17 August 2012

Ghana: Freeze on Better Ghana - Mahama Kicks Mantra to Touch in Maiden Address


Political pundits and keen observers of the way development has been served to Ghanaians under the so-called Better Ghana Agenda, by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), are beginning to question the relevance of the mantra, after over three years of its initiation.

The Better Ghana Agenda mantra first found expression in the NDC's 2008 Manifesto, developed under the theme: "Building a Better Ghana", where an elaborate programme of intent to invest in people, jobs, the economy, and ensuring a transparent and accountable government, was conceived .

Three years down the line, critics of the government say the tenets and ideologies underpinning the "Better Ghana Agenda" have been served Ghanaians on naked lies and pure propaganda, with very little to show for it.

The critics point to the current state of the Ghanaian economy, with the free fall of the cedi, as nothing any government should be proud of.

On Wednesday, when the new Head of State, John Dramani Mahama, who was sworn into power on July 24, 2012, the evening after the late President John Evans Atta Mills had joined his ancestors, addressed the nation in his new capacity without a word of the Better Ghana Agenda of his former boss, political pundits began to curve eye brows.

In his maiden address to the nation, President John Dramani Mahama pledged, among others things, to maintain the peace and serenity of the country, during and after the December 7 elections.

He also paid glowing tribute to his former boss, and asked all to rally around the idea of peace that was well propagated by his former boss.

Interestingly, Mr. Mahama served notice that he would in the next weeks introduce new policy directions on the way forward for national development under his stewardship that would expire in December, when Ghanaians decide at the polls.

"Fellow countrymen and women, in the next two weeks, I will present an agenda to the nation on some policy measures we must take to consolidate the progress we have made as a nation," he hinted in his maiden address to the nation.

Some have inferred to this statement as a subtle admission that the Better Ghana agenda of the NDC had lost its lustre. The fact that he never mentioned 'Better Ghana' once in his broadcast was being interpreted as the beginning of the end of the mantra of the government policy.

Earlier in the week, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) challenged the government to point to the much-touted developments it had chalked under the so-called 'Better Ghana' agenda in the last three years.

The NPP pointed to a falling cedi, broken promises of the NDC, and an overall mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy, as indicators of the failure of the NDC government, and that the 'Better Ghana' concept had remained a paper guarantee of abstract deliveries.

Dr. Mamudu Bawumia, running mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the December general elections, has been offering some explanations as to the reason for the free fall of the Cedi.

According to the renowned economist, the cedi was falling in value against the major currencies, because of the incompetent management of the economy by the government, which is eroding confidence in the local currency.

The government had blamed speculators, NPP traders, and even the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, as responsible for the around 80% cedi depreciation to the dollar, since 2009.

On the issue of corruption, the current government has often been referred to the whopping GH¢642 million in the payment of so-called judgement debts, with records showing that a majority of these payments were procured by fraudulent means, and also through arbitrary settlements.

The handling of the controversial GH¢51.8 million paid to NDC bankroller,Alfred Agbesi Woyome, as judgement debt, continues to be an albatross hanging around the neck of the NDC, and spites their fight against corruption in the face.

On December 7, the NDC's Better 'Ghana Agenda' or remnants of it, if any, will stand trial for Ghanaians to pass their verdict on its success, or otherwise.

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