The National Democratic Party (NDC) is favoured to win both the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in 2008 for the following reasons: a) they have a very formidable team for the presidential election b) they have very good candidates for the parliamentary elections and most importantly c) they will be very honest with the Ghanaian people. All utterances by members of the NDC will be very honest and tell the people nothing but the truth on the state of affairs in the country and how they intend to resolve them. They will not make empty promises that cannot be fulfilled. It is very easy to tell the people that you will create 1,000,000 jobs by 2011 without specifics as to how you intend to do that. The question to Nana Akuffo-Addo is why not do it now as you are an integral part of the current administration? Do you have to seat in the throne to do that? Are you being impeded by the current President and party leadership to promote jobs in the country? What job creation programs have you recommended to this NPP government and have been ignored? The people of modern day Ghana are politically wise and cannot be lied to for mere reason of getting their votes.
The campaign of Prof. Mills will continue to be honest with the people and tell them exactly what the issues are and how they intend to take care of those issues in the best interest of the people of Ghana. Prof. Mills does not have to ride in tro-tro buses to learn about the needs of the people. He already know what the people's desires are and how to deal with them when he is elected in December. If anyone running for this high office of the Presidency does not know the needs of the people and will now go from tro tro to tro tro, market to market, school to school, etc to understudy the problems, then it is my considered opinion that such a candidate does not qualify to run for the office.
The NDC team will win because the team is formidable. Both Prof. Mills and Hon. Mahama are astute politicians with good moral judgments and strong affinity to the people. They have been around the people and “feel their pain” and are ready to address these pains. Nana Addo has been around for a long time but has no idea what the people need. He has to take tro tro for a short ride and he is now an expert in the peoples needs. He has been busy all along taking care of his businesses and have no time to study these human needs of the people until he was nominated as the candidate for president from the NPP. This will not fly with the people. Even though he has selected a banker and economist as his running mate, political wisdom dictates that the VP is not in charge of the government. He can offer advises and be either taken or rejected by the President and those other influential elements in the party. It does not take a technocrat to run the country. What is needed is someone with common sense and vision to plan for the wellbeing of the people. The NDC has that caliber of people. Dr.Bawumia will not be able to do much because of his background as a banker or economists. He worked at the Bank of Ghana as a deputy Governor and a careful study of his tenure in office indicates that many decisions by the Central bank are always politically motivated. I think the Central Bank should be neutral from politics; now the NPP has officially introduced politics into the bank just as in any other government agency. Dr. Bawumia has been selected to be used for the following two principal reasons a) he is from the North and is expected to carry the Northern vote (this will not work because he is not known) b) his credentials as an economist and banker (this will not carry any weight in the country because the people are tired of the so called “experts”.
FORMATION OF A RAPID RESPONSE TEAM: The campaign office of the Presidential candidate should establish (if not already done) a team of experts to monitor and respond to any remarks made by the opposing parties. Lost of false comments will be made about the NDC and the Presidential candidate and his running mate. With easy access to the cell phone, it sh9uld not take seconds to monitor any speak and make direct report to the team in the head office so that a quick response is prepared and made available to the press. Each of the opposing candidates should have one or two members of the team to follow them and monitor their rallies or meetings around the country. The response should be direct and accurate to deflect any false remarks that might have been made. This has become a standard campaign option adopted in most civilized countries. It is not negative campaign but to response quickly to attacks from opposing candidates. A recent example is the response by NDC to the education issue raised by the NPP. It is direct with actual figures and is not abusive. Anyone can check the facts and decide which party is accurate on the issue of education, past present and the future vision of education in Ghana.
General Theme of the Campaign: The theme that the candidate, his running mate and spokespersons focuses Performance. The campaign stresses the point that the Candidate will not be forced to make statements that are untrue, and to make promises that cannot be fulfilled when elected President. False and knowingly statements that will only attract the attention of the voters will not be part of the campaign. Voters should take note of all utterances of the Candidate, the running mate and other speakers on their behalf and to judge them by what they say and not how “sweet” and promising it is at the present time. All statements made are genuinely thought of and can be put into practice when elected to office.
POLICY ON PRIORITY: The campaign is focusing on the following issues of national concern and priority and addresses them accordingly in a very honest and straight forward manner. It will not make statements that cannot be backed or supported by facts. This is what the people wants to know and not the same old politics of liars and do nothings after the campaign. The campaign will be clean without any personal name callings and personal attacks on the opposing candidate and members of his family.
GOVERNANCE: The administration of Prof. Mills will comply with the Rule of Law and Governance will be based on genuine performances and services that will serve the interest of the people and not special interests. The Administration will apply the law(s) of the country as is in the Constitution or legally legislated by Parliament. The appointment of Ministers and other office holders will be based on experience and ability to perform and not on political consideration. The Administration will appoint people of high caliber and integrity to handle positions that will be entrusted upon them. Services that will be provided will focus on the needs of the people rather than party and personal self interests. Transparency will be the key word in governance and the president will ensure that this is applied because it will start from him in the Castle or Flagstaff House (wherever the official office will be located).
JOB CREATION: This will be a priority for the Prof. Mills Government. Jobs will be created in all regions of the country. Because each region has its own natural resources, the Prof. Mills Government will take advantage of what resources are there and establish plants/factories that will process these raw materials. Job creation will be based on the development or establishment of processing and manufacturing industries in the region. Every raw material in Ghana can be semi-processed or processed for products to be exported. Exports should not only be geared towards Europe, North America and Asia but more importantly toward African countries. To create hegemony in Africa Prof. Mills administration will emphasis in trade between African countries. The livelihood, integrity of a human being is his or her ability to take care of himself and his family. This is a very special prerequisite for the comfort of an individual, Without a gainful employment no one will be able to exercise this human prerogative and dignity. The Prof. Mills administration will ensure that this dignity is given to the people. The administration will encourage the creation of jobs all over the country so that the benefit of the economic development will be enjoyed by all. The administration will not discriminate in which Region jobs are created and in which they are not because of political reasons. The administration will provide services to all Ghanaians. It is easy to promise the people that a one million jobs will be created. The question is how will this be done, in which sector will this originate and who will benefit from this. With the statement of a firm number of jobs to be created, it becomes a burden for an administration to meet these number; it is obvious that these numbers are made without adequate research as to how it will be achieved. The campgain will devoid of making such promises but can only promise the creation of jobs for the people.
HEALTH CARE: This is another important sector that the Prof. Mills administration will place a lot of emphasis and priority. A lot has been said by the NPP administration for the past seven and half years and we have not seen any tangible result. For example, the NPP Presidential Candidate is now visiting hospitals and clinics around the country to educate himself on the plight of lack of health care for the people. One wonders what he has been doing for the past seven and half years when he has been a member of the current administration. Does a Presidential Candidate have to go to the hospitals during this period of campaigning to educate himself on this very important topic. Any Presidential candidate that is not abreast with the critical issues facing the people of this country regarding health issues is not fit to be President. You do not have to go by tro tro to learn the plight and feelings of the people of this country – if you are a candidate and have no clue about this then you are not fit to be President. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the health sector. It is not only AID/HIV that we have to focus our attention on, we have to focus on all areas of medical attention. For this reason, the Prof. Mills administration will provide Mobile Clinics to each region that will be used to visit all communities in the region and to provide medical attention to everyone. The administration will not accept the current situation by which one has to travel miles away from their villages to the towns before they receive medical attention. The Prof. Mills administration will go to the people for medical treatments. These mobile clinics will be fitted with complete medication and testing equipment. It is important to “catch” the illness from its infancy for better treatment rather than wait until it is too late. Some of our people in the rural and remote villages have no means to see a doctor even though they they they are sick of “something”.
