10-mile radius of where schools are situated will be restored”. Is this the reason why for the first time in 8 years, the CPSSS which has been working flawlessly suddenly collapsed last year?


In your address in 2011, you Mr President said, “As you are aware I have already cut the sod for work to begin on the promised of two additional public universities in the Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions”. And so Mr President what happened? Did you really plan to turn this out as “propaganda” universities?


Mr President you promised us that you will complete the ongoing projects including Tetteh Quashie-Madina, Asankragwa-Enchi, Achimota-Ofankor, Kumasi-Techiman (phase 2). “The Eastern Corridor road which links Accra through the Volta Region to the Northern Region will begin in earnest,” Please Mr Prez, are you still blaming the ex-President Mr Kufour for not leaving you enough money to complete those projects or could you give us a realistic update on the projects?
15. STX Housing

In your own words, Mr President, “the sod has just been cut for work to commence on construction of an initial 30,000 housing units out of a total of 200,000 units to be completed in 5 years. The first phase of the 30,000 units is targeted at the security agencies in all the 10 Regions in order to provide decent and acceptable accommodation for our men and women in uniform. Subsequently, all other categories of workers will also benefit from the increase in our housing stock.” Well Mr President what happened? Please Sir, how did the humble pie taste in your mouth?


Mr President you promised us in 2011 address that the rehabilitation of water treatment plant and pipelines at Kpong as well as the ATMA Rural Water Supply Project “which you said will go a long way in further improving water supply”. What is the state of these water projects, and for how long should your enforcement for water rationing in many parts in Accra continue?


Mr President you informed us that “our massive infrastructure expansion plans in the areas of housing, roads and railways, will open up lots of job opportunities for many categories of our labour force.” In fact Sir, this promise was like music to the ears of the millions and millions of Ghanaian Youths who are unemployed and are yearning for jobs. One year on Mr President, the Youths in Ghana are still waiting….. Though, it is true in your words that “the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) continues to expand its operations and is giving employment to lots of our youth” yet this is only true if they are “journalists” and are prepared to call sheep a cow and paint black as white for your government’s unbridled desire to look good. Please is it what you promised?
Mr President, you said in your address that “Madam Speaker, one governance issue that will forever remain close to my heart, is the fight against corruption”. Mr President you rightly talked about the incredible job that Aremeyaw Anas did to expose corruption in Ghana. These include the expose on cocoa smuggling along the country’s borders and the Ghana Revenue and Customs Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) at Tema Port. However Mr Prez, neither you nor your government have taken advantage of this brilliant work to restore public confidence in your fight against corruption. Mr President, how deep were you asleep when the "gargantuan crimes" were being committed against the people of Ghana by your criminally minded appointees?


Mr President, all good Ghanaians are concerned with cases of “unsolved murders” and last year you said “I expect the Police Administration to seek external help and collaboration where necessary (International Forensic Experts) in resolving the murders of Roko Frimpong; Issa Mobilla; Ya Na Yakubu Andani. Mr President, you also added that “late last year, I ordered the re-opening of investigations into serial killing of women which occurred in the period 1998-2000. That sad chapter in our history will not be closed until we get to the bottom of those serial killings”. Please Mr President, can you update the nation on the progress on these matters so far?


Mr President, even though we did not know, you told us in February last year in your speech in Parliament that you had “put the National Security Agencies on red alert and they are under strict instructions to deal decisively within the ambit of the law with anybody or group of persons who will attempt to disturb the peace and stability of this dear nation of ours.” Please, it is now February 2012, and Ghanaians would like to have an update on the colour alert we are on now.


Sir, fighting against illegal drug trafficking was very high on your agenda. In your very telling words you said; “we will not relent in our fight against the narcotics trade and I believe that the majority of Ghanaians are happy not to be waking up to daily stories of cocaine here, cocaine there and cocaine everywhere.” You said “Madam Speaker, when I stood before this House in my first year as President, I pledged to wage a concerted and relentless war against the drug menace. Two years down the line, I can confidently say to the people of Ghana that we have acquitted ourselves very well in this regard.” Now, three years down the line, can our Prez acquit himself the same way as he claimed last year, as today, cocaine is turning into Washing Powder in public? You promised to “energize the NACOB officials”. However what we have instead is the NACOB officials actively engaged in the illicit drugs business trade themselves, and yet the NACOB boss is still at post. The unfortunate thing happening today is that we are still waking up to daily stories of cocaine here, cocaine there and cocaine everywhere. What do you say to that Mr President?

In your 2011 address at parliament, Mr Presdient you set up a Presidential Commission of Enquiry to carry out full scale investigation into the disappearance of cocaine from the Police vault under Ex-President Kufour's govt as well as the 77 parcels of cocaine which entered Ghana’s territorial waters aboard the MV Benjamin vessel which mysteriously got missing. Can the Prez update the people of Ghana about the Commission’s findings? Will the President tell Ghanaians if the same Presidential Commission of Enquiry would be charged to investigate the recent cocaine turning into bicarbonate soda in court?


Mr President we all as Ghanaians agree with you when you said in 2011 that “we are constantly waking up to gory stories about the carnage on our roads, and this cannot continue. You added that, we cannot continue to sit and watch the wanton loss of precious lives.” Sadly, Mr Prez, your government is doing nothing about it. The £25millon your govt received from DFID to help curb this situation was unannounced and spent in the manner best known to you without any positive results on our roads. Please Mr Prez, for your information, it has officially been announced that up to 2,330 people died on road accidents in 2011 alone. Mr Prez, remember you promised us a blueprint from the Ghana Police Service and the Ministry of Road & Transport in your 2010 address for a drastic reduction in road accidents but unfortunately there was no show on the blueprint.
You said you had “given strict instructions to the Ghana Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies to rigidly apply the appropriate sanctions and also instructed the DVLA to conduct an immediate review of processes for the acquisition of driving licence.” Mr Prez, does anybody adhere to your instructions judging from the EOCO report.


And finally, Mr President we would have liked to spare you of the WoyoMills scandal this time, but for your statement last year that “Ghana will not die”. Don’t you think Ghana has already been killed under your purview? Mr President, by your gargantuan act of negligence, you have killed Ghana. You have killed the hope of the 10million Ghanaian children who could have been fed with GHC58million, or the 7million Ghanaians whose NHIS premium could have been paid with that money. Mr President your gargantuan criminal minded Ministers have killed Ghana. In fact Mr President, apart from addressing these questions, would you agree with us and humbly accept your responsibility for Ghana’s death through your direct implication in the Woyome scandal?

Hayford Atta-Krufi
On behalf of NPP UK