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Opinions of Sunday, 10 April 2011

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

President Mills ‘Fools’ the People of Dagbon!

“I will heal wounds and unite the nation. I will bring peace to Bawku within 100 days into my administration” – John Fiifi Atta Mills. Ladies and gentlemen, the deception, the lawlessness, the arrogance, the incompetence, the political insults and the several cases of corruption among government functionaries continue unabated under the Mills-Mahama administration. The NDC government has made mockery of not only Ghanaian women, hard working teachers, medical practitioners, youth and Muslims but also succeeded in ‘fooling’ the people of Western Region, our noble farmers and the three Northern Regions, especially the people of Dagbon. Why should Ghana become a victim of propaganda as if the whole populace is not intellectually competent?

John Mills has been described as a wicked man by Spio Garbrah, a vice chairman of the NDC. Jerry Rawlings says he would have no message for the electorate in 2012 general elections and has urged his party’s Electoral College to reject Mills in the upcoming NDC congress. Within two years into Mills’ administration, a vice chairperson of his own party has an intention to contest him for the flag bearership position due to his leadership paralysis. How could any objective-minded person be convinced that the NDC is a genuine political party worth-supporting? The above-mentioned problems have arisen as a result of the litany of broken promises by John Mills. Upon assumption of office, John Mills ‘fooled’ all Ghanaians by the fuel price hikes because a gallon of petrol which was sold at GHS 3.60 in 2008 is sold at GHS 7.0 in Ghana today. Mills promised to put money in the pockets of Ghanaians when voted into power but this promise is yet to be fulfilled. There has been astronomical increase in the rate of taxes on all goods and services and the resultant economic hardship is unprecedented in the annals of the country’s history. For instance, road tolls have been increased by over 1000%, utility tariffs – electricity, water, gas have all gone up by over 90%. In the face of all these unbearable economic conditions, the President’s response to Ghanaians was that they complain too much.

In his quest to ensure human safety and security, John Mills stressed that the NDC intended to provide equipment, logistics, office and living space required for effective Police. Mills indicated that he would set up a truly non-partisan, competent and independent commission on the murder of the Ya Na – Yakubu Andani II and his elders, and also prosecute all persons found responsible for the murder of Alhaji Issah Mobila of the CPP. This was a promise to the people of Dagbon as captured in the 2008 NDC manifesto. Where is the presidential commission, if I may ask? We woke one day and realised that over 40 people from the Abudu family have been scooped at dawn from their bedrooms by the police and the military. And as I write now 15 of them who were standing trials at the law courts have been acquitted and discharged for lack of evidence. What does the NDC government take the Abudus for? What does John Mills take the Andanis for? The actions of NDC foot soldiers over the past 26 months leave much to be desired. These ‘fool’ soldiers have been seizing and burning public places of convenience, car terminals, markets, offices including their own party headquarters. Gold Coast which was renamed Ghana at independence was not satisfactory to the NDC. This is because in 2008 the NDC thought it wise to rename Ghana as “Cocaine Coast” in apparent reference to the hard work of the security agencies in exposing people trading in the illegal drugs. So would the NDC be bold and fair enough to rename Ghana as “Armed Robbery or “Cholera Coast” in the face of series of armed robbery cases, motor accidents, flooding and mining disasters, cholera and fire outbreaks in Ghana?

Let’s turn our attention to the Western Region. The treatment meted out to the people of the Western Region is pathetic. Not only were the remains of the region’s most celebrated son moved to Accra thus denying them a major tourist attraction and revenue, but also the NDC which promised to use 10% of the oil revenue to develop the region has failed to honour the promise. John Mahama on a campaign platform in Takoradi on 31/08/08 gave such promise. And now the Western Region which lays the golden egg of Ghana, in terms of the region’s contribution to the country’s GDP lacks behind in infrastructural and socio-economic development.

