10.02.2003 Feature Article

President Kuffour Must Live Up To Expectations

President Kuffour Must Live Up To Expectations
10.02.2003 LISTEN

President Kuffour was ushered into office two years ago amidst a lot of fanfare and great expectations from Ghanaians. Expectations from Ghanaians were great because, the past NDC government was seen as a failure in the eyes of many Ghanaians. Therefore, majority of Ghanaians wholeheartedly gave their unflinching support and blessings to President Kuffour and his NPP government. Having been in the political wilderness for a very long time, Ghanaians thought the NPP government used that long period to study the perennial economic and social problems confronting the country. Therefore, the NPP government was viewed as coming into power with the magic wand to turn things around. But two years into his administration, Mr. Kuffour seems to be lost in the political tracks as the social and economic problems in Ghana have suddenly overwhelmed him. He seems to have no clues as to what is happening in Ghana. Yet Mr. Kuffour’s political cronies who are benefiting big time continues to vouch for him that he has not been in office for a long time. Yes, Kuffour was given a four-year mandate so two years may seem to be a relatively short time. But the fact remains that 04 is just around the corner and Ghanaians have not seen any remarkable performance from the gentle giant. Talking about the mounting problems confronting Kuffour’s government brings to mind the home run increase of petroleum products in Ghana recently. The NPP government proved to me that they are very insensitive to the plight of the Ghanaians and that they did not come to lift the ordinary man on the street but to line their pockets. Ghanaians are noted for celebrating Christmas big time. It is an occasion when every Ghanaian big or small, rich or poor try their best to celebrate it in a grand style. Therefore, if you happen to be outside Ghana during the Christmas holidays you would find yourself commenting about the situation and hectic last minute shopping in Accra on Christmas Eve. Yes, Ghanaians love Christmas and make big issue of it. It is therefore, a common norm that immediately after Christmas many Ghanaians especially blue-collar workers find themselves virtually broke. Life at the ministries come to a halt. It is an occasion that is felt by majority of Ghanaians except the few who are able to put bread on their tables at all times. This is the time when everybody prays for the January month to move faster for the next paycheck. This was the situation that Ghanaians found themselves in when suddenly out of the blue moon President Kuffour unleashed his venom on Ghanaians. The president came out with his New Year’s gift for all Ghanaians. And the gift was the sky rocket increase in petroleum products. One should note that the increase came when the 2003 budget has not yet been presented to parliament for approval. And it even happened when parliament was not in session. Many Ghanaians felt they were day dreaming. Their woes for the New Year have been worsened and their plans and hopes shattered. But instead of the NPP government finding a better explanation for the high petroleum increase, the Energy Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah gave a lame excuse that his ministry has recently uncovered a $200 million loan contracted by the past NDC government hence the need for the increase. This is where I had expected Kuffour to use his mandate to do something but not to ask former NDC appointees to proceed on leave. He should have fired Kan- Dapaah. For two years since he has been the sector minister, I found it very strange that Kan-Dapaah, a qualified Chartered Accountant was not able to detect that so-called loan until towards the end of December last year. Some chartered accountant in energy clothing. Too much dust have been thrown into the eyes of Ghanaians for long. I remember that when this administration took office, they made a whole lot of noise that the NDC government left a huge debt at TOR. Therefore, the only way the government can repay that debt was to increase the price of petrol. Ghanaians bought into these lies and suddenly the prices of petroleum products were increased about 60%. Ghanaians felt like: If these increases will make the debt at TOR go away why don’t we sacrifice. It is sad to say that two years after that massive increase, that so-called debt left by the past NDC government is still not paid and has even increased from 2.8 trillion to 3.4 trillion. Therefore, the big question is “What happened to the money that was supposed to have paid the TOR debt.” President Kuffour’s time is running out. He would be facing the next elections less than two years from now. Like a basketball game the time is ticking and Kuffour therefore needs to score vital points to catch up. Even though the opposition is highly disorganized, President Kuffour is not going to have a walkover in 04. The NPP is always quick to count among their achievements as having brought stability and cut inflation. To the ordinary man on the street this big talk is garbage. The ordinary man on the street will only feel the impact of the reduced inflation if he is able to buy something with the money in his pocket. The creation of jobs that Kuffour trumpeted after assuming office is not mentioned again. Workers who supported him from the onset are now feeling the pinch of his misguided economic policies. The president does not have the guts to discipline any minister. There has been several rumors of cabinet reshuffle. Any time the information is leaked, Kuffour recoil into his shelve. Like I said earlier on time is ticking for the president. He is not going to have things easy in 04. Anybody who tells him he will win easily is deceiving him. Therefore he must live up to expectations.

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