“Ghana will forever remain poor if we keep saying we are poor”. This remarkable statement was made by no mean a person than the President of Ghana himself in a recent interview he granted Adom FM's Adakabre Frimpong-Manso. Speaking in his favourite Twi, President Kufuor said: "wo fre ehia ma wo ho a, ebe hia wo daa", literally meaning "if you say you are poor, you will forever be poor."
The obvious implication of the President's statement is that Ghana is bound to be poor over the next twenty years since President Kufuor and his associates not only officially declared the country to be a Highly Indebted and Poor Country but have through various means convinced the Ghanaian populace to accept the HIPC tag because of the many “benefits” the label brings to the country.
These benefits, in the forms of litter bins, KVIPS etc. were commissioned amidst pomp and fanfare by the President and his men especially in the run up to the 2004 elections and in the process no effort was spared to eulogize the decision of the NPP government to declare the country not just a poor country but one that is highly indebted as well.
It is amazing therefore to hear the same person who led a nation of nearly 20 million people into this most embarrassing situation, saying today that the acceptance of the poverty tag is a certain means of remain poor forever.
A Tema-based petty trader, Grace Okine, who was equally shocked by the President's words, could not hide her utter disgust; this was her reaction: "Since when did the President come to the realization that by admitting and saying that we are poor, we will forever be poor? So why does he not immediately take steps to lift the HIPC label off us to ensure our prosperity?" In her view, the President was just as usual demonstrating the now commonly accepted double standards and hypocrisy of his party, the NPP.
Another personality who has made a similar call is Radio Gold's Kokonsah. He has also called on President Kufuor to act to lift the curse of poverty that he has imposed on the country with his declaration of the country as a highly indebted and poor country since he now admits that the tag will forever make us poor.