The claim by former President John Mahama that he started the Free Senior High School policy being run by the Akufo-Addo government “starkly” demonstrates the “lack of candour, lack of firmness of mind; and leadership of expediency” by the presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), a member of the communication team of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea, has said.
“The majority of the Ghanaian electorate are living witnesses to the vehement campaign President Mahama, aided by his government and party, waged against free SHS in 2012. The instances of his vehement campaign against free SHS are just too numerous and recent to recount here”, Mr Akomea told journalists at a press conference on Tuesday, 1 December 2020.
He added: “Shockingly and unbelievably, President Mahama, today, in 2020, is telling the Ghanaian people that he introduced free SHS in 2015”.
“It is clear that apart from his shocking display of politics and leadership of expediency, President Mahama has also shown he is a leader without scruples or shame”.
“Today, in another example of President Akufo-Addo’s resolve to ensure money is not a barrier to the education of the Ghanaian child, the President has directed the Scholarship Secretariat to launch the online portal to enable our SSS students to access scholarships for their tertiary education”, Mr Akomea added.
In his the NPP’s view, Mr Mahama, with regard to the Free SHS policy and several others, have shown himself to be inconsistent and indecisive, which, according to Mr Akomea, make it “dangerous” to hand over the leadership of Ghana to the former President, once again.
Nana Akomea, said: “President Mahama does not present as a leader of firm principles. He is not a leader whose word is his bound. He shifts positions depending on which direction the wind blows. He presents as a leader who the Ga people will call Rophopho, or obey-the-wind leader.”
“He seems to talk from all sides of the mouth, and looks forwards and backwards at the same time. He will not provide this country with firm, decisive leadership based on consistent principles and integrity, which we need at this time of our national development.
“The saying is that it’s only a fool who doesn’t change his mind. But when the mind-changing is so frequent as to become a habit, then that’s a troubling sign in a leader.”
Read below some of the inconsistencies Nana Akomea presented to the press regarding Mr Mahama’s campaign promises and commentary:
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS UTILITY BILLS
He stopped government’s payments of University Students Utility Bills in 2015? President Akufo-Addo restored payments of Student’s Utility Bills. Now President Mahama is saying he believes in the principle of government paying for Students Utility Bills, a clear instance of an inconsistent leader.
President Mahama in 2015 cancelled payments of allowances to trainee teachers and trainee nurses. He staked his entire political fortune on this stance, telling Ghanaians he will not shift from that position even if it cost him the 2016 election.
President Akufo-Addo found the money to restore payment of allowances to trainee teachers and nurses. Now seeking re-election, President Mahama says he will uphold the policy, clear case of a leader who shifts with the winds.
CORRECT HIS MISTAKES
President Mahama has told us in this 2020 campaign that he will correct his mistakes if elected President again. But he has not told Ghanaians what those mistakes are/were, and how he is going to correct them. So, how should the voter take him seriously? A bold leader will tell/admit his mistakes, and show how he will correct them if given another chance.
PROMISES OF OPPOSITION POLITICIANS
President Mahama told us in 2016 that we should beware of the promises of politicians who are outside government as those politicians, being outside government, do not know the real situation on the ground, and tend to make unrealistic promises. Now he is a politician out of government making all kinds of promises, how should we take his promises now?
FOUR YEARS NOT ENOUGH
President Mahama told us in 2016 that four years were not enough for any President. So, why is he asking Ghanaians to reject President Akufo-Addo after four years? Is this consistency?
PAYMENTS OF DEPOSITORS FUNDS
President Mahama has this year told us the Ghanaian people that if elected, he will pay bank depositors’ funds in one year. But we remember that when he was President, his government’s response to the financial crisis was to pay billions to the bank owners and bosses, who had caused the crisis in the first place.
President Mahama looked on when his party’s general secretary told us the government was not responsible for the mistakes of depositors.
And, indeed, President Mahama did not give much consideration to Ghanaian bank depositors who had lost their deposits. Why has he changed his stance today?
CONCEPT OF FREE PROMISES
President Mahama and his government and party told us in 2016 that the NPP was on a binge of free promises, promising free this, free that. He said to Ghanaians that if care was not taken, Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP will be promising free Air, forgetting that God had already provided free air.
He and his party ran adverts, going as far as using out-of-context voices such as of Hon. J. H. Mensah and Pastor Otabil, all in a bid to demonstrate to Ghanaians that anything free was not good. Today, President Mahama is on a binge of free promises, Free Primary Health Care, (whatever that means), free half fees for University Students etc. Another clear instance of a leader who turns where the wind blows.
Perhaps, nowhere is President Mahama’s lack of candour, lack of firmness of mind, and leadership of expediency demonstrated more starkly than in his attitude toward the policy of free SHS.
The majority of the Ghanaian electorate are living witnesses to the vehement campaign President Mahama, aided by his government and party, waged against free SHS in 2012. The instances of his vehement campaign against free SHS are just too numerous and recent to recount here.
