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05.07.2019 Feature Article

On ‘Kum yen preko’ demo: Please kill them not!

On ‘Kum yen preko’ demo: Please kill them not!
JUL 5, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

Some of us are not in a position to join the Coalition of Social Justice’s forthcoming replica demonstration, slated for Tuesday 9th July 2019, dubbed ‘kum yen preko’, in protest of supposedly hardships and oppression being wilfully imposed on Ghanaians by the incumbent NPP government (the original was staged in 1995 in protest of the then NDC government’s human rights abuses and economic enslavement).

As an unwearied human rights activist, Nana Akufo-Addo spearheaded the fight against dictatorship during the NDC founder, J. J. Rawlings’s despotic rule.

In 1995, the human rights ideologue, Nana Akufo-Addo, led the Alliance for Change demonstration, dubbed, “Kume Preko", which provided a platform for Ghanaians to express their dissatisfaction with what was going on in the NDC government led by the despotic Jerry John Rawlings (see: www.modernghana.com/news/172/kume-preko-on-cnn-bbc.html ).

We should, therefore, be grateful to President Akufo-Addo, the then Attorney General under the Kufuor’s administration, for contributing immensely towards the repealing of the eccentric and frumpish laws such as the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws which were used excessively by the previous NDC administration under president Jerry John Rawlings to silence their political opponents.

The repealing of the strikingly outlandish seditious laws in 2001 was, as a matter of fact, an unprecedented feat by Kufuor’s government.

In fact, the revocation of the apparent irrational and inhumane laws paved way for the press freedom we are enjoying at present, however the regrettable incidents now and then.

As a matter of fact, upon the removal of the draconian laws, ordinary citizens could express their views and plan civil demonstrations without looking behind them.

More importantly, political actors and activists now have unrestricted freedom to organise press conferences and demonstrations, sometimes with minimal police resistance.

Suffice it to stress that in the period between 1993 and 2001, despite the advent of democracy, the opposition political parties were toothless and could not organise frequent demonstrations and press conferences.

But due to former President Kufuor and his government’s unbelievable fortitude, today, the minority NDC operatives and their allies can freely organise demonstrations and press conferences to register their indignation.

All the same, that epitomises the beauty of democracy. The minority NDC operatives are within their democratic rights to grouch and speak their piece and criticise the NPP administration as they see fit.

Indeed, the Coalition of Social Justice are within their democratic rights to embark on any civil demonstration if they so wish.

But that said, ‘me and my household’, as a matter of principle, will ever be grateful to the Akufo-Addo’s government and cannot hastily join the demonstrating bandwagon because, we are, in all honesty, benefiting immensely from the pragmatic social intervention policies and programmes such as the Free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Tax reductions, the National Builders Corp (NABCO), Nurses and Teachers Allowances (previously cancelled by the Mahama’s administration ), One million dollar per Constituency, Zongo Development Fund, One Dam per Village in the Northern part of Ghana, amongst others.

Yours truly, in particular, have made substantial savings from the Free SHs policy.

But for Akufo-Addo’s foresightedness, I would have paid fees of not less than GH16, 599 over a period of three years for three of my nephews. So why should I be ungrateful to the originator of such a pragmatic intervention?

Besides, subsequent to the 50% and 30% benchmark reductions on goods and vehicles respectively, I have made a staggering GH7000 savings on a Toyota Corolla saloon vehicle. I used to pay 22,000, but, on this occasion, I only paid 15,000. How wonderful?

Apparently, a video clip is making rounds, purported to be that of a recent forum organised by the leadership of the opposition NDC and showing the guest speaker, a Nigerian erudite academic, frankly praising the Akufo-Addo’s government on Ghana’s favourable economic growth, obviously, to the utter chagrin of his hosts, many of whom were dumbfounded on the guest speaker’s intellectual honesty.

While some of us really appreciate discerning Ghanaians irrevocable apprehension over Mahama’s desperate attempt to reclaim the presidency, the NDC loyalists, unfortunately, seem oblivious to the apocalypse of Mahama returning to the Jubilee House.

Take, for example, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), has concluded in its country report released on 13 May 2019 that Ex-President John Dramani Mahama will struggle to convince the electorates into accepting that he is capable of managing Ghana’s economy, in the sense that the economy is fairly strong under President Akufo-Addo.

Mind you, it would be extremely disastrous if Mahama and NDC were to reclaim the presidency, given the calamitous errors in judgement which led to the massive economic meltdown.

But despite all the harsh economic conditions amidst corruption allegations (Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, NCA, Ford Expedition Vehicle, amongst others), which led to their 2016 humiliating election defeat, the NDC loyalists can still muster the courage to stage a demonstration on a supposedly economic hardships.

Why wouldn’t discerning Ghanaians dread and emit grave concerns over the return of a former president who has more alleged bribery and corruption scandals hanging around his neck than any other president in the history of Ghanaian politics?

