Less than a week after the burial of President J.E.A. Mills, political activity has earnestly begun across the country with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) describing President John Mahama and his Vice, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur as “spare tyres” who should be voted out of power by Ghanaians in the upcoming general elections.
The NPP insists Mahama/Amissah-Arthur pair should be held responsible for the poor state of Ghana’s economy.
The NPP, it would be recalled, suspended its campaign till the completion of the funeral ceremony of the late president Mills; but the party on Tuesday, jabbed President Mahama for his inability to deliver despite all the power he had at his disposal under the late president to bring progress into the lives of Ghanaians.
At a press conference held at the party’s headquarters on Tuesday, NPP National Chairman Jake Obestebi Lamptey, said “John Mahama led the Economic Management Team with now Vice President, Amissah-Arthur in charge of monetary policy as governor of the Bank of Ghana; the same team that failed to deliver on the most important thing in our lives,the economy, are the same team who are in charge now.
“Ghanaians are not expecting anything new from President John Mahama in the last few months of the NDC. He (Mahama) represents no real hope for the youth of this country in addressing things that matter to them most: education, skills, jobs and accommodation. He has no new ideas for the struggling businessmen and women of Ghana. He gives the country anxiety rather than hope on the big issue of responsible management of public resources,” Jake Obestebi Lamptey said.
Read below the full statement read by the NPP National Chair at the press conference.
NOTHING HAS CHANGED AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNLESS YOU MAKE THE CHANGE ON DEC 7
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, thank you, once again, for showing up in such strong numbers at such a short notice. We are very grateful. The New Patriotic Party invited you here today to pay tribute to the smooth transition and sense of unity that the country showed in bidding our departed President a decent farewell, befitting of the office he held.
What the events of these past few days have shown us is the clear and unwavering determination of Ghanaians to live in a country where democracy thrives and is backed by the rule of law. Democracy is here to stay and is obviously the best form of governance for us all. We may have different ideologies, but politics is about competition of different ideas on how to move the country forward.
The New Patriotic Party wishes to congratulate H. E. John Mahama and H. E. Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur on their assumption of office as the new President and new Vice President of the Republic, respectively, following the death of President John Evans Atta Mills. We also wish them the best of luck in their efforts to be endorsed next month as the NDC presidential candidate and his running mate for the December 7th presidential race.
I believe that it was right and respectful of the NPP to suspend campaigning before the elections in December following the tragic death of President Atta Mills. But today we must reignite our campaign and remind ordinary Ghanaians up and down the country of the failures of the NDC Government and that those who run the party today, are responsible for those failures.
We are reminded of this when we dwell upon the new President’s own claims that he was effectively the President of the Republic under former President Mills. He said:
“I believe I am the luckiest Vice President in the world to have had a President like him. He gave me the space to operate and gave me every responsibility. He made me Chairman of the Police Council, Chairman of [the] Armed Forces Council, Chairman of the Economic Management Team, everything [sic]… and he said, ‘John I trust you can do it.’ He reposed absolute trust in me. Anytime there was tribulation and I felt troubled, I went to him. He calmed me done and said ‘John I trust you, I like the work you are doing, carry on’.”
Thus, friends of the media, according to President John Mahama, he ran the show under President Mills. And, President Mills allowed him to run the show because the late President trusted him fully. So, the obvious question is this: what did Vice President Mahama do with the power Prof Atta Mills gave him and what did he do to deserve the absolute trust that President Mills reposed in him?
President John Mahama admits that he led the team that President Mills put in place to manage our economy, the most important area of government which affects the daily lives of every Ghanaian. Thus for more than 3½ years, John Mahama led the Economic Management Team, with now Vice President, Amissah Arthur, in charge of Monetary Policy, as the Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
Why is this important? Well it shows that the same team that failed to deliver on the most important thing in our lives, the economy, are the same team who are in charge now.
President John Mahama and Vice President Amissah-Arthur are most responsible for the economic hardships that Ghanaians are suffering now.
