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Politics of Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Source: Statesman

The Economist: Mahama has messed up; but NDC bent on cheating

The Economist magazine has observed that despite the fact that the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress has messed up the Ghanaians economy, it is determined to rig the December 7 elections.

According to the magazine, a cabinet minister in the current government has also admitted to cheating in the 2012 elections.

"The 2012 election was won because of me, I'm the one who did the gerrymandering," one government minister boasted, according to the magazine.

The economist pointed out in a report, titled "Nkrumah's heirs: A country that should be a beacon of African democracy is ailing," that the Mahama government, instead of focusing on important issues to convince the electorate to vote for him, "relies on patronage, and on spending money it does not have."

It added that the NDC government, led by President Mahama, is so fiscally undisciplined that it had to rely on the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.
"However, with public debt hovering at about 70% of GDP (and debt repayments accounting for a third of government revenue), its finances are precarious. Worse, it has already squandered the windfalls it expects from the development of large offshore oilfields. The roads are full of potholes, there are regular power cuts and big companies talk openly about moving across the border into Ivory Coast," the economist disclosed.
Describing the flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, as an accomplished lawyer and economist, the magazine said the NPP with Nana Akufo-Addo can turn the fortunes of the country around "with a mix of market- and investment-friendly policies."
"Although the NPP's instincts are relatively liberal, it has tacked in a populist direction, with slogans such as "one district, one factory" and 'one village, one dam', in a bid to broaden its appeal," it added.

The magazine stated emphatically that even though the NPP stands a greater chance of winning the December 7 elections, the actions and inactions of the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, must be a source of concern.

"Charlotte Osei, the head of the electoral commission, insists that this will be the cleanest vote in Ghana's history, but she will face a tough task convincing voters of that. Many complain that the electoral roll has been stuffed with supporters of the ruling party who are ineligible to vote, because they are too young or are not citizens" the report added.

However, the economist stressed that whichever party wins the December 7 polls will have the difficult task of putting the country back into shape.
"Whichever party wins will have its work cut out, not only in trying to stabilize the economy, but also in tackling some of Ghana's deeper problems. If Ghana is to live up to its reputation as a beacon of democracy in Africa, it needs to clean itself up," it ended.