Monday 10th March , 2014 4:29 pm
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has accused the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) of failing to provide credible policy alternatives to advance the development of the country.
A statement signed by the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia described the NPP’s response to the President’s state of the nation address as offering “little in terms of substance to stimulate constructive discourse.”
The NPP accused President John Mahama and the NDC of presenting policies developed by the NPP such as the National Health insurance Scheme (NHIS), and the free Senior High School policy as their own.
This was in response to President Mahama’s announcement during the 2014 State of the Nation address that government will implement a progressive free SHS education in 2015.
The free SHS policy was one of the major campaign promises of the NPP.
But according to Mr. Asiedu Nketia, the NPP in the lead up to the 2012 elections was afflicted with confusion regarding the cost of implementation of the free SHS policy campaign message of the NPP.
He therefore urged the NPP to “develop the capacity to offer useful alternatives and move away from this brand of politics which often verges on the ridiculous.”
Below is the full statement
STATEMENT BY NDC ON NPP STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
We are constrained to respond to a statement issued by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and signed by its Chairman today. The NPP holds up that statement as its official position on the State of the Nation Address delivered by President Mahama last week. While we are tempted to overlook the pedestrian tone of the statement and the fact that it offers little in terms of substance to stimulate constructive discourse, we are unable to ignore yet another demonstration of what is fast becoming a major weakness of the NPP-its chronic inability to proffer credible policy alternatives.
For a statement that purports to be raising issue with the most important speech delivered by any President of this country every year, we are appalled by the lack of depth displayed by its drafters.
It is the expectation of the Ghanaian citizenry that the opposition will play their role within the democratic space by contributing cogently to the national discourse and periodically offering viable alternative policies to those rolled out by government. Sadly, this expectation appears completely lost on the NPP as it has proven on multiple occasions that it is incapable of rising up to this task. To cover up for this deficiency, calumny and disinformation have become their weapon of choice.
It makes for sad commentary indeed that daily vituperative attacks on government and the fabrication of malicious falsehoods have supplanted nuanced submissions on national affairs within that party.
This ignoble character trait can be discerned throughout the statement under reference.Jacob Obetsebi Lamptey alleges in the said statement that the NDC government has in the past “stolen their (NPP) policy on NHIS and GYEEDA” and “have so corrupted and distorted the implementation that w e(NPP) are very concerned about their lack of understanding and the mess that will result from their also mishandling Free Education”.
It is refreshing to note in the statement that after spirited attempts to appropriate the very notion of Progressively Free SHS Education, the NPP in the face of overwhelming evidence especially as found in Article 25 of the 1992 constitution has abandoned that stance. We notice however that the NPP has in typical fashion shifted the goalpost and is now stating that “We (NPP) lay claim to being at least the first Party in the 4th Republic to have worked out the mathematics and determined how to set about the serious implementation of the policy and committed ourselves to its execution”.
It is unclear what mathematics Jacob Obetsebi Lamptey refers to in the statement since we recall the thick cloud of confusion that engulfed the NPP’s pronouncements on the subject in the run-up to the 2012 elections. We recall with considerable amusement the disastrous performance put up by the twice defeated former flagbearer of the NPP when he was subjected to incisive probing by Steven Sackur of the BBC on his promise of Free SHS .We recall Nana Akufo Addo’s incoherent rambling amidst huffing and puffing on the issue when asked by the former to tell the world how much his promise on Free SHS will cost. In the end he failed to convince viewers and indeed the Ghanaian electorate that he knew what he was talking about.
We also recall how Nana Akomea, Communications Director of the NPP for the 2012 elections publicly stated that he did not know how much it will cost the implement the NPP’s promise. This was later to be followed by many contradictions on the issue of cost and source of funding for Akufo Addo’s promise.
The NDC government however has not been terribly afflicted by this confusion. President Mahama was categorical and unambiguous in his pronouncements on the matter during the State of the Nation Address. He was clear about the cost and the preparation of a road map to guide the implementation of the policy by the 2015/2016 Academic year.
We also wish to put on record that the President’s announcement of a Road map for implementation was preceded by careful analysis and consideration of the variables and factors necessary for effective implementation.
That said we find as mind-boggling the suggestion that the NDC stole NHIS and GYEEDA from the NPP. Even as we make the effort to ascertain what mental processes went into the adoption of such a position we would like to offer Jacob Obetsebi Lamptey and his NPP some free education on NHIS and GYEEDA.
Quite apart from the fact that the promise of introducing a National Health Insurance scheme was contained in the manifestos of almost every political party that contested the election of 2000 including the NDC, the then Rawlings government had begun piloting the scheme in various parts of the country.
So committed was the Rawlings administration to Health Insurance that it set up the Ghana Health Company, located on the 6th floor of the SSNIT Pension House (Tower Block) which oversaw the successful piloting of the NHIS in the Dangme-West, Mamprusi–East and parts of Koforidua. The pilot also encouraged the full adoption of the Nkoranza pilot earlier started by the Catholic Church.
To expedite the NHIS pilot, the NDC government at the time, flew down one Dr Danso all the way from Zimbabwe to kick start the project. In 2000, the NDC government also appointed Mr Amoesi Andoh as the company’s CEO. Incidentally, he became the parliamentary candidate of the NPP in both the 2004 and 2008 Parliamentary elections.
Ironically the NPP was against the idea of introducing a health insurance scheme at the time.Had Jacob Obetsebi Lamptey conferred with Dr Kwame Addo Kufour before making this risible claim, the latter would have briefed him on how as Minority spokesperson on Health at the time he denounced the idea of running a health insurance scheme.
This is what Dr Kwame Addo Kufour said on behalf of the NPP Minority at the time- “the billions of cedis and energy wasted on the single National Health Insurance Scheme could have been saved if the government had not brushed aside the minority’s suggestion in 1997 that such a scheme was not viable.”- (GNA, April 26, 2000).
As far as GYEEDA is concerned,beyond changing the name from NYEP to GYEEDA and the ongoing restructuring of the program, at no time has the NDC government laid claim to ownership of the idea of the program. Suffice it to say that it was as usual poorly planned and hastily implemented by the NPP without the necessary structures and safeguards to protect the interest of the state.
Finally, we wish to turn attention to a part of the NPP statement where they claim that. “For cocoa no mention of any decision to reverse your inept, corrupt and politically driven looting that has resulted in the loss of 200,000 tonnes of exports and more and more cocoa farms being uprooted for galamsey”.
This allegation which is totally false and without basis epitomizes the kind of substandard politicking with which the NPP has become so enamoured. Without any proof whatsoever they accuse the President and his government of corruption regarding cocoa production and yet want to be taken seriously. This is especially disturbing coming from a man like Jacob Obetsebi Lamptey who has come to represent all that is corrupt, immoral and unethical about governance through his shameful and greedy looting of state lands and bungalows. If he wants evidence of corruption let him only reflect over the fact that he paid a paltry GHC 390,000 for over an acre of prime land which was valued at the time at some GHC2 million.He can also ponder over the fact that the government that he served in doled out prime state lands to the then President, his chief of staff, ministers and party apparatchik like confetti-a practice which was in clear breach of the trust that the people of Ghana had reposed in them to manage these lands on their behalf.
We in the NDC are gratified and remain eternally grateful to President Mahama for putting an end to this ignominious plunder of state assets which was the stock-in-trade of the NPP.
We are of the firm conviction that no amount of ridiculous lies will deter the NDC government from carrying out its responsibility and avowed policy of ushering this country into rapid socio-economic development. We call on the NPP to develop the capacity to offer useful alternatives and move away from this brand of politics which often verges on the ridiculous.
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana