Opinions of Thu, 20 Apr 20178
NDC defeat: Who is to blame, the Lame Horse or the Horse Rider?
“Of course as the general who led us into battle, I take ultimate responsibility for our losing the election and so if it will satisfy those people, blame me for the loss.”- President Mahama
Just when NDC supporters were about moving on from the blame game, President Mahama has called on them to redirect the accusation for their defeat towards him.
He didn’t own up when the likes of Kofi Adams, Omane Boamah and everyone else but him received threats and insult from supporters for the defeat. He quietly enjoyed his status as the victim of the incompetence of others. Four months on, he has decided to take the bull by the horn, demonstrate leadership and take the blame.
Too late Mr President
Interestingly, in the same sentence, he made it clear that he took the blame for the loss to satisfy a certain group of people (… so if it will satisfy those people, blame me for the loss.).
Well, if after four months President Mahama is still not convinced that he was largely responsible for the miserable defeat of the NDC, then no one has been able to tell him the truth. I will therefore want to help him come to terms with his crucial role in sending the party to the abyss and leaving it with what look like a bleak future ahead
RECKLESS SPENDING IN 2012 (Last Quarter)and horrendous economic decisions
Between September 2012 to December 2012 when President Mahama took over after the demise of President Mills;the presidency, Ministry of Youth and Sports and NADMO spent beyond their budgetary allocation by a whopping 600 Million Dollars. This excludes other sectors.
The price of the excess spending largely financed by borrowing was the massive economic crises that hit the nation from 2013. To stop the Cedi from falling, a decision was taken to de-dollarize the economy by preventing people who had dollar accounts from withdrawing in the dollars and paying for goods and services with the dollar.
This caused massive panic;people reacted by emptying their dollar accounts and investors started taking a second look at coming to Ghana. Ivory Coast benefitted from this.
The banking sector was brought on its knees by the massive withdrawals and little cash inflows due to the directive and never recovered. President Mills held the economy together and had indicators that compared favourably with that of his Predecessor President Kuffour. In four years, President Mahama, aided by Seth Tekpeh messed all that up.
Hurting Key Sectors
When the Dollar doubled between 2013 and 2014, the price for houses doubled. Instead of providing incentives to protect the real estate sector, government decided to impose more taxes on them. As if that was not enough, President Mahama’s Government crowned it all with extra 5% TAX on houses purchased. When you cripple an industry that employs hundreds of thousands, you are losing hundreds of thousands of vote
To keep oil prices down, government used TAX payers’ money to subsidise GOIL so that they can sell fuel cheaper for the general public for political gain. By so doing,private persons competing with GOIL were forced to sell at a loss just to remain competitive.
Today, most of the Private oil companies are in debt even after cutting down on countless jobs. They are still struggling to pay the loans taken from the banks. When countless jobs are cut, the president in power loses countless votes.
The Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors wrote countless letters to warn government to no avail.
All he did in four years was to borrow and build. He did little to dispel the accusation that project prices were inflated. When I construct my borehole at 8 thousand Ghana Cedis and it gets to my notice that the government of the day has built same borehole at 60 Thousand Ghana Cedis through sole-sourcing, I need not be told that all is not well.
I cannot mention a single effective life changing policy that was introduced by the government that is supposed to be for the downtrodden and has made real impact.The only response to the struggling economy was to impose more TAXES on the people of Ghana and borrow indiscriminately.
I feel ashamed to talk about this but I have to. The president of my country received a FORD GIFT from a Businessman in Burkina Faso and started giving him Millions of Dollars’ worth of contracts through sole sourcing and expected people to vote for him for four more years?
CHRAJ may have cleared him but it didn’t change the verdict of the court of public opinion. In a serious country built on the principle of the rule of law, President Mahama would have been impeached way before elections 2016. He broke his own codes of ethics and breached the ethical standards of the office of the president. He survived because he was the man in charge. What he lost sight of is that government does not control the thumbs of Ghanaians
That was the lowest moment of your reign. I think you realise it by now? You acted against the advice of key individuals of your party, civil society organisations and showed us all that you are in power.
You used the very power we gave you to undermine a critical institution like the judiciary in a critical moment. The signal you sent to your supporters was that power was behind them without taking into consideration how it could have affected the security of the nation and encouraged lawlessness. You did that to energise your base: the base doesn’t win elections in Ghana, swing voters win elections. Swing voters vote for mother Ghana: party faithfuls place party interest first.
Under your watch, 116 Busses were branded at 3.6 Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Thousand and Forty Four Ghana Cedis (3,649,044). To break it down, each bus was branded at 31 Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty Seven Cedis (31,457.00). To be fair to you, after public bushing, the deal was reviewed but the harm hard already been caused.
The NDC is at risk of losing grip of the 3 Northern Regions because of how The Savannah Accelerated Authority was mismanaged under your watch.
I can go on to name countless sectors that poor government decisions crippled the private business man.
