On the 7th of December, 2008, the good people of Ghana will be making a decision as to who becomes the next president and members of parliament. This choice is very crucial. I see it to be a contest between the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress because there is no way the Convention People Party can form the next government and therefore a vote for the CPP is a wasted vote.
Before Ghanaians decide between the NPP and the NDC, the question we must ask ourselves is that which of the two parties (NPP and NDC) should we trust better to merit our votes?
Comparing the records of the 19 year- rule of the (P)NDC and the 8 year-rule of the NPP, there is no doubt that NPP is the party to be trusted and voted for in this election.
Why is the NPP to be trusted?
In the year 2000, the then candidate Kufuor promised in Takoradi that the NPP government will strike oil for Ghana (NPP NEWS, September 25-October 1, 2000).
Lo and behold, the NPP government has struck oil in commercial quantities. It was in 1820 that oil was discovered in the Western region but it could not be struck in commercial quantities to the benefit of this country but only at the time of the NPP government.
When the oil was discovered in commercial quantities and members of parliament were to be informed, the NDC doubted it and Hon. Lee Ocran said that it was engine oil that was being used to deceive Ghanaians as Busia did. But when the NDC realised that the oil discovery was really true and not a sham, they started saying that they started the work on the oil exploration and therefore telling Ghanaians that they will be the good managers of the oil fund. Is this true?
The answer is a big NO! If it is true that they did any good work that could result in discovery of oil in commercial quantities in no time, then why did they doubt the oil discovery? It is because they knew their frivolous attitude towards oil exploration by using money meant for oil exploration for other unrelated things and knowing that such efforts could never result in striking oil in commercial quantities, hence their denial of the oil discovery in commercial quantities. So if the NDC did not believe in themselves that they had done a good job that could result in striking oil in commercial quantities in no time and doubted it, should they then be trusted for the better management of the oil money? They can never be trusted for that. It is only the NPP whose promise was the striking oil in commercial quantities and delivered, that can be trusted for that.
Moving forward with my argument, the NDC promised Ghanaians a 70,000 seater capacity stadium for every region, El-wak-type of stadium for every district and an Olympic standard stadium for this country. These promises are well captured in their 1996 manifesto.
As if they could still deceive Ghanaians, the then Vice President, Prof. Atta Mills ,in 1997 led chiefs and the media to a site along the Tema motorway that the site had been acquired for 80,000 seater capacity Olympic stadium for this country and all the engineering works had been done (Daily Graphic, October, 16, 1997). From 1997- 2000, could they provide Ghanaians that Olympic stadium? How about the 70,000 capacity stadium for every region and the El-wak-type stadium for each district? Could they provide just one? The opposite is that within 8 years, the NPP government has built two new stadia for this country and embarking on massive renovation of the Accra and Kumasi stadia, providing 16 training pitches that were used for the Ghana 2008 tournament and starting a new one in Cape Coast. For 19 years, the (P) NDC could not add even one stadium to the existing ones but the NPP adds two new stadia to the existing ones and starting another one. Whom do we trust here for better sporting infrastructure?
MOVING FROM SPORTS TO HEALTH
They say a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Health of the nation is paramount. Because the NPP believes that the good people of this country need access to quality health care, they have brought the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) into being which about 11.3 million Ghanaians have registered and children below 18 years of registered parents and people above 70 years enjoy this free.
When the NHIS Act was being passed in Parliament, the very people who say they care for us walked out of parliament. Is it that they care for our votes but not our health? As if the NHIS was not enough, the NPP government which really cares for Ghanaians but not in words topped the NHIS up with free maternal care for our mothers, wives and sisters. Gone are the days when pregnant women who delivered at the hospitals had to be detained in 'Budumburams' with their innocent babies who had not committed any crime but due to the parents' inability to pay the hospital bills. Many a time that TT brother had to go to the rescue of some women who were detained in hospital 'Budumburams' after delivery.
Under the NPP, no husband experiences sleepless night over how to raise or borrow money to 'bail' the wife out of hospital detention after delivery. Compare the NHIS and the free material care under the NPP to the 'Cash and Carry' under the (P) NDC. Which of these really care for us to deserve our votes on 7th December? For the 19-year rule of the (P) NDC, health insurance could not be passed but rather the 'Cash and Carry' whereas within 8-year rule of the NPP, the obnoxious 'Cash and Carry' has been replaced with more humane NHIS and topping it up with the free maternal care.
THE NDC's criticisms
The NDC is criticizing the NPP's capitation grant policy for the basic level of our educational system. The question that I ask myself is that 'could the (P) NDC pay even 10GP out of the GH¢3 being paid for every pupil in this country for the 19 years? Was it not these same fees that pupils were being sacked for and some even had to be knocked down by cars as a result of crossing the road to the house for school fees? If the amount is insignificant as the NDC claims, why could some parents not pay to the extent that their children had to be sacked for fees?
Some parents in the cities will not see the GH¢ 3 being paid by government for every pupil as a substantial amount but when one travels to the villages, it is there that one begins to realize the importance of that GH¢ 3 capitation grant. One should interact with the head teachers and they will tell you how the school fees had to be in arrears because parents could not pay. Prof. Atta Mills said in 2000, that there was no way education could be made free after Rawlings had ruled for 19 years. Though FREE Compulsory Universal Basic Education had been enshrined in the constitution, yet Prof. Mills said it was not possible (Daily Graphic, October 9, 2000). The NDC is promising Ghanaians FREE education after the 8-year rule of Kufuor. Why is it that FREE education was not possible after the 19-year rule of Rawlings but possible after the 8-year rule of Kufuor? Is it not a clear acceptance of the fact that the NPP government has managed the economy so well that now money can be found for FREE education which was not the case for the 19-year rule of Rawlings which made Prof. Mills to say that FREE education was not possible? So, if FREE education was not possible after the 19 years of Rawlings' rule but possible after the 8 years of Kufuor's rule where we even have the capitation grant in place, then whom do we trust for better educational polices? It is only the NPP!
I always laugh when I hear the NDC talking against the school feeding programme of the NPP. The question they have to answer is this; could they provide a sachet of water for even five pupils in those schools where the school feeding programme is being piloted let alone to give them food for 19 years? If you could not give even a sachet of water to five pupils in those schools for 19 years and the NPP gives at least thirty pupils in those schools under the school feeding programme food within 8 years then whom do we trust for the expansion of the programme nationwide?
Can the (P) NDC boast of any record of job creation in this country? All that they can boast of is the divestiture of about 304 state owned enterprises which 42 (12%) of them collapsed totally. This led to about seventy thousand Ghanaians losing their jobs. According to ACTIONAID report, twenty-eight thousand Ghanaians lost their jobs within just a year under the (P) NDC era. They could not create jobs but rather collapse the existing ones. But the NPP comes into office and within 8 years brings the National Youth Employment Programme which is employing almost one hundred and ten thousand youth of this country.Also, the NHIS has created many jobs for Ghanaians. Can the NDC be trusted for any job creation for the people of this country where even John Mahama (the vice presidential candidate of the NDC) promises that the NYEP will gradually be phased out should the unlikely situation happen that the NDC wins power?
Fellow Ghanaians, it is very clear at this point that it is only the NPP government that can be entrusted with the future of this country but not the NDC. It is only the NPP government that can be trusted for better health and educational policies. The NPP is the only party with the candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, who has clear-cut programmes for the future that really inspire the good people of this country for a prosperous Ghana. A vote for Nana is a vote for Ghana's prosperity.
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