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Opinions of Sunday, 29 June 2008

Columnist: Atitsogbui, Paul Parker

NPP Is Worse Culprit Of NDC’s Mistakes

The loving people of Ghana gave the president Mr. J. A. Kufour the mandate to govern them in 2000 after the president had gained his consciousness from the upper-cut he received from JJ Rawlings in the 1996 election. Prior to the election the NPP, spear headed by the president did a yeoman’s job by identifying all the mistakes in the NDC administration and promised Ghanaians with the solutions which will make Ghana a paradise on earth and without hesitation Ghanaians voted for them. Why not! Because, it is logical to conclude that some one who has been able to identify the mistakes of someone can easily provide solution to them. But the big question yet to be answered is, has the identified mistakes been solved? Come with me as I take you through the individual mistakes.

ECONOMY

Between 1999 and 2000 the world market price of crude oil escalated to an all time high (at that time).On the other hand, the prices of our major exports; gold, cocoa, timber and others fell to an all time low at the same time. These compelled the then government to increase the domestic fuel price to 6400 cedis, and resulted in high prices of goods and services. In effect inflation and cost of living increased. These became a tool for the NPP campaign. They took advantage of the situation and made a political meal out of it, and true to their expectations it worked for them.

NPP considered it unacceptable for the NDC to use the external ‘shocks’ as an excuse for the shamble economy and blamed it on mismanagement on the part of the later. In deed, at one of their rallies, the president managed to bring a gallon of petrol, a ball of kenkey and a coconut to signify the high cost of goods and services. He raised the gallon of petrol to the crowd and asks ‘wei y? s?e’ meaning how much is this, then the crowd will respond 6400 cedis, raised the ball of kenkey then the respond goes 500 cedis, then the cocoanut, then again its goes 500 cedis, then he asked: ‘mo tumi t?’ (can you afford it?) Then the responds goes again daabi (no!) and the president screamed "abaa!! NDC are wicked, they have messed up the economy". The president went on to promise the whole nation that NPP have the men to turn the economy around and that they needed just 100 days to achieve what the previous government could not achieve within the 20 years, forgetting that he the presidendt, Courage Kwashigah (minister f health), Rtd Captain Effa Dartey, Christine Churcher, among others were part of the PNDC government.

Fellow Ghanaians, what do we see today. A gallon of petrol has risen from 6400 to 54,000 cedis within 7 years; kenkey and coconut have gone up to 3000 cedis within the same period. Even the locally produced cassava flakes a.k.a Gari and maize have increased more than 100% within seven years, and the least we talk about rent, kerosene, school fees etc, the better we save ourselves from possible heart attacks! Ladies and gentlemen, will i be wrong at this point to ask the same questions today? if not then ‘mo tumi t?’.... Today, unemployment rate in Ghana cannot be imagined; education has become a luxury commodity, poverty has become the order of the day with people struggling to afford three square meal a day. Yet we are being told that Ghana have a resilient economy today. How does a resilient economy benefit my brothers and sisters in the village if they cannot afford kerosene?

We always hear the NPP propaganda machinery arguing that inflation rose to 40 % under NDC administration but they never tell Ghanaians that it was only under NDC administration that Ghana achieved single digit inflation, a feet the so called ‘resilient economy’ is yet to achieve even for a day. Ladies and gentlemen, how do we compare 6400 cedis of a gallon of fuel to 54000 cedis. But it will interest you to note that while the general prices of goods and services are increasing persistently the government is telling Ghanaians that inflation is falling as if inflation has inverse relationship with general price level.

CORRUPTION

One ammunition the NPP used against the NDC was corruption. In fact, as far as the NPP were concern in those days all the NDC ministers were corrupt, and it was no surprise that most of the ministers were trialed when the latter assumed office, although none were found guilty of corruption, Ghanaians welcomed the move because that will serve as a deterrent to any one who find him/herself in that position. This move saw the president preaching zero tolerance for corruption, yet the president has failed to trial a single person in his government in spite of several allegations leveled against them. Ministers who have committed similar offences as committed by NDC member and has ended them in jail are walking about freely without any trial. Osafo Manfo dealing with the Mcmilan caused financial loss to the state which is just the photo copy of what Ibrahim Adam did but the latter was jailed while the former is walking about freely. Could some one tell me why Tsatsu has been jailed. Where is the 'willfully' causing financial lost to the state if the defendant did consult not a mere expect but a reputable international organisation like IMF for advise? In any case, the contract was such that if Valley farms fails to pay the loan on the stipulated date, GNPC will pay on behalf of the later and recive certain number of shares in return. As i speak, Valley farms is a viable company and GNPC is a share holder by the virtue of the loan it paid on the former's behalf. Where is the financial lost in this situation, what is going to happen to the shares after Tsatsu has been jailed? Only God ca tell.

