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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Could Sylvester Mensah also be a congenital liar?

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

We know he is a thief or at least the criminal suspect of a grand theft, because in the lead-up to the 2016 general election Mr. Sylvester Mensah was arrested by agents from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). At about the same time, his bank accounts were frozen and his passport impounded.

I highlight the preceding in order to objectively establish the fact that the former Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), operators of the New Patriotic Party-created National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), lacks the kind of credibility that ought to invest his negative opinions of the creators and pioneering operatives of the National Insurance Scheme.

I must also promptly point out that at the time of his indictment and arrest, I was one of the writers and activists who agitated for his release through the writing and publishing of at least one column that appeared on several media websites.

What the foregoing clearly implies is that I have absolutely nothing personal against Mr. Mensah, short of the following comments which are squarely based on his propagandistic assertion that when the Mills-Mahama government took over the National Health Insurance Scheme, originally established by the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the NHIS was “in a deplorable state.”

The temporal point of reference is January 2009, and Mr. Mensah claims that the number of enrollees in the scheme, which had absolutely no precedent in modern Ghanaian history, was 9 million. It would be shortly increased to over 19 million by the National Democratic Congress’ governments of Messrs. John Evans Atta-Mills and John Dramani Mahama, respectively. Mr. Mensah claims that the operation of the NHIS under the tenure of President John Agyekum-Kufuor was riddled with gross mismanagement, corruption and the abject lack of any viable mechanism by which to audit the operations of the National Health Insurance Authority.

We find this hard to believe, because it was Mr. Mensah and some 19 former members of his staff, all of them diehard operatives of the National Democratic Congress, who were arrested when the BNI investigations team struck. And the government of the day was his own government, to wit, the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress. What is more, had the NHIA/NHIS been as criminally operated under President Kufuor’s tenure as the former NHIA’s boss claims, the BNI agents would have retroactively cast their net or wire mesh to cover the period of the foundation and/or establishment of the NHIA/NHIS.

Plus, what is even more damning is the fact that Mr. Mensah fails to tell his audience precisely what sort of health insurance program or scheme had been bequeathed the nation by January 2001, when the Rawlings-led government of the National Democratic Congress handed over the democratic reins of governance to the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party.

The NDC apparatchik cannot tell us what health insurance program or scheme had been bequeathed the Kufuor government, and the nation at large, because none whatsoever existed.

Under the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress, we had what was then called the Cash-and-Carry Health Policy, which was absolutely no policy at all but a veritable Social Darwinian regime in which the poor, unemployed and destitute Ghanaian citizen who met with ill-health were simply and callously left to die a slow death, without the merciful intervention of the government of the day, the so-called welfarist and socialist-oriented National Democratic Congress.

And so just what he means when Mr. Mensah tells Ghanaian voters to retain President Mahama at the Flagstaff House, so as to have reprobate party pork-barrel appointees like himself continue to mismanage the National Health Insurance Scheme, is anybody’s good guess (See “NHIS Was in Tatters When We Took Over – Sylvester Mensah” 12/5/16).

Well, just two days after Mr. Mensah made the foregoing propagandistic statements, Ghanaian voters demonstrated the fact that they were far smarter and sophisticated than any of these cynical NDC apparatchiks gave them credit for. They jackbooted their vicious oppressors by mandating the three-time Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with approximately 54-percent of their votes, as opposed to President Mahama’s 44-percent of the valid votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.

This is what true democracy is about. And the punch-drunk NDC Abongo Boys and Girls had better sit up and take notice. For it is a new day in the Galamsey Capital and the entire nation at large.

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