President Mahama’s 2014 State of the Nation address has been variously described by Ghanaians by its comical un-parliamentary (tweaa) comments but we in NPP UK believe that the address has actually exposed the poverty of ideas of government and most importantly vindicated Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The address has buttressed the assertion that Nana Akufo-Addo is not only Ghana’s most influential personality but also the most visionary leader alive. This belief comes in the wake of two main admissions that President Mahama made in his address to the nation on Tuesday 25th February. The first admission was to the effect that Ghana’s economy needs to transform. He confirmed the Akufo-Addo’s transformation message by admitting as follows “Transforming our economy – Mr. Speaker, the basic structure of our economy has not changed from colonial times. The Gold Coast was designed by the colonial masters to be exporters of raw material and importers of finished goods. This is what best served their needs and purposes. After independence our first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, sought to break this vicious cycle by establishing numerous state owned industries to produce consumer products for the domestic market as an import substitution measure. “
While admitting that Nana Akufo-Addo has been right all along that Ghana’s economy requires transformation, what John Mahama failed to admit here was that it was the NDC that destroyed the transformation process started under the 1st Republic. The NDC under Rawlings shut down the Tomato factory at Pwalugu and at Wenchi, and also the Meat Processing Factory at Bolgatanga. They sold Continental Hotel now Golden Tulip Hotel to a partnership between the Libyans and Rawlings’ cronies as the Ghana-Libyan Arab Holding Co Ltd. for $3,578,125. GHACEM was sold to SCANCEM of Norway for $3 million. GIHOC’s Abosso Glass Factory was sold to the Togolese Opposition Leader, Gilchrist Olympio, an NDC apologist. West African Mills and GIHOC Electronics were sold to Kofi Kludjeson, a well-known NDC financier. Prestea and Tarkwa Goldfields were each sold for $3 million and the proceeds have never been accounted for. (The Statesman October 23, 2002). They sold Nsawam canary to Caridem (alias 31st December Movement). In 1981, when Chairman Rawlings came to power, Ghana’s Shipping Line, the Black Star Line, had 14 vessels. These were ships that belonged to the Republic of Ghana. By the time Rawlings left power he had shut down the Black Star Line which Nkrumah had built, sold all of the 14 vessels, and rendered our fellow citizens who worked as seamen jobless. The (P)NDC covered their nefarious act while rolling back this transformation process by retroactively passing the Divestiture Law (PNDC Law 326) in 1992 to take effect from January 1st, 1988. In Section 15 of the same law they inserted another indemnity clause: “No action shall be brought and no court shall entertain any proceedings against the State, the committee or any member or officer of the committee in respect of any act or omission arising out of a disposal of any interest made or under consideration under this law.”
The second and by far the most serious admission in the President’s State of the Nation address is the acceptance that the NPP vision of Free SHS, after being much maligned by the NDC, was feasible after all. The President admitted unashamedly as follows; “Further to this, the Ministry, following consultations with stakeholders, has prepared a report on the road map for a progressive introduction of free secondary education in Ghana as required under the 1992 Constitution. This road map would be presented to Cabinet for approval and subsequent implementation. Under the guidance of this proposed road map, we can anticipate that fees for day students will be abolished at an estimated cost of GHC71 million in the 2015/2016 academic year. Other reliefs in respect of boarding student would be announced when the road map is published.”
This is a final coup de grace as in 2012 President John Mahama wrote on his Facebook page: “Free SHS is a misplaced priority if primary school pupils still pay fees. Let’s make primary free first”
In another news report carried by radioxyz on 29th November 2012, President Mahama was quoted as saying “Free SHS would collapse Ghana’s Education System”. The full report read as follows:
“President John Mahama says Ghana’s education system could risk near-collapse if the free Senior High School policy being trumpeted by the NPP is implemented now. According to him, other African countries such as Kenya and Botswana have reintroduced fee paying in their secondary schools after a free education policy nearly collapsed their secondary education system. President Mahama who addressed students of the Cape Coast University as he begins a three day campaign in the Central Region was reacting to Nana Akufo Addo’s persistence with his free SHS promise on the campaign trail. “Countries like Botswana, Uganda, Kenya have implemented free SHS, today as I talk to you Botswana has announced a reintroduction of secondary school fees. “Kenya has appealed for international assistance to prevent their secondary school system from falling apart, a recent study done on free SHS in Kenya shows that it is running into major difficulties” President Mahama said.”
President John Mahama through the use of state sponsored advertisements and NDC propaganda destroyed the nation’s confidence in Free SHS and rather trumpeted “Quality Education” and a promise to construct 200 new community day secondary schools in 2013. His own admission of failure became evident when he stated that as at 2014 only the “architectural drawings, designs and quantities have been completed” and this we believe will be as far as the project would go.
NPP UK believes that the State of the Nation address has clearly convinced Ghanaians that the NDC lacks vision and cannot see any visionary idea from a distance. The sense of cynicism with which President Mahama greeted what he now knows as the key to our education and skills development as a nation has now become evident.
This State of the Nation address, we believe, is yet another catalogue of unfulfilled promises to add to the two hundred (200) secondary Schools, aerodromes in all Regions, flyover in Accra Liberation Circle to Accra New Town, Asylum Down, the Eastern Corridor Road from Bolgatanga to Aflao, Cape Coast Atta Mills Library, Tarkwa Mills Museum, Ekumfi Atta Mills Memorial Housing Estate, Oguaa Kotokuraba Market, Wa Upper West Regional Hospital, University in Eastern and Volta Region, 9 Upgraded Regional Teaching Hospitals and many more unfulfilled promises.
We know it is becoming very characteristic of the NDC to kick against any developmental agenda or programmes for our nation but will crawl back and steal it and since they are not the owners, vision holders or believers in the policy themselves, they ruin it. A case in point is the NHIS which they opposed and countered with one-time premium but have succeeded in ruining it completely with capitation pilot. It is no secret that the NYEP’s conversion to GYEEDA has become a state money siphoning unit for NDC corruption, When the NPP introduced the Northern Development Fund, the NDC came to dilute it with SADA and now we know the fate of it with the guinea fowl and re-afforestation scandals. The NDC upon assumption of office turned Procurement into sole sourcing and this has been the recipe for large scale corruption
We know the fate of the Metro Mass Transport, School Feeding Programme, Free Maternal Care and many social intervention programmes introduced by the NPP. The decision by the NDC to accept the Free SHS means they do not only plan to deny NPP a campaign message in 2016 but also to dilute, ruin it and blame it on NPP for its failure.