Opinions Sun, 14 Jul 2019

Please, spare us the melodrama; Mahama rather sent Ghana’s economy into the mire!

The recent star performance by the mournful opposition NDC stalwarts at the much-publicised demonstration, dubbed, ‘kum yen preko’ was, in fact, out of this world.

We have to admire the superlative histrionics of the well-to-do politicians, many of whom came along in ‘disparate’ luxurious vehicles (Toyota Land Cruisers, Lexus, Range Rovers etc.), parked nearby, joined the lumpen proletariats (the downtrodden), and staged a ‘weeping’ session, apparently, in protest of perceived high socio-economic living standards.

Some of us cannot get our heads around how and why the NDC operatives can muster the courage and accuse President Akufo-Addo of not fixing the NDC administration’s 96 months massive mess in barely 30 months into 48-month mandate.

In fact, Akufo-Addo is steadily fixing the huge mess left by the Mahama’s administration.

The fact remains that Akufo-Addo has moved the economic growth from 3.4% under Mahama in 2016 to around 8.6%. While the inflation stands at around 9% as compared to 15.4% under Mahama in 2016.

So, how can anyone clamour inexorably for the return of someone who wilfully collapsed Ghana’s economy?

It would thus appear that we, Ghanaians, and Africans as a whole, are possessed with grovelling characteristic of a sordid mind which hates anything quality, and rather prefer to worship mediocrity.

Ex-President John Dramani Mahama, unlike his predecessor, the late John Evans Atta Mills, and his successor, President Akufo-Addo, did not expect to be the president of Ghana and never prepared for the highly important position.

It could also be true that the then Vice President Mahama had an ambition to ascend the throne one day, albeit his presidency happened sooner and fortuitously, following the sudden death of former President Mills.

It is, also, not farfetched to suggest that Ex-President Mahama was only compelled by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution to ascend the throne he never prepared for, and, therefore had no burning desire or had little interest to move the country to the right direction.

If you may recall, it was the late Mills who hand-picked John Dramani Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 general elections.

Although the late President Mills met with stiff resistance on his decision to select John Dramani Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 election, the indefatigable Mills defied the fierce opposition, stood by his then running mate John Dramani Mahama, worked collaboratively and emerged victorious in the 2008 general elections.

In retrospect, the late President Mills took over the presidency from former President Kufuor on 7th January 2009.

Obviously, the late President Mills prepared adequately for the presidency, unlike his immediate successor, Ex-President Mahama.

But in spite of the late Mills readiness to serve the nation to the best of his ability, the detractors within his own Party needlessly kept nagging, squalling and grouching about his style of leadership.

The general belief back then was that if not for the shenanigans of the conspiratorial plotters that surrounded him, the late Mills would have been very successful in his short spell in government.

Regrettably, however, the late President Mills capitulated, got carried away, and allowed the create loot and share cabals in his government to have their way.

The incompliant cabals began to dip their hands into the national coffers.

The racketeers even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (purported to be around GH600 million), with the sole objective to create, loot and share. Do you remember Woyome’s GH51.2 million scandalous judgement debt payment?

Things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse following President Mills sudden and mysterious death in July 2012. The conspiratorial plotters then had a field day leading to the 2012 general elections.

It is, therefore, worth stressing that President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went berserk in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, many observers harbour a strong view that Ghana’s economic meltdown came about as a result of the unbridled bribery and corruption.

Dearest reader, let us take a critical look of some of the wanton bribery and corruption the NDC government officials alleged to have perpetrated on the good people of Ghana.

• The dubious Embraer 190 aircrafts deal which prompted former President Mills to set up a Committee to investigate the then Vice President Mahama.

• The $300 million bill we incurred on the unsuccessful STS housing deal which was spearheaded by the then Vice President John Dramani Mahama.

• The bizarre GH800 million judgement debt payments.

• The undeserving GH51.2 million judgement debt payment (create, loot and share) to Woyome.

• The questionable $30 million judgement debt payment to Waterville, which the Supreme Court of Ghana ruled as unconstitutional and ordered the NDC government to retrieve, but to no avail.

• The wrongful $325,000 judgement debt payment to ISOFOTON, which the NDC government failed to retrieve despite the Supreme Court’s order.

• The scandal (create, loot and share) at the National Service Secretariat which cost Ghana millions of Ghana Cedis.

• The SADA scandal which deprived the people of the Northern Region millions of Cedis meant for development.

• The SUBA scandal which cost Ghana millions of Cedis meant for the improvement of the economy.

• The GYEEDA corruption scandal which deprived the youth of Ghana millions of Cedis meant for the creation of jobs.

• The amount of $250 million from the Euro bond which was meant for infrastructural development, and yet lodged surreptitiously in an unauthorised bank account.

• Inflated costs of infrastructural projects (the former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda raised concerns previously).

In fact, the list is not exhaustive, but time and space constraints would not allow me to enumerate all of them at this juncture.

Somehow, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks failed to acknowledge that corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.

The general belief back then was that they bought votes with the tax payers’ money. They clung on to power following the controversial election on 7th December 2012. Suffice it to state that their victory came with a huge costs to the state.

Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).

Back then, Haruna Iddrisu, the then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, asserted: “If voted into power, the NDC government would have no excuse to keep Ghanaians in dumsor”.

Ironically, however, the dumsor got worst following the NDC’s victory. Consequently, the discerning Ghanaians rightly fretted thy souls with disappointments and curses, and, demanded answers as to why President Mahama failed to bring the dumsor under control.

However, the dire consequences of the dumsor, President Mahama and NDC government could not fix the dumsor. The dumsor continued to cripple thousands of businesses. The dumsor indeed contributed to Ghana’s economic downslide.

It would also be recalled that the NDC told Ghanaians back in 2008 that the NPP government under President Kufuor had sunk the economy into the mire, so Ghanaians should give the NDC the opportunity to put the economy back on track.

All the available evidence suggests that the NDC government under President Mahama rather managed to worsen the socio-economic standards of living than any other government in the history of Ghanaian politics.

Back then, whenever the good people of Ghana expressed their grievances over the never-ending harsh economic conditions, President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would go berserk: “aren’t we transforming lives by building roads, hospitals, schools, toilets, water facilities and many other social infrastructural projects?”

Most of the projects were not up to the required standards, albeit the projects were often overpriced. The former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda would attest to such assertion. He previously decried over the NDC’s poorly constructed and overpriced projects.

I recall when the concerned Ghanaians in Ashanti Region complained about the poorly constructed roads in Kumasi, President Mahama angrily responded: “You ungrateful lots, you would never even be appreciative if I constructed your roads with gold.”

Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous communicators refused to appreciate that exemplary governance is not all about putting up numerous infrastructural projects.

It is, therefore, worth stressing that excellence governance goes beyond the provision of social infrastructural and amenities.

As a matter of fact, praiseworthy governance also involves continuous improvement of socio-economic standards of living.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the good people of Ghana experienced economic hardships due to former President Mahama and his NDC government’s inability to improve upon Ghana’s economic fortunes.

In sum, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government wilfully collapsed Ghana’s economy. Indeed, they broke their earlier promises, thus the bonds of trust were infringed to the utter chagrin of discerning Ghanaians.

Columnist: K. Badu, UK