Opinions of Mon, 20 Apr 2009111

NPP had worse first 100 days

by Ras Mubarak

The New Patriotic Party doesn't want Professor Mills to succeed. They want him to fail. In the words of a prominent NPP activist, the president promised to fix the economy “so let him fix it and stop offering excuses.' I don't know where Mustapha got the idea that Ghana's president promised to fix the economy in a hundred days? That is not correct and this is the kind of unfortunate ideas that are being put out by political opponents of the ruling party. One thing is clear for the communications people of the ruling party. It is going to be a bumpy four year term and they better stay ahead of the game. There's going to be a lot of half truths, lies and spin.

Gabby Asare Darko of the Danquah Institute says Ghana's ruling party has not done anything in the first 100 days and cannot do anything. In a piece titled - The Curious Case of Atta Mills, Gabby copiously and rather painfully tried to rubbish the efforts put in so far by the Professor Mills led government to fix the economy. Gabby's comments reflect the thinking of leading opposition figures.

My friends in the NPP do not seize to amaze me. The most embarrassing things in Ghana's democratic history happened during the first 100days of the New Patriotic Party's tenure in government. First, John Kufour humiliated the nation by attending the celebration of the anniversaries of Togo's independence and Gnassingbe Eyadema's military coup.

Kufour told reporters he felt honoured to have been invited by then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, a very ruthless and brutal dictator who staged a bloody coup to get to power (More than 500 people died in that coup according to reports). Eyadema had been in power for more than 30years when Kufour honoured his invitation on the 13th of January 2001.

How ironic- for a party that prides itself on being democratic - Dictators are isolated all over the world, especially those who are unwilling to reform and certainly Eyadema was one who did not encourage freedom. The NPP didn't find anything wrong with associating themselves with Eyadema, but would seize every opportunity to excoriate Jerry Rawlings for staging two coups. Kufour's visit to Togo was just an epitome of the NPP's hypocrisy.

The New Patriotic Party doesn't share the value of equal rights and justice. The Danquah/Busia government/s and their offspring the NPP have a history of showing discrimination and disrespect for other tribes other than Akan, and that was grandiosely displayed right at the beginning of the Kufour presidency. In his first 100 days, Kufour deliberately flouted a constitutional provision by neglecting the people of the Upper West region. One of the provisions of our constitution is that, 'the state shall actively promote the integration of the peoples of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.'

But the NPP had a better idea. Screw the constitution they said, and screw the people of the Upper West they must have said. According to Kufour (at his first meet the press session to mark his first 100 days in government), no one from the upper west region was fit enough to be in his cabinet and so it was the reason why he did not select anyone from that region. How divisive and inflammatory could things get? No one in the entire Upper West fit enough to hold a cabinet position? We must thank the good people of the region for their show of maturity when the NPP spat at them. Kufour's action contravened many of our constitutional provisions.

Let's not however forget that there's precedence. Before John Kufour, Kofi Busia also excluded people from the Volta Region from his cabinet in the 70s. Gabby and his colleagues are referring to security operations as divisive and harassing. What could be more divisive than the comments of former president Kufour about his reason for not selecting a cabinet minister from the upper west?

Another interesting thing that happened or rather didn't happen under the first 100 days of the NPP was their promise to create jobs. They had promised to create 100,000 jobs in a hundred days. What happened? They failed. It was a lie right from start. That never happened and I doubt if they were even able to created 100,000 jobs in 8years.

There is no point trying to hide it, the NPP's first one hundred days is a scare on the conscience of Ghanaians. We don't want to remember it. We also had the Sahara oil fiasco where the government entered into a secret agreement to lift oil from Nigeria. There was no tender for the contract, an act that was in breach of our procurement act. Even though the Sahara deal happened in the first one hundred days, it wouldn't be the last the party gave out contracts without tender.

They promised to end 'streetism' in the first 100 days. What we saw was a major increase in streetism even before the 100th day.

The NPP paraded people whose credentials looked impressive on paper but hopeless in practice. Ghanaians were told Jerry Rawlings is an illiterate, he and his NDC people are men and women of little mind. We were told the NDC had collapsed the economy, and what did they offer, the easy way out. In their first 100 days, our nation was declared bankrupt, broke beyond repair. They led us into joining the HIPC initiative. Instead of exploiting the ingenuity of Ghanaians and the richness of the earth, they did the same thing that happened in the government they had taken over from – unbridled borrowing. Instead of facing forward as Nkrumah said, they faced west

Thanks to CHANGE, we can look back into the first 100 days of the party that is throwing stones from a glass house. At such crucial moment, we need to come together. A great responsibility rests on the shoulders of our president and national problems require national solutions. The politics is very important but we must draw a line when to play politics.

The NPP must understand that failure to meet first one hundred days pledges is nothing new in politics. Barack Obama of almighty America promised to shut down Guantanamo bay in his first 100 days, what happened? The base is still opened. In an interview on ABC network, Mr Obama said “closing the prison is more difficult than many people realise.” The most important thing is how truthful leaders who make promises are with their shortcomings and their commitment to eventually fulfilling them. Never in the history of politics has anyone fulfilled all of the first one hundred days pledges. Let’s get real and stop the unnecessary noises.

Columnist: Mubarak, Ras

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