Election 2020: 'Arise Ghana youth for your country' - Part I

NSSGST3779319080115 Passport Photo The author, Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

Tue, 27 Oct 2020 Source: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

Fellow youngsters of the Republic of Ghana, one of my favourite idioms in the English language goes like this: “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”.

In his Gettysburg Address in 1864, Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth American president said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” And in our African street parlance, only a fool’s testicles are stepped on twice. We must no longer sit on the fence and watch political power drag barons and drunkards mess with us in the name of their personal glories!

Most certainly, the proliferation of presidential candidates and their political parties with the freshest of zeal, enthusiasm, and commitment to leading the country in the upcoming polls, is proof of the spectacular failure of the Akufo Addo Bawumia-led government. For the first time in the annals of our history, new political parties and Independent presidential candidates rock the political landscape of our dear Republic as if there is no tomorrow. And indeed, this year’s election is a rescue mission to liberate a hemorrhaging Ghana from a desperate enemy.

Initially numbered seventeen, many Ghanaians have stepped forward to file for nominations despite the exorbitant amount nature for some of these candidates, as a registration of their dissatisfaction, disgust, and contempt, at the shameful leadership of President Akufo Addo. No wonder Confucius, a classical Chinese philosopher said it is a failure, a government that loses the trust of its citizens. For him, governance is all about the abundance of food, coercive apparatus of the state (military equipment), and the citizens’ TRUST in the leader.

However, we can survive without military equipment. Asked if we must dispense with one of the two remaining, food or trust?” The master answered, “Part with the food. From of old, death has been the lot humanity; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.”

Over the last four years, the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP, has become a household name for its abysmal performance and failure characterized by hackneyed untruths, subterfuges, and misplacement of priorities for populistic tendencies. Meanwhile, the godforsaken amount they have been borrowing in our name as the youth and future leaders of the country has vanished mainly into the bottomless pockets of the regime; a chunkiest of which has been used to feed a Guinness World Record of 127 ministers for a tiny country like Ghana!

Fellow youngsters, the example of the ruling NPP government is like a lady who praises you to high heaven as her “lover” or even husband, but she would never care for you as a mother does to the son in the morning, cook for you as a sister does to the brother in the afternoon, and serve you at night as a prostitute does.

Fellow youth, the current government is like a man who says he wants to be a company’s spokesperson but who always never ceases to embarrass the same company in public even though he keeps telling the company that he rather wants their attention to be “incorporated” or employed in order to protect its reputation he has already destroyed a while ago.

In each scenario, neither the lady who showers praises on the “lover” but will never care for him nor the man who wants to work for a company by destroying its reputation, is real. In fact, there is clear evidence of a different (sinister) motive than what they each are claiming. In the case of the woman, she is either a fly-by-night woman who is interested in the properties of the man, or she is simply mocking him or afraid to lose something. As for the man who wants employment from a company by destroying its reputation publicly for the interest of another company, does so not really to be employed by the same company but to maybe please some workers in the company who are dear to him at the same time hurting the company. Otherwise, if he truly wants to work with the company, he would rather defend it and would not drag it to the market square to be ridiculed.

The Qur’an says “Watilkal amsalu Nadribuha Lin Nas, wa maa ya’kiluhaa illal Aalimun”. This means, “These examples—We put them forward to the people; but none grasps them except the learned.” Qur’an 29:43.

The NPP has, in the last four years, kept polishing peanuts and playing to the gallery in respect of their programs about the future of this country which no serious and responsible government would have undertaken no matter what. Yet they never miss the opportunity to tell us how they care about our future. Playing on the piano of our commonsense has become a pastime for the ruling party with projects that are nothing more than a Trojan horse.

Take a look at their flagship Free Senior High School (SHS) education policy: the program had been a disaster on arrival. This is because not only has the program expectantly lowered and diluted the quality of education at the high school level due to lack of proper monitoring of students as a result of poor teacher-student ratio on campuses, there is a strange situation where both qualified and non-qualified Junior High School leavers were all pushed to SHS in order to increase patronage so as to score a cheap political point at the expense of our educational standard. Why would any government desperately do this? From all indications, the government does not really care about educating us free but the amount of cash that could be stolen at our blindsight through its implementation is what they are interested in. Let’s wake up fellow Ghanaians!