Shockingly and unbelievably, President Mahama, today, in 2020, is telling the Ghanaian people that he introduced free SHS in 2015. It is clear that apart from his shocking display of politics and leadership of expediency, President Mahama has also shown he is a leader without scruples or shame.
Today, in another example of President Akufo-Addo’s resolve to ensure money is not a barrier to the education of the Ghanaian child, the President has directed the Scholarship Secretariat to launch the online portal to enable our SSS students to access scholarships for their tertiary education.
Perhaps the biggest danger that will confront the Ghanaian people from a John Mahama re-election is his attitude of intolerance. President Mahama told Ghanaians in 2016 that he would not take criticism from anyone who has not been President before. That even leaders such as Dr. Bawumia, were not qualified to criticise him as they had never been President of Ghana before. He actually went on to list the people who had capacity and were qualified to criticize him- President Rawlings and Kufuor, only two people.
We also recall that in 2016 when President Mahama was asked to account for the loans he had taken on behalf of the Ghanaian people, he directed us to go to Parliament and look for what he had done with the loans he had taken for which the taxpayer was to repay. President Mahama also told us in 2016 that as far as criticism was concerned, he was a dead goat, i.e. totally unresponsive to criticism.
Now, if in 2016, when President Mahama was seeking re-election, he had this attitude of ‘cannot criticise me, don’t bother me with questions and won’t listen to your concerns towards the Ghanaian people’, can we imagine his attitude to the Ghanaian people, if he is given a second term as President, and he would not have any need to solicit any renewal of any mandate?
The further irony of this matter is that today, President Mahama in 2020, has asked the current government to account for the loans taken. He was not referred to Parliament. Dr. Bawumia politely provided to him and the Ghanaian people a comprehensive list of projects on which the loans had been applied. This is a contrast that is crucial in determining the next leader of Ghana, for which the Ghanaian people must take due notice.
CONTRAST WITH PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO
The contrast with President Akufo-Addo does not end here. President Akufo-Addo has demonstrated leadership that is clear departure from the leadership of convenience, leadership of expediency, obey the wind, leadership of lack of principle, offered by President Mahama.
President Akufo-Addo presents a stable, firm, steadfast, principled and consistent leadership. He has kept his promises. You may differ on your estimate of his success. But what is always clear is that he has provided a stable and firm leadership to the Ghanaian people and remained focused on delivering his promises.
Free SHS, creation of new Regions, One District-One Factory, One Village-One Dam, have all been long standing national aspirations. They have remained aspirations, turned into great promises by Candidate Akufo-Addo. Upon his election, he had brought a determined and focused leadership, to lead the nation to achieve these aspirations, with great degrees of success. Not surprising President Akufo-Addo has been given the title “Promise Keeper”, by one of our prominent chiefs.
The intractable Dagbon chieftaincy dispute had been a sore point for this nation since the murder of the Yana in 2002.
Candidate Akufo-Addo promised he will lead the people of Dagbon to peace.
In 2010, President Akufo-Addo finally brought peace to Dagbon culminating in the installation of a new Yana and opening up a new period of peace and hope for our brothers and sisters in Dagbon. A singular feat for which he earned the title Naa Abudani I.
This world-famous Ashanti Goldfields at Obuasi, under President Mahama’s watch was closed down and left to rot. President Akufo-Addo, in the 2016 campaign, promised the people of Ghana he would ensure that famous mine opened. True to his word, today, the mine is opened and fully operational employing thousands of Ghanaians, a feat which almost brought the Asantehene to tears during the commissioning.
This country, like all 3rd world countries, has long held on to the hope of industrialisation, as a sure way to climb out of poverty and build a country of prosperity and jobs for the youth.
After the exit of President Nkrumah in 1966, this fond hope of industrialisation has been left largely unattended. Candidate Akufo-Addo promised he would make a determined effort to take this country into an industrial state.
President Akufo-Addo, under the 1D1F programme, has set to achieve for the Ghanaian people, this industrial state. In the next four years when majority of these factories are up and running, the goal of an industrial economy will be within reach of our country.
By contrast, President Mahama’s effort at industrialisation is typified by what happened with the infamous Komenda Sugar Factory!
This country has lost its railway infrastructure in the 1970’s. President Kufour made a big effort to restore railway infrastructure and rail transport with the revival of the Accra-Tema and Accra-Nsawam line.
Under President Mahama, this important and crucial transport infrastructure was put on the back burner. Candidate Akufo-Addo promised in 2016 to take railway transport into a whole new level. Today, under President Akufo-Addo, our beloved country is well on course to restore railway infrastructure and rail transport as never seen since the 1960s. Four more for Nana is a vote for the orderly development of rail infrastructure and transport for our dear country.
Vice-President Dr. Bawumia just last week outlined the great effort of President Akufo-Addo to bequeath a digital economy and society, to particularly the youth, who are our future. Wifi connectivity is key in this endeavour.
