The Vice-Presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has called on Ghanaians to protect the gains so far achieved under the New Patriotic Party by retaining it in power.
He said the country was on the verge of economic breakthrough, which called for concerted efforts to resist any act of provocation and violence and contribute towards the conduct of an incident-free election in December.
“We must together say no to any violent act that could trigger bloodshed and destruction of property.
We must rather choose peace and unity, which are what we need to ensure the total transformation of the economy,” he stated.
Dr Bawumia, who made the appeal during separate rallies on Saturday, said “we cannot afford to destroy the country that we are trying to build together for ourselves and our for children”.
Dr Bawumia was addressing rallies at various Zongo communities in Koforidua, New Tafo, Kwabeng, Kyebi and Asesewa, as part of his four-day tour of the Eastern Region.
“Our peaceful co-existence and unity, freedom of press, freedom of speech, association and movement as well as the massive infrastructural development and other social interventions such as free health care, free basic education, the School Feeding Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme, and the free school bus ride are all achievements that we should not take for granted.” he said.
The NPP running mate also used his tour to pay courtesy calls on various traditional leaders, including the President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Kpetekple Narh Darwutey Ologo VI, who is also the Konor of the Yilo Krobo Traditional Area, and the surviving 81-year-old wife of the late Dr J. B. Danquah, Ms Elizabeth Pandikor Ologo.
He was accompanied by some executives of the party.
Dr Bawumia mentioned the discovery of commercial quantity of oil, and the country earning the reputation as one of the most stable and peaceful countries in the sub-region, as making it a favourable destination for foreign investments.
According to him, although Ghana gained its political independence many years ago, its budget depended on conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a situation that denied its “economic and mental freedom”.
However, he pointed out that seven years after the NPP had assumed the administration of the country, the economy had been able to disentangle itself from the IMF conditionalities, an enviable gain that must be consolidated to ensure the country's total economic freedom.
“When our GDP, 43 years after independence, stood at $3 billion, seven years after the NPP took over, our GDP is now $16 billion,” he said, adding “this is not by chance but by the good economic policies and management of the NPP government”, he stated.
“The resilience of our economy in the past seven years makes one of the first HIPC African country to issue a sovereign bond of $700 million bond on the international market, an enviable record by any account,” Dr Bawumia stated.
According to him, to sustain such significant economic achievements, the government aimed at making education accessible to every Ghanaian to make the economy a knowledge-driven one.
This, he believed, could boost the country's efforts at eradicating high rate of illiteracy, which had many years been the bane of the country's slow development pace.
Mr Ampofo Twumasi, Ms Gloria Ofori Boadu, President of Women's Assistance and Business Association (WABA) and Alhaji Karim Grunsa, Chief Executive Officer of the King Faisal Football Club, urged Ghanaians to critically examine the good works of the NPP government over the past seven years against that of the various previous governments, particularly the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
This, he said, would enable them to make an informed voting decision and vote back the NPP into power to manage the resources and affairs of the nation.
In a related development, Samuel Kyei-Boateng, reports from Akyem Swedru that four leading members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) have called on the Zongo communities to break their 16-year marriage with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and join the NPP in their own interest.
They stressed that the “marriage of convenience” between the Zongo people and the NDC since 1992 had not benefited them in terms of development.
Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP vice-presidential aspirant; Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Akyem Oda; Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, Minister of Works and Housing, and Alhaji Karim Grunsah, the football administrator-turned politician, made the call when they addressed a rally at Akyem Swedru Zongo last week Thursday.
They noted with concern that although the Zongo communities had been loyal and committed to the cause of the NDC, they had never received any reward for their commitment as the party had done nothing to improve their lot.
According to Alhaji Grunsah, considering the kind of work the Zongo people had done for the NDC for quite a long time, that party should have reciprocated their gesture by transforming their communities into “paradise”.
“As an opinion leader in the Zongo community in Kumasi, I know what the NPP government has done during its eight-year rule and the other good things it intends to do if the party is retained in power come December 7, 2008.
I urge my brothers and sisters to vote for the NPP in order to enjoy the fruits of your labour,” Alhaji Grunsah stressed.
“I have seen the light, so I don't want my brothers and sisters to remain in darkness,” he added.
For his part, Mr Osafo-Maafo expressed optimism that the outstanding performance of the NPP government would convince Ghanaians to retain it in power by voting massively for the party.
He noted that the people of Akyem Swedru Zongo had never voted for the NPP since 1992, lamenting, “In 1996, only six people in the area voted for the NPP, while the NDC had more than 600 votes.”
Mr Osafo-Maafo, therefore, advised them to change their voting pattern and endorse the NPP in the December 7 general election.
He stressed that Alhaji Bawumia possessed all the qualities of a vice-president as he was a genius, very competent, a young man, affable, respectful and assiduous.
According to Mr Osafo-Maafo, being a Muslim, Dr Bawumia's choice is a good balance since the NPP presidential aspirant, Nana Akufo-Addo is a Christian.
Mr Osafo-Maafo, a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, stressed that Dr Bawumia, who was 42, was the youngest person to be appointed the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana as all his predecessors were around 60 years of age.
Dr Buwumia enumerated such interventions made by the NPP government as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Capitation Grant, the School Feeding Programme and the free medical care for pregnant women, in addition to provision of potable water, electricity, school blocks, roads and other development projects.
He, therefore, enjoined the people to retain the NPP in power in order to benefit from more quality projects.
Alhaji Saddique, for his part, stated emphatically that no government since independence, could surpass the NPP as far as the development of the nation and good governance were concerned.
He, therefore, urged all Ghanaians to vote massively for the NPP in order to enjoy development in freedom.
The other members of the campaign team included Mr John Boadu, the National Youth Organiser of the NPP; Mr Kwame Twumasi-Awuah, the Deputy Minister of Energy; Mr Yaw Gyekye-Amoabeng, the Eastern Regional Chairman of the NPP, and Mr Osei-Frimpong, the Special Assistant to Mr Osafo-Maafo.
Story by Nana Konadu Agyeman.