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Opinions of Friday, 19 April 2019

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Why the ghost of morally upright Mills won’t support Mahama’s bid

If you may recall, the late President Mills met with fierce resistance on his decision to select John Dramani Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 general elections.

The effervescent Mills nonetheless defied the stiff opposition, stood by his then running mate John Dramani Mahama, worked collaboratively and emerged victorious in the 2008 general elections.

Following his victory in the 2008 general elections, the late Mills did his utmost best and continued with the excellent economic foundation laid by former President Kufuor and his NPP government.

Despite his brief spell at the presidency, the late Mills performed exceedingly better than his predecessor Rawlings and his successor Mahama.

Take, for instance, before his mysterious death in July 2012, the late Mills initiated the construction of social infrastructural projects and amenities, many of which were completed by former President Mahama.

Yet, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC operatives have found it somewhat convenient to insult memory of the late Mills by belittling his achievements in his three and half years stint in government.

Disappointingly, despite the late Mills invaluable contributions, former President Mahama and his NDC supporters have egregiously failed to give him (Mills) any mention on NDC’s much touted infrastructural projects.

Somehow, Ex-President Mahama has stencilled his name on all the projects to the utter disgust of the late Mills admirers.

Some observers have thus been suggesting forcefully that there was a bad blood between the late Mills and his Vice President John Dramani Mahama.

The sceptics argue that if that was not the case, how on earth would a whole president set up a Committee to investigate his vice president over the acquisition of aircrafts from Brazil?

In fact, if the appalling treatment of the late Mills by the NDC faithful is anything to go by, then we can draw an adverse inference that the enmity has continued up to this time.

It may explain why Ex-President Mahama and his supporters have obtrusively failed to give the late Mills any credit on the NDC’s much touted infrastructural projects despite the late Mills immense contributions.

Indeed, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks have blatantly refused to give the late Mills a mention in their green book which highlights their contestable accomplishments.

For if nothing at all, the late mills pragmatically put the loans contracted by former President Kufuor into good use, initiated the Volta Region University, the Eastern Corridor road, all the numerous water projects, amongst others.

Regrettably, however, Ex-President Mahama has made them his own without giving credit to the late Mills. How bizarre?

As I stated elsewhere, the late Mills did his utmost best and improved on the booming economy left by former President Kufuor and his NPP government.

The late Mills was an excellent human being and a real patriot who meant well for his country. Nevertheless, the late Mills was regrettably let down by the very people he reposed his absolute trust.

In spite of the late Mills good intentions for Ghana, the naysayers within his own Party needlessly kept nagging, shrilling and grumbling about his style of leadership until his mysterious death in July 2012.

I hate to admit this, but the fact of the matter is that the late Mills greatest mistake of his short spell in government was his decision to mix religion with politics by putting absolute trust in every descendant of Adam.

Of course, there is nothing wrong if a devoted Christian or a Moslem decides to play active politics. However, a supposedly religious person, in my view, must not and cannot ‘play God’ in the political arena.

I have never been, and will never be an NDC apologist, but I will forever highlight the late President Mills unparalleled adherence to moral principles.

Of course, the late President Mills had his infelicities. And yet he was morally ahead of the other insensitive NDC apparatchiks.

Take, for instance, it is on record that prior to the dubious Wayome’s judgement debt payment of GH51.2 million, the late Mills warned the ‘create, loot and share’ cabals not to effect payment.

Yet the cabals incredibly disobeyed the good old Mills orders and doled out the staggering amount to Wayome, who had no contract with the government of Ghana.

Regrettably, the late President Mills capitulated, got carried away and somehow allowed the create loot and share cabals in his government to have their way.

The incompliant cabals began to dip their hands into the national coffers as if tomorrow will never come.

The racketeers even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (purported to be around GH600 million), with the sole objective to create, loot and share. Do you remember Woyome’s GH51.2 million dubious judgement debt payment?

Apparently, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse following President Mills sudden and mysterious death in July 2012. The conspiratorial plotters then had a field day leading to the 2012 general elections.

Ex-President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went berserk in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, many observers harbour a strong view that Ghana’s economic downslide came about as a result of the unbridled sleazes and gargantuan corruption which took place in the erstwhile NDC administration.

Somehow, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks failed to acknowledge that corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.

The general belief back then was that they bought votes with the tax payers’ money. They nonetheless clung on to power following the controversial election on 7th December 2012.

Indeed, their 2012 victory came with a huge costs to the state. The previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. The GH9.5 billion debt which former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 rocketed artificially to unpronounceable figures. Our total debt ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.