The mobile clinic will include instruments for testing of HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis, High Blood Pressure and other illeneses that have to be tested to be noticed and treated. This is the more important rationale for the mobile clinics to be able to visit all communities in Ghana and detect illeneses before they are fully blown. These will be the practical solution of problems that will be obvious and seen by the people and there will be no statement like “we are working on it”. The Administration will be seen and be noted for working on problems and taking immediate steps to resolve them.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The shortage of affordable housing in Ghana is a tuberculosis to everyone. The promises of the NPP has not been met. The NPP candidate is running around the country once more promising the construction of houses when elected. The question that should be asked of him is what is your record for housing development in the past seven and half years when you have been in office (power). The Prof. Mills administration will pay special attention to this issue. For example, in any business development in the regions, we will make it a point that affordable housing should be part of the establishment of the factory/plant. The workers should be provided with affordable houses that they will purchase and “own”. Owing a house is one of the key desire of every Ghanaian and we will take this into serious consideration. As stated, the establishment of any factory will be appraised and approved by the administration if it composed of a housing unit for the workers. In the crowded cities we will provide affordable housing to anyone that is ready and willing to buy a house. How do we do this? We will work with international firms (that one of our supporters has identified) to establish a Building Materials Plant in the country. We will not purchase any material to be used in the housing development from abroad. All the materials will be locally produced. This will make the prices affordable to the average Ghanaian. The materials can be purchased by individuals who wish to build their own houses. The Ghana Housing Corporation will use materials from this plant to construct houses that will be sold to the people. There will be special credit facilities for anyone that is interested to buy a house. This calls once more for jobs creation so that anyone able and willing to work will work and have money to purchase his or her own house. This is the plight of a Ghanaian and we will ensure that it works for all Ghanaians.
EDUCATION: The current education system in the country is deplorable. I am not saying that the current Government is not paying attention to it but it could have been better. We will examine the situation for improvement and to make education not only affordable but enjoyable. Children will enjoy going to school because the amenities that they will enjoy and be very happy pupils. Prior to attending secondary school, one has to go through the primary school successfully. It is the beginning of one's educational pursuit and efforts have to be placed in primary education in a strenuous effort. Modern classrooms need to be constructed, children will have medical attention and we will take a very special care of pupils in need. We will take a serious study of our secondary schools. Public and Private secondary schools will be carefully monitored. Standards will be established and monitored. Discipline which is lacking in most of our secondary schools now will be well administered to ensure that the schools are properly managed. The Minister of Education under the Prof. Mills administration will be a working Minister just like Dr. Spio Garbah was when he was the Minister of Education. Frequent and unexpected visits will be made to a school that is suspected of having problems. The Minister will ensure that the Headmaster/Principal of the school is not aware of his/her visit. It will be a surprise visit. Prior to this the Minister will have adequate information as to what he is looking for and to ask pointed direct questions of the school administrator. As you all know, we have so many Universities now established in Ghana. In as much as we encourage this development, we will endeavor to monitor their performances. We will ensure that, though the Owners of these Universities may or have monetary motivations (making money), we will ensure that they meet international standards. Each University will perform as a first class university. This goes to Government supported Universities as well.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: The NPP candidate has on numerous occasions cited the Rawlings Regine of over twelve or so years ago. We will not focus on the past even the past eight unproductive years of the NPP administration. Of course, we will learn from their mistakes even from any mistakes made by the NDC during its stay in office but will not dwell on it as a campaign tool. We will focus on the future; what are we going to do to improve the life of Ghanaians during our term of office. That should be the main debate between the candidates and not what happened in the past. The choice of cabinets is that of the President and the mode of administration is set by the President. In this campaign, there are no past Presidents. All candidates are fresh and new to the presidency. What they will do is the most important thing. We all learn from past mistakes but we don't have to focus on them. The administration of Prof. Mills will govern according to the dictates of the era. 2009 will be quite different from 2000 and there are rapid changes in international situations which affects domestic decision making. When the NPP took over in 2001, the state of the world economy was different; however, when