Opinions Sat, 27 Jul 2013
Ask Margaret Jackson
There is this NPP guy who is buzzing the airwaves like the housefly, “Wansema” and making some stupid remarks about the late President John Evans Atta Mills, describing him as weak, ineffective and indecisive.
Kwame Wansema Duncan, the so-called Central Regional Secretary of the NPP, is part of the clique who accepts the results of something only if it goes their way, therefore, this guy who does not know his left from his right has been blabbing on the airwaves just saying any stupid thing that jumps from his stomach.
Wansema Duncan, who suddenly popped up during the on-going Supreme Court petition case and has been making serious accusations without any facts, perhaps is doing that with the view of catching the attention of the twice defeated flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Your guess is as good as mine on why Wansema has embarked on this terrible mission.
I have observed the NPP folks for many years and they have one tune that they sing everywhere and at all times. If something is not initiated by them, it is not good enough. If something is not accomplished by them, it stinks to the highest heaven. If they are not in power, nothing good can come from Ghana. If they don’t say it, don’t believe anyone. If money is not in their pockets in abundance, then everybody in Ghana is suffering. If they don’t win an election, then it is rigged.
The above is the apt description of the NPP folks who have sought to create the impression that President Mills did nothing from the time he was sworn into office till he passed on a year ago.
Wansema Duncan has been chilling at the airwaves not knowing anything about what goes on in the country. Perhaps, if Wansema Duncan had taken the pains to do a little sampling he would have known that President Mills could be reckoned as the only President after President Nkrumah to have imprints in every district that was under his watch during his presidency.
The NPP government led by Kufuor set up the Capitation Grant which started in the 2005/2006 academic year. This is a beautiful programme. Under the scheme every school pupil was to be given GH¢3 each year they enrolled. But when President Mills saw something good in the Capitation Grant he increased it by 50%.
The Mills government distributed more than 50 million free exercise books to Ghanaian school children. In addition, the NDC government under his watch doled out 4 million school uniforms to needy pupils nationwide. This meant that out of the basic school population of about 5.2 million, the NDC government supplied free school uniforms to 4 out of every 5 children.
Teachers were not left out, as their salaries saw some considerable improvement to motivate them in teaching the kids. The NDC government also launched the Basic School Computerization Program whereby more than 60,000 computers were given to school children across the country to boost practical ICT education.
At the time when President Mills was sworn into office in 2009, there was a huge chorus of disapproval and hullabaloo concerning the 4,320 schools under trees throughout the country. President Kufuor saw the problem but he did nothing before he left office. President Mills promised to do something about it, and true to his word more than 3,000 schools under trees have been replaced with modern six unit classroom blocks, whilst there are hundreds more which are at various stages of completion.
President Mills’ imprint is also seen in the Senior High Schools, as his government completed over 400 classroom blocks and dormitories to ease the severe overcrowding which resulted from the extension of the SHS from 3 to 4 years by the Kufuor administration. President Mills also imported school buses which were distributed to the SHS in the country.
In 2009, at the time the NDC took power, the country’s total electricity generation capacity was around 1,800 megawatts. But three years of President Mills’ government saw the installation of additional 376 megawatts which represents 21%, to the country’s total generation capacity.
The expansion of the Takoradi International Company, the near completion of the Bui project, the development of the Kpone Thermal Power Plant and the completion of the Tema Osono Power Project this year would help the country to reach about 3,300 megawatts, which would boost the country’s electricity generation to over 80% increase of what the NDC came to meet.
Today, there are over 2,000 communities that have benefited from the rural electrification project since the NDC government came to power. Will you in all honesty say that President Mills slept and did nothing?
President Kufuor sneaked in the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) in the wee hours before he left office without taking into consideration how the government was going to get the money to implement it. Today, over 90% of public service employees have been migrated on the SSSS, with the process expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The school feeding programme was initiated by the NPP and at the time they left office the programme covered just over 600,000 pupils. President Mills expanded it cover over 1.5 million school children. But the most beautiful thing about the program is that Ghana no longer goes a begging to fund the programme. The NDC government has found internal resources to fully fund the programme.
When President Mills assumed office, his government realized that most of the cocoa trees have outlived their usefulness. As a result, the Mills government embarked on a 6-year re-planting of cocoa trees nationwide to rehabilitate old cocoa farms in the country. The programme involves the production of elite cocoa hybrid seedlings for free distribution to farmers for the replanting exercise. One of the main objectives of the programme is to provide employment opportunities for the youth in the cocoa growing areas during the period of the replanting and also assist them to acquire the technical skills in cocoa production.
Ghana for the first time in its history produced over one million tonnes of cocoa in 2011 during the watch of President Mills. This was largely due to the distribution of fertilizers to farmers in 2010 and the payment of 80% of the world market price of cocoa to farmers to dissuade them from smuggling cocoa to other countries to sell.
We are all living witnesses when the Kufuor’s government borrowed uncontrollably from the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) to fund the refinery of crude oil by the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). At the time when Kufuor was leaving office, TOR owed the GCB over GH 848 million due to the accrual of interest on the debt, which forced the GCB to stop funding TOR’s operations. The situation was dire because it almost collapsed GCB which is the largest bank in the country. But when President Mills assumed power he took two years to pay off the debt owed to GCB, which has since boosted the operations of the bank.
The Metro Mass Transit (MMT) was also introduced by President Kufuor, but unfortunately, when Kufuor was leaving office, the MMT owed a huge sum of money for fuel bought on credit whilst most of the buses imported from China, which had a four-year road worthiness had broken down. But President Mills came in and introduced some pragmatic measures which have restructured the MMT. President Mills commissioned 150 vehicles, whilst MMT through its own internal resources also placed an order for 150 Tata Ashok Buses, with 50 of them commissioned before the demise of President Mills.
I can also highlight a little bit on other successes chalked by President Mills. He increased the minimum wage before he died. To promote teaching and electronic learning, President Mills introduced a special programme whereby most of the 65,186 teachers in public junior high schools benefited from the supply of laptops, which is a first in this country. National Service Personnel also got a bump in their allowances by 20 per cent.
Ghanaians have not forgotten how the smuggling of pre-mix fuel created so much chaotic panoramas in the country. Yet it took President Mills to change the colour of the pre-mix fuel to curtail the smuggling tendencies. Today, we hardly hear about the smuggling of pre-mix fuel.
Another pragmatic thing which President Mills did involves the annual Hajj. Just look at how this annual trip has been streamlined by the NDC government to ensure the smooth pilgrimage to Mecca by our Muslim brothers and sisters.
More than 6,000 assembly members throughout the country were presented with motorbikes to facilitate the decentralization programme. With the re-equip of the Police Service, most armed robbers who roamed the big cities notably Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi to terrorize citizens have either been eliminated or arrested. I can even talk about improvement in the health sector, road sector, the fire department and many more. I will highlight on the close to 200 ambulances imported by President Mills to help in the health delivery system.
The Eastern corridor, the completion of the George Bush Highway, the Madina Adenta road, the Sofo Line road project, the Awoshie road, the Eastern Corridor are all there for the good people of Ghana to draw their conclusions.
I can go on and on. But if all these achievements by President Mills qualify him as weak, ineffective and indecisive, in the eyes of Wansema Duncan and his NPP folks, then I have nothing else to say. Its posterity that judges people, not Wansema Duncan!
Columnist: Jackson, Margaret