Yet again, consider the Planting for Food and Jobs program: millions of fertilizers bought with taxpayers’ money have found their way into our neighboring countries for cheaper prices by party apparatchiks. The one-district-one-factory has become a national embarrassment: Companies that were already flourishing before the NPP came to power have been literally stolen by the government and rebranded with national flags as the output of the 1-d-1-f. Yet billions of cedis allocated for these nebulous and ghost factories continue to disappear.

Their so-called restoration of teacher and nursing trainees’ allowances is more scandalous than the government’s claim to have exited the International Monetary Foundation (IMF). The move has exposed how callously desperate the government has been and their hanger for opportunistic populism. The Mahama government scrapped the allowances for many reasons that all pertained to the brighter future of the country. The payment of the allowances created a situation where the majority of qualified teachers and nursing trainees were asked to stay home without coronavirus because the government could not afford to pay all their allowances if admitted. Again, the IMF prescribed an economic policy (Contractionary Fiscal Policy) which dictated that not only allowances be scraped off, but a ban must be placed upon employment to rescue the Ghanaian economic crisis that was not the making of President Mahama.

In early 2015, global prices of crude oil, gold, diamond, and cocoa went down significantly which affected every country and the worst hit was developing countries. That same year, Ebola’s threats also brought international movements to its knees. You recall AFCON that year was rejected by the host nation Morocco, then Equatorial Guinea took advantage to host the tournament in which their supporters were hurling bottles at Ghanaians when we beat them at the semi-final.

Fellow youth of Ghana, these negative events (Ebola, cocoa, gold, crude oil prices going down) coupled with our own internal DUM-SOR necessitated going to IMF. And to set the records straight, remember DumSor was never created by president Mahama, he inherited it but decided to fix it permanently. It started under president John Agyakum Kufuor who massaged it because Ghana was just coming out of HIPC and probably could not fix it.

Now, what is going to IMF? The meaning of going to IMF is simply that unanticipated and abrupt economic eruption has disrupted the economic path a country was previously charting due to some mighty economic shocks like the above, and the country is seeking the economic expertise of the IMF to navigate that economic challenge. Note that, you can choose to fight your own battle without the IMF’s input but it worth it to seek their aid. Mostly, the IMF would give you aid in the form of an economic policy and dictate to you how to use it in order to bounce back as an economy. Exactly what they did to Ghana when they signed 918 million dollars with conditions such as restoration of debt sustainability; government limited hiring and wage increases and eliminated subsidies for utilities and petroleum products.” (Source: IMF Lending Case Study).

So, as a result of the above issues that greeted the whole world, president Mahama sought the advice and expertise of the IMF in 2015. However, between two policies (Contractionary and Expansionary Fiscal Policies) that were suitable for our situation in Ghana, the IMF prescribed the noblest but bitter policy (the Contractionary Fiscal Policy) for president Mahama. The policy is about “squeezing” the economy of cash. According to Kimberly Amadeo who is referencing a textbook titled “The Real Wealth of Nations”, no elected official would opt for that policy because it can cost you your public office. Yet the IMF prescribed it for president Mahama! To lose his office? Maybe no, maybe yes.

But you see, if you know the educational trajectory of the current vice president Dr. Bawumia you will readily smell something fishy in why the IMF prescribed that godforsaken economic policy, politically, for President Mahama. After his Bachelor’s Degree in economics at Buckingham University (First Class Honors), student Mahamudu Bawumia went to IMF for an internship. He also went back to the IMF for another internship after his Master’s Degree at Lincoln College, Oxford. He then went to Simon Fraser University in Canada for his Ph.D. Degree and numerous of his researches have been published at the IMF and the World Bank. According to Oslo Embassy in Ghana, Dr. Bawumia worked with the IMF from 1994 to 1996 before leaving for Baylor University in Texas, USA, to serve as a lecturer.