At a point, many companies stopped submitting tender for contracts from state institutions because after wasting money and time, the best bid wouldn’t win if it is not connected to the powers that be.
There are instances where adjudged successful tenders were strangely replaced because someone somewhere with power called to have another company take the job.
President Mahama’s government is one of the most anti private sector government we have seen in a long time and I call write a hundred paged books about countless issues I am privy to.
In view of the above:
Taking responsibility for the defeat after four months when others have already been crucified, vilified and castigated isn’t display of magnanimity or leadership. You picked your time perfectly: when the dust is about settling. Ideally, you should have done this on the day Mrs Osei declared the result. Interestingly, you still don’t believe you are responsible for the defeat. You apologised to silence ‘those accusing you and eventually blamed the lame horse.’ SAD!
I know this apology is calculated, President Mahama is considering contesting on the ticket of NDC again. . The painful truth is that as things stand now, not even President Rawlings can beat JM in NDC Primaries at the moment. However, that will hurt the party to the core if it happens because Ghanaians won’t buy it. Majority of the party die hards still think President Mahama did great and remains their only hope of victory. The truth is that that majority have been blinded by their party loyalty and can’t see so glaring a truth that President Mahama left NDC worse than he took it and much worse than it has ever been since 1992.
Interestingly, those leading the charge are his appointees. Not surprising though: majority of the appointees of President Mahama know that their political destiny rests in the political fortunes of President Mahama. They are the people pressuring the President to contest again and are giving him the very false hope they gave him leading up to the December Polls
Who else will take Stan Dogbe back to the Flagstaff House?
“If you ride a lame horse into a race and you lose the race, your priority must be to cure the lameness of the horse.” President Mahama again
When you are given a healthy horse for a race, with an unlimited access to resources to keep the horse healthy and in good shape to win the race: but decide to buy the best cloth and cologne for the horse but fail to feed the horse and eventually fail to win the race, who is to blame? The lame horse or the horse rider?
Giant Billboards and NDC flag on every single tree and light pole from 37 to Mallam Junction doesn’t win elections (I personally did this count). NDC learnt nothing from the defeat of NPP in 2008.
You inherited a party that was winning in 8 out of the 10 regions in Ghana. You left a part that won only four regions, lost every swing Region and declined in every single traditional stronghold.
To have full grip of the party, you and your friends at the presidency resourced people to defeat the existing national executives and Members of Parliament whose hard work brought the party to power and retained power for the party in 2012 so that you have your own men in place.
No wonder you were quick to add that the Chairman of the party is now the leader of the party. Though that is what the Constitution of the party says, you referred to it to deal with the notion that the Rawlingses have their baby back. At least one of your boys is in charge of the party- smart move.
Through you and your operatives, key Members of the party lost their parliamentary seats because you and your brother and others you helped to kiss their poverty goodbye sponsored people against them. Benard Mornah was campaigning with your image at Nadowli-Kaleo constituency, telling people that you were behind him and resourced him to beat one of Ghana’s all-time best MP- Alban Bagbin. You did little to dispel this rumour.
Thanks to this, the NPP have 68 more seats in Parliament than the NDC. The NDC moved from 148 Majority Seats in Parliament to 104 Minority seats because in the name of the presidency, many competent MPs lost their seats to greenhorns who only made it in politics when you came to power.
When you come to power, form a government and decide to put Alban Bagbin, Kletus Avoka and ET Mensah to the periphery by assigning them to the so called 3 wise men portfolio when in reality you had no intention of doing a thing through them: who did you expect to help you manage Ghana? Elvis Afriyie Ankrah?
You needed Omane Boamah, Stan Dugbe, Okudjeto Ablakwa, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah than key experienced hands in your government and yet expected Ghanaians to take you serious?
Just take a closer look at the government Nana Akufo-Addo has formed, I concede, the numbers are outrageous but the fact remains that majority of the experienced hands in the NPP have been given a role to play.
It is never true that the NDC don’t have the men, it is never true that the best brains in Ghana are in the NPP: the problem is that whereas as the NPP work with their very best when in power, the NDC over the past 8 years decided to make do with largely untested young men.
This is why in the end, it was easy for Ghanaians to accept that your government was incompetent and not up to the task because you side-lined proven key members who could have straightened you as a President and made things better for us as a people.
Your wife the 1st Lady had more resource for campaign than your Veep and the General Secretary of the Party. Dove for Mahama and all those Fan Fair Groups that only sang your praise had more resources than Party Executives. Your entire campaign was one big Fan Fair that focussed more on what the opposition could not do and less on what you have done. It was all about showmanship, attacks on the opposition and nothing more
By keeping your Vice in the periphery, you went to the race with little addition from the man next to you. The vice President is supposed to add some vote, you picked him as an economic brain to not only appeal to Central Region but the business community but the reality is that he had little say in key economic decisions taken in your government.
