THE CARDINAL RULE IN SPORTS: YOU DON’T CHANGE THE WINNING TEAM – II GHANA DOES NOT NEED A CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP AT THIS CRUCIAL TIME
Being a keen independent and objective observer of the Ghanaian political landscape, I reckon, some individuals and groups believe it is their inalienable right to govern this country, and nobody else’s, and would go to all lengths, through fair or foul means, just to win power. This group will dispute every election result. It is interred in their DNA to dispute election results, except it tips in their favour. It is given that nearly every democratic general election results in Ghana’s political history has been contested by this group. In 1954, alone, the general elections had to be conducted thrice, because of disputed results. The last presidential election results in 2012 were challenged in Ghana’s Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, and for eight months on end, lawyers had to be pouring over thousands of pink sheets, etc. At the end of the trial, the presidential results, which originally favoured the sitting President, John Dramani Mahama, were upheld by the Court.
Many saw this infamous trial as a triumph for Ghana’s democracy and judiciary systems. I hold quite a different viewpoint about it, though. Beyond what is touted as seemingly deepening our democracy and judiciary systems, I personally thought it was retrogressive, an effort in futility and an absolute waste of our time as a nation. We have a full-proof electoral system, which is virtually impossible to rig. Our elections are won glaringly at the Polling Stations and not in the Court room. But for one man’s inordinate ambition to be President at all cost, a country of about 28 million citizens had to be held to ransom, for a gruelling eight solid months in court, because a small clause in our constitution allowed that even Presidential election results could be challenged in court. Everything came to a grinding halt as the nation, with her heart in her mouth, watched live, daily, this gruelling, interminable battle in court over the Presidential verdict.
Knowing very well our presidential elections cannot be upturned in court, in truth, Nana Akufo-Addo’s dragging the Presidential results to court was just a well-orchestrated grand scheme for him to still remain credible within his party, as the most viable candidate or flagbearer, after two failed attempts at the Presidential bid. No wonder, after eight months in court, some party members concluded he, among all the prospective flagbearers of the party, was the most-marketed, hence, it was prudent and expedient the party put him forward again. I read this game-plan long before the trial even started. This entrenched position of Nana Akufo-Addo to continue leading the NPP and his intransigence not to step aside for others to take over the captainship of the party, coupled with his irascible nature, narcissist tendencies, divisiveness, vindictiveness and intolerance for dissent, is what has fragmented and polarized the hierarchy of the NPP. What is being paraded to us as a united front on the campaign trail is a falsehood, a complete mirage, and will disintegrate any moment with the least stress. If you see people like the former President John Agyekum Kuffour and Allan Kyeremantin on the campaign trail, it is not because they really care for Akufo-Addo or support his bid for presidency entirely, it is because they just want to save their sinking party from being relegated permanently into the opposition. There are deep irreparable cracks within the party. The New Patriotic Party obviously is a house divided against itself. And as the Biblical scripture tells us, a house divided against itself cannot stand. And once the house cannot stand on its foundation because of disunity, by inference, the house cannot rule. The New Patriotic Party is simply not ready psychologically, emotionally, mentally and physically to rule Ghana. It is dangerous to entrust the destiny of this nation in the hands of such a disunited and fragmented group. If Nana Akufo-Addo could not hold his party, a relatively small institution together, how could he hold our country of almost thirty million citizens intact? He sacked his Party Chairman, Paul Afoko, and his Party Secretary, Kobina Agyapong, under very bizarre circumstances. Nobody in the party could raise any voice of discent against him. If you did, the axe of his wrath fell on you.
This group of election-result protestors, of which stork Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the NPP Flagbearer, belongs, will oppose government at every turn, if in opposition. The evil, lies, harassment and cruel opposition our first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, suffered at the hands of the opposition, the United Party (UP) are exactly what the NDC is encountering at the hands of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the leading opposition party and direct descendants of the UP. During the 1st Republic, they opposed the construction of the Akosombo Hydro-Dam and the establishment of the Volta River Project; the constructions of the Tema Township and Harbour; the constructions of the Okomfo Anokye Hospital, the Motorway and the Job 600 (State House Complex). They described the Job 600 as a white elephant project, when Nkrumah was putting it up to host the 2nd Organization of African Unity (OAU) Conference in Accra in 1965. Now, this complex is serving Ghana so well. It houses our enlarged 4th Republican parliament, and hosts other important state functions. This is one importance of the need for physical infrastructural development. They serve the country forever. This group I am referring to, in fact, even opposed our Independence bid. The irony of that is, leading members of this group started the struggle for our independence, but just because they were not at the helm of affairs at the time the British wanted to give us independence, they had to oppose it to the hilt. To them, everything is okay if only they are in power. They never see any good in anybody else. Everything is wrong if they are not in power. They can look right in the face of the electorate and shamelessly tell all the blatant lies in the world, as they are doing now, just to get into the riding seat of government. Surprisingly, they are able to get some powerful media houses and think-tanks to sympathize with their largely unjust course and do their bidding for them.
