22 February 2013

Ghana: It Was Like a Party Manifesto Launch

It turned out, as expected, to be a party manifesto launch. Yesterday's State of the Nation address failed woefully to address the faceted nature of problems facing the Ghanaian. Instead, President John Dramani Mahama chose to dwell on promises he took to the electorate in the run-up to the December 7 vote.

Ghanaians heard a lot about the promise to build a new university in the Eastern Region during the 2012 campaign. Together with the promise to construct 200 senior high schools, the university was the sweet sounding rhetoric sold to the people on the campaign trail to counter the pledge by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to make senior high school education free for all.

With the economy virtually falling apart, and the cost of living escalating way beyond the means of the average Ghanaian, President Mahama chose to ignore the plight of the Ghanaian, and rather dwelt on his campaign promises.

The government is going to construct two hospitals in Kumasi, bring the Eastern Corridor road to fruition, revamp the railways, construct a new airport in Accra, an aerodrome at Wa, and revamp the airports in Kumasi, Tamale, Sekondi-Takoradi, etc. The Accra-Tema Motorway will be rehabilitated, in addition to a number of projects throughout the region.

According to the presentation by the President, Ghana would take on a new look, which is re-assuring. What the President failed to explain is that for the past four years that the National Democratic Congress has been in power, it has been unable to complete the road networks bequeathed to it by the Kufuor regime, and which came to be referred to as the Gang of Four.

The fact that the President referred to the Suhum-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi Highway, the Medina-Adenta stretch of the Accra-Aburi Road, and the Achimota- Ofankor part of the Accra-Kumasi Highway as still uncompleted, tells a lot about how this administration has failed to deliver.

Against this background, it is very difficult to take the President on his word. In any case, there are many pressing problems in society waiting for solutions, and which were glaringly ignored in the President's State of the Nation address.

For instance, we are being told that for the four years that the NDC has been in power, public national debt has risen from GH¢9.6 billion to GH¢33.5 billion. Unfortunately, the President gave no clue in his address on how his administration is going to end the problem of deficit financing.

Yesterday, the President created the impression that it was the West African Gas pipe-line that has created the electricity problem, to the extent that power is being supplied in tots. Meanwhile, energy experts and those in the field would tell you that the nation's inability to purchase crude oil for electricity production has worsened the already bad situation.

The Chronicle is amazed that the President chose to ignore the electoral dispute in court, and rather chose to celebrate the Electoral Commission. Yesterday, President Mahama tickled himself and laughed. He referred to last December's polls as the cleanest and most transparent in the political evolution of this country. Ghanaians definitely know better.

The Akan tribe, the largest in Ghana, would tell you; if your mother is dead, and you come out to announce that she is asleep, that is your own problem. The Chronicle would like to believe that it is in the interest of the President and the entire Ghanaian society for the Head of State to acknowledge the problem in last December's election.

Yesterday, as the President delivered his address, the Minority side of the House was empty. We do not believe only the Majority side constitutes the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

The Chronicle is unimpressed with the kind of the State of the Nation address delivered by the President yesterday. The address failed to capture the serious problems of poverty, which had been visited on the Ghanaian by failed policies of an administration that believes in shouting from the roof-tops and delivers little. Yesterday was all about selling a political party manifesto.

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