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Can NPP break the 8?

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Thu, 26 May 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

GhanaWeb Feature:

Politics is a gamble and by and large, politicians have continuously been accused of using the high office or the public office to garner resources and wealth for themselves while in power.

The complaints about public purse theft and mismanagement of finances have not only been seen in one government; it is present in virtually every government – from the very first; the Convention People’s Party (CPP) under Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, to the present; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under the leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo.

Whilst some of these cases have been taken to court to be determined, others have remained mere speculations.

In Ghana’s political space, however, particularly in the democratic dispensation, two parties have ruled more than any other - the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Also, under each of these governments and their various leaders at respective times, there have been allegations of mismanagement of state resources at the expense of the ordinary citizen. In fact, it is one of the key things used by politicians in both parties against each other during campaigns.

In most cases, the opposition party points out examples of negligence and irresponsibility in the management of the state resources to kick out the ruling government and this pattern is clear in the way Ghanaians have voted over time, both for the NPP and the NDC.

NPP

Now, the New Patriotic Party is in power and in 2024, would have been in power for 8 years straight – all under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who won power over John Mahama in 2016.

Ahead of the 2024 elections, they have emerged with plans to continue in power, with the ‘breaking the 8’ mantra at the forefront of their campaigns.

The NPP has always touted itself as a party of intellectuals with the famous ‘we have the men’ slogan fresh in the minds of people. But with their administration and management of things having been given the opportunity by Ghanaians for the past 8 years, the big question is, is it enough for Ghanaians to give them another chance?

There’s no criticism without commendation and it is only fair that the NPP be touted for their good works in other areas.

Free SHS:

The NPP’s Flagship program which began in September 2017 has been one big deal. It was one of the promises the NPP rode on to victory. Despite some challenges it has faced, the policy has largely come to reduce the burden of parents as far as free education for senior high school students is concerned.

Digitisation:

This was Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s ‘baby’. He promised during campaigns to champion the digitization agenda by digitizing transactions at the ports, DVLA, and passport office to avert the influx of ‘goro boys’ and this has been done.

Through the NPP’s digitization agenda, the digital address system which helps with directions and locations has been made easy.



Year of Return:

Through the NPP, the tourism sector was boosted by its ‘Year of Return’ initiative which was introduced in 2019 to invite the Global African family home and abroad to mark 400 years of African Resilience. This has boosted tourism and has since remained as many diasporanians return usually in December to enjoy various tourist destinations and events in Ghana.

Regardless of these feats, the economic heat Ghanaians are feeling cannot be overemphasized. Now the common phrase anyone will hear is ‘Ghana is hot’ which in Twi is translated – ‘Ghana ay3 hye’.

To be fair, it is not anything new and this phrase has arguably been used under previous governments including the John Dramani Mahama government but perhaps, the level of heat is what makes the difference. The last two years before any general election are arguably the most important in determining the fate of any party as far as the chances of its win and reign in power are concerned.

This notwithstanding, Ghanaians ‘do not forget’ the little and big things that happen in the first and second years of any government or administration in power.

From government size, to appointments, budget content, policy-making and implementation, infrastructural projects, development and generally, improvement in the lives of citizens – these are factors keenly observed by Ghanaians once a government is in power.

Based on whether or not the said government proves itself comes very much into play when it is time to vote and political opponents will not miss a chance to remind citizens of the flaws of a ruling government when that time comes.

In just a few months, time will start ticking and parties will have to strategize for the big win in 2024, so far, some major happenings in the ruling government have got Ghanaians questioning the fate of same in the next elections.

Let’s take a look at a few of these.

Corruption:

Maritime Boss saga:

This happened not very long into the Akufo-Addo-led government’s administration. In October 2018, news about financial malfeasance by then Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu emerged.

Documents as shared by Kwame Asare Obeng at the time showed that the Maritime Boss blew some GHC 135,125 on food for one night and GHC10,652 on another occasion for food for just eight people at a hotel – The Luxe Suites Hotel which was wholly owned by the latter.

He was accused of wastage, corruption and conflict of interest, following which he resigned. He was later reassigned as Chairperson at the Ghana Revenue Authority.

The event and others that followed enraged Ghanaians who accused President Akufo-Addo of allowing mismanagement under his administration.