Hacking back to the 1st Republic again, when the UP could not beat Nkrumah and his party, the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), in any election, they resulted to fatal bomb attacks on his life. When that failed to eliminate him, they finally joined forces with the CIA to overthrow Kwame Nkrumah in a bloody coup d’etat on February 24, 1966. Since Nkrumah’s overthrow, Ghana has been groping in the dark, struggling to get back on her feet. The bold, great strides we had made towards self-sufficiency, industrialization and economic growth as a newly independent sovereign nation were all thrown to the wind, shattered into smithereens. This is a sad epoch in our history we are still reeling from.
Ghanaians are more politically awakened now and cannot be deceived anymore. The level of mendacity and prevarication alone in the run-up to the 2016 elections are simply outrageous and mind-boggling. I do not understand it. I cannot think far…I cannot think madness, as is the catch phrase now. To deny outright the existence of a structure which physically exists and is there for all to see, just for one’s selfish interest and inordinate political ambitions, indeed, is an unpardonable sin. It constitutes gross dishonesty and that is the worse form of corruption.
These politicians, because of their utter desperation to usurp power at all cost, further create a pretty dismal picture of the state of the Ghanaian economy, that the Mahama administration has visited an apocalyptic doom on the people of Ghana, that this country is on the brink of total collapse, on the precipice of a deep abyss, where we are bound. They have, in fact, become doomsday proselytizers. They are deceiving Ghanaians, especially the youth, into believing that all is lost, there is no future at all for them with another four years of Mahama; they (this group) have an instant panacea to their difficulties, when voted into power. This is an absolute deceitful and pathological lie and only a ruse just to get into power.
It is important to note I am not a National Democratic Congress (NDC) propagandist, foot-soldier or surrogate, nor on the payroll of the NDC. I have never before earned a pesewa from Government, let alone the NDC party. I am in the private sector and work strictly for myself. I am always of the strong conviction that the truth always has to be boldly upheld and that is what I am doing here. We all live in Ghana and I do not know of any impending economic destruction which is going to befall our beloved country. Ghana is cool. Ghana is working. Have we not been through direr economic straights than our present circumstances, but pulled out of it safe and intact? The little difficulty in the economy does not warrant any death knell to be sounding on the incumbent. The government is not resting on its oars, but has already taken the bull by its horns to iron out the wrinkles in the economy. They are only wrinkles, which can easily be corrected; they are not cracks. You may call them hiccups, if you want, not anything incurably chronic to be worried about. We do not have to be disillusioned one-bit about the future of our beloved country. John Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government are just on the right path in building a great nation with a robust and resilient economy, and it is important they must stay steadfastly this course. Contrary to what the naysayers and doomsday preachers are saying, the future I foresee for our country under this present administration is so bright, a life overflowing with happiness, contentment and abundance for everyone.
Ghana is the best place in West Africa and one of the topmost places on the continent of Africa to do business, according to the latest World Bank report on Africa. So, wherefore all this doomsday proselytizing by Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Mahamadu Bawumia, and the New Patriotic Party (NPP)? How could John Mahama, who has the country so much at heart, now be a threat to the future of Ghana, they purport, when in reality, he has done more physically than any other leader in the entire history of the country, including the colonial administration? It is infantile and wicked for Akufo-Addo to want to suggest that Ghana is destined for doom under John Mahama, I am afraid. It only smacks of a sinister motive to seize power at all cost, even through spewing blatant lies, if that is what it would take. But Ghanaians are most discerning and are seeing through all the naked lies. Akufo-Addo’s persistent refusal to face-off with John Mahama in a presidential debate, as earlier reported in the press, rather belies the former’s fear of his lies and untruths being exposed, and not any desperation on the part of John Mahama, as the NPP are intimating. John Mahama, you would all agree, is a great communicator, excellent with extempore addresses and very much on top of all issues concerning the economy and the state of Ghana. Why would he want to run away from a debate with Akufo-Addo? That is ridiculous.
