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Opinions of Thursday, 23 September 2021

Columnist: Stephen Owusu

NDC, NPP: Half-truths and aggressive propaganda towards 2024 elections

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with former presidents of Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with former presidents of Ghana

After the successful eight years rule by John Kufuor from 2001, Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP did everything to win power to continue the successful rule of Kufuor.

But he was beaten by the late Prof. John Atta-Mills. Nana Akufo-Addo had to try again when the then Vice President John Mahama stood as presidential candidate for the NDC in 2012. Akufo-Addo lost.

Akufo-Addo challenged the results at the Supreme Court but lost the case. He was peeved but he accepted the court’s decision in good faith.

Akufo-Addo adopted a new strategy to win the hearts of the electorate. The party outlined a fantastic and unbelievable policy programme for development towards the 2016 General Election

The NDC party did not take Akufo-Addo and NPP seriously. They mocked them and described the projects as half-truths and mere propaganda. Akufo-Addo and the NPP stayed.

The NPP leaders drummed home the ideas in their manifesto relentlessly. They were able to convince the electorate into believing that nothing could be achieved under a corrupt NDC government.

Ghanaians did not forget Mahama’s dumsor which brought severe hardships to all Ghanaians, the failed projects in the Northern Region which caused a heavy loss of funds due to corruption and mismanagement.

The NPP went ahead and won both the 2016 and 2020 General and Parliamentary elections. The NDC party has come to the harsh reality that if they don’t punch holes in the development projects alleged to have been undertaken by NPP, they will lose the 2024 elections.

However, a great and unanimous joy greeted the introduction of free Senior High School (SHS). Those parents who could not afford to send their children to SHS due to high fees are now rushing to take their kids to enjoy a free SHS education.

In order to make sure the NPP does not depend on free education to retain power in 2024, they are aggressively punching holes in the free SHS system.

According to Mahama and the NDC, the free SHS is ill-planned and too much in a hurry. Mahama said some parents are not happy about the shift system. There are not enough spaces in both classrooms and dormitories to have all students in the school at the same time.

What is worse, according to Mahama, is the way day students are haphazardly admitted to day schools.

Mahama wants to assure Ghanaians that if he becomes president in 2024, he will make sure more classroom blocks and dormitories are built-in all Senior High Schools. He stressed further that all the changes made in our history books will be declared null and void. Kwame Nkrumah will still remain the only founder of Ghana.

These pronouncements became a heavy blow that almost dazed the NPP gurus. Dr. Bawumia came out to tell Ghanaians not to listen to Mahama's propaganda and half-truths. Mahama promised nurses and teachers that their allowances would be increased if he assumed power. Dr. Bawumia pooh-poohed this.

Nana launched one district one factory (1D1F) together with other development policies when he came to power in 2016. He declared in 2020 that 83 factories had been spread in many districts in Ghana but he could confirm that 58 factories had been fully completed and furnished. 15,000 jobs had been created so far.

Mahama dared Akufo-Addo to show the NDC where all the factories are. Akufo-Addo feels Mahama and his group are throwing dust in the eyes of Ghanaians and he went on to promise one district ten water closet toilets each for both male and female. Mahama said where there is no water supply he would make sure boreholes are dug to be propelled by generators.

Mahama addressed a crowd and told them that the promise by Akufo-Addo to give every constituency one million dollars was a campaign gimmick and a scam. Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief whip, also added his voice to Mahama's argument.

He expressed shock over the claim by the government's propaganda and claim of allocating one million dollars per constituency per year for all the 275 constituencies. He said Akufo-Addo has ruled Ghana for almost five years and his government has received the most resources in the history of Ghana, yet the government did very little or nothing as its flagship promise of one million dollars per constituency.

Leaders and Chiefs in the various constituencies expected the money to be given in cash but they were disappointed. The most disappointed and frustrated one was the paramount Chief of Bongo traditional area in the Upper East region, NabaBaba Lemyarum. He said the government got it wrong in the implementation of the touted one million dollars per constituency policy.

As a face-saving measure for the government, the paramount Chief of Bongo has proffered an alternative to the government's one million dollar policy. He suggested the policy must be replaced by an increased district assembly common fund. All that the NPP could say was that Mahama wants to become president in order to have a firm grip on the bauxite money.

What he will do with the funds is your guess. The NDC decried the propaganda of the NPP and Mahama asked the NPP to answer the fake promise of one million dollars per constituency.

Mahama once said Ghanaians have short memories, but I don't think they will ever forget the massive corruption that went on in his time. About 24 million dollars was used to construct the Nkrumah inter-change, the former Nkrumah circle. Dr. Bawumia exposed Mahama's corruption and much of the money went into their own pockets.

According to Bawumia, the NPP was able to construct three interchanges more complex than the circle inter-change, around Ghana to weaken Mahama and the NDC's hope of winning the 2024 elections.

Akufo-Addo, according to NDC started the free SHS by dipping their hands into the Heritage Fund to finance. The fund is an amount kept for children born and those unborn. Another corruption scandal happened at BOST when the top officials appointed by the government contaminated the oil. The directors at BOST sold the oil to a neighbouring country.

Akufo-Addo did nothing! The NDC also blamed the NPP for the bribery scandal among the parliamentary appointment committee, the presidential jet hiring scandal, and others.

Ghanaians must wise up! Mahama insists that the 2024 election is going to be a do or die affair and that the NDC is not ready to go to court again and that all votes will be counted at all the 33,000 polling stations. All 17 million eligible voters are advised to vote carefully during the 2024 elections in order to avoid spoiled ballots.

Since 2017 when Akufo-Addo assumed power, Ghana's economy expanded at an average of seven percent yearly, but coronavirus pandemic reduced the growth to 0.9 percent in 2020. According to the Minister of Finance the coronavirus has dealt a big blow to the economy because between 2017 and 2019, the fiscal deficit narrowed, inflation came down, GDP growth rebounded due to an increase in oil production.

However, during Mahama's time, Ghana's GDP growth was nothing to write home about. The fiscal deficit also widened, so Mahama had no choice but to seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The terms and conditions on the loan created massive unemployment, especially of graduates. He could not solve the problem until Nana Addo took power from him.

What will Ghanaians consider before they vote for a particular presidential candidate or a party? I don't think Ghanaians have short memories. Every Ghanaian who has voting rights is very much aware of the performance of both parties, and it should not be difficult to decide who to vote for. Voting must not be based on familiar faces or on party lines.

All those who are sitting on the fence, those who do not belong to any party, and those suffering from indecision must begin to think ahead of 2024. They should note that their votes will make a difference and it will enable Ghana to land on safer ground.