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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Trust me, Mahama will see Jubilee House before him, but won’t set foot in there


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After spending a little over eleven weeks on a fact-finding mission in Ghana recently, I have come to the realisation that Mahama and his NDC may well spend at least sixteen years in opposition, given the well-received projects and the encouraging economic performance by the Akufo-Addo’s administration.

Take, for example, more recently, a Nigerian scholar, who gave a presentation at the NDC’s most recent forum, emphasised Ghana’s thriving economic growth under the Akufo-Addo’s government.

It also came as no surprise at all when the reputable Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reported last year that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) will retain power in the 2020 general elections (see: ‘2020 election is yours to lose-EIU predicts NPP victory’; myjoyonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 15/09/2019).

It was also not far-fetched for the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conclude in its country report last year that former President John Dramani Mahama will find it extremely difficult to convince discerning Ghanaians into accepting that he is the preferable custodian of Ghana’s economy, given the country’s fairly strong economic growth under President Akufo-Addo.

Of course, some of us really appreciate discerning Ghanaians uneasy anticipation over Mahama’s desperate attempt to reclaim the presidency, unlike the NDC loyalists, many of whom aren’t ready to appreciate the excellent economic performance of the NPP government, unfortunately, seem oblivious to the apocalypse of Mahama returning to the Jubilee House.

Let us face the fact, it would be extremely catastrophic if Mahama was to reclaim the presidency, given the calamitous errors in judgement which led to the massive economic meltdown.

Tell me, my dearest reader, isn’t it quite ironic that despite the harsh economic conditions amidst the innumerable corruption allegations (Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, NCA, Ford Expedition Vehicle, amongst others), which led to his 2016 humiliating election defeat, Ex-President Mahama can still muster the courage to stage a comeback?

Well, why wouldn’t discerning Ghanaians dread and emit grave concerns over the return of a former president who has more alleged bribery and corruption scandals hanging around his neck than any other president in the history of Ghanaian politics?

Let us be honest though, no true nationalist will ever shrill and thrill over the return of a former president who has serious questions to answer over the puzzling corruption scandals such as the STX housing deal, the Brazilian aircrafts, the Ford Expedition Vehicle and the Armajaro saga.

Take, for instance, somewhere last year, we heard and read that four courageous Ghanaians had petitioned the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu to probe into the alleged E.O. Group’s $13 million corporate social responsibility fund towards the development of the Western Region which the petitioners claimed to have been diverted by Ex-President Mahama (See: ‘Mahama diverted $13m E.O. Group money; probe him – Four citizens petition Amidu’-todaygh.com/ghanaweb.com, 18/06/2018).

Dearest reader, why wouldn’t patriotic Ghanaians panic over the return of a former President who can boldly accept a furtive gift of a brand new Ford Expedition vehicle worth over $100,000 from a Burkinabe Contractor called Djibril Kanazoe?

I vividly recall how somewhere last year the good people of Ghana were greeted by yet another chilling news of corruption scandal in the erstwhile Mahama administration, on that occasion, it was an alleged oil money of GH40.5 million secret transfers to the presidency, via the then Chief of Staff (See: ‘Group explains why Amidu must probe Mahama, Debrah in GH¢40.5m BOST payment’; myjoyonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 19/09/2018).

It beggars belief that despite the wanton corruption, the arrogance of power and the crass incompetence exhibited by the erstwhile Mahama administration which resulted in massive economic collapse, the NDC faithful could still muster the courage to chastise Akufo-Addo and clamour inexorably for the return of former President Mahama.

Given the illimitable rot in the Mahama’s administration, some of us cannot help but to giggle over the NDC’s faithful’s renewed zeal to return to power so soon.

Truth must however be told, the unrepentant critics cannot be entirely correct for claiming somewhat spuriously that President Akufo-Addo has deliberately worsened the plight of Ghanaians since assuming power on 7th January 2017.

The fact however remains that Ghana under the erstwhile NDC administration experienced massive economic downslide which regrettably brought to pass harsh socio-economic standards of living.

Given the circumstances, it will be difficult for any government under the sun to reverse such mess within a shortest possible time.

So, it is somewhat unfair and unreasonable to see the brassbound NDC faithful, who are currently enjoying uninterrupted electricity, reductions in electricity tariffs, low inflation, tax reductions (including import taxes), favourable economic growth and gargantuan savings on free SHS, amongst others gathering the courage to crudely castigate the NPP administration.

It is, therefore, extremely shocking to keep hearing such ridiculous misconceptions from the NDC apologists, many of whom only follow narrow party coloration, devoid of patriotism and solicitude.

But then again, one has to contain his/her emotional intelligence, show unconditional deference and composure, for after all, sycophancy, partisanship and lack of patriotism have been our greatest nemeses.

Given the bizarre circumstances, we can logically conclude that vague apprehension of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who regrettably, prefer hero worshipping to defending the national interests.

Thus, some of our leaders, having first-hand knowledge of our servile compliance and hero worshipping gimmicks, tend to take us for granted and continue to provide us with mediocre leadership and services.

If that was not the case, how on earth would any reflective thinker sing the praises of a president who squeamishly dragged an economic growth of 14% in 2011 to a miserable 3.4% by December 2016 and unfairly keep censuring someone who has moved the growth from 3.4% to around 8% within a short space of time?

It is however gratifying to note that despite the huge economic mess left by the outgone Mahama administration, the Akufo-Addo’s government has admirably raised Ghana’s economic growth from a disappointing 3.4% in December 2016 to a favourable 8.6%. And the double digit inflation (15.8 in December 2016) has been reduced drastically to around 7.6%.