Another group that has suffered as a result of Mills’ broken promises is the Ghanaian women. John Mills said; “the NDC would strive to achieve at least 40% representation of women, both in government and public service, as well as within their party”. He maintained that the NDC would give special attention to micro, small and medium-sized business financing and create jobs, both directly and indirectly, especially for the youth. But what do we see today, my dear reader? Mills-Mahama administration allocated only 11% of their appointment to women as against His Excellency, J.A. Kufour’s 25%. His reason was that Ghanaian women are not interested in politics. That is the NDC for you. Interestingly, the 5th Parliament of the Fourth Republic has 19 female MPs and out of this the NPP has fifteen (15), four (4) from the NDC and only 1 from the CPP. Questions that need to be asked are; which of these political parties have the welfare of women at heart? What measures has the NDC put in place to improve the plight of our women? Even John Jinapoh – the spokesman of the Vice President of Ghana tags our women as prostitutes for being in politics. The serial killings of women, together with, the atrocities meted out to the Ghanaian women during the (P)NDC days are a clear testimony of the NDC’s attitude towards women. I hope our women folk have not lost their memory.

The least said about political appointments, the better. John Mills promised to rationalize government’s Ministries and form a government on expertise and competence – not party or family interests. He said: “the NDC will uphold the Constitution by ensuring equality amongst ALL Ghanaians and that economic and social development, agriculture and industrial programmes must benefit ALL regions of Ghana”. Mills contended that the NDC would avoid the appointment of Ministers and MPs to positions of Chairman or Chairperson of Public Sector companies, to avoid intrusion of the party. Have these promises been fulfilled? Not at all because the Chairman of NDC, Kwabena Adjei – ‘the Cat’ is the Board Chairman of the GETfund. Joe Gidisu an NDC MP is the Chairman of Road Fund Management Board. Doe Ajaho – an NDC MP and 1st Dep. Speaker of Parliament is the Board Chairman of National Health Insurance Authority. Alban S.K. Bagbin, an NDC MP and Minister of Water, Works and Housing is the Board Chairman of Ghana Civil Aviation Fund. Also between January 2009 and April 2011, Atta-Mills has appointed over 80 people from the Volta Region (his 2nd home) into sensitive government positions at the expense of other regions. The so-called “Better Ghana” promise has secretly been turned into a “Better Volta Agenda” as all the security agencies have clandestinely been filled with Voltarians, mostly Ewes who form only 9% of the total population. Mills himself has admitted being a proud captain of Team B administration. Is this not a clear insult to mother Ghana which boasts of rich human resource?

On corruption, Mills said the use of state resources for personal gain by a few has derailed earlier gains to better the lives of Ghanaians, adding that precious resources of hard-working Ghanaians were wasted in corruption. Touching on the remedies that NDC would be putting in place to rectify the situation, he noted that there would be no excuses for corrupt officers and that the Serious Fraud Office would be reorganised to be independent of the party, and that CHRAJ would be strengthened to fight corruption even without an “explicit complaint”. He continued that the NDC would abolish the Office of Accountability that Ghanaians believe protects corrupt officials, and revise the law on Asset declaration to increase transparency and accountability. Prof. Mills intimidated that the freedom of Information Bill would be enacted to enable the public to have access to official information and support the role of the media. The situation now is terrible because not a single appointee in the Mills-Mahama administration has declared his assets. The series of scandals - Kyinkyinka Muntaka, ‘Car thief’ Wilson, Mabey & Johnson culprits, Mahama Ayariga – the tractor thief, John ‘Armajaro’ Mahama’s cocoa issue, Asiedu Nketia’s block making theft etc are credible evidence for Mills to act on.

This is what John Mills who claims to be a law expert had on law and justice. “The NDC would support alternative dispute resolution to avoid costly and delayed litigation, strengthen the Legal Aid system and stop the political manipulation of justice by separating the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice”. How separated is the Attorney General from that of Justice? Has John Mills strengthened the Legal Aid system by condoning and conniving with his party chairman, Kwabena Adjei to cleanse the judiciary by way of killing the cat or was justice given to Amina when she was kept behind bars for more than 48hrs? I leave it for readers to provide the answers. On employment generation, John Mills lamented that Ghana has the resources for all Ghanaians to have a dignified livelihood through employment, re-emphasizing that the NDC’s policies on targeted investment in agriculture, industry, forestry and mining were designed to create employment and opportunity in all sectors. “Job creation must be backed by co-operation and consultation with labour for a Better Life for all. The NDC will launch a major public works and infrastructure programme for job generation,” he said. What has happened to Mills’ employment policy? Okudzeto Ablakwa’s 1.6m jobs are non-existent. The NDC government secured a loan for $4.3m from the World Bank in 2009 and the string attached to it was to ban public sector employment for two solid years. Is that a way of creating employment for our youth, Mr. President? The cry of the NDC foot soldiers and the threat to embark on a nationwide demonstration by the unemployed graduates will justify how successful the policy has been.

