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Opinions of Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman

NDC Government Is Guilty of Many Systemic Failures in the Country

By Alex Bossman Baafi

Those who understand human nature believe that you get the best there is in government not by criticism but by constructive criticism. I know criticism will plant fear in human heart or resentment but will not build love or affection. If the government wants to achieve its “Better Ghana Agenda”, then it must welcome and fly on the wings of constructive criticisms. This government is guilty of many systemic failures since they assumed the reins of this country in January 2009. I will raise a few of the failures for the government to consider and probably make amends or rubbish them as one of those things from those belonging to the other side of the political divide.

A sense of Guilt is one of the most painful and incapacitating emotional experiences in life. It may cause shame, fear, sorrow, anger, distress and even physical illness. This was exactly the position in which the president found himself when a journalist quizzed him (the president) when he met a section of the press last month at the Castle. The journalist wanted to know whether the president would apologize to the nation for increasing petroleum prices drastically instead of reducing it drastically. The president’s response obviously came out of guilt in his conscience. He replied that the previous NPP Administration should apologize rather for leaving some huge debt at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). Guilt brings about automatic reaction of putting blame on somebody or justify one’s behaviour with excuses and arguments. This has been the hallmark of the Mills-Mahamah Administration. Naturally, we blame others for our misfired actions in order to lighten the burden of Guilt. Failure to fulfill certain campaign promises such as investing in the youth, putting money in people’s pocket, implementing one-time premium payment for National Health Insurance continue to hound the government to feel guilty.

During President Barrack Obama’s maiden visit to our dear country in February 2009, he left us with one invaluable advice that we need strong State Institutions to be able to make meaningful headway in our current democratic dispensation. strong institutions make the work of the government less cumbersome. This laudable advice from the American President fell into deaf ears of the government. State institutions like National Identification Authority (NIA), The Statistical Services and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) had instead been weakened under this NDC government. The government had failed to support these institutions to deliver their critical services to the nation to ensure proper planning and policy formulation. Perhaps the critical importance of these said institutions for example are lost to this government. The national identification exercise embarked upon by NIA has still not yielded the desired results. The database of such a national exercise could help the tax administration of this country. People with their different vocations or professions will be captured for the government’s tax administration policy. The national population census carried out by the Statistical Service did not go well and has thrown the reliability of the provisional results released in doubt. The whole process lacked the political will and support of the government as the enumerators complained bitterly of lack of adequate financial support. As for the recent District Assembly Elections conducted by the NEC the least said about it the better. The whole elections were a disaster. A critical analysis of all these failures can conveniently be placed at the doorstep of the government but leaders of these great state institutions point elsewhere for the failures for fear of losing their jobs.

In the area of job creation, the record of this government is abysmal. Guilt pushed the Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to misinform the nation that the government had created 1.6 million jobs within its first year in office as it later turned out to be a hoax and could not be defended by the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare on the floor of Parliament. The government woefully failed to realize that the natural Gas that comes with the production of oil has the potential to create thousands of jobs for the people and therefore was not quick to put the necessary Gas Infrastructure in place for the benefit of our people. The necessary contracts put in place by the NPP Administration to ensure a speedy development of the Gas infrastructure were abrogated by this NDC government hence the delay. In this same Energy Sector, the government has failed to know that efficient management of fuel supply creates jobs. Fuel supply in this country including Liquefied Petroleum gas commonly known as Gas and Kerosene under this government has been a disaster. There has been frequent shortage of gas and kerosene a phenomenon that has destroyed many businesses and worsening the joblessness situation in the country. Because the government is lazy, it has not found it a duty to assess the adverse impact of these frequent shortages on the economic life of the people let alone that on the nation as a whole. The joblessness situation of the people especially the youth has worsened under this government and it is a fact. What is worsening the situation is that, the “Punitive” Tax Policy been pursue by this government is killing businesses but the government has no eyes and ears to see and hear. Excessive taxation reduces company profits, savings and hence investments. Higher utility tariffs had compelled many businesses to close down with others shedding off staff by declaring them redundant. Tax incentives for investments and hence job creation does not exist under this government compounding the unemployment situation.

Law enforcement under this government is nothing to write home about. The NDC sympathizers are clearly above the laws in this country. Foot Soldiers of the party are more powerful even than the president. They have the power to use violent means to seize cars, toilets, Toll Boots, and even sack government appointees from office without recourse to due process with impunity. There have been uncountable occasions where party faithful have put the laws in their own hands to commit crime in the presence of the police without arrest. Incidences of Agbogloshie where about five persons were killed, Akwatia, Chirepony and Atiwa by-elections speak volumes about how law and order have broken down under this NDC government.

This Mill-Mahamah Administration is guilty of its approach to curbing corruption. Here, the guilt has resulted to fear and shame. Fear of huge criticism and fear of losing political power through the ballot box come December 2012. Shame because the government has become aware of the terrible consequences of having disappointed the good people of this country. The sitting president was able to articulate well the perceived corruption in the previous Kuffour-Mahamah of NPP Administration when he was in opposition. Without any shred of evidence, every move of the NPP Administration was tagged as corrupt. Here we are with the government, led by Professor Mills, heavily infested with the cancer of institutional corruption just within two years in office. I find it very difficult to understand the government’s attitude towards dealing decisively with corruption cases that confront them. When honorable Muntaka’s case came up the president observed that it was a clear case of indiscretion and that Muntaka was not the first man to get himself entangled with women’s issue such as that. Remember the infamous case of Mabey and Johnson where certain individuals indicted were given Ambassadorial positions in this government. Those Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) Officials caught in Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ video engaging in Cocoa Smuggling activities in the Western Region of the country were freed by the court for lack of state prosecution. Many good people of this country are still amazed that the president of all people will add his presidential accent to a fraudulent deal such as the STX Housing deal which to all intent and purposes, was conceived and heralded with “Gifts” and will not in any way guarantee the nation value for money.

The list of systemic failures associated with the current dispensation is enormous. I know that so long as the East is from the West, this government has been quick to blame the previous government for all our woes but my advice is that, no matter how much time is spent apportioning blame, the past will remain unchanged. The government should take stock of the road map to its Better Ghana Agenda dispensation and where it is not politically feasible to fulfill a campaign promise, it should come public to explain, apologize, repent and seek forgiveness from the electorate. In my humble opinion, when this is done, the shame, remorse, sadness and hopelessness caused by the guilt of failures which most times drive most party faithful and the foot soldiers into state of hopelessness will vanish when the good people of the land forgive the NDC government, for, time is the enemy and not the opposition.

Email: abkbossman@yahoo.co.uk