The recent concerns ventilated by the former president, and by the grace of God, the incoming president of the republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, have provoked a rather contradictory responses from many desperate charlatans, social media psychopaths, sycophantic useful idiots, perplexed keyboard guerrilla fighters, and right-thinking Ghanaians alike.
In a tweet by the "Ghana's rejected cornerstone" who has become to be realized by Ghanaians as most precious and supportive cornerstone in the Ghanaian political space, President Mahama lamented the flat failure of the Agenda 111 through which millions of dollars have been defrauded by this political wannabe and carpetbaggery government.
For the sake of majority of Ghanaians who are ill-informed about activities of the current government of Ghana which has become synonymous to a political con game, the Agenda 111 is a so-called flagship Program of government in which a mouthwatering and whopping 111 hospitals were promised Ghanaians. 101 district hospitals, 7 regional hospitals, two specialized hospitals, and renovation of Effie Nkwanta regional hospital.
The president, perhaps under the influence of some opium during his Covid-19 briefings to the nation in 2020, all of a sudden promised these hospitals to be built within 12 month period for quick and better delivery of health services across the country. Yes, it was election year.
Well, while majority of Ghanaians thought a sugarcoated promise like that could have been provoked by too much consumption of some hard substances and drugs, others speculated that it was a professional and official way of begging for funds from the international monetary communities like the world bank, IMF, WHO, among others. Yet, some Ghanaians believed it was a premature enrollment of his campaign message to Ghanaians having messed up in his first term.
Our elders say a man with sunken eyes going to funeral must begin crying at home so that by the time he gets to the funeral grounds some tears would have been ready to come out. This explains what prompted Agenda 111 in the build-up to the 2020 election.
However, the inconsistencies with which the Agenda 111 is fraught with has been a course for worry to any patriotic, concerned, and level-headed Ghanaian. And past and incoming presidents, like President Mahama, must be the most disturbed by the thieving manner that Project turns out to be.
In the first place, the timing for the project has been unclear, the sites so allocated for their construction have been a challenge, and the finances for the project have been hazy and very nebulous.
After that announcement to "build" 111 hospitals by the president in 2020 which nobody can tell whether the government had already had deliberations on or not before the president bombarded us with the announcement, it was after one year and three months the Project was launched in August 17, 2021 at Trede in the Ashanti Region.
The chairperson for the Project Implementation Committee, who also doubled as the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, claimed they have secured sites and land titles for 88 out of 101 district hospitals as at the time President Akufo Addo was cutting the sod. She further claimed that each unit was to cover 15 acres and would be built at a cost of $17 million dollars. This was reported by the Ministry of Health under the title, "Gov't secures $100 start-up funds for Agenda 111".
The chairperson also added that, having secured the sites, funds, and contractors the hospitals would be completed in 12 months. Which never happened!
In fact, on August 1st last year, the BusinessGhana reported the finance minister during his last year mid-year budget review to have contradicted the earlier completion date said by the government. The finance minister was quoted to have said, "A total of 87 projects out of 111 sites of government’s Agenda 111 projects have commenced and are at various stages of construction".
Then just yesterday, January 15, CitiNewsRoom reported that 67 out of Agenda 111 are said to be commenced before March 2022.
Obviously, there is a palpable flip-flop in government own reports. That is because the Agenda 111 was nothing but a fraud. And the impulsive and uncalculated manner it was announced by the president, said it all.
Now, how could the chief of staff, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare claimed 88 out of 101 were commenced, and exactly one year later, the number of projects did not increase but had decreased per what the finance minister submitted to Parliament? How?
This is what is worrying His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama expressed in his tweet. And those who were responding to his genuine concerns were also caught up in that same cobwebs of confusion. As they could not also exactly establish the date of its commencement either. Due to the corrupt laden nature of this Agenda (fraud)111, the government itself doesn't know its day of commencement or completion either.
The question now is, which project commenced in August 17, 2021 announced by Ministry of Health, and which projects did the finance minister said had commenced last year August 2022 again?
How many times did the government commence the same project?
I think the contradictions are vividly captured by their own statements. Listen to the Health minister himself.
In his own words, the Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu had this to confess to parliament when he was questioned in the floor of the House: "If I’m unable to tell you the commencement date, I will not be able to tell you the exact date of completion as well,"
In fact, President Akufo Addo himself was in a serious limbo regarding the current state of Agenda 111. The Africa Report reported him saying that: "Like all major construction projects, it is evident that the initial schedule we gave for the completion of the ‘Agenda 111’ was overly ambitious, but we have every intention of seeing this project through to a successful end before I leave office on 7 January 7.”
If President Akufo Addo describes the Program like this, what did any honest citizen expected from President Mahama in that tweet?
According to one Kobby Mensah, a political analyst the Africa Report cited also suggested the Agenda 111 project is nothing but a failure even though so much is expected from the government. "If the government fails to deliver (Agenda 111), it will be catastrophic,” Kobby Mensah added.
Meanwhile, one finds a serious hanky-panky dealings in the finances allocated for the Agenda 111 projects quite apart from its unknown commencement date.
Recall the chairperson announced 100 million dollars to have been secured by government for the project. Around August 2021, this amount was 600 million cedis due to the exchange rate at the time.
Now, the thievery former president Mahama could have been worried about with his tweet is embedded in here. The Minority Spokesperson on health and on the Health Committee in Parliament exposed the sleazy and corruption in the Agenda and has demanded for government White Paper on the Agenda 111 project. During his maiden contribution in the House he had lamented that the operation of Agenda 111 has been shrouded in secrecy and opaqueness. He recognized the earlier 600 million allocated for the project in 2021, and another 510 million in 2022, yet the state of the project and its budgetary allocation have not been made available to Parliament. He said, "we don’t know the current status of Agenda 111, we don’t know which contractors are in charge, we don’t know how much has been paid to who, Mr. Speaker, we don’t have those records in this House”.
This is after one year and four months. Aside the 600 and 510 million cedis mentioned here, the Ghana Business News reported that the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) also revealed an amount of 75 million dollars of petroleum funds that have been invested in the Agenda 111.
Yet Parliamentarians said in the 2023 budget statement presentation that they are not aware of the state of the Agenda 111. Meanwhile, they don't even know the contractors let alone meeting the completion dates. This is despite the fact that there has been funds allocation.
In spite of all these challenges, the slogan has been chanted time and again is that, "those hospitals are at various levels of completion" when commencement date is not known! How?
Meanwhile, in the CitiNewsRoom report, one of the managers at the Hospital Infrastructure Group, Kwabena Nyarko gave what they described as an update on how the Agenda 111 Program is rolling out as late as February 2022 last year. He quoted to have said, "We went through a tender process, the contractors have submitted their tender, and they are being evaluated. After this is done, we will run them through a value-for-money process and all the commercial arrangements will go through Parliament.”
The question now is, since when did the tender process took place as the time he was engaging media in February 2022, yet those tender processes never reached Parliament, and how are the projects at various stages of completion? And which groundbreaking ceremony took place at Trede in the Ashati Region on 17th, August 2021?
Clearly, there is some serious "Kalebule" here the government is hiding. Which is that, the Agenda 111 flagship Program in the first place, had been announced on a note of fraud and deception - political carpetbaggerism. A reason why there are conflicting funds allocation as well as commencement dates!
They may be few infrastructural works going on in the name of Agenda 111, but most of its funds gave been looted and stolen. Ghanaians have been shortchanged and their hopes and expectations deflated.
A concern and frustration the former president, John Dramani Mahama was lamenting and drawing the attention of Ghanaians to on the social media.