HANDLING THE PRESIDENT’S PHONE 31-ASK
This past week a few of my friends called me. While we were discussing issues of interest and matters of politics, they were surprised that the Vice President of the Republic, Kwesi Amissah Arthur is giving serious political jabs these past weeks. According to them, the man is not a politician and had not been known this way.
I laughed saaaaaaa because at least I know something about the man. I told them to spend a little time discovering the man Amissah Arthur. While I believe they are at it, I want to make the exercise simple because I know more will be wondering what had changed about the Vice President.
Nothing had changed about him. Amissah Arthur, aside his exploits with the World Bank in the Gambia, his academic exploits with the University of Ghana, Anambra State University of Nigeria, the Bank of Ghana prior to his becoming Vice President in 2012, he served as a special assistant to the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Secretary of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botwey between 1983 and 1986.
He became Deputy Secretary for Finance in the PNDC government from February 1986 until March 1993. From April 1993, he continued as the Deputy Minister for Finance in the first National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government after the establishment of constitutional rule until 1997. He was responsible for the preparation of the Annual Public Investment Programme, Management of the budget of the Government of Ghana and managing the bilateral and multilateral assistance to Ghana.
So my friends, at least you know something about the political background of our abled Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur. He has been in politics long enough to know which jabs to wire at what time. He is indeed firing unfriendly punches to yaanom.
Sir, what is this about short short things? I get it! Since people are claiming not to see the achievements, like Zacchaeus, they could be suffering from height deficiencies and require some elevation to see the achievements. You are just too much Sir!
The Vice President, over the last week, took his campaign tour to the Eastern Region. In the Eastern Region, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has a target to secure 50% of total valid votes on December 7th.
The region has become a crucial region for the NDC as an increase in the votes of the party means an increase in the gap of victory for the party. It is in this light that the Vice President had taken his tour to the area espousing the vision of the party to the chiefs and people of the region. He had also launched campaigns for various constituencies in the region including the Fanteakwa South Constituency where Abigail Elorm Mensah is the parliamentary candidate for the NDC. He took the opportunities offered to introduce the various parliamentary candidates standing on the ticket of the NDC and asked the people to elect them to represent their interest in the upcoming December elections.
On the same campaign trail, the Chief of Staff Mr. Julius Debrah had also taken his version into the Upper West Region. Listening to him, his boss the President John Dramani Mahama is out of town and so he must equally take over and watch his back and be sure the momentum is sustained for the much anticipated victory.
In his engagement with the people, he told them that the presidency of the Republic is not a trial and error venture and tasked the people to ensure that they elect a president who has proven himself to them and not someone who is begging to be tried.
The Chief of Staff visited several communities in his one week tour of the region, interacted with the lovely chiefs and people of the region as well as visited some projects undertaken by the NDC. He was confident that the NDC would sweep all 11 seats in the region in the upcoming elections. Fact remains that the NDC has 10 of 11 seats in its basket with the remaining one in the hands of an independent parliamentary candidate.
In the same spirit of campaign, some of us equally deployed to secure a 2nd term for his Excellency John Dramani and Kwesi Amissah Arthur. Our stop was in the Volta Regional capital, Ho, where we had a stakeholders forum as Young Professionals to abreast ourselves with issues that are significant towards this year’s elections. The program was well attended by representatives of the various colleges in the regional capital and its environs.
While engaging students of the Nursing and Teacher Training Colleges, issues of their allowances had been a major challenge. The well intended program is obviously receiving political twists that we ought to look at strategically.
In my presentation, I made it clear to our people “these allowances would have been taken away even if it is an NPP government that is in power today”, referencing a budget plan of the then NPP for the period 2009-2011. In that document, they planned to, from 2011, remove the allowances given to students with the following proposals:
1. To replace it with Students Loan Trust – where students who require financial help for their education would be encouraged to seek support.
2. Use the proceeds from the abolishing of the allowances to pay nurses who would be employed under the Ministry of Health when they are done with their professional training.
Then I proceeded, “to all of you who have had the opportunity of being at these training institutions over the last two years (Level 100 and 200), there was a 63.8% chance that you would not have had the opportunity of being admitted into these institutions if the allowances were still operational. Which of the options would you want? Being here or being home?”
Then I further stated, “there is no guarantee that a reintroduction of these policy would afford your brothers and sisters at home the opportunity of being admitted into these colleges. Think about it. What would you want? Your brothers and sisters being denied the opportunity of gaining admission?”. I noticed silence. A clear sign that the message was sinking.
“The issue we have at hand today is that we have a government that is building more hospitals and schools. With hospitals, a total of 6,000 beds are being added. The opportunity for you is that, you are guaranteed a place of work as soon as you are done with school. Should we reintroduce the allowances, refuse to make investments in building hospitals so we use the monies to pay you allowances, and after school you remain home for years without jobs?”
These are the issues I left in the minds of my fellow Ghanaians I had the opportunity of interacting with. And as students who would be thinking to vote against the NDC because of these allowances, I have a message for you. Look around you. Today, there are many of your colleagues looking for hospitals to work in. Would you prefer taking your allowances and then sitting home for years without jobs after school? Or would you prefer to pay your fees and be guaranteed work after school. The two cannot be achieved at the same time under our middle income status and so you have only one choice.
I am with the firm belief that the JM|PK ticket offers an opportunity to demand accountability, ascertain truth and be guaranteed unprecedented development! Stay with JM!