They failed to manage the economy or deliver on the trust that President Mills had in them. They failed the people of Ghana and cannot be trusted or expected to offer anything new.
For us in the NPP and, we believe, to the majority of Ghanaians, nothing has changed with the coming into office of Mahama-Amissah Arthur’s uninspiring caretaker team. Thankfully, their job, in the words of the new Vice President (during his vetting), “is meant to be just a stop gap thing.”
We will therefore appeal to them, on behalf of all Ghanaians, to drive the nation gently, like a spare tyre, to the December general election for Ghanaians to hold their own referendum on the performance of this NDC government. Meanwhile we will continue to campaign for our programme of economic transformation, access to free and quality education, competent and anticorrupt leadership that Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP are presenting to voters now.
MISMANAGING THE CEDI
We have heard, as recently as last week from the Vice President, how wonderful the Ghanaian economy has been under this NDC. In fact, since 2009, the NDC has continued to tell us that Ghanaians had never had it so good. They have used propaganda and lies to ‘deliver’ the Better Ghana that they promised.
To quote from Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, our Vice Presidential Candidate, “The lesson from history for governments is that you cannot manage the economy with propaganda. In fact, you can engage in all the propaganda you want but if the macroeconomic fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you.” True to his words, the weak nature of Ghana’s economy has been exposed by the rate of depreciation of our currency.
In the last 3½ years alone the cedi has lost 81% of its value to the dollar. By the end of last week, the cedi had lost 21% of its value to the dollar in this year alone, and is still falling. The curious thing, ladies and gentlemen, is that nothing extraordinary has happened this year. Crude oil prices are stable, revenues from our export commodities are strong. In other words, our balance of payment is in a far stronger shape than it was during the record hikes in crude oil prices and the global food crisis that the NPP encountered in 2008.
Ladies and Getlemen, there is nothing new about the John Mahama-Amissah Arthur ticket. They have spent the last three years presiding over PR gimmicks, vile propaganda and the depreciation of the cedi.
NOTHING NEW ABOUT PRESIDENT JOHN MAHAMA
Within this relatively short period of his Presidency, we in the NPP have cause to worry about the incompetence shown by President John Mahama. His penchant to take bad decisions without consulting the relevant stakeholders, as in his flawed decision to turn the Jubilee House into a presidential cemetery; his shocking explanation to foreign diplomats that had he chosen his vice presidential nominee earlier he would have been accused of “assassinating the president”, his strange and rash decision to launch his campaign during President Mills’ one week funeral celebration; the indecision characterizing the choice of a burial place for the late President.
His decision to break his own admonition to NDC communicators by being the first to throw insults at Ghanaians by describing the unnecessary debate that he himself generated over the choice of burial place as “useless”.
Even more worrying for Ghanaians is the fact that President Mahama does not give us any hope in the fight against corruption. The President’s own active involvement in some of the most scandalous contracts and loan agreements over the last few years mean that Ghanaians have more reasons now to worry about corruption than before
President John Mahama was the same man who, against all competent advice, signed us up to allegedly the most corrupt loan agreement ever contracted by any government of Ghana, the US$10 billion STX housing deal. Ghanaians were to be fleeced of $1.5 billion for the construction of 30,000 flats, half of them single bedroom.
The deal allowed the Korean company to walk away with a staggering $264 million in so-called ‘political risk insurance’. As we speak, we still do not know where our sovereign guarantee is and the Korean partners are demanding $17 million in court for no work done.
Mahama is also responsible for the acquisition of the Embraer 190 presidential jet, disguised as a military jet. This deal included a ridiculously inflated price of $1million for a staircase, $1million for entertainment package and $17million for a hangar to park the plane.
Similarly, John Mahama is the face of NDC broken promises. He championed the SADA project, a concept stolen from the NPP’s Northern Development Authority. The promise of an initial start-up capital of GH¢200 million and a further GH¢100 million every year was neglected just like the affordable housing project started by President Kufuor.
