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When a dam is about to break
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When a dam is about to break

Wed, 4 May 2016 Source: Eric Bawah

Ever stayed near a broken dam before? If you ever stayed in such environment before, you will know how dangerous the situation is. When a dam is about to break, you hear some weird noise which sounds like the trumpeting of an elephant. The water in the dam begins to turn around and overflows the walls of the dam. Then you hear “boom” and the dam is broken. You have to run fast for cover because the raging water acts like a wounded lion. If you wait a moment, you will be swept away and no matter how good you are in swimming, you may not survive the sheer power of the torrent.

From all indications, the NDC is a dam about to break. They are desperate and looking for any straw to cling to for survival. The desperation came to a heat when Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia started his tour recently and in the course of his tour exposed the Mahama-led administration. When things reached a crescendo, the NDC leaders met to plan what they called “Accounting to the people tour”. Armed with pickaxes, President Mahama moves from one region to the other, cutting sods to commence one project or the other when those his predecessor started have been left to rot.

For John Mahama, commissioning a classroom block is such a big deal that chiefs are summoned to sights where these schools are built to see the good job he has done. When chiefs praise him for a job well done he becomes swollen headed and begins to act like a spoiled child of decadent society. President Mahama is not a good historian, and so he doesn’t know what chiefs can do to sitting presidents when they pay courtesy calls to their palaces. Our chiefs are so smart that before they request for any development project, they first praise you to the high heavens. They will tell you no other president ever did anything to them apart from the sitting president. Before you leave their palaces, they will promise you that ‘they and their subjects will vote for you’. If you go by what they tell you, you will smile at the wrong side of your mouth on election day. The truth is that in this 21st Century, no chief has control over his subjects as far as elections are concerned.

When President Mahama visited the Brong Ahafo Region last week, I listened to what some chiefs in the region told him and came to the conclusion that the dam is about to break. Anytime they shower praises on him he was seen sitting there giggling as if election 2016 is a done deal. At one of the palaces he visited where yours sincerely was present, one of the chiefs who showered praises on Mr. Mahama is the financier of the NPP in the town. When President Mahama left town, the same man was heard telling a group of NPP supporters to intensify their campaign because if the NDC is allowed to hold the reins of power for another four years, the situation will be horrible. He told the group that all what President Mahama wants to hear was what he told him and that the president thinks people have not wised – up this time around.

You see, gone were the days when chiefs could tell politicians that “they and their people will vote for them”. In this 21st Century, the chiefs’ power is so limited that if even they make such pronouncements, it will be easily disregarded and treated with contempt. Politics have come a long way and the power to think for one’s self supersedes the power of the chiefs who in the first place do not pay the school fees of the wards of their subjects, not to talk of feeding his family. Accounting to the people at palaces and receiving applauds is a worthless road show which cannot support a dam that is about to break.

Mr. Mahama is being misled by his Regional Ministers, MMDCEs and party big men in all the regions that he has visited. Having smelled the sweet aroma of power, these men and women want to cling on to power so they will do everything to please their employer. They will even go to the extent of telling the president that they have built a bridge across a non-existing river in a remote village where the president cannot visit and he will unknowingly announce it thereby exposing himself to public ridicule. Since he started his tour, he has been goofing all along because some of the projects that he had boasted of were the brainchild of ex-president Kufour.

President Mahama is taking Ghanaians for a ride. This is a man who promised Ghanaians that before his tenure of office ends in 2016, he would build two hundred day Senior High Schools across the length and breadth of the country. Barely six months for his tenure of office to end, the man has built not more than twenty of such schools and yet he has the guts to go round telling people that what he has done is monumental. And when people try to refer him to all his failed promises, all that he can tell Ghanaians was that because of the Election Petition that went to the Supreme Court, he could not keep his promises. Come to think of it!

. Throughout the Supreme Court sittings, Mr. Mahama, his ministers, MMDCEs and Presidential Staffers were all receiving their salaries and other allowances. The Common Fund, Getfund, HIPC Fund and others were sent to the districts and loans were contracted. If we are to go by what the president told Ghanaians then it stands to reason that the president and his men and women did not work but received their salaries. Is this not a typical example of willfully causing financial loss to the state? The president was as usual junketing around the globe and was being paid his per diem and yet he is blaming the Election Petition at the Supreme Court as the cause of his abysmal performance. Where I come from, our elders say when you are losing a fight; you forget that you have teeth in your mouth which you can use to bite your opponent. Defeat is staring the president in the face so he has resorted to acting like a person who has received a ‘dirty slap’ on his face. What has the Supreme Court sitting got to do with the management of the economy? Except, of course, the president wants to tell Ghanaians that during the Election Petition hearing at the Supreme Court, banks were not working, workers were on strike, goods were not imported or exported, cocoa farmers were not harvesting their cocoa and all factories were closed down.

ACCOUNTING TO B/A FARMERS

The people of the Brong Ahafo Region are mostly farmers. Whereas some engage in peasant farming, others are serious cocoa farmers. About 70% of the maize that we use in this country are produced in the Brong Ahafo Region. The Brong part of the region is noted for the cultivation of maize, groundnuts, beans, cassava, tomato and cashew nuts. The Ahafo area of the region is also noted for the cultivation of cocoa, cashew, plantain, cocoyam, palm nuts and cassava. In fact, the Brong Ahafo Region used to be the food basket of mother Ghana but since the NDC came to power that dream has been killed with the poor farmers finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Immediately President Kufuor took over the reins of power; he introduced the Mass Cocoa Spraying Programme which led to an increase in the tonnage of cocoa produced in the region and Ghana for that matter. Politics was not read into the programme because if you sprayed a cocoa farm belonging to a perceived NPP supporter and failed to do same to a perceived NDC supporter you ended up doing nothing at all. For example, the “akate” insect that you drove away from the farm of the perceived NPP supporter will end up destroying the farm of the perceived NDC supporter. In a matter of few months when the strength of the insecticide you used to spray the farm of the perceived NPP supporter declines, the insects that destroyed the farm of the perceived NDC supporter will swoop on the farm of the perceived NPP supporter and devour everything. That was why there was the need to spray every cocoa farm, irrespective of the party that the farmer belonged to.

Immediately the NDC took over power, they threw the plan overboard and decided to engage new ‘Spraying Gangs’ made up of only NDC supporters who chose to spray farms belonging to perceived NDC supporters alone. That was the biggest mistake the John Mahama – led administration did. Today, under the John Mahama-led administration there is absolutely nothing good to write home about as far as the production of cocoa in the Brong Ahafo Region is concerned. Even the cocoa fertilizer which was introduced by the Kufour administration is being distributed to only NDC farmers. The sad aspect of this scenario is that fertilizers which were distributed to cocoa farmers in the Brong Ahafo recently have expired and therefore not effective.

In the Brong Ahafo Region maize farmers rely hugely on fertilizers since the land is no more fertile as it used to be. That was why the Kufour administration introduced the fertilizer subsidy to help maize farmers get easy access to fertilizers in order to help them increase their yield. John Mahama and his administration came and cancelled the fertilizer subsidy which has led to low production of maize in the region. I was expecting Mr. Mahama to account to the people of the Brong Ahafo Region as far as agriculture is concerned but he ended up paying courtesy calls on chiefs and commissioning schools and toilets. Tweaaa!!!

Columnist: Eric Bawah