Politics of Sunday, 15 March 2015
Some angry youth of the opposition New Patriotic Party have vowed to organize a “series of demonstrations across the country to highlight the problems” of the Northern region and what they describe as President John Mahama’s neglect of their plight.
According to the group their first demonstration is set for March 26 to be staged in Bolgatanga. They contend the President pleaded with voters in the three regions of the North to vote for him after which they have been totally neglected.
Below is the full statement.
PRESIDENT JOHN MAHAMA’S BETRAYAL OF NORTHERNERS – THE CASE OF YOU OWN
BROTHER KILLING YOU SLOWLY’
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, party faithful concerned Northerners, especially the good people of the Upper East Region, and all invited guests.
The Upper East Regional executives of the NPP wish to, on behalf of the good people of the North, express our absolute disenchantment with the poor leadership of President John Mahama, his reckless governance of this country, and his shocking indifference with regards to developmental issues affecting the North.
Our premise stems from the fact that in the run-up to the 2012 polls, the main message from the President to the good people of the three Northern Regions was that, Northerners should vote for him because he was also a
Northerner and, thus, would be in a better position to address our plight. This was a catchy plea that really resonated with many voters of Northern descent across the country.
This resulted in the electoral advantage he and his party, the NDC, enjoyed from the Northern Regions. The message was also helped by the fact that the President and his campaign team exploited the poverty in our parts of the country and decided to share money among the electorate and even electoral officers.
This large scale bribery of voters, who had been impoverished for four long years under the same NDC, was used to exploit the avoidable poverty in the North to convince the people that in President John Mahama we had a brother in whom we can be well pleased. Little did we know that we were rather going to be worse off under his stewardship.
In fact, we have been very patient with his administration and indeed exercised considerable degree of restraint already. We have now run out of patience and wish to bring our issues into the limelight, with the hope that the President will address these concerns. We are coming out with this statement because we know from our interactions in communities across our three Regions that the anger and hunger of the people have reached boiling heights.
Ladies and gentlemen, this morning`s press conference will look at seven (7) main areas of concern to the people of the North, for which the Upper East Region is no exception.
1. The SADA saga
2. Jobs creation
7. Where is our share of the US$27 billion you borrowed, Mr President?
THE SADA SAGA
With respect to SADA, we are very quick to recall Nana Akufo-Addo’s proposal, in the NPP’s 2008 campaign, for the establishment of the Northern Development Fund with a seed capital of US$1 billion. This fund, Nana Akufo-Addo stated, was earmarked for projects aimed at bridging the development gap between the North and the South.
Conveniently, this was pooh-poohed by NDC’s vice presidential candidate Mahama on the grounds that it was a deception and a misplaced priority and that, if Nana Akufo-Addo could raise such funds, he should rather use it to offset the debt owed by the Volta River Authority.
However, upon realising that the policy was indeed catching-up with a lot of Northern electorate, the NDC quickly made a gargantuan u-turn and proposed to establish what they called the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and promised to set aside a start-up capital of $200 million and subsequently, inject $100 million into the SADA account every year.
So far, the “little” money that has been pumped into this infamous project cannot be accounted for, neither can we find the projects that NDC propaganda says have been done with SADA cash.
What is true is that John Mahama and his NDC, after stealing AkufoAddo and his NPP’s idea, took a lot of money in the name of we the people of the three Northern Regions, and these monies ended up in their own hands, their close family members and their cronies. The people of the North are poorer today, and the scorch of this poverty does not discriminate between NDC and NPP or between PNC and CPP. Unless, for the few who are lucky enough to be close to power.
SADA has metamorphosed into an enterprise of unbridled corruption; the kind never before witnessed in the history of this country. It has become an avenue deliberately and wickedly created for government functionaries and cronies to loot and share (to borrow the words of one Supreme Court judge) the resources of this country all in a wicked lie to tackle poverty of the people.
The President alone must take the blame for this because SADA does not fall under any Ministry but operated directly from the Office of the President. We want President John Mahama to know that we are fed up with him exploiting his roots to the North to steal from us to keep us poor and poorer. We want him to know that brotherhood with a political party or leadership is earned and not a birthright.
Ladies and gentlemen, we were not surprised but sad to hear the Office of the President ranked as the second most corrupt institution in Ghana in the recent IEA’s survey. The questions we would like our Northern brother to answer are as follows:
• Who supervised the GH¢15 million tree planting exercise?
• Who supervised the GH¢35 million guinea fowl project?
• Couldn’t this GH¢50 million have been used to transform lives in the North?
Undoubtedly, it was President Mahama who campaigned on nothing but ethnocentrism in the North. President Mahama used us and he is planning to use us again. Are we going to allow him to seduce us, misuse us, abuse us, only to reduce and refuse us again?
