General News of Wed, 24 Apr 201991

Bawumia peddled falsehood, Mahama has never been against free SHS – Aide

The office of former President John Mahama has rebutted claims by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia accusing him of working against government’s flagship programme, the free Senior High School policy.

A statement from Mahama’s office insisted that, the Vice-President peddled falsehood and also misrepresented the earlier comments by the former president.

The statement signed by Joyce Bawa Mogtari, Special Aide to the former President clarified that Mahama has never been against the free SHS policy.

She added that the former president had never said anywhere that the free SHS policy was bad.

She explained that former President Mahama implemented progressively free SHS and as such cannot be against the said policy.

She added that Mr. Mahama has only been advocating for a better implementation of the policy.

The former Deputy Communications Minister also challenged the Vice-President to provide proof of Mr. Mahama inciting the public against the policy.

“We have noted yet another propaganda churned out by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to the effect that H.E John Dramani Mahama, the Flagbearer and Leader of the NDC, is against free Senior High School (SHS) education. This is false. Dr. Bawumia knows very well, in his heart, that he is not telling the truth and for that matter he is misrepresenting the views of the former President.

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Mr. Mahama has never been against free SHS; and nowhere has he ever said free SHS is a bad policy. Certainly, the President who implemented Progressively Free SHS for over 350,000 students cannot be said to be against free SHS. We challenge Dr. Bawumia to provide evidence of the former President ever saying he is against free SHS. Mr. Mahama, just like all well-meaning Ghanaians, believes free SHS must be made better instead of the ad-hoc implementation we are witnessing under the Akufo-Addo administration.”

Among other things, Madam Joyce Bawa Mogtari, emphasized the stance of Mr. Mahama towards improving the free SHS policy which includes; A wider national stakeholder consultation, abolishing of the Double Track System, introducing a structured, new and additional application of funds at all levels of education, the rapid completion of the remaining Community Day Senior High Schools.

The statement also called on the Vice-President to desist from subjecting the free SHS policy to ’emotionally tribal discussions and sentiments.’

“…W wish to advice Dr. Bawumia that subjecting free SHS to emotionally charged tribal discussions and sentiments will amount to bigotry. Hence, he must remain civil, circumspect, sensitive and utter words befitting of his new position as Vice President.”

“As leaders, it is important that we do not fall for the emotionally charged pressure to be virulent without cause, and even if the Vice President chooses to reduce Ghana’s political discourse to such invective bigotry, let him at least try to be truthful.”

‘We both benefited from Free SHS; stop speaking against it’ – Bawumia to Mahama

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, while speaking at Obo Kwahu in the Eastern Region on Saturday, 20th April, 2019 said that the free Senior High School policy introduced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is a transformational policy meant to build the human capital of the nation for future development.

Dr. Bawumia noted that at independence the North negotiated for and obtained an agreement from the Nkrumah government to introduce free education in the North.

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This policy benefited northern Ghana significantly.

“I am a beneficiary of free education in the north, just like many members of the NDC including former President Mahama. And I am absolutely convinced that at this stage of our development, Free SHS should be enjoyed by every Ghanaian SHS student”, Vice President Bawumia emphasised.

“I therefore find it rather difficult to understand that people like former President Mahama who are direct beneficiaries of free education in the north will seek to curtail its implementation across the country”.

Below is the full statement from Mahama’s office:

JOHN MAHAMA REMAINS COMMITTED TO A BETTER FREE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMME

We have noted yet another propaganda churned out by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to the effect that HE John Dramani Mahama, the Flagbearer and Leader of the NDC, is against free Senior High School (SHS) education.

This is false! Dr. Bawumia knows very well, in his heart, that he is not telling the truth and for that matter he is misrepresenting the views of the former President. Mr. Mahama has never been against free SHS; and nowhere has he ever said free SHS is a bad policy.

Certainly, the President who implemented Progressively Free SHS for over 350,000 students cannot be said to be against free SHS. We challenge Dr. Bawumia to provide evidence of the former President ever saying he is against free SHS.

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Mr. Mahama, just like all well-meaning Ghanaians, believes free SHS must be made better instead of the ad-hoc implementation we are witnessing under the Akufo-Addo administration. For example, presently the ‘Double Track System’, which keeps some students at home while others are in school studying remains a major worry to students, parents and many Ghanaians who care about the future of the youth of Ghana. In addition, the fate of SHS students when they graduate remains a major concern to many Ghanaians including students, parents, lecturers, Vice Chancellors among others.

Even President Akufo-Addo, himself, has admitted to the “challenges” and has only asked Ghanaians to see beyond the “challenges” because every programme has “challenges”. Over and above the President, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has also had cause to speak to the challenges of the programme. Will Dr. Bawumia by any stretch of his imagination, suggest that both President AkufoAddo and Mr. Ken Ofori Atta are “kicking against” the free SHS programme? For emphasis, nowhere has former President Mahama ever said he will abandon the free SHS programme.

President Mahama has been very consistent in his belief that the surest way to sustain the programme requires:

§ A wider national stakeholder consultation because wisdom does not reside in the heads of a few;

§ Immediate and urgent abolishing of the Double Track System;

§ Structured, new and additional application of funds at all levels of education;

§ Rapid completion of the remaining Community Day Senior High Schools he initiated; § Integrated and coherent planning of education at all levels; and § Aggressive teacher motivation programmes and infrastructure development among others. To this end, we wish to underscore the fact that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) record on all-inclusive education does not suggest that we will ever be against any policy that promotes all-inclusiveness in education.

We initiated FCUBE, set up the GETFund despite numerous contentions from our opponents, began the progressively free education policy among others. As a result, the GETFund has been the singular most effective influence on educational expansion and progress in Ghana.

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Sadly, for the first time in our history, the future of the GETFund has been collateralised due to misuse and abuse by the present Government. Additionally, the fact that John Mahama has added more to the infrastructure stock of Senior High Schools than any other government aside Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is not in dispute.

He provided all these infrastructures and several significant educational deliverables without mortgaging the GETFund as this government has done. Therefore, we wish to advice Dr. Bawumia that subjecting free SHS to emotionally charged tribal discussions and sentiments will amount to bigotry.

Hence, he must remain civil, circumspect, sensitive and utter words befitting of his new position as Vice President. As leaders, it is important that we do not fall for the emotionally charged pressure to be virulent without cause, and even if the Vice President chooses to reduce Ghana’s political discourse to such invective bigotry, let him at least try to be truthful. His Excellency John Dramani Mahama remains committed to free SHS. He will make it better and secure the future of the youth of Ghana.

SIGNED

Joyce Bawah Mogtari Special Aide

April 23, 2019

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