In the end, he could not cancel out Bawuamia and that made the difference. If you had positioned Amissah-Arthur well to appeal to the Business Community, you’d have won more. The truth is that the result would have been much worse if the then Chief of Staff, Hon Julius Debrah had not closed his office to join the campaign. That move saved the NDC from further embarrassment.
The problem was never with the appointment of youth as Ministers, it was with the lack of guidance for the youth that caused your downfall.
Okudjeto Ablakwa for instance is a fine gentleman I am proud of and on record to have said that of all the youth given the opportunity, he showed much improvement during your time in office. However, in all fairness, unless I am missing something, it was not a smart idea to put him in charge of Tertiary Education.
That is no no no and no. You know the pedigree of people he’d have to deal with, even if he is the most competent person, he’d not command their respect and get their utmost corporation. How appalling it will be for Deans of Faculties to stand up to acknowledge the arrival of Okudzeto Ablakwa. No disrespect, just being real here. All these must be factored into appointments. You replicated this mistake in most of your appointments
During the campaign, whenever you were called to speak, you were introduced as the gentleman who woke up one day as the Vice President of Ghana and ended the day as the President of Ghana. It was an insensitive introduction that was repeated along the length and breadth of the country. Even at Cape Coast, where the man whose death paved way for you to be president hails from, this same intro was used to welcome you to the podium. Anytime I heard this introduction, I felt that in deed, the nation was in the wrong hands. A leader should be sensitive to little things and this is not a little thing.
President Mahama missed the opportunity to even make the NDC stronger. With the amount of money that came into the country through loans, there’s no way this government would have lost the election if the money was used and so with care. Unfortunately, as much as we got though loans, we lost a chunk through bad deals and highly expensive contracts. I personally calculated the cost of one footbridge and it was equal to the cost of 70 semidetached 2 bedroom Estate Houses at Koans Estate. 1 footbridge equal 70 Semidetached Estate Building; I am not saying interchange, I mean footbridge.
We have four of these Footbridges in Ghana: One at Shiahie on the Legon Madina Road, Tetteh Quarshie, Mallam Market and another at KNUST Junction in Kumasi. The Four footbridges came at the cost of 7.8 Million Euros. Convert it to Cedis and divide by four: that is the cost of one footbridge- 8.1 Million Ghana Cedis. This is how we used the 7.8 Million Euro Loan secured from the Government of Austria.
Most of the good things done by President Mahama got marred by the cost they came and ensured that he got little credit in return. Anytime I walk on one of the four footbridges (which I did this morning) I get very angry because I know I am walking on 70 Estate houses to cross a 50 meter road.
President Mahama could have gone down as one of the best Ghana has ever had but missed the opportunity despite working with more resources than any government in the history of Ghana.
These are some of the things that made the party built on the principles of probity and accountability leave power with so tight a tag of corruption tied firmly around its neck
The NDC needs massive rebranding and a new face that cannot be directly linked with the failings and mistakes of the Mahama Administration to lead the party. The party is losing grounds in Academia and the Business Community; it is losing its key constituency which is rural Ghana. NDC lost in virtually every tertiary institution in Ghana and that is a huge statement and needs addressing. Gone were the days when people had no clue of the issues; today, thanks to the power of the media, even the daftest of people understand the relevant issues of governance.
Our literacy rate is increasing by the day. It is time for the party to reinvent itself, appeal to the youth, elitists and inspire confidence in the business community. This can only be possible with a new face whose competence is never in doubt and whose integrity isn’t questionable.
When it comes to borrowing and building, I can serve this nation better because I will do it cheaper. Voters want policies that they feel will directly improve their living standard and will go with any candidate who comes across the key to this aspiration and appeals to people as credible
A greater majority of the Business community will never trust an NDC led by President Mahama regardless of how poor the NPP performs. As a matter of fact, the party should not plan in anticipation of the NPP failing, the party must present itself in such way that even if the NPP are successful, Voters will deem the NDC the best option to move the nation to the next level.
The politics of the party in power failing to pave way for the opposition should be a thing of the past: it is unpatriotic and inspires opposition to be negative and try to undermine the government of the day. NPP did same and got away with it but it doesn’t mean a similar approach will wash if adopted by the NDC.
Even when the government of the day is successful, the opposition must present a stronger proposal to propel the nation to the next level
To President Mahama: This is a one sided article that seeks to point out that you were key to the defeat of the NDC. Obviously, you did a lot of great things that will live with me and the people of Ghana for a long time but this is the wrong article to capture that. The truth however remains that you did more to get NDC into opposition than to be retained. I wrote this article because you still think you are not to blame for the defeat of the party. Clearly you are.
NDC is never a lame horse;it was a strong active horse that was entrusted in the hands of a horse rider who didn’t use it well. The healing must therefore begin with changing the horse rider.
With the right rider, the lame horse will be healed and fly. Who wants to see Stan Dogbe back at the Flagstaff House? Definitely not me
Isaac Kyei Andoh