It must, however, be emphasised that no economist on this planet can undo the huge economic mess created by the NDC government within 36 months into a 48 month mandate.

So, it is quite unfair and irrelevant for the NDC loyalists to expect Akufo-Addo’s government to conjure magic and fix the mess so soon when the NDC administration paid GH800 million dubious judgment debt, including the GH51.2 million to Woyome, $45 million to the Waterville, $325,000 to the Isofoton, which resulted in the drastic reduction of capital expenditure.

Take my word for it, dearest reader, somewhere last year, I thought I was dreaming when I chanced on the unfortunate news about the misappropriation of $175 million loan facility secured in 2012 which was meant to provide seven district hospitals. But I was not. I was wide awake. The Mahama government indeed misapplied the loan facility on the blind side of Ghanaians.

The all-important question every discerning Ghanaian should be asking then is: why must the diehard NDC supporters expect Akufo-Addo’s government to use 36 months to fix the 96 months massive mess left by the erstwhile NDC government when the same people surreptitiously diverted $6 million of a government loan facility of $175 million meant to provide seven district hospitals into researching the then governing NDC’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections?

The clandestine research was allegedly carried out by the United Kingdom based SCL Social, the mother company of Cambridge Analytica.

According to the report, in spite of the fact that the SCL Social was given $6 million to carry out a nationwide survey to provide appropriate data for the proper planning of the healthcare needs of Ghana, the NDC government led by Ex-President Mahama bizarrely deemed it fit to divert the loan facility for their internal research at the expense of the sick and infirm Ghanaians. How insensitive could Mahama’s government be?

The contractors, SCL Social, admitted: “The work consists of two discrete political and public health elements. The political element is testing the attitudes and perceptions of the population towards contemporary issues faced in Ghana and public confidence in the capacity and competence of the NDC administration to implement appropriate timely solutions. As well as the level of satisfaction regarding the performance of the NDC at district, regional and national level is tested and the research incorporates how this may translate into future electoral success.”

If we do the arithmetic of the $175 million loan facility which was supposed to provide seven district hospitals, each hospital should have cost us $25 million.

Nevertheless, credible sources have it that out of the seven district hospitals, only the one in Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region received the full funding and was thus completed successfully.

The all-important question every well-meaning Ghanaian should be asking then is: where is the rest of the $175 million loan facility?

Dearest reader, how can we advance as a nation when some remorseless conspiratorial plotters keep hiding behind party coloration, devoid of patriotism and rapaciously squandering our scarce resources to the detriment of the poor and disadvantage Ghanaians?

Let us face it, since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption. Why?

Tell me, dearest reader, if the rampant bribery and corruption, the stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists , the misappropriation of resources and the crude embezzlement of funds meant for developmental projects by some public officials do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

You may believe it or not, there is admissible evidence of gargantuan bribery and corruption cases, including monies which were given to parasitic creatures who did not render any services towards the national development. Woyome and Akua Donkor come to mind.

How on earth would any serious and committed leader give away a large portion of our scarce resources, in a form of two four wheel drive vehicles and a luxurious bungalow, purported to cost a staggering $475,000 to Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) for no work done?

Indeed, a large portion of Ghana’s scarce resources, regrettably, went down the drain due to the mismanagement and the wanton corruption perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile Mahama administration.

As I write, over 21 suspects of the previous Mahama administration are standing trial for alleged bribery and corruption.

Take, for example, somewhere last year, a competent court of jurisdiction convicted two of the numerous corruption suspects in the erstwhile NDC administration and sentenced them to six and twelve years respectively.

In fact, I share in the sentiments of the concerned Ghanaians, who have been maintaining all along that the sins of the two convicts are meagre in comparison with the other scandalous corruption cases which took place in the erstwhile Mahama administration.

In a related development, on 14th March 2018, the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited, who have been accused of embezzling over GH260 million under the watch of former President Mahama.

But in spite of the admissible evidence of Mahama’s government’s unbridled corruption and incompetence, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians into believing that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.

The good people of Ghana, regrettably, can attest to wanton corruption, incompetence and frequent abuse of power in the erstwhile NDC government.

Take, for instance, but for the Honourable Agyapong’s whistling blowing prowess, former President Mahama’s sibling, Ibrahim Mahama, would have evaded import taxes in the tune of GH12 million. How pathetic?

Delightfully, however, the EOCO ordered Ibrahim Mahama to pay the GH12 million as all his previous 44 cheques were dishonoured by the respective banks. How bizarre?

As if that was not enough, the Mahama administration revoltingly sanctioned a 30 year bauxite mining lease of around 58% to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power. How pathetic?

In fact, it would be negligent on my part not to offload a truckload of appreciation onto the good people of Ghana for rightly choosing the septuagenarian Nana Akufo-Addo over the middle-aged Mahama on 7th December 2016.

It is also true that Akufo-Addo could not have chalked up the numerous successes without the able support of the hardworking men and women like the Amansie South District Chief Executive, the Honourable William Asante Bediako, who in spite of the countless exigencies, is transforming the newly created district to the delight of the indigenes like yours truly.

We are indeed most grateful to the Honourable DCE for swiftly moving to solve a serious problem in my hometown in the Amansie South District.
It was somewhat refreshing to hear the NDC Branch Chairman in my hometown in the Amansie South District singing the praises of the Honourable DCE. More power to your elbow, Honourable DCE. In ending, we should take solace in the fact that based on the prudent governance and the current favourable economic outlook, we can confidently rest assured that Ghana is heading towards the right direction under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo.


k.badu2011@gmail.com

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