Assembly members in the Greater Accra Region have cast doubts on former President John Dramani Mahama’s promise to pay them salaries should he win the 7 December 2020 polls, saying he made a similar promise in the lead-up to 2012 and 2016 elections but never fulfilled it after getting into office.
Mr Mahama, who is the presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), repeated the promise a few months ago when he met the Ghana Association of Assembly Members (GAAM) at his office in Accra in August 2020.
Mr Mahama, at the meeting, assured the assembly members that the party will work closely with them to deepen their role in governance should it win the December polls.
Mr Mahama said as the first point of contact for the resolution of many issues in electoral areas, assembly members require support from the government to enable them to effectively discharge their enormous responsibilities.
The former president observed that not only do assembly members attend to the day-to-day needs of the people, but also serve as community development agents.
Mr Mahama also pledged to design training programmes to improve the capacity of assembly members.
However, the Greater Accra Association of Assembly Members, in a meeting with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, 10 November 2020, said its members believe that the pledge to pay Assembly members a monthly salary can only be fulfilled by a Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government.
Stephen Kwasi Acquah, a spokesperson for the association, indicated during the association’s courtesy call on the president, that the promise to pay salaries to Assembly members is a call in the right direction, and is welcome by all members.
“However, in the 2012 and 2016 manifestoes of John Mahama and his NDC, the candidate, who is today telling us he will pay us if he wins the 2020 election, the pledge to pay Assembly members was made in those manifestoes,” the spokesperson said.
He continued, “He [John Mahama] reneged on the pledge he made to pay us when we voted for him in 2012, and that is why we did not vote for him again in 2016, even though he had repeated that pledge.”
Mr Stephen Kwasi Acquah, on behalf of the Greater Accra Association, stated that “if there’s someone who we believe can pay Assembly members on a monthly basis, then it has to be Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
Outlining the policies implemented by the Akufo-Addo Government from 2017 to date, the spokesperson of the association indicated that the Free SHS, 1-District-1-Factory, the Nation Builders Corps, and the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs have proven to be extremely beneficial for them and the constituents they represented.
“Prior to the inception of Free SHS, we would always wake up to knocks on our doors by parents who could not afford to take their wards to school. The implementation of Free SHS has lifted the burden on us. Because of NABCO, no one harasses us for jobs anymore,” he added.
Thanking the President for making time to meet with them, Stephen Kwasi Acquah stressed that “we believe that if we support you, and ensure that you get four more years, our circumstances, as Assembly Members, will be better off under your Government.”
For his part, President Akufo-Addo told the members of the association that: “I like very much the commitment that has been made” toward ensuring that there would be no return to power of the NDC.
“The atmosphere in the country is good for us. The Ghanaian people are very happy with the work that has been done for them over the course of my first term in office, so help me take the message to every nook and cranny of the country. We cannot afford any complacency. The election is not won until the last vote has been counted, and we have to make sure that everyone who has registered comes out to vote,” President Akufo-Addo added.