HANDLING THE PRESIDENT’S PHONE RELOADED 1 – Stephen Kwabena Attuh
I gallantly stepped into the realm of dream last night. In the dream, I had a call on the president’s phone handed to me a couple of days ago.
On the other end of the telephone, I noticed it was an international media that sought to solicit some clarification on some issues that came out of the State of the Nation Address delivered on Wednesday the 26th of February 2016. It was the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
I was asked how some individuals attempted to show that some of the projects sighted to be ongoing were not true. I was asked a specific case of the Hohoe town roads. In response, I asked them, which child enters Senior High School and is seen in all three classrooms for tuition at the same time? They never seem to understand what I was driving at.
What I am saying is, can a contractor be located at every link of road at the same time? One at a time. I have listened to the same news when some individuals have admitted some construction works ongoing near the traffic light opposite the Bank of Ghana office at Hohoe. The roads are being done. I did not say they have been completed.
I was confronted with two situations once more. Two schools situation were presented to me. While in one there was a befitting structure but there were no furniture, in the other, there was no structure, but there were children sitting under the open sun for supposed tuition. To them, this was what was driven home by Dr Bawumia the vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
In response, I told them, in the case of the school with a structure without desks, if they would be interested in probing Bawumia further, he would admit that the entire school was provided furniture except two classrooms. There is an ongoing scheme to provide brand new furniture to these students. The furniture are being prepared by some local contractors and these two classrooms would have these desks fixed sooner than later.
On the specific case of the school under sun, I have still not come to terms what the propaganda was meant to achieve. I call this a black propaganda calculated and staged to lie to the people. Could anyone answer why in the earlier school where students were on the floor, the name of the school was provided and in this case, no name was given? It is because it does not exist.
Or Bawumia has succeeded in throwing in another school model “Schools Under Sun” which had never existed. If one probes further, it would be interesting to ask if teachers stand under the open sun to teach students under the mercy of the sun.
Again, I wonder how these children, some who appear older and others younger, could fit in the same class and being taught the same things. As I said, this was staged, but poorly done. However, I still demand the name of the school to be able to crosscheck.
In my concluding remarks on the interview, I told them, “in any case, isn’t this even giving more reasons why a socialist government must continue to be in power to fix these socialists oriented challenges? How does a capitalist government focus on these when it brings to direct control such schools in the hands of private and profit oriented individuals?”. I asked.
You see, it goes further to stress the point, that, while they rubbish the attempts of government in building schools, hospitals, water, roads and the likes, the core of our society still appreciates these interventions by government.
While they remain on their high horses and see the economy as reflected in inflation, exchange rate, interest on borrowing, and the GDP, the ordinary man does not see that as economics. The ordinary man measures the economy by the availability of schools, the availability of health care, the availability of roads, the availability of electricity and what have you. I am glad they are seeing the economy from the angle of the ordinary man. As a matter of fact, what is an economy without infrastructure?
I can decide today, not to borrow. I can decide not to build schools, I can decide today, not to expand access to electricity, I can decide not to build hospitals. Yes indeed, I can decide to make money available in the pockets of individuals, the economic figures would look good.
Our GDP would look good, our inflation would stagnate and even the Cedi would gain over the dollar because we are not competing. How would that improve the living conditions of the people? Yes, our GDP per capita would be splendid, yet, citizens would struggle to survive when sick, citizens would grapple with bad roads and miss appointments, our children would have no future because we have no education. We would use all the money to fill our desires of today. What would be the benefit of the citizen?
Yes, one may be tempted to agree that there was money in the economy under the previous regime. However, could they do same parallel to educational infrastructure, health infrastructure, provision of water, expanding electricity? No. The answer is a big NO. They achieved one, and failed miserably in the other.
Take water for example. The NPP met a urban water coverage of 56 percent. By the close of their 8 year term, they increased urban coverage by an abysmal 2.5% taking it from 56% to 58.5%. As I speak, as of 2015, urban water supply had been taken to a whooping 80% of the population. What would the citizens pleasure be to have money and lack access to water a basic necessity of life? I have not failed.
I have decided to tremendously lift the infrastructure deficit to a status befitting a middle income country. To this end, our generation may go through some unpleasant situations, yet, if we want to have a better future for our children, we cannot expect to enjoy today and have the future we hope for.
I thanked them for the opportunity and when I was about hanging up, they asked a final question. “Sir, the opposition leader is set to deliver his version of the state of the nation address later today, what’s your take?”.
Very well, Ghana’s First Ever Private President is free to do what he thinks is right. We are a democracy, and we can expect some of these abuses at any given time. However, I would expect him to be factual. I would expect him to stand on his feet for more than four hours beyond what I did. This is because he must have to react to each statement I made, bring in people to de-link the benefits I portrayed, and I mean, he must do an evidence based delivery.
Why I said I expect him to deliver more than four hours is this, he would have to do all I did for four hours and then present the state of the New Patriotic Party. What might have accounted for his new status as Executive Flag bearer, where he manages internal elections, his speeches, his public appearance and anything that needed to be managed.
I would equally expect to hear how his sacking of anyone who raises issue with corruption in the NPP as was done to Afoko, Agyepong, Crabbe and the recent Finance Administrator, positions him as someone we can trust to fight corruption as president. I wish him well.
We parted the line and I set out the office to take a look at a few things around town.
…….to be continued…….