NDC Boycott of SONA-4 Is a Declaration of Pre-2020 Election Defeat
They ought to be darn ashamed of themselves to suppose that deciding to boycott Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Fourth and Final, at least for his first term, State of the Nation’s Address (SONA-4), was the most effective tool for protesting the alleged delay in the release of the so-called Common Fund earmarked for the Third Quarter of the 2019 Fiscal Year. For those of our readers who may not be familiar with the same, the Common Fund is a set-aside local development monetary resource that is periodically released to all Members of Parliament for the execution of the pet projects of our National Assembly Representatives in the various Electoral Districts or Constituencies throughout the country.
The National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority Side believes that the apparent delay in the release of the Common Fund is a deliberately punitive measure aimed at significantly diminishing their chances of being able to effectively compete in the upcoming 2020 General Election against the New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentary Majority (See “Minority Boycotts 2020 State of the Nation Address” Ghanaweb.com 2/20/20). The timing of the boycott is especially bad because it gives a very unflattering image and reputation of the NDC’s Parliamentary Minority to the locally resident International Diplomatic Community whose representatives on the ground, as it were, will be in full attendance as President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivers the final report of his stewardship and his national development agenda for the little over 10 months left of his electoral mandate, at least for the nonce.
The boycott makes the members of the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority seem politically school-boyish and infantile to the rest of the global community. It is also almost certain that this is not the very first time that the release of the Common Fund for the Third Quarter of the year immediately preceding the Electoral Season or Election Year has apparently been unduly delayed. Very likely, it was the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress who established this apparently tactical or strategic precedence that is now being so deftly and opportunely used against the original brewers of the same poisonous electioneering campaign drink. In essence, the National Democratic Congress’ parliamentary leaders are merely being deservedly meted a vintage taste of their own brew. So their presence or absence in the august House of our National Assembly does not really matter one way or another.
In the past, as I vividly recall, the Common Fund has been recklessly disbursed for use as if this taxpayer money had been withdrawn from the personal bank accounts of these parliamentarians. There was that moment during the first SONA presentation by then President John Evans Atta-Mills, late, sometime in February 2010, or thereabouts, for example, when the extant President specifically authorized these parliamentarians to use a sizeable portion of their share of the Common Fund to build office suites for themselves at whatever locations that they so chose or personally deemed to be suitable in their respective districts or constituencies, instead of their district or constituency capitals. That is just how recklessly the Common Fund has been authorized for use in the past. No wonder, then, that during the previous Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress, a remarkable percentage of the NDC’s cabinet appointees had felt entitled to draw double salaries at the expense of the economically depressed average Ghanaian taxpayer.
The boycott of the SONA-4 presentation by President Akufo-Addo also reflects the gross incompetence of the leadership of the NDC’s Parliamentary Minority, as the forging of a good working relationship between the two major parliamentary aisles could easily have ironed out any kinks or differences that may have caused undue delay in the release of the Common Fund.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]
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