Now, personally, as a fresh graduate I had interned with few corporations including GBC (Tamale), then Uni-Bank Ghana Ltd (Tamale Branch), Radio Justice (Tamale) before I graduated the last year 2019 from KNUST. As a scholar of the MasterCard Scholarship Foundation Program which spearheaded some of my internship opportunities, I was advised to always perform and leave an impressive impression anywhere I interned. It has been the goal of every intern in order that, at least if you don’t secure a job with the company after graduation as an intern, you would have created rapport with the workers as a form of networking which might help you get a job or be assisted in some way, one day.

Fellow Ghanaians, who knows, perhaps Dr. Bawumia, having hankered after political power for good eight years, could have gone back to his former friends at IMF as a former intern and employee of that body to lobby for that policy (Contractionary Fiscal Policy) to be prescribed for president Mahama. So that Ghanaians could vote president Mahama out so that their former friend Bawumia will become vice president of Ghana! Be that as it may, this is a complete assumption though. But anything can happen in this world.

But considering the supersonic speed with which the NPP exited the IMF after winning the 2016 elections, adds strong credence to this school of thought that the policy MAY have been highhandedly handed to president Mahama as a way of fulfilling the NPP’s slogan to “making the Mahama-led government ungovernable”.

Fellow youngsters of Ghana, why would one of us cause us such pain in order to govern us if this assumption is true? That you painfully “kill” someone in order to be given the chance to resurrect him so that somebody else would lose his job of managing the affairs of that person to you? Come on! There is certainly something more to it. Perhaps it is due to the accumulation of the filthy lucre; the scramble for political spoils of war (public offices), other than caring for the well-being of Ghanaians. This is the NPP government for us!

Their competence is being used to exploit us at the expense of our future!

A similar thing happened during the DumSor era. You realized that anytime the former president promised us to end the menace of DumSor, it turned out to be something else. Definitely, president Mahama could not be taking delight in deceiving Ghanaians about something that could cost him the highest office of the land. Was he being sabotaged by hungry political traitors within his own government and party, or it was masterminded by then opposition NPP which vowed to render his government ungovernable or both traitors of the NDC and the opposition?

Look at the juicy appointments some members of the NDC got after the NPP came to power. Note that the NPP has not added a single watt to the national grid. If you ask them what they have done to end or solve DumSor they cannot tell you. Their victory alone in the last election was magically enough to have DumSor fixed? How? Did we come or did we go?

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that in less than four years the government has left an unprecedented debt in our history colossal of which has been stolen through fraudulent government projects like NabCo, one-village-one-dam, one-district-one-factory, creation of new regions, a compilation of needless voters’ register, the fight against Galamsey, the fraudulent crusade against corruption. The most unpardonable of all being the use of taxpayers’ money to the tune of 13 billion cedis to create unemployment in the country in the name of a financial sector clean-up exercise, a mess the government-supervised by borrowing from indigenous financial institutions as a result of their so-called exiting from the IMF, which basically was swapping the policy the IMF initially prescribed to president Mahama! Consequently, the government of Ghana automatically had to leave IMF because the NPP simply kicked against the directive the IMF prescribed for president Mahama earlier.

Leaving IMF was not going to be a problem if Ghana has the capacity. However, having left IMF, no more financial aid from them so the government has to rely on the indigenous banks for its excessive borrowing, is. The result was, partly, the collapse of GN Bank, uni-Bank, and numerous Saving and loan companies.

Fellow youngsters of Ghana, the NPP having realized they are at a Saigon moment of failure and loss of the impending polls stare them in the eyes has resorted to an intensive form of pork-barrel politics and political “Rice missionary” as their new strategy to win if they cannot rig the election. Please let’s arise for mother Ghana; Let’s not sell our birthright for a pottage of mess. For we cannot remain slaves of bad governments due to one man’s glory and greed!

I Shall Return.

Columnist: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem
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