there came a change we did not have a leader that will change with the times. Our President and his Cabinet did not have the experience to change with the times. So the question now is who among us running for President has the experience to undertake changes and challenges as they come along. As you know, it is only Prof Mills that has such an experience; an experience which is well known to all Ghanaians. If honesty is to prevail among the political analysts in this country and not to be biased because of political preferences, it will be agreed that Prof. Mills have the most experience to lead this country come 2009 and after ( at least for the next four years. The NPP candidate has confessed that he has no public administration experience and I wonder how he will lead this country in the changing world. There are instant decisions that have to be made; does he have that experience and courage to take decisions without consulting with his Cabinet or advisers when a firm decision is needed at that particular moment. The answer is “NO”. It is not only in America that a Presidential candidate is focused on change as a message but change is needed all over the world including our beloved Ghana. We need a leader that is qualified to be a seasoned President. My fellow Ghanaians, the most important decision faced by a nominee of a Party to stand for President is the selection of a running mate. That is a very difficult decision to make especially in the NDC. I was bold and make a firm decision. There are many qualified people both male and female in the Party and it was not an easy choice but has to be made. I did it. As of this date the NPP candidate has been unable to select his running mate even though there are not so many qualified candidate to choose from. His task could have been very easy but he lacks the courage to pick the person he wants. He is waiting to do that the last minute because he is afraid the party will be divided because the choice of others will not be selected. If a candidate cannot take such a decisive decision what makes you think that he will take decisive decision when it comes to questions of urgent importance to the country for which he has to decide. There are always different positions on every issue and whatever decision a President elects to make will not satisfy all but the President has to have the courage to do that. I have taken my first serious decision by selecting Hon. John Mahama as my running mate. You all know the the situation but the decision was taken and the Party has embraced it wholeheartedly. HON. Mahama is a good man, very good man and I am happy I have him on my team. Let us continue to wait for the choice of the NPP candidate.
DOMESIC SFAIRS: The Administration will focus and give priority to all areas of domestic politics. It will concentrate on the state of the economy, infrastructure, energy, human resource development, development and utilization of natural resources and other major aspects of the national agenda that will enhance progress and development. The government will immediately after the election appoint a high power study group – it will be non apolitical group – to study that state of the country in all aspects and provide very serious and practical solutions. The group will be encouraged to visit all the regional capitals and consult with the elders, chiefs and interest groups to solicit their input in the report to the Administration. The Government will not undertake any project in any region without consultation with the people in the region. The people in the region know what their priorities are and the government should listen to them. During the period of this campaign both candidates have received requests from various regions to help undertake some projects that is of critical interest to them. A traditional chief in a locality asked that the a broken bridge be fixed for them. This is a priority to the community and the Government should immediately after taking over will undertake the study of the bridge, make funds available and have the repair done. The Administration will listen to the requests of the people, whether or not they voted for the NDC and comply with their demands. The Government policy will be to serve the people and not base their decision on party interests.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The Mills Administration will provide critical lacking leadership in international affairs. Africa at the current time has no leadership and the Administration will have to fill that vacuum. Active participation in international affairs will be a focus in its foreign policy. The situation in Zimbabwe is a case in point. It has shown the inability of African leaders to take serious positions regarding leadership in other African countries. The reflection on the total African leadership is obvious and should be corrected. Ghana should take the leadership role once more and be honest and speak the truth. Apart from issues relating to Africa, the Government should be active in other international issues. The Government should endeavor to be impartial and handle issues as the come along in the United Nations with extreme objectivity and neutralism. Since domestic politics has a very keen reflection on foreign policy, the Government will place a lot of emphasis in the development of the domestic agenda so as to have the political will to handle issues that has international ramifications. African leaders fail to act now because they depend on the Western countries for grants, aids and whatever is needed for their own development. Foreign policy should be based on local strength which will provide the will to act freely. The focus of the government will be to do away with dependency.
*Dr. Paul B. Abudu is the President & CEO, ADC Consulting Associates USA