Understandably, to constantly complain, speak and write about the terrible state of Ghana’s economy under the erstwhile NDC government which the party faithful blithesomely perceive as a benign, or an inconsequential issue, is to be regarded as a political extremist, or even as a notorious conservative, mischievously seeking to discredit their beloved party.
Nevertheless, some of us, as a matter of principle, won’t abandon our civic duty, far from it. But we will rather stick to our guns, be true to the faith, and, keep upholding and defending the good name of our beloved Ghana.
It is, indeed, quite interesting to keep hearing and reading the NDC faithful’s flimsy excuses that the loyalists of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) maliciously lied about NDC’s much-publicised incompetence and corrupt practices and deceptively pledged juicy, albeit unachievable Manifesto promises which led to their 2016 landslide victory.
With all due respect with no attached condescension whatsoever, the teeming supporters of NDC must engage in a carefully considered reflection and accept the painful fact that their dreadful errors in judgement which unfortunately sent Ghana’s economy deeper and deeper into the mire, to some large extent, cost them the power in 2016 election and not the supposedly ‘wicked’ lies put out by their opponents.
The fact remains that the rot in the erstwhile NDC government was as pervasive as the odour of garlic, which led to some diehard supporters emitting their displeasure and threatening to boycott the 2016 election.
I recall vividly how my long-term friend who had witnessed enough of the unpardonable mess in his beloved NDC government decided to walk out of the party.
My pal contended somewhat passionately that he had been defending and promoting the party’s much-touted ethos of probity, transparency and accountability for well over twenty-three years, but lost the zeal to continue, as the sleazes and corruption in President Mahama’s government reached immeasurable proportions.
My friend, however, maintained that the straw that broke the camel’s back was when President Mahama decided to behave as the benevolent Father Christmas and unjustifiably gave away large portions of Ghana’s scarce resources to apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (two four-wheel-drive cars and a luxury bungalow estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done.
My mate’s beef stemmed from the fact that he had worked his socks off all those years for the Party to enjoy power, meanwhile, he had nothing to show for his efforts.
My pal was thus incensed that parasitic creatures like Madam Akua Donkor were needlessly being showered with all sorts of melodic gifts.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, my friend abandoned his role in the NDC prior to the 2016 election and confided in me that he did not even bother to travel to his polling station on the voting day.
My best mate did not see the urgent need to vote for NDC and President Mahama, given the crass incompetence and the unpardonable corruption.
My pal was, indeed, distraught about the way and manner Mahama was handling Ghana’s economy.
In private discussions, my pal would seriously raise concerns about the bribery and corruption scandals such as the infamous Bus branding, the Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, NCA, MASLOC, the furtive Ford Expedition Vehicle, the Woyome’s 51.2 million dubious judgement debt, the Waterville’s $30 million wrongful payment, the Isofoton’s dubious payment of $325,000, among others.
My mate was, in fact, extremely worried about the GH200 million SADA funds spent on trees which were later burnt down and the guinea fowls that miraculously flew to nearby Burkina Faso.
A large portion of Ghana’s scarce resources, regrettably, ‘decanted’ into the drains due to the irrevocable mismanagement and the wanton corruption perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile NDC administration.
But in all these, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians into believing that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.
Verily, clumsy understanding of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who prefer needless praise singing to defend the national interests.
The good people of Ghana, regrettably, witnessed so much duplicities, unbridled corruption, incompetence, nepotism, cronyism and frequent abuse of power in the erstwhile NDC government, and hence the vast majority of Ghanaians have permanently lost trust in the NDC.
Despite the obvious economic meltdown back then, President Mahama and his apologists kept trumpeting their vague rhetoric, political insobrieties and meaningless slogans-‘Mahama Tuaso’; ‘We care for you’; ‘people matter, you matter’; ‘we are transforming lives’.
Suffice it to stress that the good people of Ghana struggled endlessly to pay their utility bills and could not even afford their children school fees.
The well-meaning Ghanaians, therefore, took a conscious decision by reposing their trust in NPP to set them free from the NDC government’s ostensive economic enslavement.
And, rightly so, the good people of Ghana embraced NPP’s advantageous policies such as One District One Factory, One Constituency One million dollars, One Village One Dam, Free SHS, Tax deductions, among others.
In the grand scheme of things, if President Akufo-Addo and his government managed to fulfil all those promises, trust me, it would be an illustrative case of “heaven on earth.”
Back then, whenever the suffering Ghanaians complained about the economic hardships, former President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would ungraciously chastise the same people who gave them the electoral mandate for expressing their grievances.
Shockingly, the NDC’s ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ (as described by former President Rawlings) would insult every Ghanaian that would dare complain about their laissez-faire style of leadership.
The discourteous NDC brats did not even spare their party founder, Rawlings, for voicing his opinion over the rampant bribery and corruption in the NDC administration.
Yes, the disrespectful apologists kept upbraiding their founder, Rawlings, for expressing his arousing disgust over the rot in his party.