Let us be honest though, no true nationalist will ever shrill and thrill over the return of a former president who has serious questions to answer over the puzzling corruption scandals such as the STX housing deal, the Brazilian aircrafts, the Ford Expedition Vehicle and the Armajaro saga.

Take, for instance, somewhere last year, we read that four courageous Ghanaians had petitioned the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu to probe into the alleged E.O. Group’s $13 million corporate social responsibility fund towards the development of the Western Region which the petitioners claimed to have been diverted by Ex-President Mahama (See: ‘Mahama diverted $13m E.O. Group money; probe him – Four citizens petition Amidu’-todaygh.com/ghanaweb.com, 18/06/2018).

Why wouldn’t patriotic Ghanaians dread the return of a former President who can boldly accept a furtive gift of a brand new Ford Expedition vehicle worth over $100,000 from a Burkinabe Contractor called Djibril Kanazoe?

I recall somewhere last year, we were greeted by yet another news of corruption scandal in the erstwhile Mahama administration, this time, an alleged oil money of GH40.5 million secret transfers to the presidency, via the then Chief of Staff (See: ‘Group explains why Amidu must probe Mahama, Debrah in GH¢40.5m BOST payment’; myjoyonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 19/09/2018).

It beggars belief that despite the wanton corruption, the arrogance of power and the crass incompetence exhibited by the erstwhile Mahama administration which resulted in massive economic collapse, the NDC faithful could still muster the courage to chastise Akufo-Addo and clamour inexorably for the return of former President Mahama.

Given the illimitable rot in the Mahama’s administration, some of us cannot help but to laugh off the NDC’s faithful’s renewed zeal to return to power so soon.

Truth must be told though, the critics cannot be entirely correct for claiming that President Akufo-Addo has deliberately worsened the plight of Ghanaians since assuming power on 7th January 2017.

In fact, under Akufo-Addo’s presidency, Ghana’s economic growth has moved from a disappointing 3.4% in December 2016 to a favourable 8.6%.

And, the previously double digit inflation (15.8 in December 2016) has been reduced drastically to around 9% as I write.

The seasoned journalist, Kweku Baako Jnr hit the nail on the head when he pointed out on Joy FM’s political show (News File) on Saturday 6/04/2019 that the NPP administration led by President Akufo-Addo has performed exceedingly better than the erstwhile NDC government led by former President Mahama.

Juxtaposing the state of the economy in first two years of the two administrations, Kweku Baako Jnr aptly concluded that the economy is in a better shape under the Akufo-Addo’s administration than it was under Mahama’s administration.

Baako Jnr, therefore, asserted poignantly: “There’s no doubt that the Akufo-Addo administration has done far better than the Mahama administration; it’s as simple as that, the figures and the records support it (myjoyonline.com, 6/04/2019).”

The Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde could not have put it any better when she asserted that the Ghanaian economy is in a better place than it was in the previous years under the John Dramani Mahama’s administration.

Ms Lagarde, however, stressed that the Akufo-Addo’s government had made important gains towards macroeconomic stability, including inflation, which had declined to a single digit and now within the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) tolerance band; buoyant growth, averaging about five per cent between 2015 and 2018, and, over six per cent in 2017-18) and a primary surplus in 2017 for the first time in 15 years (IMF 2018).

It was, therefore, not surprising that after his visit to Ghana, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, commended the Akufo-Addo’s government: “Ghana met the targets for halving extreme poverty and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, and it achieved the goals relating to universal primary education and gender parity in primary school.

“In the period ahead, Ghana is set to become Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2018. Bloomberg News has proclaimed Ghana as the “Star of Africa in 2018 Lenders’ Economic Forecasts”.

“And in reporting on the same fiscal policy achievements, Le Monde has pointed out that Ghana’s success is not just as the result of an oil-driven boom, but is also due to prudent economic management, an entrepreneurial population, the role of traditional leaders, and good governance.

“In addition, Ghana’s achievements in providing free schooling and free meals to students, and its creation of a health insurance scheme for the whole country are considerable accomplishments (Philip Alston, 2018).”

It is based on such commendable achievements that some of us cannot be part of a demonstration, with a flimsy excuse that the Akufo-Addo’s thriving economy is not reflecting in the lives of Ghanaians.

The fact however remains that Ghana under the erstwhile NDC administration experienced massive economic downslide which regrettably brought to pass harsh socio-economic standards of living.

Given the circumstances, it will be difficult for any government to reverse such mess within a shortest possible time.

So, it is somewhat unfair and unreasonable to see the brassbound NDC faithful, who are currently enjoying uninterrupted electricity, reductions in electricity tariffs, low inflation, tax reductions (including import taxes), favourable economic growth, gargantuan savings on free SHS, amongst others gathering the courage to censure the NPP administration.

It is, indeed, extremely baffling to keep hearing such ridiculous misconceptions from the NDC apologists, many of whom only follow narrow party coloration, devoid of patriotism and solicitude.

