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Opinions of Tuesday, 18 November 2003

Columnist: Appiah-Yeboah, Kwame

Top Ten Excuses Given by President Kuffour and the NPP

The Kuffour led New Patriotic Party (NPP) was voted into power by Ghanaians with a lot of promise, goodwill and very high expectations. After the more than 20 traumatic years we endured under J. J. Rawlings and his P/NDC cohorts, we were ready for real change- positive change in our livelihood, economy, education, etc. However, President Kuffour and his NPP appear to give us nothing but excuses. This article presents my personal “Top Ten” excuses by President Kuffour and the NPP.

10. Ignorance

When the NPP and Kuffour were confronted with the enormity of the task ahead of them, they claimed ignorance in assuming otherwise. I guess they expected it to be a walk in the park and thus, criticized NDC and JJ mercilessly. Example of such an instance was when President Kuffour created more ministries and appointed more ministers and deputy ministers. He claimed ignorance in what was going on while in opposition.

9. Urgency

Prez. Kuffour and the NPP cited that they need to have things in place urgently and thus, circumvented laid down procedures and the rule of law. Case in point was when they awarded contracts for the renovation of the Osu Castle without tenders and competitive bidding. The contracts were awarded according to their own mechanism that was basically not transparent. Interestingly, Kuffour and the NPP while in opposition severely criticized NDC for similar offences.

8. Legal

This is one excuse that the whole NPP brass seems to find solace in whenever they are cornered. When they lost the Fast Track verdict at the Supreme Court, they filled for a review of the case. Meanwhile they appointed more Justices to the Supreme Court and no wonder won the second time round- and it was all legal. The former national chairman of the NPP and currently the “High Maintenance” Speaker of Parliament Ala Adjetey also sang the legality refrain when justifying his almost $16,000 holidays in Dublin, Ireland. I am sure Apprentice Kusi was legally jailed for expressing his unhappiness about the president’s frequent travels. The good news is that the NPP itself has shown that one can be jailed for ‘legal’ things done as an office holder. The Quality Grains trials and convictions are perfect precedents for future prosecutions.

7. Investment promotion

This is a personal favorite of the president and it is used mainly to explain his numerous travels outside Ghana. President Kuffour who is seriously challenging the Pope for the most traveled head of state has defended his travels as investment promotion tours. Meanwhile, actual foreign direct investment (FDI) has decreased since Kuffour took office. Moreover, this is the same NPP whose officials were attending forums outside Ghana during the reign of the NDC trying to convince investors to stay away from Ghana. I am positive the investors see them in their former disinvestments roles and are thus, staying away from Ghana. I personally think Kuffour is trying to save up on frequent flier miles so that he can use them after his term.

6. IMF, World Bank, external conditions, etc. are to be blamed

Prevailing external conditions have also fallen victim to the NPP blame game. The IMF, IFC (real one), World Bank, external donors, etc have been blamed for dictating policy to government. What did the NPP expect? The donors are providing about 20% of government revenue. The high price of oil and low prices of cocoa have all been blamed. Meanwhile when the Ivorian crisis hit and smuggling of cocoa to Ivory Coast decreased the NPP claimed that their policies were responsible for the bumper cocoa harvest.

5. Things are better in Ghana than all the countries in the Sub-region

President Kuffour and the NPP have claimed the credit for the peace and stability prevailing in Ghana. Kuffour in a recent VOA interview claimed that the greatest achievement of his government is that Ghanaians are enjoying greater democracy and freedom. This however, is a false credit as the foundations for a free press, independent judiciary and market enterprises were all laid by the Rawlings administrations. Love or hate him, Rawlings accepted all the CHIRAG findings, Supreme Court Rulings, etc that went against him and his government. He did not seek judicial reviews. This sad excuse ties in with our penchant for comparing ourselves to the worst of the worst when it comes to performance but compare to the best when it comes to demand for remuneration.

4. Things are better now than they were during the NDC era

This is a popular refrain among the NPP brass and a few examples will suffice. Commander in Chief and Frequent Flier President John Agyekum Kuffour used this excuse during the State of the nation address given January 2002. Prez. Kuffour expressed similar sentiments during the people’s assembly held to mark the one-year anniversary of NPP. Kan Dapaah former minister of energy made a similar statement at Akropong in the E/R when he blamed the current economic crisis on the NDC government.

3. It took NDC 20 years so were need more time

A journey of a thousand miles, the Chinese say, begins with the first step. The NPP government claims that Rawlings and the P/NDC took over twenty years to mess things up and it takes more time to fix than to destroy. However, from the initial mistake and scandal filled steps taken by the party, they are probably asking for more time to make things worse. Renovations of castle and ministers bungalows without competitive and transparent bidding, use of state funds to renovate the private residence of the president, police cars that cost between $1.3 million and $13 million without parliamentary approval, Saharagate, hauling Apprentice Kusi before court for criticizing the numerous travels of the president, award of government contracts to cronies and party men, presidential inertia in the handling of the Wereko-Brobbey mess at VRA, chasing of the golden fleece (fake IFC loan of $1 billion) excessive and useless presidential trips accompanied by dramatic increase in per diem, millions of cedis ($15,900) for speaker holidays, sitting on SFO reports that implicate confidants of the powers that be, etc. All these sound as if the NDC is still in power. It appears the NPP want twenty years to repeat the bungling mess created by the NDC.

2. Blame it on opponents of the government

Whenever the NPP government is embarrassed, the first victims to be blamed are opponents of the government. Both the national security advisor and Kwabena Agyapong, government spokesman blamed opponents of the NPP government as being responsible for the mess created when BNI operatives seized Former Vice President Atta Mills’s cars. Government spokesman Kwabena Agyapong who seems to be the architect of the blame it on opponents of the government movement attributed the arrest of Mr Tsatu Tsikata, former Chief Executive GNPC in church as a calculated move by opponents of the NPP to embarrass the government.

1. And the number one excuse is: Blame it on NDC and JJ Rawlings

This is one of the most pitiful and pathetic excuses that the whole NPP brass seems to enjoy so much. It’s been three years since NPP took office and the fruits of their policies must begin to show. Too bad they rather find J.J. Rawlings and the NDC easy scapegoats who they rather blame than admit their failings. The Northern crisis that resulted in the killing of the Ya-Na was blamed on Rawlings and the NDC. The upsurge in armed robbery soon after NPP took office was blamed on the NDC. The serial murdering of women during the last days of Rawlings was blamed on the NDC. NPP sympathizers, praise singers, bootlickers, sycophants, chief among whom is Jermaine Nkrumah want to blame Rawlings in particular and the NDC in general for everything wrong with Ghana today. Very soon one will wake up to hear that when Black Stars lose, it is the fault of JJ, when it does not rain, it will be the fault of opposition, when ones wife bans him to the ‘dog-house’, blame it on opponents.

Kwame Appiah-Yeboah
Lexington, USA
yeb_appiah@yahoo.com

PS. If you disagree with my list or placement, go and compile your own.