Very Much Like the P/NDC!
Finally, the Akufo-Addo campaign is aptly beginning to sit up and holding the numb-skulled and crudely hypocritical Provisional National Democratic Congress to condign account, as the ruling New Patriotic Party ought to have, conservatively, done at least two years ago, shortly after the raucous and violence-riddled P/NDC congress, held in the Eastern Regional Capital of Koforidua, witnessed the summary and peremptory appointment of Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills as the P/NDC's flagbearer for Election 2008.
The major task here, is for Nana Akufo-Addo and his Campaign 2008 team to meticulously simplify horrifying data pertaining to the P/NDC's near-irreparable destruction of the Ghanaian economy, first, during the eleven bloody years that the infamous Rawlings Corporation virtually held the country hostage, and those frying-pan years during which the P/NDC luridly pretended to rule by the mandate of the Ghanaian electorate.
For instance, while the ever-comical and downright absurdist Prof. Atta-Mills trots across the country, in his own words, “from Axim to Paga,” touting the morally jarring slogan of “We Care For You,” expert figures released by the Danquah Institute, a Cantoments-based think-tank, indicate that while, indeed, the ruling New Patriotic Party held the Ghanaian economy steady, with the inflationary rate on gas for the past seven-and-half years hovering around the relatively hopeful vicinity of 728-percent, the terror-mongering and arm-twisting Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC), on the other hand, maintained a fabulously astronomical inflationary rate of 120,000 (one-hundred-and-twenty-thousand) percent during the 19 marathon years that the Rawlings Corporation, literally, held Ghanaians by our throats.
In short, for those to whom, like yours truly, the preceding staggering statistical figures and analyses may sound like Greek, as it were, what the economic theorists and expert statisticians at the Danquah Institute are saying in plain language is that Mr. Robert G. Mugabe's Zimbabwe, during precisely the same period that Mr. Rawlings' P/NDC held Ghanaians hostage, performed even far better than the Rawlings-Mills government. And just how does yours truly arrive at such an apocalyptic conclusion? Of course, he arrives at this eerie and soul-cringing conclusion by simply performing an elementary Arithmetic on the macro-inflationary figures available for the two countries. For instance, a recent New York Times report on Zimbabwe noted that the latter southern African country, at 100,000-percent (one-hundred-thousand-percent), maintained the highest level of inflation of any country in the world! What the foregoing, in effect, means is that were the P/NDC still in power, Ghana would have become the worst-performing economy in the whole, wide world!
The article that we are commenting on appeared in the Ghanaian Statesman, and it was rather unnecessarily quizzically titled “Shocking Facts Exposed! Rawlings Increased Fuel Prices by 120,000%!” The article was bylined Kwame Agyei Mensah. And here, it goes without saying that about the only thing shocking about the story is the caption of the story itself. For even Ghanaians who, like yours truly, are practically innumerate (that is, virtually mathematically illiterate) but who were unfortunate enough to have lived under the epically incompetent administration of Messrs. Rawlings and Atta-Mills, collectively and severally, do not have to be reminded about the acute socioeconomic and cultural indignities suffered under the P/NDC.
Indeed, in the past, we have amply highlighted the grim and rueful fact that among the first order of business, in the wake of Mr. Rawlings's ouster of Dr. Hilla Limann, was to increase the price of machete – or cutlass – the most basic implement of the Ghanaian farmer, from ¢19.50, under President Limann's People's National Party (PNP) to ¢50.00. Now, let one of those loudmouthed P/NDC “economists” quickly perform the relevant statistical analysis and relate the same to the Ghanaian people. Even at the level of our crippling mathematical illiteracy, we still make bold by betting our proverbial bottom-dollar that the preceding machete-increment figures mean that Mr. Rawlings, in his maiden budgetary pronouncement of 1982, nearly tripled the price of the most significant working tool of the poor Ghanaian farmer, even while also cavalierly pretending to his Ghanaian hostages that, indeed, Dr. Limann was the crux of Ghana's socioeconomic crisis.
But, of course, it goes without saying that with AK-47s and bombs trained at the heads and pates of the longsuffering Ghanaian citizen, Mr. Rawlings' cant and chicanery had to, perforce, make sense to any Ghanaian citizen who desired to continue living, even under such patently undignified state of affairs! And so, in essence, for two decades, the average Ghanaian who had no exit-game-plan but to silently suffer the Stygian mess that was the P/NDC regime, quickly and thoroughly learned that pretending to be stupid, which, in essence, meant blindly lauding the nihilistic and self-centered economic policies of the Rawlings Corporation, was one's sole bullet-proof vest against one's total annihilation. Otherwise, how could the “one-man, one-toilet” philosopher have been able to erect the tallest wall, in Ghana, around his Ridge palace, even while also threatening other Ghanaians with summary execution, by firing squad, should any of them try to emulate Dzelukope Jeremiah by putting up a domestic wall even half as high as that which encloses Mr. Probity and Accountability's own palatial mansion?
It is also nothing short of the absolutely fascinating to read about the reckless P/NDC economic policies that precipitated the collapse of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), particularly how the P/NDC, in its megalomaniacal bid to perpetually hanging onto power, deliberately hedged a whopping debt of “GH¢ 430 million (¢ 4.3 trillion)” around TOR. Somebody, please, explain to yours truly exactly how Ghana arrived at this Kafkaesque stage of calculating and then converting one Ghanaian currency into yet another Ghanaian currency, from GH¢ to ¢.
In the months leading up to Election 2008, we solemnly urge Nana Akufo-Addo and his campaign team to systematically and meticulously reduce, at piecemeal, and into simple bread-and-butter terms, the unpardonable nightmare that was and has been the P/NDC political and human rights record. For it is on the preceding that the outcome of Election 2008 is squarely predicated.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 14 books, including “Romantic Explorations” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008), his 11th and latest volume of poetry. E-mail: [email protected]
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