PPA Boss saga:

A piece by investigative journalist, Manasseh Awuni Azure in 2019 August exposed corruption by the Public Procurement Authority Boss, Adjenim Boateng Adjei. Among other things, it was discovered that Mr Adjenim Adjei accumulated more than GHC 41 million in his cedi, dollar and euro accounts.

He was also accused of using his authority and position to form side companies including one named Talent Discovery Ltd. and awarding government contracts to them.

This again brought out concerns about corruption and how it was being dealt with under President Akufo-Addo.

After being suspended by President Akufo-Addo and investigated by CHRAJ, Mr Adjei was banned from holding any public office for 10 years, having been found guilty of conflict of interest among other things.

He was taken to court by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng and as of May 18, 2022, has been charged with 8 counts of using public office for profit, and 9 counts of directly and indirectly influencing the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract.

Eugene Arhin:

The Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, was in the news in February 2021 after issues regarding a divorce suit from his ex-wife, Gloria Assan Arhin, came to the public light.

In the said suit also, Gloria Arhin, who said she and her husband married in 2012, listed various properties, over 30, that they acquired together as a couple and prayed that the court grants her ownership of portions of the properties she listed.

The details of that writ got many across the country spell-bound and in utter shock as many wondered how it was that Eugene Arhin was able to acquire so many properties in such a short time.

Sir John:

This is the latest that has left Ghanaians in disbelief. The amount of wealth accrued by the late Forestry Commission boss, Kwadwo Owusu-Afryie aka Sir John as revealed by documents purported to be his Will.

Over 70 properties were named and allocated to various family members in the Will. This has raised concerns about asset declaration and how Sir John gained his wealth in the number of years as a politician.

TWI NEWS

Agyapa:

A proposal to sell the country’s gold royalties in perpetuity got Ghanaians again talking. In August 2020, the government of Ghana proposed to sell the majority of its future gold royalties from mining leases to an offshore company – Agyapa Royalties Ltd. registered in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey in the British Islands.

Under this deal, the government would sell 49 percent of the shares of this company through public offering and keep 51 percent stake.

According to the government, this will be an ‘innovative financing solution’ to help ease the country’s debt crisis.

The opposition party and civil society groups criticised the deal, and in November 2020 the special prosecutor released a report outlining suspected incidences of rigging and corruption, including opening doors for illicit financial flows and money laundering. Furthermore, millions of dollars were already paid out to companies without legally required approvals.

President Akufo-Addo directed that the deal be reviewed and brought back to parliament for deliberations but that never happened until March 9, 2021, when the president hinted at the reintroduction of the deal in his state of the nation address (SONA).



E-Levy:

After months of vehement disapproval by the public and minority members of parliament, the Electronic Transactions Levy was implemented by the Ghana Revenue Authority on May 1, 2022.

The levy, as announced by the Finance Minister, is a 1.5% tax imposed on all electronic and digital transfers made in the country above GH¢100 daily, including the very lucrative Mobile Money sector.



Fuel Prices

After making promises to reduce fuel prices that were relatively high under the John Mahama administration, the current NPP administration appears to have barely done that.

Fuel prices have increased for more than 10 times since 2017 and more than 4 times even in the first quarter of 2022 alone, with the current fuel prices at over GHC 9.



Food hikes and living expenses

This is the biggest deal for any Ghanaian, particularly the ordinary Ghanaian who has to go through everyday hustle to earn income, fend for the family or even just to survive.

Now everything is expensive; food (raw and cooked), soap, bread, sachet and bottled water, flour, chicken, yam, oil, fish etc.

Water and electricity tariffs are not exempt; transport fares have also shot up significantly.

Who will lead?

At the end of 2024, President Nana Akufo-Addo will no longer be eligible to contest for presidency as Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party.



Some names including those of Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Former Trade Minister, Alan Kyerematen among others have since emerged.

It is no doubt that the personality the NPP chooses to lead them in the upcoming elections in 2024, will largely determine their success or otherwise but there still remains a big question about the odds for the NPP as far as winning power in 2024 in concerned, considering their performance in the 8 years Ghanaians gave them.

You can also watch the last episode of People & Places here:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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