I venture to say, hereby, Ghana is not in crisis. Ghana, indeed, is working. Ghana is rising and the world is watching. Ghana is cool. Ghana is okay. Ghana is on the move, relentlessly and inexorably. We cannot stop the moving train to disembark and go join another stationery train, yet to start moving. It does not make sense. A great deal has already been achieved under this present administration – socially, economically and physically – in such a short time, barely three years, and a great deal more is yet to be accomplished.
A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION
A hypothetical question I would want ask everyone is, if Nana Akufo-Addo were President, would he not have come to us after his first term of four years demanding our mandate for another four years to complete work he had started, but could not finish? And why is he aggressively and desperately bent on pushing John Mahama off the seat, knowing very well the later technically has not completed his full-term of eight years in office? He is deploying all dastardly means to win power, including a litany of lies, promising the electorate heaven, when he sincerely knows in his heart it is not a goal instantly and easily feasible. On the campaign trail, Akufo-Addo is literally imploring the electorate to give him the mandate to rule them. The plea in his request rather betrays one only hopelessly desperate to ascend the thrown, as if his life was tethered to it, and would not be complete if he did not become president, or something untoward was going to happen to him, if he failed to annex the seat. His campaign message, in fact, lacks that razor-edge positivity from a leader ready to lead his people gallantly to the Promised Land, but smacks of an individual who just wants to realize his life-long ambition of becoming president: “I tried once, I lost narrowly. I tried again the second time, I lost again narrowly. I beg you to help me to win this time. Please, don’t let the presidency bypass me this time. I really implore you to help me become President, please…” This is a very weak message coming from no other person than veteran politician and NPP stalwart Nana Akufo-Addo. It is not only a week message; it is most absurd. It lacks the valour of a gallant and visionary leader. It is only the desperate cry of a miserable man in the dotage of his life, wanting most badly to have a taste of power, even for a day. So, is it about he just becoming a president for presidency sake, or is it a transformational leader Ghana needs and wants? If Akufo-Addo’s intention is to elicit the compassion of the electorate to vote for him because it is his third attempt at the presidency, then he is going to be disappointed, I am sorry to say. It is worthy to note that Akufo-Addo is on record to have called out to his supporters before, that “All-Die-Be-Die,” implying that they should all be ready to die to see him become president, a most vicious comment from the NPP Flagbearer’s vaulting ambition to become president, willy-nilly. Ghanaians have become so politically astute and discerning and easily perceive through Akufo-Addo’s desperate plea gimmick. Some have asked, what does he want at all? I have seen people make a disparaging joke of this imploring message of his.
It is highly immoral and most unethical for anybody to want to short-circuit the path to the presidency. That is what I am seeing Akufo-Addo and the NPP, probably, out of sheer greed and jealousy, desperately trying to achieve, to reap what they did not sow. This government has done a yeoman’s job, doing all the dirty work to lay a solid foundation for Ghana’s economic take-off. It is only appropriate they have to preside over the building-upon of this foundation. Ghana, in fact, is poised for a massive economic recovery. It is going to be our second Independence. The first Independence was the political independence. Now, starting from 2017, Ghana is going to experience an economic renaissance. The experts have predicted a growth in leaps and bounds. We are going to spearhead the economic recovery of the rest of Africa, just as we blazoned the path for political independence across the length and breadth of Africa. And above all, Ghana, under the present administration, is enjoying unprecedented peace and security, which we take so much for granted. And without the needed peace and security, nothing is attainable.
