Ghana Decides On The 2020 Presidential Election: A Cry For Change

The upcoming general election in Ghana might not be of intrinsic interest for most citizens.

The president took amidst a flurry of flamboyant promises, some of them so fantastical and unnecessary that many wondered why President Akuffo Addo would wrap and trap himself in such unsustainable obligations.

Elections are about promises, but the now ruling New Patriotic Party(NPP) got caught up in its own rhetoric and refused against all economic indicators, to alter its pledges. As a result, the party came to power preoccupied with managing expectations instead of the country.

A thorough survey conducted by Back-Bone of Good Governance on the economy shows that 70% of eligible Ghanaian voters are highly disappointed in President Akuffo Addo’s government in managing the economy and have come to the painful realization that most of the utopian promises of then candidate Akuffo Addo never intended to be kept, as they referred to it as a monumental betrayal of the trust of the Ghanaian People.

The President’s approval rating in managing the economy remains 30% whiles 70% disapproving. His disapproval rating is the highest and that outpaces his most recent predecessors at a similar stage in their presidencies. Among those who are most enthusiastic about voting in the 2020 general election in December 7, 2020 sees President Akuffo Addo’s government as total failure in managing the economy and does not deserve a second term.

A number of stakeholders have raised concerns about security, corruption and galamsey and have observed that the situation is getting worse by the day and are tired of excuses by the government.

In the course of his four years in office, President Akuffo Addo’s image as an abstinent and empathetic figure has disappeared, and he has shown a disturbing lack of initiative, creativity and new thinking in government, disproving his inspiring pre-election rhetoric.

President Akuffo Addo campaigned on a platform of ending waste and restoring probity, accountability, efficiency, and transparency. But when opportunities have presented themselves for him to underscore his professed opposition to the decadence of the opposition National Democratic Congress has failed to grasp them.

According to the eligible voters, the president promised to provide one district, one hospital, upgrade all existing district hospitals where they exist and where they don’t, build two new police hospitals in Sunyani and Bolgatanga, a new military hospital in Tamale and to construct two prison hospitals, one for the Southern Sector and one for the Northern Sector, failed to materialized. They take it to be dishonesty on the part of government and brazen disregards for promises made.

For a president whose calling card was probity, accountability, efficiency, transparency and personal integrity, President Akuffo Addo attempts to abandon his promise made to Ghanaians on establishing an automatic mechanism for transfer of statutory funds to designated agencies such as GETFUND,DACF and NHIS,stabilize the currency exchange rate for the long term through prudent and disciplined macroeconomic management, increase domestic production, increase exports and Shift the focus of the economic management from taxation to production. His reluctance and continued failure is a perception that the president is insincere.

Recently, perceptions of the president’s commitment to the ideals on which he ran for the presidency have been further undermined as to recurring scandals that have been unfolded in his government. Where the president’s own Cousin Ken Ofori-Atta’s name was uncovered for an alleged manipulation of the procurement process’ ’by the Ministry of Finance by adding an unapproved rider for collaboration with Ghanaian firm on Agyapa Mineral Royalties Limited deal. They believe the President is shielding corruption, following the damning findings of the Office of the Special Prosecutor because of nepotism. This is not building public confidence in the fight against corruption and is deterring voters to vote in the 2020 general election.

It is extremely wretchedness and cynicism the President who is abreast with the 1992 constitution on matters of fighting corruption would act on directing the Auditor General to proceed on leave because of his demand to the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo to refund $ 1 million dollars wrongfully paid to Kroll and Associates for no work done, this action diminish the pursuit for good governance, the rule of law and accountable leadership.

The president actions of forcefully committing the Auditor General(Mr. Domelovo) to leave is a threat to the independence of the Audit service and other independent governing institutions such as judicial service,CHRAJ,EOCO and the electoral commission .

In addition, New Patriotic Party figures and government officials were accused of using their influence to award contracts without due process. Typical example is the C.E.O of Public Procurement Authority’s (PPA) involvement in the sale of government contracts of ¢22.3 million to non-existent entity and the C.E.O of the National Youth Authority and his two deputies involvement in ¢1.8 million streetlight installation contract controversially awarded to a private company, Prefos.

The Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority spending ¢1 million to renovate a two (2) bedroom house into a four bedroom house with 13 Air-Conditioners, GH¢135,000 on a staff end-of-year party, GH¢10,652 in one night on food for the C.E.O and other seven members of the management of the Authority.

According to Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Transparency International’s local chapter, Ghana loses US$3 billion dollars every year to corruption. Also Ghana’s health sector is ranked as the second most corrupt in Africa with allocated public resources ending up in the pocket of corrupt private individuals because of low level of accountability.

This undermines national development and derails the country’s progress in achieving the millennium development goals (MDG’s).

Along with this drip-drip of scandals and inexplicable inaction, the president has added numerous broken promises in other areas.

Eligible voters have also labeled Akufo-Addo’s fight against galamsey as “a scam” considering the hardcore evidence of “Galamsey Fraud” by political actors in government and the presidency.

According to our survey, the disgruntled voters said clearly that Ghana has experienced the worst form of corruption in the four year regime of President Akuffo Addo’s government.

During the campaign, the president vowed to reduce the price of petrol drastically, revamp domestic oil refining capacity, an item upon which the price of everything else hinges in Ghana’s petrol-driven economy. Nana Addo also campaigned against cedi depreciation, and promised to work with the Bank of Ghana to ensure that the cedi appreciate over the major foreign currencies. Inflation, which had already eclipsed all projected baselines due to the government’s restrictions on foreign exchange and arbitrary import restrictions, has soared.

The president has since broken his promises, raising deep concerns on delivering on these promises.

This eventuality was perhaps inevitable, but the question many are asking: why did Ghana has to go through these four years of painful economic hardship, restrictions, stagnation and inflation only for the government to embrace the pragmatic path of currency depreciation he earlier opposed.

This is unexplained U-turn reeks of confusion, indecision, and experimentation on the part of the government. Ghana seems to have become one of the giant economic laboratory but Nana Addo and his economic managers are lurching awkwardly from one idea to another in the hope that one of them works all at the expense of Ghanaian people increasingly impoverished in an environment of policy uncertainty and outmoded economic measures.

After four years in government, the wondrous myths around Nana Add’s spell in office have been shattered. Instead, were mismanagement of the economy, insecurity, corruption and economic hardship.

EDEM ANANSAH

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

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