General News of Friday, 7 July 2017
The claim by Dome Kwabenya MP Adwoa Safo that she facilitated a World Bank loan for the construction of a community day senior high school in her constituency is a “big lie” for which she must seek forgiveness from God, Alex Kyeremeh, a former Deputy Minister of Education, has said.
Ms Safo, who has been a legislator since 2013, at a delegates’ conference in her constituency recently alleged that she personally had to negotiate with the Bretton Woods institution to ensure Dome Kwabenya – currently held by the New Patriotic Party, then in opposition – had its share of the community day senior high schools, given the then NDC government was siting all such projects in its strongholds.
But debunking the Deputy Majority Leader’s assertions on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Friday July 7, Mr Kyeremeh said the idea to put up community day SHSs was an idea borne by former President Mahama during the 2012 presidential campaign, an ambition he pushed after winning the polls during a meeting with the World Bank Country Director in 2013, given the then government did not have the resources to put up all 200 schools it had promised.
Mr Kyeremeh said he was part of a delegation which also included then Education Minister Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman that travelled to Washington D.C to finalise the agreement in May 2014, after which the document came to cabinet for approval and then to parliament.
In the legislature, he said though parliament’s Finance Committee unanimously approved the deal, it was opposed by the then Minority on the floor of parliament, when the motion was moved for its approval amidst concerns the loan would be used to purchase sanitary pads for school girls.
“The NPP MPs, including Adwoa Safo who is taking credit for the project today, voted against it. Anyone can go for the Hansard from parliament and read the discussions that went on in parliament and do your independent assessment and come and show it to Ghanaians. Adwoa Safo voted against the loan being secured for the school, but because the NDC then had a majority, we carried the day and had the loan approved in order to begin the project,” he told show host Chief Jerry Forson.
The former Deputy Minister of Education disclosed that some “criteria” were followed in selecting the first set of communities to benefit from the community day SHSs, a process he said was free of lobbying and political considerations.
“The first criterion was that districts without a senior high school would have one each. So when we assessed it across Ghana, there were nine districts and municipalities, including Dome Kwabenya, which had no senior high school. So automatically they had a school while 14 ‘underserved districts’ – areas with great population but only one senior high school – also had theirs. So that’s how we arrived at the first 23 on which work started,” Mr Kyeremeh noted.
Further, he noted that Adwoa Safo, as an MP, does not “feature at all in the scheme of things” when a loan is approved for such projects, adding that “on the day that that school building was commissioned by the president, she was invited to the event that day but she did not show up”.
“How come some other person inaugurated the building you claimed to have built?” he asked rhetorically, and was worried that the comments of Adwoa Safo entrench the perception that “all politicians are all liars”.
“I challenge that lady to come out and meet us and show us where the papers of the deal she struck for the school to be built are so Ghanaians get to believe her. Otherwise…she should seek the face of God and confess that by her actions she has told a big lie to Ghanaians,” he advised.