Free SHS will help create many Busias from poor families – Vice President Bawumia
The adherents of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition have shown greater care towards the needs of the vulnerable and underprivileged, much more than the avowed socialists, the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated.
This tradition, which began governance under the Progress Party government of Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia in 1969, and continued under President John Agyekum Kufuor under the New Patriotic Party government, and is now being continued under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has consistently sought to implement policies and programmes specifically tailored to meet the needs of the ordinary person.
Ironically, the parties claiming to be of socialist inclination, today most visibly represented by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), have rather sought to either impede or cancel such programmes, which gives the lie to the principles they claim to hold dear.
Vice President Bawumia made the assertion while speaking at a ceremony to celebrate the life and legacy of Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia, Prime Minister in the 2nd Republic, at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region on Saturday 8th September, 2018.
“The Busia government was the first government of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition. He left the blueprint for welfare capitalism which other governments from the tradition have implemented, especially the blueprint designed to ensure inclusive and holistic development for all” the Vice President indicated.
This blueprint led to the introduction of a number of programmes by the Busia government, including the creation of a new Ministry to seek the welfare, training and employment of youth, culminating in the National Service Corps, and a Voluntary Work Camps Association, among others.
He also instituted a Social Security Fund for the construction of low cost houses; a Rural Development Fund to provide the rural areas with good drinking water, through the Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation, Latrine pits, markets and health posts.
The academic in Dr Busia also saw to the building of Secondary schools across the country; introduced Experimental Schools on pilot basis, which is now called Junior High Schools; provided free text books in all the schools, as well as free ‘Achimota’ sandals to pupils in middle school.
“Dr. Busia also saw the future development of Ghana in terms of rural industrialization if we are to prevent the phenomenon of rural-urban migration and what that means for national development. In his mind, unmanaged population drifts away from rural areas in search of greener pastures can only mean creating the very same conditions of poverty, unemployment, poor housing, under-provision of social amenities that they are trying to escape from,” Dr Bawumia maintained.
When the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition returned to power in 2001, President John Agyekum Kufuor, Dr Busia’s protégé, introduced initiatives such as National Youth Employment Programme, School Feeding Programme, Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), free maternal care for all pregnant women under NHIS, and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme under which welfare grants are paid to the extreme poor.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has continued with the philosophy of welfare capitalism by introducing initiatives such as Free Senior High School Policy, Planting for Food and Jobs, ‘One Village One Dam’, ‘One District One Factory’, ‘One District One Warehouse’.
“We have also restored Teacher and Nursing Trainee allowances, which allowed qualified but needy persons to acquire employable skills but was cancelled by the party which claims to care for the poor, NDC. We have reduced the price of water and electricity, and established three Development Authorities to ensure development projects reach every community in Ghana. Under the Nation Builders Corps, 100,000 graduates will be engaged in 7 different modules and be paid monthly while they gain the necessary experience to step out on their own.
“This is a practical demonstration of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo’s commitment to caring for the vulnerable and needy in society. This tradition, as envisioned by Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia, has continued to be socially responsible and has not sought to cancel programmes designed to make the life of the ordinary Ghanaian better,” Vice President Bawumia declared.
The late Prof Busia would have been especially proud about the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy, Vice President Bawumia believes.
“After we have provided for food, water and roads, one thing Dr Busia would want us to do without fail is to ensure that every child in the country, regardless of where they live, and regardless of their parents’ ability, gets the opportunity to go to school.
“How else could a rural boy like Dr Abrefa Busia grow up to become such a scholar? He believed and treasured the power of the mind and in the development in freedom of every citizen. There should be no barriers to the development of minds. It is a profitable social investment for the future. Imagine if Dr Abrefa Busia did not get the chance to go to Mfantsipim School. Who then says that Free SHS is not good or it is not time for it to start?”
The Vice President extolled Prof Busia’s vision and the principles under-pinning his politics, which continue to influence modern day Ghana.
“Dr Busia’s vision was founded on the principles of free governments, multiparty democracy, free press, the rule of law and principles of democratic accountability. This is basically what Ghana is practicing today. He wanted to build a democratic welfare state where people live in a social framework in which each is his brother’s keeper.”
The MP for Wenchi and Minister of Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, in his welcome remarks eulogized the late Prime Minister for his exemplary leadership style which he amply demonstrated where ever he found himself.
He said Dr. Busia excellently blended tradition, religion, academic and politics – all in the supreme interest of humanity.
For her part, the Second Lady used the occasion which also coincided witth the International Literacy Day, to donate some reading materials to ten schools in the area, including the Wenchi Methodist Primary School where Dr. Busia started school.
Earlier in the day, the Vice-President, cut-sod for the construction of Dr. Busia’s Memorial Library and Museum at Wenchi.
He also layed a wreath at Dr. Busia’s tomb at Wenchi on behalf the government and the people of Ghana while the MP for the Area and Minister of Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour layed one for the New Patriotic Party, with Kwasi Agyeman Busia, DVLA Boss laying one on behalf of the Busia family.