Ever since Ghana gained her independence from the British, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah then became the first president of Ghana. He ruled for only six years from 1960 to 1966 and he was overthrown in a military coup. This trend of coups continued and a democratic government after the other was overthrown. The revolutionary intervention of Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings became the mother of all coups. He allowed general elections and Dr Hilla Limann won. After two years of democratic rule Rawlings stepped in again and overthrew the democratically elected president.
Rawlings ripped off his military accoutrements and turned a full politician. His brain-child, the National Democratic Congress, won him two successive terms as the first president of the 4th Republic. His term of office was a very turbulent one. During his rule Ghana was under serious famine. Food was scarce and expensive. Many people became lean due to hunger. Such leanness created a deep circle around the neck area and this phenomenon became known as "Rawlings chain”. What angered many Ghanaians was that despite the hardship and excessive borrowings from IMF and international banks, Mrs Rawlings grabbed three factories that were built by Nkrumah for almost free. It became obvious that the Ghanaian electorate would not give another chance to the NDC party.
The NDC party could not go beyond eight years due to what people believed was a total mismanagement of the economy. The NPP took over from the NDC in 2001. Kufuor took over power from Rawlings who has messed up the economy. Kufuor in his own wisdom and political strategy joined Ghana to the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC). Once you accept to join the group, you have admitted that you are saddled with loans borrowed by previous governments, and it becomes difficult to tackle development and pay the loans at the same time. The good news is that all the loans that hung on Ghana like the sword of Damocles were quashed. To push Ghana's economy after going through HIPC, a whooping amount was donated to Ghana. Ruling Ghana became a serious business for president Kufuor. He was able to bring down inflation and many investors, especially Ghanaians living abroad returned, in their numbers to invest. Apart from low cost housing which he spread throughout Ghana, he won the hearts of Ghanaians when he launched the National Health Insurance Scheme and topped it all by taking out four zeros from the Ghanaian currency. 1,000,000 cedis became 100 new Ghana cedis. One could then return to the use of purse instead of loading money in plastic bags.
Even before his term in office came to an end, the rate of the cedi to the dollar was one to one. He was adjudged as the best and the most courageous leader in the 4th republic. After such an effective and competent governance by president John Agyekum Kufuor, why could NPP not break the eight years election cycle?
Many reasons were assigned to this but the one that angered many Ghanaians was the hotel that the president bought for his son in a plush area in Accra. According to sources, the loan the president took from National Investment Bank (NIB), to pay for the hotel for his son, almost collapsed the bank. Did this step he took actually account for NPP's inability to break the 8?
Atta-Mills and Dramani Mahama together could not break the 8. President Mills passed away after two years in office. Mahama took over the presidential baton and ruled for two years. He became a presidential candidate of the NDC and won a four year term of office. Almost every Ghanaians felt, president Mahama was likely to break the 8 since his two years in office is already an advantage. During his term in office, President Mahama focused enough attention on infrastructural development which was commendable. However, he was confronted with many obstacles which brought down his popularity to the lowest minimum. Dumsor was the major headache for president Mahama. Ghanaians were very frustrated and angry. The second issue which smacked of corruption was the bus branding. Investigations revealed that the cost of the project was not realistic because the entire project was over-prized. Massive corruption was in when those in charge of rearing the fowls complained they had all flown to Burkina Faso. Incredible! When it came out that millions of dollars spent on tree planting in the North had gone to waste, it became evident that Mahama could not make it to a second term.
Many concerned Ghanaians believed that if Mahama could have won a second term due to the schools, hospitals and other infrastructural projects he initiated, he could easily have won a second term if he had not befuddled himself with corruption. Akufo Addo in the 2016 general elections, shattered Mahama's dream and made him a one term president. Nana Addo endeared himself to Ghanaians when he introduced free Senior High School education few months after taking over power. Nurses and teachers allowances were restored. These prompt initiatives showed that the NPP was ready to make life better for Ghanaians.
By 2020, fifteen major roads were constructed and several roads were repaired. Nana Addo undertook several development projects but still members of the opposition party refuse to see the good things the government is doing. They refuse to acknowledge the projects and the amount of money that have gone into all the projects. The railway project initiated by the Ministry of railways is immense. The minister confirmed that two billion dollars had gone into the construction of railways in several places in Ghana. Mr Opare, the CEO of Ghana Railways Authourity (GRA) said a 97 kilometre rail road from Tema harbour to a town called Pakadan along the eastern corridor had been started. A similar railway line along the Western corridor was constructed from Takoradi through Dunkwa to Awaso. So far more than 3400 kilometres of railway lines have been completed at several places in Ghana. A fantastic job indeed!
The second term in office has not been easy for Nana Addo and his government. Several factors account for the mass anger, complains and criticism by Ghanaians. The government has borrowed so much that Nana Addo no longer wants to go to IMF. The government felt the only option was to introduce Electronic levy (E-Levy). Ghanaians did not easily accept this, likewise the opposition party. As if this was not enough the government is planning to bring the Agyapa deal to parliament again. Now with the growing popularity crisis of Nana Addo and the NPP, will they be able to break the 8 years election cycle? Let us wait and see what 2024 will bring.
Columnist: Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: [email protected]