In 2000, NPP were sending bowls around for contribution (yi bi ma) at their rallies, but today dollars were being given out to party delegates at their congress. A sports presenter became a presidential spoke person for just 4 years, yet it was enough for him to raise 250 millions cedis to contest for a presidency and again afford to print posters which were pasted across the whole country. Prior to year 2000 people were begged to contest MP on NPP ticket but today they are prepared to sacrifice their lives for the slot. Being NPP delegate today is more lucrative than being an accountant. Did I hear someone saying ‘kick back’? Is it true that one of the formal regional ministers does not know the number of cars he has before becoming a minister or a deputy minister deposited one billion cedis within 3 weeks, hhmm one day will be the d-day.

NUMBER OF MINISTERS

Another propaganda tool that the NPP used against the NDC was the high number of ministers under its administration which stood at 76 and described it as ‘job for the boys’, and promised to reduce it drastically to curb the government expenditure. Ghanaians hails this promise because it is obviously a waste of resources to have so many ministers: free accommodation, water, electricity, cars, fuel and other benefits worsen the government budget. If a vibrant economy like USA is managed by just 9 ministers what is the point in having 76 ministers for a smaller economy like Ghana? However, what are we seeing today? The number of ministers under NPP administration is 88 notwithstanding the numerous special advisors and assistances who are also enjoying the same facilities as the ministers.

The UK has one of the busiest airport and one of the biggest airlines in the world yet it has no aviation ministry on its own, in contrast, Ghana with no airline not even a presidential aircraft has an aviation ministry with a minister and her deputy. The NPP administration remains the only government with minister for fisheries in the whole world (I stand to be corrected). All others fall under ministry of agriculture. My humble question therefore is: has the NPP solve the mistakes they identify with the NDC administration or has become worse offenders of those mistakes. Before I take a leave of this topic I will like to commend the president for apologizing to Ghanaians for condemning the NDC on this topic.

PRINCIPLE

The previous government decided to buy a presidential jet after the then president had had a scary moment with the ‘flying coffin’, but the NPP criticize the NDC for a misplaced priority and argued that there were more pressing needs at which the funds could be invested for the benefit of the people. They made a reference to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital where patience were sleeping on the floor and school children having their lessons under tress, lack of portable drinking water across the country as a priority, a reasonable argument by all standard. As a result the president promised Ghanaians that the aircraft will be sold and reinvest the money in more pressing needs, and through to his word the aircraft was left unused for more than 4 year at which time the value has depreciated before selling it.

But what do we hear today, the president is going to buy TWO presidential aircraft, yes, you heard me right two! In the face of aggravated situations they made reference to those days. Why oh why NPP is it because you are being double standard or taken Ghanaians for a ride. How well have our hospitals been equipped that we have to build a presidential palace, no wonder they always flies out of the country to seek medical attention abroad leaving the poor who defy the rain and the sun to vote for them.

President Kufour condemned the former president for naming a street after Sankara (former president of Bukina faso) instead of our national heroes, and Ghanaians were happy to see the name being changed from ‘Sankara circle to Ako Adjei’ interchange. But what has been the stand of the president in that regard today. He has named a street after Obasanjo, while there are several national heroes yet to get such honors, annoying at it peak! Is the government losing its sense of principles?

NPP demonstrated against the VAT when NDC first introduced it, even at the time that Togo’s VAT rate was pegged at 18%. Today it is the largest domestic single revenue component in the country. In deed, when NPP assumed office one of the first things they did was to increase the VAT rate and broaden the base to cover things that the NDC exempted. They demonstrated against fuel price increment which resulted in the lost of lives during the NDC regime, however, Ghanaians have lost count of number of times that fuel has gone up under this regime. How could one reconcile this double standard?

NPP parliamentary candidates walked out of parliament when the GetFund bill was brought to the house with excuse that it will worsen the high cost of leaving but today the GetFund has become the major financier of the government projects, talk about roads, schools, and the national youth employment. But they find it conducive to introduce ‘talk tax’ at the time that cost of leaving is flying so high. The NDC must also be condemned for walking out of parliament during the national health insurance bill.

Good people of Ghana, my humble appeal is that, we should put aside partisanship and tribalism and hold hands to push this country forward, it is the only country we have whether we like it or not. We should not allow politicians to deceive us and change them after every two terms that is the only way the politicians will not take us for granted. The fact is that NPP are short of ideas, we should send them to a political refresher course and come back next 8 years after the NDC has also exhausted their ideas. I can assure you that NDC will be better today than the previous and better than the NPP having gone through 8 years of political refresher course. Thanks to those who e-mail to commend me on my previous article and to those who threaten me to show a little commitment to mother Ghana.



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