On healthcare, John Mills said his government would promote and extend access to quality, affordable basic primary health services for all Ghanaians. He observed that promoting health, preventing illness, and providing cure require the full attention of government, adding that the NDC would take a multi-sector approach to health, and improve the National Health Insurance Scheme to extend access health services and finally make Ghanaians pay one-time premium for the NHIS. Besides, Mills assured Ghanaians that filth in the major cities would be cleared within 100 days into his administration. Ghanaians would like to know from John Mills when the one-time premium would be in fruition? Under Mills’ rule Ghana has been ranked the 2nd dirtiest country in Africa with cholera outbreak claiming over 69 lives out of 4000 people who have been infected with the disease. But in all these, the Health Minister, Yiele Chereh tells Ghanaians the deaths are normal.

On education, Prof. Mills argued that the lack of facilities, lack of motivated teachers and poor management were some of the weaknesses in Ghana’s education system, and that the NDC would bring all teacher training colleges under Teacher Training Universities. He said teachers in deprived areas would be given an additional allowance of 20% of basic salary, while extending the “free” aspect of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) for poor communities, by ending extra fees and providing free uniforms, adding that schools would be established so that no child walks more than 3km to school. What has happened afterwards? Only tea cups embossed with the portrait of the president have been given to some school kids with the view to making John Mills ‘popular’. The cost is around $5m. Polytechnic teachers, University teachers and other teacher associations - GNAT and NAGRAT have embarked on series of strikes in the course of the past two years as a result of the anomaly in the placement of the Single Spine Salary Structure. Some of these noble teachers have been stripped naked in Bawku whilst others have been molested by the Police in Accra for having a peaceful demonstration and as of now no investigation has been conducted to bring the perpetrators to book.

On agricultural growth, Mills observed that Ghana’s agricultural modernization has been stunted by poor infrastructure, transport, irrigation and social infrastructure. He indicated the NDC has the potential to turn agriculture into an Industrial growth. He stated that his government would process at least 60% of the cocoa produced locally, stressing that there were plans for another Cocoa Processing factory in the Western region to reduce transport problems and increase jobs. On fisheries, he said he would improve fish stocks through education and enforcement by an equipped Navy and reduce post-harvest losses – increase storage, processing, freezers and ice facilities. Is Ghana still not a net-importer of food? How much value have we added to our agricultural goods? How many of the agricultural problems been solved? A bag of rice which was sold at GHS 40.00 in 2008 is now sold at GHS 90.00. Tractors meant for farmers have been ‘stolen’ by Ayariga, Bagbin and Co. so for how long would Ghanaians be ‘fooled’ by Mills and his NDC administration?

The time has come for this country to produce effective citizens to do their own thinking. As humans we should be in a position to differentiate between good and evil. What has happened to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the STX Korea deal and the free school uniform programme? Over 90% MPs in the three Northern Regions owe allegiance to the NDC since the inception of the Fourth Republican Constitution, yet the level of infrastructural and economic development in the area is nothing to be proud of. The NDC led by its founder has been fanning conflicts among the good people of the north. It is high time Ghanaians rejected the NDC. The party simply represents a bunch of liars, incompetent, corrupt, violent and arrogant people. John Mills has failed in all aspects – economic, social, political, cultural and moral and the earlier Nana Akufo-Addo was given the opportunity to correct the wrongs, the better for all Ghanaians. I personally have the strongest conviction and I know majority of Ghanaians share with me that, under Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidency politics of insults, lies and mediocrity being witnessed under Mills’ reign would give way for discipline and prosperity. And as Abraham Lincoln said; “you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK.

katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk. 07944309859

“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”.