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12.04.2010 Feature Article

Calling Ablakwa's bluff

Calling Ablakwa's bluff
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Setting the records straight -
I love my President and I want him to succeed. Anyone person from the NDC who would succeed Prof. Mills as Presidential candidate would certainly have to ride on his successes. This is fact, and I understand that very well.

The people of Ghana understand the mess we were in under the NPP, that is why the NDC was voted into office. Ghanaians are prepared to respond to appeals to patriotism that explains how we can have a better Ghana. The people of Ghana have it in their power today to contribute to the growth of our country.They know the dangers we face.

I have said in almost every article I have written over the last six months that there are enormous challenges facing this government. Every government would find things almost impossible if it spends 51% of its budget on contractual obligations (Salaries and Wages, interest payment and transfers to households). Interest payment alone for the 2010 budget is over 12%. With these economic challenges, you cannot help but empathise with government.

But are these challenges too big for the NDC to solve? this is a great party that sees challenges as opportunites. We are better innovators and are capable of overcoming any bottleneck.

The sentiments of the right honourable finance minister are no diffirent from what I have expressed time and again. In the last budget statement, the minister said our country's "challenges must be tackled now and we must do so urgently".

He understands the dangers we face. That is why he said in his statement that the "economy and Ghanaias cannot afford any further delay".

Those are not my words, but that of a Dr. Dufour. He was talking about the sense of urgency and many people before him have spoken about the sense of urgency. It is in his budget statement. If countries with bigger problems than ours could reinject capital in a suffering economy, why can't we? Are these countries better innovators than us?

I have never attacked the person of President Mills as some syndicated journalists and government attack dogs have alleged.

After realising that accussing me of being bitter about the Youth Congress couldn't hold, they have shifted gears to something completely nonsensical.

One of the appointees of President Mills, Sam Ablakwa Okudzeto made a hopelessly naive statement on Radio Gold over the weekend and even threatened to expose me, I hear.

He describes me as selfish and said I was critical of government because I couldn't get scholarship to do my LLM at Strathclyde University in the UK and had made incessant demands from the Presidency.

What the Junior minister doesn't understand is that, if someone were a teacher, a nurse or a driver, and the cost of living went up, that teacher or nurse wants something to change. If someone worked hard, and got their hands dirty and government reached deeper into their pay pocket, that person would want change. If people can't get commodities like gas, stable electricity, they want something to change.

If government cuts spending on higher education, and freezes scholarship indefinetely, I want something to change. Is that what he calls "selfish interest?"

This is a lad who quit from the NPP because he claims the party denied him opportunities. Ablakwa didn't stay to fight against the system that blunted opportunities for people like him, he jumped ship, abandoned the NPP and came to us. Who could be more guided by selfish interest? Ablakwa needs some education on logic. You join a cause beacause you believe it can best advance a particular interest or ideology you subscribe to. People go on strike because the issues affect them or their friends and family.

This is common sense. This is someone who is so bereft of ideas he can't answer a straight question. My question is, how much has government spent on higher education? How many graduate jobs has government created since it assumed office?

Another aid to the President, Nii Lantey Vanderpuijee claimed on Citi FM he had seen me in Kumasi mobilising youths to protest against the government; That is a BIG FAT LIE.

I got back to Ghana from Amsterdam on Monday April 5 and couldn't have been in Kumasi at the time he claimed I had been there. As a matter of fact I haven't been to Kumasi since January this year and have not attended any gathering involving NDC members in months.

Instead of addressing the concerns I have raised - That:

1. government is slow inspite of the fact that even the finance minister thinks there's got to be a sense of urgency;

2. government has abdicated spending on higher education and as a matter of fact has mothballed spending in critical areas;

3. Government hasn't taken the issue of public sector salaries seriously - and this is one of the major reasons for corruption in the public sector;

4. Cuts in public sector budget at a time the economy needs an injection of capital.

5. Alieanated public support because the likes of Ablakwa can't even articulate government's successes and policy.

6. Turning to IMF/World Bank who always excercibate our problems. These are the issues I have raised time and again.

Instead of debating the issues I have raised, they have resorted to the politics of personal attacks.

The NDC is capable of unmatched progress. We took Ghana out of the difficult challenges of the 80s and 90s. We can do it now. We can spend much on higher education, on energy, health and other essential public sectors.

I would repeat it again that there is peril in moving slowly. It is incompatible with our reputation; It is not in our DNA. The NDC is the party with the will to advance the cause of Ghana.

Our dependency on IMF/World Bank support is a major strategic vulnerability. These institutions are creating the agenda in which the world's so called poor must live.

The IMF/World Bank are controlled by th richest nations. The US for example has an 18% share of votes in the World Bank and 17% share of votes in the IMF. No decision can be made at these institutons without the consent of the US. The IMF and World Bank have no say over the US economy but the US has a total say over the obove institutions.

So how could a great nation like Ghana circumscribe its future to these institutions? I voted for a break from the past. I voted for opportunities. A nation like Ghana should not leave it's future in the hands of the IMF/World Bank as we have done over and over again.

THE challenges we face gives us a great moment of opportunity to help Ghanains and if Professor Mills is unable to rise up to the challenge, someone might have to step in and save the party.


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