A former District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Kassena-Nankana West, Thomas Dalu, has faulted the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a breeder of avoidable pregnancies among students and promised the NDC will amend the wrongs associated with the implementation if voted into power at the upcoming general elections.
Dalu made this promise in an interview with newsmen after he filed his nomination forms on Thursday to contest as the parliamentary candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the Chiana-Paga Constituency on December 7, 2020.
“We know what has happened in the past three, four years. Free education is very important for us particularly because we have a lot of poor people. But when you give free education, which does not translate into better academic [performance], it doesn’t help. Today, we have lots of our SHS [students] sitting in the house. The girls are just getting pregnant here and there".
“Our first priority as a party is to make sure we correct this anomaly. Of course when I was there (as a DCE), we had agreed that we were going to [support] girls who were going to read medicines. I can remember we had two of them. Today, there is free education. We are going to maintain it but improve upon it. We will correct the educational system to ensure that if you have free education, it’s actually educating you instead of giving you half-baked education. If you sit in the house for several months and go back to school, what have you learned?” stated parliamentary candidate.
Addressing NDC supporters earlier on the premises of the party office at Paga, Dalu assured the gathering that the NDC would return to power this year. He, however, underscored the need for members of the party to work hard in order to meet the targets the party leadership had spelt out for the December polls and be united.
“Let’s go and start the campaign. Let’s go and work hard. We should not assume that we are winning [and for that matter] will not work. Please, let’s work hard in our various branches,” he urged the crowd.
Constituency Chairman appeals for calm as NDC, NPP big events clash
The NDC’s filing of nomination forms happened together with a visit by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the Chiana-Paga Constituency as part of a two-day tour of the Upper East Region.
The NDC supporters and their counterparts in the NPP crossed paths around the NDC’s office on the Navrongo-Paga Highway whilst the former was returning from the office of the Electoral Commission (where Dalu had filed his nomination forms) and the latter was lining up a portion of the highway to receive the President into the border capital, Paga.
Each side jabbed the other with its campaign slogan as loud speakers blared with danceable election songs in the background. The two parties also made opposing gestures at each other— the NDC supporters turning their forefingers anticlockwise to mean it was time to change the government and the NPP sympathisers flaunting four fingers (excluding the thumbs) in the air to mean the sitting President deserved another four years in office.
In the middle of the ‘peaceful chaos’, a figure that appeared like Dalu’s main opponent, Robert Aloo from the NPP, even passed through the mixed crowd, showing himself in a smock from the roof of a car and threw some money notes and campaign flyers once at the crowd. Although no words of threats could be heard from either side, it was difficult for the NDC’s Constituency Chairman, James Kojo Kupanamo, to rest assured in hopes that all would be well without a sudden spark of misunderstanding that could turn worse— and mar a day that had begun well from the crack of dawn.
Standing out in a cotton-white smock, the chairman told the NDC supporters from the cargo-bed of a pickup, where he stood with Dalu and some other big shots, to let peace have the last word.
“Today, the President and the NPP have a function in town. We are not supposed to interrupt that function. We had planned earlier to file our nomination papers today. We never knew they were going to have a function. That is why we are encouraging all of you, when you move from this place, nobody should be in town in our NDC paraphernalia.
“You can be in town in your mufti. Don’t go round in NDC colours to disrupt their programme. Today is their day. We will have our day in Paga here when we will officially unveil our parliamentary candidate. I’m assuring you that come December 7, John Dramani Mahama is winning the national elections,” Kupanamo told the jubilating crowd.
The NDC’s Constituency Campaign Manager, Alamzy Billa Nikyema, placed emphasis on unity when he took his turn to address the supporters.
“We need to be very united. I have always said this. Our party is not a perfect party; we accept it. We are not a perfect people; we accept it. But we are being called for a perfect mission. I am hundred percent behind Mr Dalu. If Mr Dalu fails today, then Alamzy has failed. Don’t say because Alamzy didn’t get the nod, you are going to vote skirt-and-blouse. If you do that, you are not doing me good. We beg, and we still beg, let’s be united,” the Campaign Manager stressed as the gathering cheered.