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Which Way for Our Country: Policies or Propaganda?

Sun, 27 Mar 2011 Source: Krapa, Herbert

By HERBERT KRAPA

Exactly one week after his re-election as presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, addressing party supporters and sympathisers at the Ridge Church in Accra, observed, that, “the ultimate test for Ghana’s democracy, besides confidence in the electoral system, is by winning the enduring war against mass poverty.”

He calls it in short, “building a new society of opportunities.”

He stated that, this new society of opportunities can be built through “the radical intensification of efforts in pursuing the transformation and modernisation of the national economy, so that the mass of the people will be well schooled; well skilled; well employed; well clothed; well fed; and well housed.

Committed to this objective, and to help him come to office prepared to deliver, Nana Addo included a Policy Committee in his Victory 2012 campaign team and until his recent appointment as the Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Zimbabwe; Dr. Bawumia was head of that committee. Indeed, it is interesting to know, that, even before his re-election, as presidential candidate, Nana Addo took time out of his busy campaign schedule to meet with lecturers of our various universities, to put his vision across to them and solicit their intellectual inputs and contributions.

On Wednesday, 9th March, 2011, addressing the closing ceremony of a workshop organised for NPP researchers from the ten regions, Nana Addo gave a hint of how much work the Policy Committee have done so far and elaborated why he thinks Ghana can build a new society of opportunities.

He mentioned to them, in essence that: “the NPP is preparing a comprehensive programme of industrialisation and modernisation that can transform Ghana’s economy in a matter of one decade. What Ghana needs is a structural transformation of her economy. We cannot improve the lives of the mass of our people if we remain a raw material producing nation.”

“Ghana and other West African countries are now importing an ever -increasing percentage of their food products from Brazil but with the right programme in place, in the next ten years, Ghana can become a self-sustainable, confident economy, in many ways, with an extensive, modern agricultural industry that will feed our neighbours and beyond.”

He said he was drawing a lot of inspiration from the Brazilian experience, where within a matter of one decade, President Lula da Silva, managed to transform the nation “from a perennial underachiever into one with strong economic clout, and modeled social programs which have brought unprecedented prosperity to the people” and urging Ghana to learn lessons from the South American country’s experience, Nana Addo said, “Brazil’s middle class population has grown by some 29 million in 8 years and another 20 million people, nearly as many as Ghana’s population, have been pulled up from poverty.”

He did not put out a model, or the details of it. All he said at that workshop with researchers of his party, and not on a campaign platform, was that, Ghana can also do it as some other countries have, and that is why he has put together a policy committee to work on a *unique *model, that can help Ghana build a new society of opportunities, drawing inspiration from countries like Brazil. Finito!

Shortly after the news of Nana Addo’s vision of “transforming Ghana in 10 years” broke, the NDC decided to take him on. Okudzeto Ablakwa was first to launch a stinging attack on him. He said “Nana Addo’s blue-print was but a cut and paste model which is and cannot be applicable in Ghana's agenda for development”, adding that “apart from the fact that the ten-year policy was so empty, visionless and only a copy cat of the Brazilian model, everybody in development economics in the modern world has been impressed with development with the BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China - and so it is very easy to just grab one of the BRIC countries as they are doing and say you will be like them.”

The Information Minister was criticizing a blue-print that is obviously not out and is still being worked on, and he was doing so, addressing members of TEIN, a tertiary wing of the NDC. How sad! Even sadder, is how an Information Minister can say that it is visionless for anybody to have a vision that, if we show dedication, discipline and determination, we can transform our country in ten years.

Sad though, but, really not surprising! In 2008, when Nana Addo said that with hard work and dedication, Ghana can be transformed into a first world country, John Mahama, the Vice presidential candidate then, of the NDC, ridiculed it, describing it as "a pipe-dream". He said "when our street lights are not working properly, how can Akufo-Addo dream of Ghana becoming a first world country?" He too, was addressing a gathering of NDC students at the University of Cape Coast. Pathetic!

When Nana Addo also got another speaking opportunity with students of the Accra Polytechnic, that same year, he responded to John Mahama, quoting the late Robert Kennedy, that, "some people see things as they are and ask why? I see things that could be and ask why not?"

Asked about his competence during his vetting, in 2009, Deputy Finance Minister designate, Mr. Fiifi Kwetey said that as Propaganda Secretary of the NDC, he was the single most important reason why Nana Addo lost the 2008 election. Mr. Kwetey alludes to the fact that the NDC came to power on the wings of propaganda, which propaganda by his estimation, defeated all the brilliant policies and programmes that Nana Addo put across to the Ghanaian people during the campaign. Petty!

After his election in December, 2007 as presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo put out almost 20 policy statements as part of his broad vision for Ghana, on education, skills training and job creation, health, security, law and order, governance, industrialisaton, sports, etc. Whilst at that, the NDC were busy propagating falsehood about him, and that was the thrust of their campaign. They put all manner of tags on him, called him all sorts of names and tried hard to run his person down.

Akufo-Addo and the NPP put up a policy based campaign of issues, against the NDC’s propaganda based campaign of lies, and for a poor, developing country like ours, any party seeking a third term re-election would need to put up an equally strong campaign against the propaganda. But Nana Addo and the NPP were consumed in their campaign of policies and ideas and could not be bothered about the lies and deceits being put out by the NDC and so it seemed that in the end, the NDC’s propaganda won them the election. But did our country win or lose as a result of that?

Today, the answer to that question continues to stare all of us in the face: the albatross of a flat, uninspiring, mediocre, clueless and visionless four-year term of President Mills. The Mills-Mahama NDC government continues to prove, each passing day that they came to power not prepared to govern, whilst Nana Addo also continues to show his commitment to transforming our country, each passing day with his policies, ideas and vision. Is it not strange, that, even with the tables turned, the NDC (in power) is still counting on using propaganda to hold on to power? Creating 1.6million ghost jobs in 18months; putting out a 37 page top 50 achievements green book full of lies; saying on Peace Fm that Nana Addo has been flown outside the country for medical treatment, compelling Nana Addo to call into the programme to say he is very fit and attending a workshop at the Royal Mirage Hotel, East Legon, Accra, Ghana; lying that Nana Addo didn’t declare his assets before leaving office as Foreign Minister; claiming that some pastors were to meet in Nana Addo’s house in Accra to pray for him over what they call “his cocaine addiction” when Nana Addo was in fact on that same day, addressing the youth wing of his party in Tamale; calling him a “fruit cake” and what have you.

The good news is that Nana Addo has proved, time and time again, his resolve and determination to lead a government that can help transform our country. For a man, who, even before his re-election as presidential candidate of the NPP for the 2012 election, made it a point to meet regularly with university lecturers to solicit ideas and opinions, it can only be said of him as visionary, and if for nothing at all, should be credited for his can-do spirit that continues to drive him to urge us to challenge the status quo.

The Ghanaian people, hopefully, are watching.

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Columnist: Krapa, Herbert