Tomorrow in the northern regional capital, Tamale, several opposition political parties together with coalition of civil society groups will be demonstrating against the Jean Mensah led Electoral Commission of Ghana for embarking on a needless new voter register compilation which will result into avoidable wasteful spending of our country’s scarce resources (taxpayers money) that is nearly Ghc1 billion.
Yesterday, during the lectures organized by the coalition of civil society groups, evidence emerged that, a whooping Ghc28,195,150 or over C280 billion from the EC’s total budget will be shared among Jean Mensah and other EC officials as their per diem in order to compile a new voter register. The total budget for this needless exercise is almost Ghc1 billion.
The questions Ghanaians should be asking are the govt and the EC are:
▪ How many boreholes could be sunk using the ‘free chop-chop money’ in the name of per diem that Jean Mensah and her cabal are going to chop for free as their per diem in compiling a so- called new register?
▪ How many classrooms could be constructed using this free chop-chop Ghc28 million?
▪ What quantum of school furniture could be provided using this free chop-chop money?
▪ How many hospital beds could be provided using this free chop-chop money in the era of no
bed syndrome in many of our public hospitals?
The additional questions well-meaning Ghanaians ought to be asking the EC and perhaps the govt are:
1) How many E-Blocks schools could be constructed by the money that the EC will waste to compile new voters register at the SHS to ease the current congestion that has resulted into double track system?
2) How many CHPS compounds could be construed using this whooping amount of money across the country to enhance access to healthcare services especially in the rural areas?
3) How many community roads could this money be used to fix given the fact that in the last two years many communities across the country have been demonstrating over the deplorable nature of their roads?
4) How many unpaid Ghanaian contractors could this amount be used to settle to enable them also settle their debtors and be able to complete their projects on time to facilitate the development of the country?
5) Only two days ago, thus on Wednesday 8th January 2020, Ghana school feeding caterers picketed and actually slept in front of the Nima residence of Akufo Addo over non-payments of monies due them in the past year 2019, why is govt not paying them if there’s enough money to waste on new register?
6) Presently, TUSAG and TUTAG from the Technical Universities in the country have both declared strike over government failure to pay them monies due them. This has virtually brought technical education in these institutions to a halt, why is govt not paying them if there’s money to waste on needless new register?
7) Yesterday, Thursday 9th January 2020, hundreds out of about 3000 graduate teachers from CoE who passed their licensure exams and also completed their mandatory national service have not been posted by govt. The spokesperson for the ministry of education one Vincent Ekow said on
citifm eyewitness news that the ministry is unable to post these teachers whose services are needed because govt has no money to pay them after posting them. So, what sense does it make for same govt find close to Ghc1 billion for EC to compile a needless new register? This can only be motivated by self-centered or parochial interest on the part of the govt and not really the interest of the good people of Ghana, whose interest the govt is supposed to serve.
8) Again, just this week, Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) warned that if govt does not release monies for the running of the SHS, the schools will soon close down because they are currently struggling to contain the financial constraints facing them. So, why would govt leave all these important obligations and decided to give close to Ghc1 billion to EC to compile a needless new voter register, out of which Ghc28,195,150 would be chop-chop in the name of per diem for Jean Mensah and her cohorts?
It is important to note that, tomorrow’s protest which marks the beginning of series of civil actions by the good people of Ghana against the wasteful spending by the EC and the govt is beyond the ‘usual’ party politics. It’s about the good people of Ghana, the ordinary taxpayers, the ordinary women who sit at the roadside to sell roasted groundnuts or ‘kelewule’ and pay taxes to the state to ensure that better social amenities are provided in their communities, it’s about the Kayayee or head porters who sleep in the open mostly with no mattresses and no blankets covering and wake up every morning to toil by carrying piles of loads on their heads to ensure that productivity in the country is enhanced and pay taxes as well, it’s about the ordinary farmers who walk barefooted several killers to the farm with just a cutlass and hoe to make sure that there’s enough food in the country, it’s about the ordinary cocoa farmers who produce are locked up on the farms because there are no access roads to convey their produce to the market centers, it’s about the Ghanaian masses saying that enough is enough, enough of the three years of wasteful spending and opulence by our leaders especially the govt and its appointees that promised to protect the public purse.
History certainly has very interesting way of repeating itself. Tomorrow is Saturday 11th January 2020. It marks exactly 12 years when the people of Ghana again gathered in their numbers in the northern regional capital Tamale and staged a massive protest dubbed BIKURITI DEMO. The demonstration was organized by civil society pressure group Committee for Joint Action (CJA) led by Mr Kwesi Pratt as its convener. I am sure many Ghanaians will remember. Many opposition political parties then came together with CJA and protested against the excesses, wanton dissipation of the public purse and excruciating living conditions Ghanaians under the then govt.
Let’s demonstrate to Jean Mensah and the EC that, they are accountable to we the taxpayers and citizens of Ghana. And they cannot do things as it pleases them and their collaborators. The EC exists because we Ghanaians agreed and accepted that the EC should be in charge of organizing public elections, referenda and other related issues in the country as enshrined in the 1992 constitution of Ghana. Similarly, the same 1992 constitution gives citizens the right and responsibility to hold our public office holders accountable and not to allow them do things as they are pleased but as it should be done. All are cordially invited to join the demo in Tamale tomorrow morning at 6am prompt at the Jubilee park.
God bless our homeland Ghana.
BY Baba Musah