The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) boycott of the on-going National Economic Forum, as a stab in the back of Ghanaians, for political expediency
“For an opposition political party whose mandate must be to offer pragmatic alternative policies to government, serve as a watch dog, and provide voice for across-section of the electorate, to reject an opportunity to brainstorm on the National Economy, is unfortunate.
“The posture of NPP leadership affirms the perception that it has been destractive, and outmoded with modern day politics,” Mr Joseph Kobina Ade Coker, NDC Greater-Accra Regional Chairman told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra on Wednesday.
“Boycotting the forum means the NPP and its functionaries have no moral grounds to criticize the outcome of the forum, or organize a surrogate press conference to pontificate on the national economy,” Mr Ade Coker stated.
He said, what an opposition party could offer Ghanaians is constructive criticism and active participation in government programmes and engagement at the highest level of leadership, which NPP has rejected.
Mr Coker who is the Chairman of NDC Regional Chairmen’s Caucus, classified the National Economic Forum as “a major platform to demonstrate politics of inclusion, build a national agenda for the well-being of Ghanaians.”
He disclosed that NPP’s strategy is to boycott a major national activity only to monitor the event in the comfort of their homes, and organize a press conference later to make unnecessary noise.
The four-day Forum, which is on the theme: “Changing the Narrative”: seeks to achieve consensus on policies, strategies and measures that are required to accelerate Ghana’s transition from a lower middle income nation to an upper middle income economy, with a sustainable path of development that would guarantee improvement in the quality of life for all Ghanaians.
Mr Coker said NPP’s boycott is tacit admission that they lack men and women to provide pro-active alternatives to solve national problems.
The NDC Regional Chairman, however, commended: “Gallant patriotic citizens who honoured the invitation to participate in the forum, to decide on the future of Ghana.
Mr Paul Afoko, NPP National Chairman, tagged the forum as a public relations gimmick calculated by government to keep Ghanaians in the dark about the true state of the economy.
Meanwhile, scores of leading politicians, religious leaders, academia and economists have condemned the NPP for boycotting the forum.
Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, a leading Member of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), said the NPP’s action, apart from characterizing the nature of the party, also flies in the face of patriotism.
“The NPP has no respect for Ghanaians, else they would have appreciated the plight of Ghanaians, and joined the search for solutions to grow the national economy,” Prof Akosa stated.
Mr Kwame Pianim, a renowned economist and NPP leading member, described the boycott as a “wrong move.”
Mr. Pianim advised that “it is time for Ghanaians to put our political colours aside, and act as Ghanaians.”
Mr Franklin Cudjoe, Imani Ghana Executive Director, expressed disappointment in the party’s decision to boycott the Forum; rather the NPP should have used the occasion to drum home its policy alternatives, instead of staying away.