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People First? Surely not under the NDC

John Mahama New President John Mahama

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 Source: Ebo Quansah

It is official! Better Ghana is dead. The burial and memorial service dates have not been officially announced, but it is as clear as the concept is interred with the mortal remains of the deceased leader of the party, who originally out-doored the mantra.

Political connoisseurs never left the old Slave Castle when President John Dramani Mahama beat a hasty retreat from the Castle, following the death and interment of Prof. Evans Atta Mills at Asomdwee Park, beside the Castle.

It is the sign of how everything about Prof. Mills has been jettisoned that on the campaign trail and the party’s manifesto launch, Better Ghana found no place of mention. We are told that the NDC is now on a new mission of Changing Lives and Transforming Ghana.

If you visit Otuam, the hometown of the deceased President and one-time leader of the NDC, you would have a fair idea of why the former law lecturer, who defied medical advice and over-worked himself to bring the party back to power after eight years in opposition, has been abandoned to his fate.

The eight kilometer road from Essuehyia Junction to Otuam has still not been completed since construction began in 2009. There is every indication that the project has been abandoned. The contractor is not on site. Neither is there any worker on the road, while patches are still untouched from its deplorable state.

The Essueyia Town Road, where Mr. Abeeku Crenstil, the Ekumfi Member of Parliament hails from, has not been touched at all. It is still all dust and mud at the MPs door-step.

The state of the Otuam Road tells everything about how the NDC is Changing Lives and Transforming Ghana; all rhetoric with very little substance.

As Ghanaians head for the polls on Wednesday, December 7, 2009, the NDC is singing a new tune.

According to the NDC manifesto, there are four new thematic areas: (a) Putting People First, (b) Strong and resilient economy for job creation, (c) Expanding Social Infrastructure and (d) Transparent and Economic management.

It is my intention to take these thematic areas and open them up for examination and analysis. Central to the manifesto, according to the document, are job creation and economic empowerment.

Read the tenets of the NDC manifesto: “Putting people First is the expression of our relentless effort to invest in sectors of our society with the view to empowering our people through better educational systems and opportunities, providing reliable and dependable health care arrangements, ensuring inclusiveness by protecting the most vulnerable in our society, thus creating reliable pathways for our youth to achieve their aspirations…”

Expanding on this concept, the manifesto says: “The National Democratic Congress remains deeply committed to the principle and values of Social Democracy.

“As Social Democrats, we subscribe to a compassionate political philosophy that seeks to create opportunities for all to develop to their fullest potential. We believe that our pursuit of economic prosperity for all Ghanaians can best be achieved through appropriate regulation and strategic investment.

“We are, therefore, committed to using the legal, fiscal and trade instruments at our disposal to influence effort to safeguard the jobs of today and create the jobs for the future.”

It goes on to explain why the party is seeking re-election after eight years at Government House. “As a party we seek a renewal of the mandate from the people to enable us extend our transformational agenda.

“This document provides a record of our delivery and our commitment to the people of Ghana for a second term for President John Dramani Mahama,” the manifesto says in its introductory remarks.

Obviously, a lot of midnight oil was burned in preparing this manifesto. In life though, the past tells much about how the present had fared, which in turn informs what would happen in the future.

It would not be right to state that the NDC have not aided any member of society to grow. The history of the party in power over the last eight years is littered with broken promises. For most members of society, though, the NDC has done well with the promotion of cronyism.

Remember Alfred Agbesi Woyome, described as a financier of the party? Six years after he fraudulently collected a whopping GHc51.2 million cedis from state coffers without any job done, the NDC in government has failed to collect a cedi back. Woyome was transformed into a multi millionaire without breaking any sweat.

There is Roland Agambire, Chief Executive Officer of Azontaba Cottage Industry who was given a huge state cash to set up a poultry farm to churn out cheap guinea fowl meat for the people. It tells a lot about how the NDC has put people first that, a shocking nation was told that all the guinea fowls on his farm, had migrated to Burkina Faso without a compass.

The same Cottage Industry was advanced GHc15 million of Savannah Accelerated Development Agency fund to grow trees in the savannah zone. All the trees, we are told, have withered. The official explanation is that the planting took place during the dry season.

Under the NDC, judgment debts have become the conduit pipe in which state officials have depleted state cash to enrich friends and party apparatchiks in a gargantuan exhibition of cronyism.

Meanwhile, the ordinary Ghanaian continues to sweat at the scrap heap of unemployment. For the first time in the history of this republic, graduate unemployment is the norm rather than the exception.

As you read this piece, the Association of Graduate Unemployment is doing very well with membership swelling with every graduation ceremony at the various tertiary institutions.

Not too long ago, nursing was one profession that ensured a swift employment on graduation. That quick fix to employment has been dealt a severe blow.

Now, the places for graduating nurses are in their individual homes, while our hospitals and health centres are crying for professionals tracing their competence to the lady with the lamp.

Teachers are another group of professionals that continue to be short-changed. As you read this piece, some teachers have been in the classroom for two years without pay.

I have a personal experience. My son who graduated from one of the 38 colleges of education, who graduated two academic years ago, has been teaching in the Western Region.

So far, he has never been given any stipend from state coffers since. I have to hire a place for accommodation for him and find money for him to feed himself.

The ordinary people of Ghana have suffered under Pontius Pilate, which answers for this regime ever since the NDC was inaugurated to manage the economy in January 2009.

Anytime this administration is challenged, Mr. Seth Terkper, the Minister of Finance and his economists managing the state treasury, have found the answer in taxes and more taxes on the people.

Many businesses are failing because their proprietors have been unable to find a way around the high taxation regime.

That is not the only ‘wahala’ affecting the quality of life at the centre of the earth. At a time when the prices of crude oil were tumbling on the international market, prices of petroleum prices in the new oil state of Ghana keep rising.

It is one conundrum that has defied solution.

In a strange economic model I fondly refer to as the Mahamean Economic Theory with its Tekpernomics, this nation has made borrowing the cornerstone of its economy.

The result is more resources going into servicing debts than setting up industries which would churn out the jobs.

A roof-top advertisement welcomed the establishment of the Komenda Sugar Factory. But as you read this piece, most Ghanaians have not been privy to the kind of product it has ever churned out.

It looks like in administering this nation, the NDC and its leadership have been all noise and very little delivery.

“Kwatrikwa Se Obema Wo Ntama A, Tie Nidin.” It translates in the English language thus: If the naked person promises you cloth, simply take a good look at him. I rest my case.

I shall return!

Columnist: Ebo Quansah