Bagbin has obviously outlived his political usefulness

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The greatest outcome of the landmark decision by President Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo to implement his fee-free Senior High School policy initiative, other than benefiting some half-a-million students, was to bring out the true ugly colors of the leaders of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

According to Mr. Alban SK Bagbin, the longest-serving parliamentarian in Ghana’s Fourth Republic, this globally lauded initiative was unconstitutional, primarily because it had not been implemented by the John Dramani Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (See “Free SHS Is Unconstitutional – Alban Bagbin” Ghanaweb.com 10/3/17).

The problem here, though, is that the NDC has absolutely no track-record of implementing any seminal social interventionist programs. Virtually every quality-of-life-improvement program implemented in the country within the last quarter century was undertaken by the leaders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the foregoing includes the School-Feeding Program, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the LEAP program, which aimed to significantly alleviate poverty among the most vulnerable and deprived population in the country.

Indeed, short of empty “revolutionary” rhetoric, the leaders of the National Democratic Congress have for the past quarter century been promoting such anti-people Social-Darwinian policies as the Cash-and-Carry healthcare initiative, which simply told the poor and the destitute who could not afford to foot their medical bills to simply haunch down, drink the galamsey-polluted waters of the country and hit the highway to Heaven.

I would be damned, if Mr. Bagbin is not diagnosed shortly with a psychological disorder, possibly acute dementia. For instance, the Second-Deputy Speaker of the House claims that Nana Akufo-Addo’s implementation of the fee-free SHS policy agenda would mean that more students are going to be schooled under trees and will be sleeping on verandahs.

The fact of the matter is that as long as anybody old enough can remember, a remarkable percentage of Ghana’s school-going-age population of pupils and students have been schooling under trees and sleeping on verandahs under some of the most inhospitable conditions; and so it not clear who the Nadowli-Kaleo NDC-MP from the Upper-West Region is fooling or wants to fool here.

But what is even more damning here is to hear Mr. Bagbin ludicrously imply that Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution, somehow, mandates the creation of massive illiteracy on the part of the government of the day. Which is precisely what the leaders of the National Democratic Congress, beginning with Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, have been doing since the dawn of the country’s Fourth Republic. I also don’t know that ultra-conservative politicians like Mr. Bagbin have any clue as to what constitutes “a reasonable” or “an unreasonable” policy risk vis-à-vis Nana Akufo-Addo’s fee-free SHS policy initiative, since, as I pointedly observed at the beginning of this column, Mr. Bagbin and his NDC associates never took any remarkable policy risk that benefited any group of Ghanaian citizens other than themselves.

On the latter score, I vividly recall the late President John Evans Atta-Mills causing hundreds of drinking mugs to be embossed with his portrait and to be distributed to primary and middle school pupils in the Asante Region, at the taxpayer’s expense, because a scientific survey conducted among these elementary and middle-school pupils “scandalously” indicated that the recently defeated Candidate Akufo-Addo, of the then-main opposition New Patriotic Party, was far more popular than the substantive President of the Democratic Republic of Ghana.

The fact of the matter is that the country has often registered a higher number of students whenever the reins of governance have been held by New Patriotic Party leaders than by the criminally self-serving leadership of the National Democratic Congress.

And so it was all to be expected that political cynics like Mr. Bagbin, a professionally trained lawyer, would emerge furiously and gratuitously swinging against the Akufo-Addo-initiated fee-free SHS policy agenda.

Indeed, such abject lack of creative initiative may very well account for the fact that even though he has been expressing his desire to gun for the presidency since as far back as at least 2008, the man nicknamed the Nadowli-Kaleo Methuselah has yet to officially throw his proverbial hat in the ring.

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Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.