The NDC’s ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ disgustingly abused the then flagbearer of the NPP and the current President Nana Akufo-Addo day in and day out.
The brats spewed all sort of wicked lies about the eminent lawyer. The good people of Ghana rightly became fed-up with the needless abuse the NDC apologists were directing towards the unwearied Nana Akufo-Addo.
Ironically, back then, President Mahama claimed to be a humble leader, a very patient leader, a tolerant leader. And yet it was the same President Mahama who lividly told Dr Bawumiah, the NPP’s presidential running mate for 2016 general elections and now the vice president of Ghana to ‘shut up and cease criticising him (Mahama) because he (Bawumiah) had not been a president before’.
Strangely, however, the much-touted humble, patient, and tolerant President Mahama was reported to have told the people of Ashanti Region that they are ungrateful and would never be appreciative even if all their roads are constructed with gold.
Consequently, the people of Ashanti Region ineffaceably stencilled such an unfair comment at the back of their minds and waited for an appropriate time to express their arousing disgust. Indeed, the right time was 7th December 2016.
The fact is, the NPP faithful did not lie their way into power but rather on 7th December 2016, the good people of Ghana remembered the day when the humble, patient and tolerant President Mahama told them to cease their “useless discussions” over the suitable burial place of our departed former President Mills.
And what is more, whenever the good people of Ghana expressed their doubts over the much-touted numerous infrastructural projects, the humble, patient and tolerant President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would reply: “It is only those that are blind that do not see the good work of the NDC government.”
As a matter of fact, the good people of Ghana put the needless attacks on their mental sheets and waited for an opportune time to teach the clamorous NDC ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ a great lesson.
And, who said that 7th December 2016 was not the right time for the good people of Ghana to vent their spleen on the disrespectful appointees?
Brief Highlights of Ex-President Mahama’s performance
In fact, Ghana’s massive economic downslide took an unexpected flight after the sudden and unfortunate death of President Mills.
During the 2012 electioneering campaign, the late Mills successor, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went haywire in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.
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 ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016 with nothing or little to show for.
Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing, high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
Moreover, President Mahama’s government squeamishly dragged the economic growth from around 14%in 2011 to around 3.4% as of December 2016.
In addition, the high inflation rate remains elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.4%as of October 2016).
Unsurprisingly, therefore, during the epoch of Mahama’s maladministration, some concerned patriots like the late Jake Obetsebi Lamptey lamented: “Ghanaians are worried because the economy is being handled in a manner reminiscent of the NDC’s mishandling of the economy in 2000. We do not need to return to HIPC status.”
As a matter of fact, Ex-President Mahama did not do enough to improve on the socio-economic standards of living.
Take, for example, former President Kufuor quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering $28 billion in 2008, and the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to $47 billion by 2011.
However, President Mahama disappointingly reversed the GDP to an incredible $40billion as of December 2016.
Highlights of Akufo-Addo’s performance thus far
If you would recall, during the 2016 electioneering campaign, the then-presidential candidate of NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, declared: “I am promising you that within 18 months of a new government of the NPP, under my leadership, the face of our country, Ghana, is going to change”.
Apparently, since assuming power, Akufo-Addo’s government has taken commendable strides to improve the social mobility through implementation of poverty reduction policies such as the Free SHS, one district one factory, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs, One million dollars per constituency, tax reductions, a dam per village in the northern part of Ghana, among others.
More so despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid stunted economic growth, Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.4 % as of December 2016 to a favourable 8.6 % within a short space of time.
Since taking office, the NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit-around 7.6%from a little over 15 %as of December 2016.
If you would recall, prior to 2008, 2012 and 2016 general elections, the then-presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, made Free SHS his principal campaign message.
As it was expected, the opposition NDC communicators scoffed endlessly, and labelled him an ‘inveterate liar’.
Shockingly, however, some Ghanaians, including my maternal uncle, bought into the NDC’s manipulating gimmicks and rejected the offer of the Free SHS on two previous elections (2008 and 2012).
But lo and behold, discerning Ghanaians saw the light, and eventually gave the Free SHS provider, Akufo-Addo the mandate on 7th December 2016.
And, true to his word, President Akufo-Addo has estimably honoured his promise of the poverty alleviation Free SHS to the delight of many Ghanaians.
The pessimists like my maternal uncle, who vehemently campaigned and voted against the free SHS in 2016, but have three children in SHS, are going to pocket not less than GH16598.49 over three years.
It is absolutely true that Akufo-Addo’s government is honouring the Manifesto promises and steadily tackling the erstwhile Mahama’s government economic mess head-on.
Based on the current favourable economic outlook, some of us can confidently state that the good people of Ghana made the right choice by electing the septuagenarian Nana Akufo-Addo and retiring the middle-aged John Dramani Mahama in the 2016 election.
K. Badu, UK.
Columnist: Kwaku Badu