The National Youth Wing of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has asked Ghanaians to disregard former President John Mahama’s statement that he had no intention to cancel the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS).
Mr Mahama is also the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) flag bearer for the 2020 general election.
According to the party’s youth wing, Mr Mahama’s “sudden U-turn on free SHS shows that he cannot be trusted one bit.”
“Former President Mahama has been heard countless times on various platforms describing the implementation of the free SHS by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as a wrong move. He even said it would collapse Ghana’s economy if it is implemented, and now he comes back to say the programme has come to stay.
How do you trust such a person?” the National Youth Organiser of NPP, Mr Henry Nana Boakye, asked at the second edition of its ‘Youth Must Know’ series in Accra yesterday.
At the opening of the 27th Annual Presidential delegates congress of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students in Kumasi last week Former President Mahama said he would not cancel the free SHS policy on his return to power.
According to Mr Mahama, "free SHS has come to stay."
Mr Mahama said if he should come back into office, he would hold stakeholders meeting in his first three months to remove all the bottlenecks associated with the current free SHS policy.
"Indeed, no government, either present or in the future, can reverse the policy because it is captured in our 1992 Constitution," former President Mahama said.
Reacting to the statement, Nana Boakye, popularly known as Nana B, said Mr Mahama’s statement on free SHS “is deceptive”.
Giving his reasons, he said Mr Mahama, prior to election 2012, sponsored 46 radio adverts to discredit the NPP after the party had come out with its intention to implement a free SHS programme.
Additionally, he said Mr Mahama had been heard on various platforms stating that the implementation of the free SHS would collapse Ghana and made many attempts to convince Ghanaians to ignore the NPP’s free SHS proposal.
“Now this same person is seen and heard throwing support for the very same programme he condemned earlier. We believe this is an attempt by the NDC to come back to power and after they do, they will cancel the programme,” Nana Boakye said.
He said apart from Mr Mahama, the entire NDC “do not believe in free SHS because many of the national executive members also rejected and still reject the free SHS programme”.
Nana Boakye said the youth wing of the NPP was convinced that Mr Mahama was compelled to come out to support the free SHS programme and not because he personally believed in its implementation.
“The entire NDC cannot be trusted because if they really believed in free SHS programme, the party would have implemented it in the 16 years they were in power but just less than year in his government, President Akufo-Addo implemented it,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo’s commitment
Nana Boakye said the President’s commitment to enhance the country’s educational system through the implementation of the free SHS programme could not be doubted considering the level of investment made into it.
“Apart from new classroom blocks being constructed, more teachers are being trained, teaching materials such as test books are being provided for all schools. A lot is being done under President Akufo-Addo,” he said.
Nana Boakye, therefore, called on Ghana to stay focused and continue to throw their weight and support behind President Akufo-Addo and the NPP “for a transformed educational system and better economy”.