“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” – An African Adage
Today, I am on the warpath, armed with a two-edged sword. When President Mahama told us that Ghanaians are short-sighted and forgetful, he did not realise that not all of us are. Here in Africa if a politician makes a promise in a run-up to elections, and even includes such a promise in his or her party’s manifesto, nobody reminds the politician of the promise he or she made. We wait for the tenure of office of the politician to end before we realise how stupid we were to have voted for that politician. That is why President Mahama looked into our faces and told us that we are forgetful and short-sighted. If he thinks we cannot remember and cannot bite, he should look at our teeth.
I have on my table the manifesto of the ruling NDC and I am going to do justice to it. I am going to quote the page numbers where promises were made, to make it easy for you to refer to and join me in asking whether the NDC government has been able to do what it promised it will do. Six years after holding the reins of power, we need to keep the fire burning till 2016 and to remind them (the NDC) that we will never allow them to fool us twice.
On page 34 of the NDC manifesto, they stated clearly that when voted into power, they were going to ‘set up a new and truly non-partisan professionally competent and independent Presidential Commission to re-open investigations into the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and his elders in much 2002.” It has been six years since this promise was made, and we are yet to see the said commission at work. Indeed, the people of Dagbon, particularly the Andani faction, who believed in the NDC and trooped to the polling stations to vote for the NDC with the hope that perpetrators of the heinous crime would be brought to justice, are still waiting. They have been hoodwinked and left to lick their wounds.
They wrote on page 53 of their manifesto that “The NDC government shall pay the cocoa farmer at least 70% of the world market price of cocoa and to process at least 60% of the cocoa produced locally. The 70% price will not include the cost of cocoa diseases and pest control, cocoa roads, COCOBOD scholarships, hi-tech production and bonuses.” My dear and cherished readers who live in cocoa producing areas, and the cocoa farmer in particular, have these promises been kept by the NDC since they came into power? And come to think of this: Where is the locally produced cocoa being processed? Do we still have the Cocoa Mass Spraying initiative which was introduced by the Kufuor administration in operation?
Still on cocoa, they wrote on page 54 of their manifesto that “the NDC will consider establishing another Cocoa Processing Factory in the heart of the cocoa producing area of the Western Region.” Will the people in the cocoa producing area in the Western Region do me a favour by telling me where the Cocoa Processing Factory is located? Ah, maybe in two years time they will be able to establish the factory in the heart of the cocoa producing area!
The most enticing and juicy manifesto promise is recorded on page 68 of the NDC manifesto where the party states that “a onetime premium payment for registration with the NHIS will be implemented.” Today apart from the fact that the scheme is gradually collapsing, the onetime premium is a dream gone sour. I wonder what the NDC will tell Ghanaians come 2016, as far as the issue of onetime premium is concerned.
“Under the administration of a new NDC government, cotton will play a major role in reducing poverty and developing rural population and economies, especially in the three northern regions.” This is what they wrote on page 54 of their manifesto. Kinsmen from the three northern regions, permit me to ask you these questions: Are you producing cotton in the northern region? Is poverty reduced in your area, and is your community developed? If so, why do we still see your young and beautiful girls working as “kayayee” and your young and energetic young boys push trucks and wheelbarrows at the markets in the big cities down south, while your old ladies wash plates in ‘chop bars’?
And listen to the pathological liars again: “The NDC believes that it is the business of the state, both directly and indirectly, to create jobs for the people, particularly the youth. The NDC strategic objective is to provide EVERY GHANAIAN [emphasis mine] with a job from which they can earn their livelihood.” They wrote this on page 60 of their manifesto. If indeed, they have been able to provide EVERY GHANAIAN with a job, “directly or indirectly”, why do we have the Unemployed Graduates Association in this country? For the past six years that the NDC has been in power, unemployment has skyrocketed and if you, my dear reader who is an NDC supporter, thinks in a matter of two years this promise will come to pass, then you need to wake up from your slumber.
“The NDC will mobilise additional external resources to be able to expand and improve the quality of the School Feeding Programme to cover ALL PRIMARY SCHOOLS COUNTRYWIDE” (emphasis mine).This was what they told us in their manifesto. Today, apart from the fact that caterers have not been paid for the past one year after crediting food to be cooked for our children, the number of primary schools enjoying the School Feeding Programme have reduced, and the quality is nothing good to write home about.
As at the time the NDC liars were writing their manifesto, the country was facing some challenges as far as the provision of potable water and filth in the capital city were concerned. Those were the days the opposition NDC coined the phrase: “Kufuor Gallon.” The Kufuor administration tried so much to curb the menace, but much as the government tried, the filth will not go and provision of water was a problem. In order to hoodwink Ghanaians, the NDC wrote in their manifesto that when voted into power, “an NDC government will end the perennial water crisis and the troubling filth of our communities and cities by significantly expanding and upgrading water and sanitation infrastructure.” It has been six years since this promise was made. For the first time in the political history of this country, it had to take a whole Vice President of the Republic to visit refuse dump sites with the city’s Mayor. When I saw Mr Amissah Arthur on television the other day inspecting filth in Accra, I added “Tankas” (Town Councillor) to his name.
Meanwhile, the NDC has written in their manifesto that immediately after holding the reins of power they will use ONE HUNDRED DAYS to get rid of all filth in the national capital. Six years later, the Vice President is telling us that he has given the Mayor of Accra a few weeks to get rid of the filth in Accra. If the Mayor has not been able to get rid of filth in the city for the past six years, what is the guarantee that he will be able to do so in a matter of weeks?
On page 33 of the NDC manifesto, the party wrote that when voted into power, they will ”separate the Attorney General’s Department from the Ministry of Justice to promote greater efficiency and better transparency in the administration of justice.” Six years into the Mahama administration, that promise is yet to be fulfilled.
The NDC said by the end of their first term in office, the NDC would have:
(1) Fielded a government based on competence, efficiency and merit, whose members worked as a coherent team and abided by the principles of service with integrity and humanity.
(2) Achieved significantly measurable improvement in the delivery of quality health and quality education, affordable by the people and accessible to the people.
(3) Ended the perennial water crisis and the troubling filth of our communities and cities by significantly upgrading water and sanitation infrastructure.
(4) Created a society in which corruption is punished, and probity and integrity and dedicated service applauded and appreciated.
So, my dear reader, judge for yourself. As for me, it is my intention to smoke all the brands of cigar produced worldwide before election 2016. So today I am going in for Alonso Menendez cigar, manufactured by Menendez Amerino Ltd., Brazil, where NDC supporters are seeking political asylum even though their government is in power. Close your nostrils while I puff away, that is, if you do not want to contract serious catarrh.