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the NDCgovernment led by John Dramani Mahama promised to the good people of the North, and indeed Ghanaians, of more jobs to alleviate poverty. Unfortunately, when you come to the Upper East Region the talents of the youth have been left to waste away. The jobs are just not there. The little jobs that were here have now been lost. Dumso-dumso has mate hairdressers, saloon operators etc, out of business.
You will recall that the erstwhile Kufuor administration introduced the National Youth Employment Program which created jobs for active youth. The three Northern Regions were the biggest beneficiaries of this noble programme. This is a fact! Paradoxically, what we (Northerners) are witnessing under the presidency of our own brother is nothing but a drastic collapse of this programme here.
In fact, the NYEP (now GYEEDA) has been transmogrified into another scheme for the creating, looting and sharing of taxpayers’ money with impunity. Simply put, just like SADA, the least said about the humongous thievery, unbridled cronyism and maladministration that have characterized GYEEDA, the better.
Ladies and gentlemen, on daily basis energetic Northern youth are forced to migrate to the South to engage in menial and dehumanizing jobs. The worst of them are the young females, who sleep in the open and are unprotected from every form of abuse including rape among others. Nana Akufo- Addo proposed, in the run up to the 2012 elections, to build a hostel facility, with skills training facilities attached, for the vulnerable including the head porters, popularly called KAYAAYE. To repeat, vocational training was to be provided to them since most of them make money from their menial job to learn a vocation.
President John Dramani Mahama responded to this proposal saying “it is an insult to Northerners”, but he could not giveany policy alternative. Our Northern borther has nothing to offer but to play on the emotional keyboards of our people. He is taking us for fools! And, we must show him that we are not fools!
Mr. President, your government decision to scraped the fertilizer subsidy programme introduced by the NPP made farming a no-go area.
If there is one area where we Northerners in general and Upper East in particular have been short-changed greatly under the administration of our brother, His Excellency, John Mahama, then it is the area of education. Today, as we speak, feeding grants for secondary schools is in arrears of THREE TERMS or equivalent to a ONE ACADEMIC YEAR, Government subventions or subsidies for these schools have also not been paid for two terms running.
Teacher trainee allowances have also been scraped against all advice; a policy that existed for well over four decades, with Northerners being the major beneficiaries because of our high level of deprivation and the fact that a lot of us could not afford university education. Members of the media, the collapsed of the school feeding and the non-payment of the capitation grant have equally dealt a big blow to education here.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is not uncommon to find most of our poor school children in the Region still learning under trees, yet we are told moneis were voted for it. In the Bawku-West District of the Upper East Region for example, out of 44 Junior High Schools, 22 are under trees. What a dehumanizing situation under a so-called better Ghana era, where the “eradication of schools under trees” has been one of the unprecedented achievements of this NDC government.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the people of Upper East are dying with diseases that were easily curable when the National Health Insurance Scheme (introduced by the NPP) was working properly. The NHIS has collapsed. Also, pregnant women are being forced to deliver their babies home because the free maternal healthcare that the NPP introduced is virtually not working.
Cash and carry is back with a deadly vengeance. It is instructive to note that the major target beneficiaries of these social welfare programmes were largely Northerners. President John Mahama does not care how we are to pay for the Cash and Carry that he has reintroduced. The poor people of Upper East region under the presidency of John Mahama, are dying. We are now spending more time on our sick beds because we cannot afford to buy medicines from pharmacies that are no longer accepting NHIS cards for payments.
Ladies and gentlemen, in presenting the state of the nation address two weeks ago, the President lied to the whole nation when he stated that a 120-bed hospital is near completion in Garu. Mr. President the people Garu expects nothing than an apology from you. If you will not provide us with hospital don’t insult us. We are tired of this propaganda of if you see a fowl say it is a cow.
Ladies and gentlemen, just two weeks ago, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services announced to the public that hospitals in the Region were short of drugs. In Upper East today, no one dares fall sick because your NHIS card will not save you. And, your Northern brother at the Flagstaff House has no intention of saving you either. Nurses, like teachers, are leaving the Region in their numbers.
In presenting the state of the nation address in parliament a few days ago, the President lied when he stated that a 120-bed hospitalwas near completion in Garu Tempani District. As we speak, there is absolutely nothing like that in the district. If you won’t help us, please, Mr President, do not insult us! The people of Garu-Tempani expect nothing but an apology from the President. The meager allowances that were given to trainee nurses under the NPP have also been taken away by the NDC.
WHERE IS OUR SHARE OF THE US$27 BILLION YOU BORROWED, MR. PRESIDENT?
