Ghana’s biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has put both government and the police on notice that there would be resistance from its fold if any NDC member should suffer an arrest again for engaging in political activity with students on campus.
The warnings, contained in a press statement issued Sunday in the Upper East region, come days after the party’s Deputy National Organiser, Joshua Hamidu Akamba, and two other persons were picked up by the police for allegedly inciting some students at the Tempane Senior High School against President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Member of Parliament for Tempane, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka.
“This naïve and extreme misapplication of political power cannot be allowed to emerge in our democracy and the NDC will resist such unacceptable treacherous moves by the NPP (New Patriotic Party) with alacrity,” said a 4-page statement signed by the party’s Upper East Regional Secretary, Donatus Akamugri.
Speaking to the press after issuing the statement, the Regional Secretary added: “In fact, we are also calling on President Akufo-Addo. He should stop unleashing his supposed cohorts to intimidate NDC. He has lied his way to presidency that he can give them free SHS (Senior High School) at one time and not the progressive one which was espoused by NDC. If the police are not being fair in handling issues regarding the political operations of the parties, it would lead to resistance.”
Justifying the caution notice, the statement said the NDC never caused the arrest of any political opponent whilst in power for eight years— citing as an example the time Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia visited a primary school in the Upper West region in 2016 as the NPP’s vice-presidential candidate and used a furniture deficit at the school to discredit the then ruling NDC but was not harassed by police thereafter.
“In the year 2016, specifically on 27th February, the then running mate to the NPP flagbearer, His Excellency Bawumia, visited Kperisi M.A Primary School and donated five hundred furniture to the school. The interesting part of it was that the headmistress of the school by then, Madam Rosina Diedong, was reported to have rejected the call of the Hon. MCE of Wa Municipality to render an apology for embarrassing the assembly.
“Our questions to them now is that: was this primary school promoted to tertiary level by then or the Ghana Education Service’s regulations were not applicable to that school? On the part of the Ghana Police Service who are alleged to have questioned the NDC activists involved in the Tempane case on the principle of inciting students against President Nana Addo, why was His Excellency Bawumia not questioned on those lines in 2016 when he carried out similar activities as pointed out in this statement?” demanded the party.
Tempane SHS Students only Exposed NPP’s Lies — NDC
If Ghanaians had not voted out the NDC, or if the NPP had not rushed the implementation of the free SHS policy by making it progressively free as the NDC had advocated towards the 2016 polls, the development at Tempane would not have come to light, according to the press statement.
The statement observed that the NPP’s failure to put adequate infrastructure in place to contain expected high admission turnouts had brought about not only an unprecedented scale of overcrowding at public senior high schools across the country but also the much criticised “Double Track System” government introduced later as a measure to deal with the cramming on campus.
And when Mr. Akamba, who is looking for the National Organiser position at the party’s upcoming polls, was returning from a meeting he had held with delegates in the Tempane Constituency, some boarding schoolgirls, who could no longer cope with the congestion on their dormitory block, ran to a convoy of NDC-branded pickups reportedly passing through their campus to lament the adverse impact of the free SHS policy implementation. The outcry, according to the statement, exposed the NPP.
“Due to the overcrowded nature on the campus, the female students whose dormitory is very close to the road saw the NDC-branded pickups and trooped to the roadside chanting that they were ready for NDC come 2020 general elections. The NDC activists could not rush through these students disrespectfully. So, they stopped and interacted with them briefly.
“This was an unconditional voluntary action by the students which happened around 4:00pm out of instructional hours. This is a clear manifestation of Vice President Bawumia’s own mantra paraphrased as ‘If you keep lying to Ghanaians that the implementation of the free SHS is smooth, students will expose you’ hence the action of the students,” the statement said.
NPP Looking for Scapegoats after Failed Free SHS — Statement
As far the NDC is concerned, the NPP, having failed to implement the free education policy to the satisfaction of Ghanaians, was only seeking to scapegoat Mr. Akamba and the two others.
“The NDC is calling on the Ghana Police Service to be fair on this issue and President Nana Addo to sit up and implement the policy as he promised Ghanaians in their electioneering campaigns in 2016 and stop looking for scapegoats such as Mr. Captain Joshua Akamba, the headmaster of Tempane Senior High School and Mr. Emmanuel Issaka who suffered police harassment and intimidation.
“It is public knowledge that NPP does not spare anybody who criticises the free SHS policy even constructively and a number of headmasters have suffered this already. This does not pave way for the growth of good democratic dispensation in this modern era on issues related to the quest for accelerated improvement of education in our nation at large,” added the statement.
The NDC wrapped up its defence statement with reference to four challenges it said had overwhelmed the implementation of the free education policy.
“Let us now draw the NPP’s attention to the challenges once they are pretending not to know the realities. The corruption scandals that rocked the supplies of foodstuff indicated by buffer stock company that over 70 suppliers’ licences have been seized because they supplied unwholesome food items as well as over-invoiced items that were procured. Lack of infrastructure to accommodate the students leading to a heavy burden on parents as they spend exorbitant amounts of money on rent payments for their wards who are given non-boarding status.
“Shortage of required number of teachers in specific subject areas. Lack of enough time for students to cover the syllabus under the shift system. Note that the first batch of the first-year students spent over 14 days out of the 41 days in doing preparations without classes in most SHSs in the country, thereby posing adverse effects on effective teaching and learning,” it spelt out.