The First Vice Chairperson of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Hajia Hamdatu Ibrahim, has said despite the fair performance of the government since the beginning of its term, it had allowed its achievements to be overshadowed by self-generated controversies.“The flagship programmes they have brought are laudable but instead of concentrating on them, they bring up issues that stir up controversy and people then tend to lose sight of the positives they have achieved,” she stressed.
A case in hand, she said, were the holidays the government was introducing such as the Constitutional Day and the Founders’ Day, which had overshadowed most of the things that the government had been doing.
Hajia Hamdatu said this when she spoke to the Daily Graphic on the CPP’s assessment of the economy after two years of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) being in power under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In her view, “Whatever social interventions that the NPP has brought are good but they are also doing certain things that are overshadowing the good things that they are doing. I think, let’s wait and see what will happen in 2019.”
She said, “People are crying about unemployment, and for anyone who does not understand what is happening in the banking sector, they will tend to blame the government.”
Blaming government communicators
Hajia Hamdatu blames government communicators, saying “they are yet to really communicate to Ghanaians about what is happening because for the lay person, they are rather taking people’s jobs and are rather creating unemployment and not sanitising the banking sector, so they have to look at that”.
Her main contention was that even though the NPP government had performed fairly well in its two years in office, its communicators had to sharpen their communication skills so that they would tell the people of the country what they were doing.
Throwing more light on the government’s move on the banking sector, she opined that the alternative to the outcome of what the government had done with the banking sector would have been suicidal for even the past cases of DKM and God is Love to have paled out, in comparison with what might have happened if things had gone unchecked.
She had some questions: “How can you have a banking licence even before you are able to meet the banking requirements? Take a look at the Heritage Bank, they had the licence, prior, but it was in 2017 that they put in the GH¢15 million and even that, the source of that money was not disclosed. Is it money laundering which the laws of our country frown on?”
Asked to touch on some policies and programmes of the government, she said the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy was not started by the NPP and that she enjoyed the free SHS because she was born and bred in Bolgatanga, in the north, a part of the country that had experienced free SHS from the days of the country’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Her position on the nationwide implementation of the policy by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is that basically, the implementation had some problems, but there is no real programme that can be implemented without any teething problems.
Two other areas that she touched on were the road and fees regime in the tertiary institutions, saying: “I think they should also look at the road sector very well if we really want to build the economy; and also look at the fees that are being charged at the tertiary institutions. Not many people are able to pay the high fees being charged.”
The way forward
In spelling out the way forward, Hajia Hamdatu asked the government to walk its talk, stressing that: “I am yet to see how many factories have been built with regard to the One-district, One-factory (1D1F) and the challenges with the one million dollars per constituency promise.”
Recounting the story of the 1D1F, she said, “First, they said the authorities had not yet been set up but with their establishment, we should, in 2019, see those authorities working.”
“I want every government to succeed because if you want to take over from a government, you do not take over from a government that is wretched because you will come and start from ground zero, which should not be the case,” she said.
She noted that anytime she stated such a position, she was accused of supporting the government in power but that was not so. Rather her conviction was that if a government in power did what was right, it ought to be stated much in the same way when it went wrong.
“Being in opposition should not mean needless criticisms that fly in the face of plausible realities,” she pointed out.
The interest of Ghana first
At the end of the day, Hajia Hamdatu said, “We are all Ghanaians and there is no government of the NPP, CPP or any other but all that we want is the growth, development and betterment of Ghana.”
She also praised the government for the effort that had been invested into bringing working peace to the Dagbon area that had seen ethnic crisis for some decades now.
Hajia Hamdatu also appealed to the government that in the interest of national peace, harmony and development devoid of any partisan colouration, it should take a second look at the decision to make changes to the country’s public holidays that would amount to a distortion of the history of the country.
Such a move, she said, would be in the government’s own interest since the public backlash regarding those changes were largely prominent.