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Opinions of Monday, 20 April 2009

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

NPP: 100 Days In Opposition

All legitimate governments have a responsibility to be answerable to their electorate at all times, for this reason a responsible opposition party or parties must act in a manner shows constructive criticism of government policies and also suggest alternatives to issues of national interest. The public must also demand that both government and opposition fulfil their different roles. It is the responsibility of the public to keep their eyes on both the government and the opposition; after all, the public are the real bosses in any real democracy.

The New NDC government has already delivered on their 100day commitments; some even believe they have done more than they promised. The new government delivered on their promise to have leaner government, in this regard they reduced the number of ministries from about 27 to 24, the reduced the number of ministers from almost 90 to 75 and they have also abolished the position of ‘hangers on’ called special assistants.

The new government has drastically reduced the number of overseas trips by government officials; this would save Ghana a lot of money. The new government has also passed a law that legitimises a body that would act as an advocacy and consultative body for disabled people in Ghana. The government has already announced that over 1.6 million kids of school going age would benefit from free school uniforms. The materials and making of these uniforms would all be locally sourced; this would be good news for local cotton farmers, textiles industries, tailors and dress makers.

The new government has also promised to supply textbooks to pupils in basic schools; again local printers are to be used to print these books. The new government believes in investing in the people of Ghana and all government policies must reflect that position. The controversial School Feeding Programme and NHIS are all scheduled for review to make them fit for purpose. Capitation grant has been increased. The government’s commitment to embark on agriculture as a fundamental driver of economic development is receiving the most needed attention, in this regard, government has recently introduced about a 50 percent subsidy on fertilizers. The government has also initiated moves to revamp existing irrigation projects and expand irrigation to other areas to promote food production throughout the year. The government’s promise to remove the negative image of the ‘Filthiest Country in West Africa’ placed on us during the NPP administration is also receiving attention, the awareness programmes and clearing of the filth in our towns and cities is on going. All Ghanaians heed to be applauded for supporting all government efforts of making Ghana e better place for all of us.

However, over the past 100 days, the NPP has almost forgotten their new role as an opposition party. The NPP is still oblivious of the factors that let to their defeat in the polls. Some blame it on the choice of their flag bearer, some blame it on the campaign strategy, and some basically believe they did not spend enough money. The fact still remain that the NPP had two main strategies for the 2008 elections, they adopted a monetisation strategy which allows them the use money to entice voters , additionally they always believe the biggest weapon they had was to use the ‘Rawlings factor’ as a strategy. They concoct, exaggerate and twist any issue, package it with the help of the ‘friends in the media’ and unleash it on the public, believing the public were so gullible to consume these, it all came to zilch.

Nana Akufo Addo is so shocked about his defeat that he could barely speak about anything of national importance, perhaps he does not believe in anything of national importance. His name only appears in controversies regarding the real ownership of vehicles in his possession or people paid to go to the airport to meet him dressed in party paraphernalia with all sorts of inscriptions including ’Nana Akufo Addo the President’, well we live in a democratic country and anybody can call himself anything. The 100 days passed without Nana Akufo Addo’s participation, we score him zero. I understand he will be speaking very soon, we hope he has got some answers regarding how he managed to allow those arrested for the killing of Ya Na to go free.

NPP in Parliament is legendary in ratifying treaties and laws based on documents they never bothered to read, some of these include the dodgy ‘IFC’ loans etc. Almost exactly a year ago, the NPP dominated parliament approve the purchase of two luxurious jets for the president at a cost of over $100million, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister of State at the Presidency was very instrumental in the purchase. There were other misplaced priorities such as building of $100million presidential palace etc. Since Nana cannot speak, it is no coincidence that the man who took over his parliamentary seat decided to act in the interval. Atta Akyea, the man who infamously was allegedly leading the diabolical subversive plans to steal the 2008 election became the figure in the NPP. I find that to be a mistake because we are yet to establish whether Atta Akyea’s venoms as exposed on a local radio station during the elections are punishable. I cannot understand the man who believes that democracy is ‘nonsense’ is leading a group who wants to be regarded as part of the democratic process. Atta Akyea and some of his collaborators used the Parliamentary vetting process to expose how shallow they are in terms of national interest. Well, all that failed yet again. 100 days of NPP, their MPs in parliament failed to put Ghana first.

President Kufour, the immediate past president never said a word about Ghanaians who he described as lazy in May 2008. President Kufour is busy grabbing the rest of state properties that he was not been able to sell to his friends and taking the rest home. It is intriguing to know that, while President Kufour and his then Chief of staff Jake Obetsebi Lamptey embarked on car snatching from President Rawlings, Vice President Atta Mills and all manner of people in 2001, he forgot to leave the presidency without taking home what does not belong to him. President Kufour is still busy ‘car shopping’ that the suffering Ghanaian is of no importance to him. NPP’s 100 days in opposing president Kufour still shopping for luxury cars. Honestly, I don’t think we even need to grade him, the guy is just greedy.

Now we hear there are 66 recommendations to review the NPP constitution so that they can come back to power. High on the list of changes to be made would include clauses that would prevent ’17 overnight millionaires’ from contesting the next flagbeareship. On Sat, 22 Dec 2007, Wisdom Peter Awuku wrote in the Daily Guide that, the NPP flagbeareship race was exiting, he cited an example of the slogan, ‘Job for the people; Cash for the people’ seems to be catching on so well with the public that some analysts believe it is just ‘oiling and lubricating’ the machinery he set up three years ago. Other leading member also suggested that the fact that 17 of their ‘overnight millionaires’ were contesting the flagbearerhip is a testament that the NPP was democratic, if this is so why do they want to spoil the ‘democracy’? NPP’s 100 days in opposition, they are completely confused and are also in denial. No need to rate confused people.

Even their ‘apprentice’, Dr Nduom has been able to recycle few ideas we all have and mixed it with his usual hypocrisy and sold it recently as his ‘big idea’ he may be an NPP apprentice but we can still hear him make some noise.

The fact is that, as long as we are all resolved to pursue multi-party democracy, parties may be in government or in opposition from time to time. I also believe that, the average Ghanaian can now effectively understand that, what matters to him and his family include jobs, healthcare, housing, security, water supply food etc. They are willing to consider these offers from any political party if they are realistic. The NPP must therefore accept that, they were voted out because they failed to meet the needs of Ghanaians, not because they had 17 contestants. They must also explain to Ghanaian why it was more important to buy two luxury presidential jets instead of investing the $100 million in Ghana Airways, they must explain to Ghanaians why they handed over Ghana Airways to Mr Sammy Crabe NPP Chairman and who is also President Kufour’s son Chief Kufours pal, they must explain to Ghanaians why is necessary for the NPP to build a $100 million presidential palace instead of building hospitals , why we need to spend over $50 million to celebrate Ghana@50 instead of building schools, why we need to buy over 400 cars for Ghana@50 whiles our police are in need of basic equipment, the list goes on. When the NPP answers these questions, Ghanaians would then be ready to listen to any new ideas they have, until such a time, I think the NPP is living in denial.

NPP 100 days in opposition (the elephants’ 100 days in the doghouse) is characterised by irresponsible leadership, adoption of old ‘Rawlings factor’ tricks, showing no repentance and actually having no plan for Ghana. They have completely failed. Ghana is moving on without the NPP.

Kwame Agbodza