But then again, one has to contain his/her emotional intelligence, show unconditional deference and composure, for after all, aren’t sycophancy, partisanship and lack of patriotism been our greatest nemesis?

Given the circumstances, we can logically conclude that vague apprehension of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who prefer hero worshipping to defending the national interests.

Thus, some of our leaders, having first-hand knowledge of our hero worshipping gimmicks, tend to take us for granted and continue to provide us with mediocre leadership and services.

Gratifyingly, despite the huge economic mess left by the outgone NDC administration, the Akufo-Addo’s government has raised Ghana’s economic growth from a disappointing 3.4% in December 2016 to a favourable 8.6%. And the double digit inflation (15.8 in December 2016) has been reduced drastically to around 9%.

It must, however, be emphasised that no economist can undo the huge economic mess created by the NDC government within 26 months into a 48 month mandate.

So, it is quite unfair for the NDC loyalists to expect Akufo-Addo’s government to conjure magic and fix the mess so soon when the NDC administration paid GH800 million dubious judgment debt, including the GH51.2 million to Woyome which resulted in the drastic reduction of capital expenditure.

Somewhere last year, I thought I was dreaming when I chanced on the unfortunate news about the misappropriation of $175 million loan facility secured in 2012 which was meant to provide seven district hospitals. But I was not. I was wide awake. The NDC hierarchy indeed misapplied the loan facility on the blind side of Ghanaians.

Why must the brassbound NDC supporters expect Akufo-Addo’s government to use 26 months to fix the 96 months massive mess left by the erstwhile NDC government when the same people surreptitiously diverted $6 million of a government loan facility of $175 million meant to provide seven district hospitals into researching the then governing NDC’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections?

The surreptitious research was alleged to have carried out by the United Kingdom based SCL Social, the mother company of Cambridge Analytica.

According to the report, although SCL Social was given $6 million to carry out a nationwide survey to provide appropriate data for the proper planning of the healthcare needs of Ghana, the NDC government led by Ex-President Mahama deemed it fit to divert the loan facility for their internal research at the expense of the sick and infirm Ghanaians. How insensitive?

The contractors, SCL Social, admitted: “The work consists of two discrete political and public health elements. The political element is testing the attitudes and perceptions of the population towards contemporary issues faced in Ghana and public confidence in the capacity and competence of the current administration to implement appropriate timely solutions. As well as the current level of satisfaction regarding the performance of the NDC at district, regional and national level is also tested and the research incorporates how this may translate into future electoral success.”

If we do the arithmetic of the $175 million loan facility which was supposed to provide seven district hospitals, each hospital should have cost us $25 million.

Nevertheless, credible sources have it that out of the seven district hospitals, only the one in Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region received the full funding and was thus completed successfully.

The all-important question then is: where is the rest of the $175 million loan facility?

How can we advance as a nation when some conspiratorial plotters keep hiding behind party coloration, devoid of patriotism and rapaciously squandering our scarce resources to the detriment of the poor and disadvantage Ghanaians?

Since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled sleazes and corruption.

If the rampant bribery and corruption, the stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists , the misappropriation of resources and the crude embezzlement of funds meant for developmental projects by some public officials do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

Believe it or not, there is admissible evidence of gargantuan bribery and corruption cases, including monies which were given to parasitic creatures who did not render any services towards the national development. Woyome and Akua Donkor come to mind.

A large portion of Ghana’s scarce resources, regrettably, went down the drain due to the mismanagement and the wanton sleazes and corruption perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile Mahama administration.

Take, for example, not long ago, a competent court of jurisdiction convicted two of the numerous corruption suspects in the erstwhile NDC administration and sentenced them to six and twelve years respectively.

In fact, I share in the sentiments of the concerned Ghanaians, who have been maintaining all along that the sins of the two convicts are meagre in comparison with the other scandalous corruption cases which took place in the erstwhile Mahama administration.

In a related development, on 14th March 2018, the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited, who have been accused of embezzling over GH260 million under the watch of former President Mahama.

But in spite of the admissible evidence of Mahama’s government’s unbridled corruption and incompetence, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians to believe that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.

The good people of Ghana, regrettably, will attest to wanton corruption, incompetence and frequent abuse of power in the erstwhile NDC government.

Take, for instance, but for the Honourable Agyapong’s whistling blowing prowess, former President Mahama’s sibling, Ibrahim Mahama, would have evaded import taxes in the tune of GH12 million. How pathetic?

Delightfully, the EOCO ordered Ibrahim Mahama to pay the GH12 million as all his previous 44 cheques were dishonoured by the respective banks. How bizarre?

As if that was not enough, the Mahama administration revoltingly sanctioned a 30 year bauxite mining lease of around 58% to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power. How pathetic?

We can, however, rest assured that based on the prudent governance under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo amid favourable economic outlook, Ghana is heading towards the right direction.

K. Badu, UK.
[email protected]

Kwaku Badu
Kwaku Badu, © 2019

This author has authored 790 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwakuBadu

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