Technically, John Mahama has not even completed serving his maximum eight years in office, as laid down in the 1992 Constitution for the 4th Republic. He is left with his final four years. Why would anybody want to push him off the seat prematurely? If he were not performing, fine, that would have been a tangible excuse, but he is performing beyond expectation. His achievement at the helm of affairs of the nation is simply stupendous and is there for all to see. The world hails him for his leadership skills. But for the multi-party democracy we practice, which necessitates that we go for polls every four years, all the contestants vying for the office of President with John Mahama should just have come together and unanimously asked him to continue in office to complete his extraordinary works. I would stick out my neck to say, none of the aspirants could perform any better than what Mahama is already doing, given four years. As to most of the agenda the NPP, for instance, has outlined in its manifesto, it is interesting to note that the NDC is already delivering them steadily. Rome was not built in a day, the adage goes. We only need to be a little more patient and go along with John Mahama. He has proven pragmatically, beyond doubt, to be the safest person we can entrust the destiny of this country to.
The NPP, I am afraid, has no proven record of extraordinary achievement. They love to indulge in self-adulation, as if Ghana was only okay under President Agyekum Kuffour, which, again, is an untruth. Among the highlights of their lack-lustre administration is sending the country to HIPC, which they pride so much in and tout as one of their greatest achievements. I hold a contrary view about HIPC. How could a proud and rich country like Ghana put on a humiliating and self-denigrating tag, “Highly Indebted Poor Country” (HIPC), before our external debts could be written off? Proud Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of this great nation, must have been turning in his grave when Ghana went HIPC, and monies accrued from the debt-forgiveance used in building lousy KVIP toilets, branded with the HIPC insignia. The proud person Nkrumah was and a great upholder of Black pride, there was no way Nkrumah would have kotowed to this HIPC initiative or deal, even if it brought debt relief to us. I believe, if you want to write off my debts I owe you, you just go ahead and write it off. Why would I have to succumb to such a demeaning demand that I put in front of my house a big notice board (HIPC), that I was among the most indebted people of this world, before you forgive me of my debts. This is dehumanizing. But the NPP did not see anything humiliating about this derogatory name-tag, and gladly and gleefully embraced it, because of the little monies which came along with this debt forgiveance. Subjecting our great country to such a global humiliation, reveals the short-sightedness of the NPP, that they do not hold any great vision for our country.
The NPP, before they came into power in 2001, deceived Ghanaians into believing that their living circumstances were deplorable and, therefore, a vote for President John Agyekum Kuffour, then candidate Kuffour, was going to transform their living standards. The slogan for their campaign bid to come to power at the time was, “HW3 WO ASETSENAME NE TO ABA PA,” a very effective and catchy campaign slogan, which worked magic for the NPP. It resonated so well with the electorate and they easily bought into it. Given the mandate to rule, let me ask you, did eight years of Kuffour bring about any marked change in our living conditions? Sincerely, NO, not at all. We became even more impoverished, whilst the ruling class became richer and richer, looting and sharing state resources among themselves. How many jobs did he create during his tenure in office and how many industries did he establish? NIL. ABSOLUTELY NIL. At the time he was leaving office, after two four-year terms, as I said, poverty was still rife, unemployment figures were still tremendously staggering, living conditions were still abysmal and unbearable, school children were still studying under trees. Indeed, our lives were worsened off. Even with all the monies accrued from the HIPC Debt Relief, NPP ran the country aground and were compelled to sell an important state asset like Ghana Telecom, just to be able to shore up and balance the national budget. Ghanaians only came to the realization too late how they had been deluded into believing the NPP false promises of salvation, and vented out their anger by voting them out in 2007. NPP, I reckon, is using a similar gimmick to what they used in 2000 to get back to power, knowing the short memory the Ghanaian has, asking the electorate again if it is roads and other physical infrastructural projects which provided their meals and helped them meet their electricity bills, school fees, etc., but I can assure you all, it won’t work this time around. Ghanaians are generally more politically wide-awakened now. They won’t allow themselves to be hoodwinked by any unscrupulous promises and individuals. They cannot be taken for a ride anymore. Why should they fall for their deceit again? Some, however, may still be gullible to the NPP schematization of perpetual lies and deceit, but certainly, they would only be in the minority. NPP will impress on you, you are poor, you are suffering, you are unemployed and that you should vote for them for a change in your livelihood. Meanwhile, their woefully poor record does not tell me they have any solutions or magic wand to solve the country’s problems. While quashing all taxes, as part of his campaign manifesto, Nana Akufo-Addo has a tall shopping list of unfathomable promises to Ghanaians, meanwhile, he is not explaining the implementation strategies of those sometimes outrageous promises, how pragmatic and achievable they are, or otherwise. Amusingly, he continues to release an avalanche of promises in a typical ‘60s politician’s style, lately, promising he will transform Ghana within six months he is elected into office.
