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Opinions of Friday, 21 September 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr.

We said the same thing about the Kufuor presidency

The criticism of biting economic hardship under the present Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) must be taken in good faith by Jubilee House. At the same time, however, those party insiders criticizing the government need to also bear in mind that such criticism also prevailed under the John Agyekum-Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party, which ruled the country from January 2001 to January 2009 (See “I am NPP; But ‘Disappointing Akufo-Addo’ Sinking Ghana – KNUST Lecturer” / 9/19/18). How else did the former President come to earn the sobriquet or nickname of “Me Dofo Adaadaa Me” (or “My Beloved/Lover Has Deceived Me”)? The fact of the matter is that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is not faring or doing any worse than former President Agyekum-Kufuor did, especially when one also reckons the meanspirited sorts of stumbling blocks put in the course of his path towards the Jubilee-Flagstaff House by the infamous diarchy of Messrs. Agyekum-Kufuor and Kwadwo Mpiani, as well as the equally infamous extant cabal at the NPP’s Kokomlemle Party Headquarters.

Dr. Otchere Addai-Mensah, described as Head of the Medical Laboratory Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and a staunch NPP member, is absolutely right to let Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in on the prevailing dismal economic conditions in the country. But it would be even more progressive and constructive, if Dr. Addai-Mensah also suggested some practically feasible measures that the present government could take to stem the rising tide of economic hardship in the country. In other words, this internal critic needs to equally bear in mind the fact that Nana Akufo-Addo inherited a virtually bankrupt national economy with a mountain of largely theft-created debts nearly three times as high as Mount Everest, as it were; and that magnitude of bankruptcy, of course, included the deliberately determined decision by former President John Dramani Mahama and his ministerial lieutenants to divert funding specifically meant for the sustenance of the Kufuor-fangled National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). I am here, of course, alluding to the infamous Sylvester Mensah Affair.

You see, Nana Akufo-Addo could have chosen to abandon President Kufuor’s signature National Health Insurance Scheme legacy and concentrated on his equally signal fee-free Senior High School Policy Initiative, instead. Indeed, I have personally suggested that President Akufo-Addo would do the economy and the country greater good by concentrating considerable efforts and resources on the construction of silage or warehouse facilities and making sure that enough foodstuffs or staple agricultural products are stored during the bumper-harvest seasons in order to ensure the stability of market prices for these goods or food items during the lean season. But, of course, we are also, all of us, well aware of the fact that the prices of staple-food items, both locally produced and imported, have a lot to do with fuel and energy costs. Which means that the President and his economic and policy advisers would do well to focus a remarkable amount of their attention on the food-production and fuel markets. Of course, the equally high rate of unemployment would also need to be taken good care of.

At any rate, Dr. Addai-Mensah’s reportedly flat refusal to accept the crucial post of Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) may also be part of the problem that he is reported to be desperately and “passionately” and, perhaps, even bitterly complaining about. Which may be that the President may have run acutely short of some of the most talented and dedicated members of his party, who prefer to comfortably sit on the sidelines and cynically complain at the top of their voices and lungs about all that is wrong with the governance conduct of the present Administration. I am also glad that like Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the firebrand Assin-Central NPP-MP, Dr. Addai-Mensah chooses not to tread the inglorious path of sycophancy. Unfortunately, however, sitting duck and shooting one’s mouth from the bleachers or popular stand, while not a bad choice in of itself, may also not necessarily be the most effective method of moving the country’s development and prosperity agenda forward at the most desirable or conducive pace.

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