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John Mahama: Akufo-Addo government is our common national tragedy but..

Former President John Dramani Mahama has described the Akufo-Addo government as a “common national tragedy” which Ghanaians will have to endure for a while more due to a combination of factors including its mismanagement of the economy.

Speaking at a forum in Accra on Wednesday, November 10 as part of his thank-you tour of the region, the Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 general election, appealed to civil servants, doctors, nurses, teachers, businessmen and women, traders, farmers, drivers, and the teeming unemployed youth of Ghana not to lose hope but work hard for a better Ghana.

The event was held at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra.

He applauded what he called “the nationalistic truth and outpouring of the sentiments of many Ghanaians by the Catholic Bishops Conference on Monday”, adding “until we are bold to reflect what we are all experiencing under this government, the situation will continue to worsen, and we are all going to be worse off from suffering”.

“For the younger generation coming up, full of ideas, creativity, energy, altruism and who believe in a fair, just and inclusive Ghana that offers you the opportunities and platform to drive the change you seek – you currently outnumber us, and the future is for you”.

Present were Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the NDC’s 2020 Running mate, NDC National Chairman Ofosu Ampofo, Prof. Joshua Alabi, the 2020 Campaign Manager, former Minister of Communications, Edward Omane Boaman, Fiifi Kwetey, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, Joyce Bawa, ex-Minister of State Elvis Effriyie Ankrah among others.

Mr. Mahama told his fellow countrymen and women “I am asking you to keep believing and showing an active interest in the fortunes and direction of this country. Considering your numbers, the current and future direction of this country rests on your oars”.

“I am talking about a future where your name, your ethnicity, your tribe, your circumstances of birth will not determine how you are treated in your own country by your own government. I recall the words of the Most Reverend Japhet Yao Ledo during my thank you tour of the Volta Region, and I stand this evening to assure the people of the region and the nation at large that all successive NDC administrations will continue to be national and people-centred ones, sharing the national cake, equally and beneficially to all regions and parts of the country”.

“A future where institutions will work for the good of all citizens and all citizens will reciprocate institutions with willing respect, not demanded obeisance out of fear of repercussions from the powers that be”.

“A future where the President will accord due respect to all citizens including Chiefs from all regions. So that a legitimate request by a Chief in Aflao to a minister to complete and operationalise a Community Day Senior High School started by my administration would not be treated shabbily by the President”.

“A future where state institutions will not astronomically increase admissions to the Ghana Law School in an election year; just because John Mahama and the NDC promised to expand access to professional legal education – only to turn around a year after the elections to deny access to many more students including those who are deemed to have passed the entrance examinations”.

These, he said “are the issues the government wants you to ignore and forget. But how can you forget your living experience of hardships? No amount of digital propaganda, state- orchestrated and exaggerated actions and diversions will take away the excruciating hardship Ghanaians are enduring under this government”.

He said “in the middle of all these social and economic injustices, I urge all state institutions including independent constitutional bodies and the security apparatus, to be mindful of their mandate to the constitution and the people of Ghana. They should not yield to pressure to become agents of oppression and tools for propaganda. This country will be liberated, and they should seek to be on the favourable side of history”.

“The tragedy of our current national situation is that we have a government that appears completely unwilling to acknowledge the problems and even begin the process of addressing them. We are instead confronted with an administration that believes that these major problems can be wished away through PR, sloganeering, divisive rhetoric, populism, and plain political deception”.

“Take our present economic state for example. At a time when everyone is crying out over the excruciating hardships brought on by excessive taxation, ever increasing cost of living, weekly fuel price increases, this government chooses to recite a hackneyed mantra, that there are indicators that show that the economy is doing well.

“Even if we were to overlook the mismatch between these claims and the very visceral suffering and pain people are going through in their daily lives; it beggars belief, that the same people saying this were only six years ago, dismissing any linkage between the welfare of Ghanaians and economic indices.

“They said, then, that they had visited markets and were not experiencing single digit prices as the inflation rate then would dictate. They insisted then, that the best way to measure the strength or otherwise of the fundamentals of the economy was to look at the exchange rate, for its depreciation would expose the weakness therein. These days however, even as the exchange rate depreciates to very worrying levels, they say we have strong economic fundamentals.

“Beyond these spirited linguistic acrobatics, the plain truth, which we all see and feel, is that the Ghanaian economy is in deep crisis. At the micro level, we feel the heavy impact of a troubled economy when we go to the market and find prices of basic items rising with alarming rapidity. We also feel it when we go to the fuel station and find that the already high price of fuel has beenincreased again.

“We further feel it when our rents are increased or when we get onto the trotro and find that fares have gone up because of increases in fuel prices. Importers feel the pinch because duty at the ports have become almost impossible to pay due to the amount of taxes slapped on them.

“The daily struggle of Ghanaians to make ends meet would be impossible to recount in one address. The question we ask, however, is how have things moved from bad to worse so quickly when we were promised a much better and more affordable standard of living? I would say this is the direct result of the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy by its current managers. The present economic decline is even more shocking when viewed against the backdrop that this has been the most fortunate government in the history of Ghana in terms of the quantum of resources received.”

According to him, his “task is to continue to give you hope and results, help the NDC to reorganise, put proper and enduring systems in place, work together in unity to win election 2024 at the polling stations, in a manner that no man or woman can interfere with”.

“My task is also to continue to serve our continent and the world. I am currently working together with an Independent Global Health Panel, through which I have advocated for the establishment of a Global Public Health Convention to ensure adequate Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Another pandemic will be a disaster particularly if it catches us unprepared”.

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