Prior to the 2008 and 2012 general elections, President Mahama and NDC beseeched the good people of Ghana for the electoral mandate and in return, they guaranteed everyone protection of life, property, provision of social amenities, better socio-economic standards of living and to a certain extent liberty.

If you may remember, Ex-President Mahama and NDC gave a cornucopia of Manifesto promises, inter alia, making dumsor a thing of the past, putting money in Ghanaians pocket, creating more jobs for the jobless, stabilising the economy, protecting Ghanaians from the menaces of galamsey and Fulani herdsmen, bringing an end to dubious judgement debt payments, fighting the rampant sleaze and corruption, working with ‘lean’ government, getting rid of the filth in Accra within 100 days, introducing free SHS, implementing one-time NHIS premium etc.

Consequently, the good people of Ghana bought into the NDC’s Manifesto promises and then gave them the needed electoral mandate in the 2008 and 2012 general elections respectively. Unfortunately, however, the successive NDC governments failed to honour their promises.

Take, for instance, the NDC promised wholeheartedly to make ‘dumsor’ a thing of the past, if voted into power.

Back then, Haruna Iddrisu, the then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, boldly asserted: “If voted into power, the NDC government would have no excuse to keep Ghanaians in dumsor”.

Ironically, however, the dumsor got worst following the NDC’s victory. Discerning Ghanaians rightly fretted thy souls with disappointments and curses, and, demanded answers as to why President Mahama failed to bring the dumsor under control.

However the dire consequences of the dumsor, President Mahama and NDC government could not fix the dumsor. The dumsor continued to cripple hundreds of businesses. The dumsor indeed contributed to Ghana’s economic downslide.

Besides, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government pledged to implement one-time NHIS premium. That Manifesto promise, so to speak, was destitute of honesty and integrity.

The NDC government failed woefully to implement the one-time NHIS premium to the utter dismay of Ghanaians.

And, after successfully shooting down Nana Akufo Addo and his NPP’s campaign promise of Free SHS, Ex-President Mahama and NDC hastily turned round and promised to implement the Free SHS policy. However, they failed once again as the Mahama’s government tentatively implemented their supposedly Progressively Free SHS, with each student getting around GH48.00.

It would also be recalled that the NDC told Ghanaians back in 2008 that the NPP government under President Kufuor had sunk the economy into the mire, so Ghanaians should give the NDC the opportunity to put the economy back on track.

Nevertheless, all the available evidence suggests that the NDC government under Ex-President Mahama rather managed to worsen the socio-economic standards of living than any other government in the history of Ghanaian politics.

Whenever the good people of Ghana decided to express their grievances over the never ending harsh economic conditions, Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would go berserk: aren’t we transforming lives by building roads, hospitals, schools, toilets, water facilities and many other social infrastructural projects?

Most of the projects were regrettably not up to the required standards, albeit the projects were often overpriced. The former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda would attest to such assertion. He previously decried over the NDC’s poorly constructed and overpriced projects.

Disappointingly, when the concerned Ghanaians complained about the poorly constructed roads in Kumasi, President Mahama would angrily respond: ‘You ungrateful lots, you would never even be appreciative if I constructed your roads with gold’.

The fact however remains that Ex-President Mahama and his appointees refused to appreciate that exemplary governance is not all about putting up numerous infrastructural projects.

Excellence governance goes beyond the provision of social infrastructural and amenities. As a matter of fact, praiseworthy governance involves continuous improvement of socio-economic standards of living.

Take, for example, former President Kufuor quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering $28 billion in 2008. While the late Mills inherited the discovery of oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to $47 billion by 2011.

Unfortunately, however, President Mahama reversed the GDP to an incredible $37 billion as of October 2016.

Besides, the late Mills left an economic growth of around 14 per cent, but Mahama succeeded to asphyxiate the economic growth to an amazing 3.4 per cent by December 2016.

Moreover, President Mills left an agricultural growth of around 7.4 per cent in 2012, while President Mahama dragged it to around 2.5 per cent as of October 2016.

It is also true that President Mahama obliterated the late mills “unprecedented” single digit inflation and replaced it with double digits (15.8 as of October 2016).

Last but not least, the late Mills left a fairly stable currency exchange rate-it was around GH1.65 to 1 U.S Dollar in 2011. However, the exchange rate stood around GH4.20 to 1 U.S Dollar as of December 2016.

As a matter of fact and observation, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government fecklessly collapsed the hitherto thriving economy.

Indeed, former President Mahama and his government broke their earlier promises, thus the bonds of trust were infringed to the utter chagrin of discerning Ghanaians, including the ghost of morally upstanding Mills.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com