Ladies and gentlemen, it is an undisputable fact that the NDC government has had more resources than any other government in our political history ranging from tax revenue, oil revenues and loans. In loans alone, the NDC has borrowed over US$27 billion since 2009.
If our President who says he believes in equality were to “SHARE” this $27 billion among the ten Regions, each Region would have received $2.7 billion. Have we seen anything close to this figure? Have we seen anything close to even 1% of the total amount, which will be $270 million? Over the last six years of the NDC, the Upper East Region cannot point to one major project that cost even $27 million. We have not had anything close to our fair share of the billions that President Mahama and his NDC have borrowed in our names.
The question the people of Upper East Region are asking the President is this: “With all this money at your disposal why have you failed to deliver on any of the promises you made to us?”
• Where is the separate Bolgatanga Regional Hospital you promised us?
• As Vice President, you cut sod for the commencement of a sports complex in Bolgatanga, where is it?
• You promised that as a Northerner, you will revamp the rice mill and meat factory and also to continue with the Pwalugu tomato factory project the NPP left for you. What happened there?
• You told the people of Bolga and Bawku on separate occasions that you will tar the Bawku-Bolga road. You said in 2013 at the SAMANPEED in Bawku that construction will be completed by 2014. Mr President, at the same SAMANPEED this year, you still looked at the people in their faces and told them the road will be tarred at the end of the year. Why do you continue to play with us like we are fools?
• The NPP government contracted a loan in2008 to construct the Pwalugu dam to produce power. That was left to you to execute. Where is the project? Where is our money?
Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, the most dangerous disaster that can ever befall a nation is to have a leader who cannot be trusted and whose words do not conform to his actions.
The good people of Upper East Region have lost absolute confidence in our President. What we have in Ghana today is a government but in name and what we lack in Ghana today is government that is working. President Mahama has lost touch with the concerns and aspirations of the people of this country, North and South, East and West.
What is pulling Ghana back is bad leadership. And, President Mahama is turning out to be the worst democratically elected leader Ghana has ever had and we say this with a lot of sadness. The kind of leader we need today is one with anuncontrollable amount of love for the poor, the cheated, the oppressed, the persecuted, the ignored, the students, market women, farmers, petty traders among others.
Ladies and gentlemen, countries and nations whose societies have attained appreciable development and advancement have done so because they have been blessed with forward-looking and progressive leaders committed to uplifting the welfare and wellbeing of their people.
Unfortunately, since the NDC government came to power, the masses of our people have been drenched in unprecedented poverty as a result of lack of foresight of the President Mahama-led administration, which has been characterised by the following, among others: collapsing infrastructure, total paralysis of the health sector at all levels, erratic power supply and the attendant negative effects on all sectors of the economy; pervasive unemployment, there by generating increased in crimes, cutting across all ages of our people, homelessness, declining standards of education, introduction of draconian tax and hardship regimes.
Ladies and gentlemen, the issue of ethnocentrism has become a serious matter of concern and justifiably so. We are worried because we hold the unity of this country so dear. When Akufo-Addo stated that he wants to lead a “One United Ghana”, he meant a Ghana where leaders would not hide between tribes and ethnic identities to take attention away from their poor performance.
As a people, we believe that the unity of this country must be taken as a religion in the sense that not only should we believe in unity, we must be seen to be doing things to promote unity. That is why we wish to take this opportunity to join all meaning Ghanaians to condemn the politics of ethnocentrism, be it NDC, NPP, PNC, CPP, etc.
We think what matters is not where you come from but the capacity and ability of our leaders to manage the resources of our country well so that every Ghanaian can benefit. A few days before the December 7, 2008 elections, NDC vice Presidential Candidate John Mahama came to the Upper East to play the tribal card against the NPP. Ignoring all the developmental projects the Kufuor government had undertaken in the Region, Mr John Mahama told the people that NPP did not respect them.
“I feel pity for those of our brothers and sisters who are going round campaigning for the NPP because the people in the region have not benefited under the NPP administration and should not vote for the NPP”, Mr. Mahama said in Wa.
Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest worry for all of us is the fact that ournumber one gentleman of the land, the President, has been promoting ethnocentrism as a tool for winning power. It is reckless and dangerous. It is myopic and it shows of a man who cares only about power. In the last election, he asked for the people of the North to vote for him because he was one of us.
If you are one of us then show it in your deeds not by words or roots. We want a President who can govern Ghana for Ghanaians and all Ghana for all Ghanaians.
Was President Kufuor being tribalistic when he set up the Northern Development Fund after the 2007 floods?
Was Nana Akufo-Addo being tribalistic when he pledged to set up the $1 billion Northern Development Authority?
Is President Mahama being Northern the reason why he set up SADA and allowed it to collapsed people of the North.