SADA and STX clearly epitomize headline projects championed by President John Mahama, which have failed. His presidency does not inspire any confidence that public funds are safe.
The President has also been part of an administration and indeed had oversight of the Ministry of Finance that doled out GH¢642 million in the payment of so-called judgement debts, with records showing that a majority of these payment were procured by fraudulent means and also through arbitrary settlements. All this from a country they described as “broke”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghanaians want to know what President John Mahama is going to do differently about corruption to show he is committed to fighting corruption. Perhaps he can show his commitment by taking action against the likes of former Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, Deputy Attorney General, Ebow Barton-Odro, Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor and other NDC functionaries implicated in this saga. President Mahama can also ensure that the nation retrieves the GH¢51.8 million, in the words of the state, “fraudulently” paid to Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
POLITICS OF INSULTS
The NPP also welcomes President John Mahama’s call for a clean campaign and his appeal to party supporters to avoid insults. He has promised that the NDC government will do everything possible to ensure the elections are conducted with dignity and decency and we sincerely hope that he keeps to his word. We also welcome his decision to fire any member of his administration who engages in the politics of insults, an activity members of the NDC administration are well versed in. We wish him well. We, note that he has his first challenge with Mr. Kojo Twum Boafo’s insults on the person of Hon. Nana Akomea, uttered just yesterday.
We strongly hope that President Mahama’s promise amounts to more than just words and that he supports his statement by taking action to curb the constant barrage of insults from his communicators and party spokespersons. Yet what does John Mahama’s call say about the late President and his commitment to politics devoid of insults? It may be remembered that we had similar promises before from our late President, which were sadly not kept.
A democratic election campaign is an opportunity to discuss the issues and for political parties to present their philosophy and vision to the voters; it is an opportunity for parties to outline their policy objectives about how they intend to manage the country and it is an opportunity for the voters to assess objectively the track record, performance and competence of the candidates.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
This election is about our future. It is about the performance of this third NDC government, and the incompetent, corrupt and uninspiring leadership they have provided; the gross mismanagement of the economy; the falling cedi with its inherent impact on trade, from big business to the street hawker; the rising cost of living; and the hypocrisy, lies, propaganda and broken promises.
Ghanaians are not expecting anything new from President John Mahama in the last few months of the NDC. He represents no real hope for the youth of this country in addressing things that matter to them most: education, skills, jobs and accommodation. He has no new ideas for the struggling businessmen and women of Ghana. He gives the country anxiety rather than hope on the big issue of responsible management of public resources. Ghanaians are worried because the economy is being handled in a manner reminiscent of the NDC’s mishandling of the economy in 2000. We do not need to return to HIPC status.
Ghana cannot afford to live under four more years of failure. What Ghana needs is leadership genuinely concerned for the people with the will and the capacity to increase the prosperity of its people.
The New Patriotic Party under the leadership of our Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Akufo-Addo will offer the people of Ghana something remarkably different. Ours will not be a government of lies and propaganda, but of real action.
The NPP believes that raw material producing economies do not create prosperity for the masses. The way to ensuring access to prosperity, is value addition activities in a transformed and a diversified modern economy.
An Akufo-Addo administration will make sure that every child gets access to Free Senior High School education and offer those failed by the system the skills to be the drivers of our industrialization agenda.
In December Ghanaians have the opportunity to move away from the incompetence and corruption displayed by this NDC government. They can choose the effective leadership and transformative vision of the NPP and we can move Ghana forward together.
NOTHING HAS CHANGED AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNLESS YOU, THE GHANAIAN ELECTORATE, MAKE THE CHANGE ON DEC 7, 2012.
Even though as we don’t expect much, all that we ask of the caretaker leadership of President John Mahama and Vice President Amissah Arthur is to ensure Ghana has free and fair elections and remains peaceful in the aftermath of the December polls. The NDC inherited a peaceful Ghana and we urge them to handover a peaceful Ghana after the December polls.