The President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe says the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) reason for boycotting the National Economic Forum “was a joke.”
“That thing was a joke to say I won’t go,” he opined.
He mentioned that the rank and file of the NPP for some time now have been complaining bitterly about the state of the country’s economy and how it is being mismanaged by the government.
This, he said was an indication that, the members of the NPP knew challenges facing the nation.
Therefore, “to go on to suggest that you were not given any background concept paper and at the same time you were saying that whatever they are going to discuss is already known,” is difficult excuse to accept.
Prior to the National Economic Forum, the Chairman of the NPP, Paul Afoko announced that no party member will be allowed to attend the forum because the invitations arrived late.
He also stated that the invited members of the NPP were ill prepared due to the failure of government to give enough information on matters pencilled down to be discussed at the forum.
Mr. Afoko further stated that the forum was another talk shop being organized by government therefore; there was no need for NPP members to attend.
This announcement received a lot of public backlash as some opined it was an avenue for the NPP to make credible suggestions and recommendations on how the economy could be revived.
Some also stated that the NPP’s refusal to attend the forum was a clear indication they were not up to the task as an opposition party to proffer alternative solutions towards the effective governance of the country.
The only NPP stalwart who attended the forum was renowned economist, Kwame Pianim who described the NPP’s decision as a “mistake”.
Sharing his thoughts on the matter on Citi FM’s The Big Issue, Mr. Cudjoe, who was also a participant at the forum, noted that it is wrong for people to suggest that persons who honoured their invitation are one way or the other, linked to the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He asked, “are you suggesting that the over 140 people who came there all belong to the NDC? Is that the suggestion? …it was not as if all those who went to Akosombo were carrying a party colour or probably erected a party flag on their cars.”
“This was a very bad move for the executives to have captured and bottled the feelings of their constituency. It was a very, very wrong one” adding that, he is certain not every member of the party supported the national executives’ position.
The IMANI boss observed that the new NPP executives started off on a wrong note with the boycott decision which prevented the likes of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia from attending the forum.
“I have been told reliably that Dr. Bawumia was invited but he has to yield to this fatwa that was rather put across…I don’t understand the economic analysis of Mr. Paul Afoko. I don’t even understand if he understands the issues that plague us now,” he said.
But in a sharp rebuttal, a financial analyst, Sydney Casely Hayford said the NPP’s presence at the forum would have brought on a partisan twist which was not needed.
“If the NPP had been there, it would have become a partisan issue because each of them would like to take claim for some of the issues that were put out.”
He said he is certain the NPP envisaged that if they had contributed to solving the economic crisis, credit would have gone to the ruling NDC.
“If it succeeds and turns the economy around, you will go into 2016 and go and tell the public, yes, we fixed it without giving recognisance to the opposition persons who were there,” he explained.