Talking of reduction or complete removal of taxes, as Akufo-Addo is promising Ghanaians, I remember how when in 1995 Jerry Rawlings wanted to introduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services into our taxation system to increase the tax net and by that the tax revenue, Nana Akufo-Addo led massive “KUM PR3KOO” demonstrations against government in which some unfortunate demonstrators died, compelling government to withdraw the VAT, barely four months after its introduction. Three years later in 1998, the NDC government was finally able to re-introduce the VAT, but judiciously with a minimal figure of about 3.5%, 2.5% going into the Ghana Education Trust (GED) Fund. The VAT, most importantly, captured the informal sector, which largely did not pay direct taxes, into the tax fold; once you consumed a taxable good, you were indirectly contributing to the national tax pot. When the NPP came into power in 2000, they immediately shot the VAT up to 12.5 %. By the time they were leaving office in2008, Ghanaians were paying 15% VAT (including 2.5% to NHIL), quite an astronomical rise from the 3.5% the NDC had started with, an insignificant amount for which innocent citizens had been led to their unexpected deaths. Akufo Addo was a Cabinet Minister in this NPP administration, under President Agyekum Kuffour. With the hindsight of history, it becomes difficult to really believe that Akufo-Addo could really remove or reduce taxes, as he claims. Most likely, he would rather increase taxes in the very unlikely event he becomes the President. Talks of tax removal and tax reduction are mere deceitful political cards he is playing to get the electorates to vote for him. He has to say what the electorate wants to hear just to win power, even if it is a lie. We cannot take him for his word based on the verifiable recent history of the party.
Recently, on the campaign trail, Akufo-Addo, surprisingly, in a complete turnabout to his earlier assertion that John Mahama had done nothing, absolutely nothing these four years, now assures the Ghanaian electorate that given the nod as President, he was going to complete the projects John Mahama had started but could not complete, a tacit but implicit admission, that, indeed, John Mahama was doing “something.” What sheer duplicity! I asked myself, why John Mahama should step aside for somebody else to come and complete his uncompleted projects for him? Why should Mahama not stay on to complete his ongoing work himself?
President Mahama must be allowed in office to bring to fruition his gargantuan Transformational Agenda of providing Social and Physical Infrastructure to Ghana and the wonderful people of this country, which would propel a national economic renaissance, spearheading an economic transformation of Africa. Nobody should interrupt or truncate his reign prematurely with the false and deceitful slogan that “We Want Change.” After all, he is entitled to a final four-year term. The grandiose transformational change we all desire in all spheres of our lives and the national economy, and is only mere talk by the contesting candidates, is already happening big-time under John Mahama and the governing party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), unfolding right before our eyes like a theatrical drama. CHANGE IS ALREADY RIGHT HERE WITH US TODAY!… The story can only get better, you bet! Just keep your fingers crossed. The NDC is just on the right track, doing all the necessary things which have to be done for a full economic recovery and emancipation, thereby creating the enabling environment for the private sector to set up business and industries, expand and create the much needed jobs to absorb our teeming unemployed youth. It was imperative the necessary infrastructure be put in place first for this accelerated economic take-off. Apart from serving the people of Ghana very well, it is only when your physical infrastructure is well in place that our country becomes even more attractive for direct foreign investment. Meanwhile the NDC administration, through its massive infrastructural projects along the length and breadth of the country, has created hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs the last few years. The projects are ongoing and more jobs would be created in the process and upon their completion. This is clearly not the time to change gear or change drivers, thereby, losing the momentum and vision of our developmental acceleration. We need to stay the course. Any change of government is going to derail the inertia of progress and catapult us a whole decade behind. It is, in fact, going to spell catastrophic doom upon the country. We cannot afford that, can we? Ghana is not going backwards! It should be a forward march only and ever!
I exalt you all to come out in your numbers to vote wisely on December 7, 2016.
Vote JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA for President – No. 3
JM TOASO!!!… T0ASO!!!… T0ASO!!!!!!!
FORWARD EVER!!!…BACKWARDS NEVER!!!…
GOD BLESS US ALL AND BLESS OUR GREAT NATION GHANA!!!
By Rikki Wemega-Kwawu
November 24, 2016