President Akufo-Addo has embarked on infrastructure to provide free wifi in our schools. A vote for him is a vote for free wifi for our youth.
Another clear difference between President Akufo-Addo and John Mahama is clear in the leadership qualities in a crisis. The Dumsor crisis from 2013, gave the Ghanaian people evidence of
President Mahama’s leadership skills in crisis. The crisis devastated business and personal lives in Ghana. President Mahama in 2013 to 2016 provided no relief, either to businesses or individual victims of Dumsor, including families who suffered from death of family members.
What President Mahama offered to Ghanaians was false promise after false promise after false promise of solution to Dumsor. The contrast to the crisis leadership qualities of President Akufo-Addo during the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be starker. President Akufo-Addo by his communication style, galvanized the entire nation behind him in navigating through this crisis.
Interventions that have included free water, free electricity have cushioned millions of Ghanaians, while business have been given solace through various interventions such as (CAPBUSS) administered by the NBSSI.
Ghana today has one of the best Covid-19 responses in the world. The United Nations Lancet Covid-19 Commission, headed by the respected Development Economist Jeffery Sachs, in their September 2020 report, indicated that Ghana’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, has been quite “exceptional” and that the small West African Country’s name is boldly written in Gold among nations that have used their meager resources to achieve excellence in preventing spread of Covid-19 (Daily mail).
President Akufo-Addo has demonstrated a strong desire to fight corruption compared to the inertia in the fight against corruption that characterised the leadership of President Mahama. Our NDC friends like to throw up corruption accusation against President Akufo-Addo. Even PDS, which the President cancelled despite the opposition of America, is used by the NDC. Even Agyapa, which at this stage remains on paper, and which terms and processes the President has asked to be reviewed, is also used against him.
Despite whatever misgivings the NDC has, the record shows you cannot accuse President Akufo-Addo of engaging himself personally in corruption. There can, however, be no debate. President Mahama between 2009 and 2016 engaged in conduct which clearly indicted himself and the high office of President into direct personal corruption.
The ford vehicle saga, where a beneficiary of projects and contracts from President Mahama was engaged in kickbacks to President Mahama, comes to mind. Even more shocking is the recent Airbus saga, where the aircraft manufacturing admitted to paying brides to President Mahama’s brother to influence the award of contracts to the company.
By contrast, you cannot touch President Akufo-Addo as being involved directly or personally in such blatant corruption. There’s no gain saying that the national fight against corruption is safer in the hands of President Akufo-Addo.
Even the way President Mahama treated his own people from the north is treacherous to them and appalling to the rest of the country. He touted himself in 2012 as the candidate from the north.
In power, he formed the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) intended as a special purpose vehicle to accelerate development in the north.
But what did President Mahama do with it? Under his watch, SADA was turned into one of the biggest corruption vehicles in the history of Ghana paying out to one company US$9 million dollars under the guide of rearing and processing guinea fowl, and US$18 million paid to same company ostensibly for afforestation.
As we speak, there is no single guinea fowl produced, and no single tree in the afforestation programme. Rather, the word Akonfem and SADA have become popular by words for corruption in Ghana.
In 2016, President Mahama refused the Presidential debate to be organized by the IEA. In 2020, he demanded a debate under any terms and conditions. Even under any terms of President Akufo-Addo. Another example of a flip, flop leader.
So, ladies and gentlemen, why should our brothers and sisters in the north choose President Mahama over Abudani Akufo-Addo?
DEMAND FOR VICE-PRESIDENTIAL RESIDENCE
In 2016/17, President Mahama attempted to take away the state edifice reserved for the Vice-Presidency, and which he had occupied from 2009 as Vice-President and as President from 2013 to 2016 as President, as a retirement benefit, even though he obviously has not retired as President.
That attempt disappointed a great number of Ghanaians and reinforced the image of Ghanaian politicians as greedy and selfish class of people.
But Ghanaians were in for even greater shock. In a bid to further his desire to take away the Presidential abode as his personal property, President Mahama’s government had commenced building a new residence for the Vice President of Ghana. We were told in documents produced by the then NDC
General Secretary that, that building was to cost US$3 million. In the event, President Mahama’s government had committed the Ghanaian taxpayer to a bill in excess of US$13million, for the uncompleted building.
This saga presents another example of indecisive. It is clear that President Mahama intended to retire in 2016. Now he has flip, flopped again. This cannot be the posture of a leader who deserves to be elected President for 2020.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the choice is clear. A choice between a vacillating, flip, flop, inconsistent, obey the wind leadership of expediency, represented by President Mahama and a leadership of firmness, of certainty resolute but caring, imaginative and surety, represented by President Akufo-Addo. On December 7, 2020, we must make a judgment call, on our own future as a people, on our own future as a country. We cannot be partial in this decision. We must vote for a leadership that we know it’s best for us at this time, let’s vote for Ghana, let’s vote for President Akufo-Addo. God bless us all.