Omane Boamah Responds To ‘Loquacious’ Bawumia's ‘Queer Question’ On Social Policy

Former Communications Minister, Dr Edward Omane Boamah has responded to a challenge thrown by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to show the social intervention policies recorded in the NDC administration.

In a six-page response, Omane Boamah claimed the John Mahama government introduced social intervention programmes such as free school uniforms, free school sandals, free textbooks, free cocoa fertiliser, free cocoa seedlings as well as payment of premium to cocoa farmers while increasing the producer price of cocoa.

Dr. Omane Boamah also mentioned the provision of social infrastructure including the Ridge hospital, the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the Bank of Ghana hospital and the Maritime Hospital.

The former Minister further asked Dr Bawumia to "get to work and stop haunting yourself with ‘NDCism’ more than two years ahead of the 2020 general elections, for Ghanaians deserve better!

Read full statement below

In “Arrow  of  God,” Chinua  Achebe indicates: “Whenever  people  have  asked  me  which 
among my novels is my  favourite, I have always evaded a direct answer, being strongly of the mind that in sheer invidiousness that question is fully comparable to asking a man to list his  children  in  the  order  in  which  he  loves  them.  A  paterfamilias  worth  his  salt  will,  if  he must, speak about the peculiar attractiveness of each child.”

Similarly,  the NDC has several social policies and interventions  to its credit; we love social 
interventions and we implement them better because we are social democrats. 
Incredibly,  Ghana’s  loquacious  Vice  President,  Dr.  Bawumia has  asked  the  National 
Democratic  Congress  to  point  to  one  social  intervention  we  implemented  while in 
Government, which was geared towards alleviating the sufferings of Ghanaians. This evokes an oxymoronic  response: I  am  glad but sad! The  latter  feeling  is  because Bawumia  is still speaking  to  the  issue  of  the sufferings  of  Ghanaians, when  in  actual  fact according  to Candidate Akufo-Addo’s  promise in  2016,  he  was  expected to ‘transform’ Ghana  within eighteen months upon assuming office as President.

Furthermore,  my  sadness  is  worsened  because  notwithstanding the  litany  of  “sufferings” that Bawumia listed and recited like the Pater Noster in 2016, the NPP Government has only paid lip service  to  the plight of Ghanaians. Even when  they attempt an ‘intervention’, it is  rushed  and  fraught  with avoidable yet costly, painful  and  amateur  hitches  because  their objective is not altruistic and development-centred but simply for political gains.

The glaring challenges associated with the implementation of  the Free Senior High School 
Policy and the recently launched Nations Builders Corp (NaBCo) illustrate this point.

Whereas  Free  education  is  guaranteed  under  the  Constitution  and  the  NDC  Government worked  diligently  towards  its  decent  attainment  through  direct  Government  of  Ghanasupport,  the NPP is implementing progressively  free SHS  for Form 1 and 2 students  to  the exclusion  of  Form  3  students,  and  even  then, in  a  haphazard  manner.  Free  education  is great!  It should  have  been well  thought  through,  in  order  to  avoid  the  needless  deaths, infections,  congestion,  and  multiple  track  system  which  is  being  run  currently  at  the  SHS level.

With  regards  to  Nation  Builders  Corp,  within  hours  after  the  expensive  funfair  at  the Independence  Square  led  by  the  President,  the  beneficiaries  have  been  told  in  plain language that the expected date  for implementation cannot be respected by Government.Which  Government  anywhere  in  the  progressive  world  acts  like  this? Not  only  has  the commencement of  implementation  been  varied  to  a  later  date,  but  also  placement  of beneficiaries  has not  been firmed  up.  This  is  not  how  the NDC  implemented  job  creation measures in the past and will undoubtedly do better than the status quo.

In any case, NaBCo is not what the NPP promised the youth of Ghana in 2016. NPP promised sustainable  jobs! In  fact,  their  manifesto  was  titled,  “Change  An  Agenda  for  Jobs.”

Therefore, NaBCo begs the question of why professionally trained teachers and nurses will 
be  queuing  endlessly  for  employment, when  others  under  NaBCo  are  being  offered  free passage to teach and care for patients.

Before  I  list  a  few  more  of  the  many  social  interventions  that  the  NDC  Government implemented  from  2009  to  2016, let  me first address  the conceptual  confusion  which  is confined to Bawumia’s cerebrum.

The Bawumia Conceptual Confusion

Dr. Bawumia  is a  social  scientist.  Therefore,  he is expected  to  speak  to and  within 
acceptable framework(s) even  when  his concepts  are  confusing  or  deliberately  made 
confusing  for  his  parochial  and  partisan  political  gain.  First  and  foremost,  social 
interventions  consist  of  social  policies,  programmes  and  projects as  well  as  strategies  to  implement  these  to  improve  human  well-being.  Unfortunately  for  Dr.  Bawumia,  theseprojects  and  programmes  are more  visible  and  perhaps  further elaboration  on  what  they are may not even be necessary.

Against  this  background, there is  consensus  on  what  social  policy  is. It  is defined  by 
respected  scholars  as, “Measures  that  affect  people’s well-being,  whether  through  the 
provision  of  welfare  services  or  by  means  of  policies  that  impact  upon  livelihoods  more generally.” Therefore,  what  exactly  is  Ghana’s  Vice  President  referring  to on  what constitutes social intervention; and what is his understanding when he demands one social intervention implemented by the NDC administration from 2009 to 2016?

A  deeper layer  of  his  conceptual  confusion  is  embedded  in  the  NPP’s consistent 
propagandist rhetoric  which  seeks  to  appropriate  the  National  Health  Insurance  Scheme (NHIS)  to  themselves,  and  also  fails  to  give  credit to the  NDC  for the  emerging  free education programme at the SHS level.  What do I mean?It is not in doubt that, it was the NDC that initiated the Health Insurance Scheme, (Kotoh et al., 2018; Agyepong and Adjei 2008; Arhinful 2003; Arhin-Tenkorang 2001; and Waddington and Enyimayew  1989). It  is  also  not  in  doubt  that  the  NPP  scaled  it  up  under  President Kufour  in  2003  and  was  subsequently  converted  into  a  functionally  integrated  National Health  Insurance  Scheme  under  President  John  Evans  Atta  Mills.  Notwithstanding  these immutable facts, the NPP continues to project monopoly over the NHIS!In  a similar vein, the  John Mahama  Government  implemented  Progressively  Free  SHS  for over 400, 000 students. Yet, even though not all SHS students are currently benefitting from the  ongoing  limited  free  SHS  programme which  covers  only  Form  1  and  2  students, Government dishonestly insists it is not progressive.

At this stage, the simple question to answer is, was the progressively free SHS programme 
under Mahama a social intervention or not? The answer is oui in French because the policy 
is affirmed by the accepted definition of social interventions contrary to what Dr. Bawumia, 
the perverse social scientist wants the world to believe.

Another  issue  worth  visiting  is  how  to  target  people  with  social  interventions  in  order  to optimise  benefits  from  the  use  of  resources. As a Social Democrat, I vote  for equity in its two dimensions. I believe in horizontal equity which expects people with equal needs to be treated equally. Furthermore, I also believe in vertical equity – which demands that people with unequal needs must be treated unequally. This is to say, do not give the same amount of  resources to  people  of  unequal needs. Adopt  affirmative  action.  Otherwise  you risk entrenching inequality and  consigning people  to  permanent  social  castes. We must  avoid this pitfall at all times!

More Social Interventions of the NDC

If it pleases Bawumia, I wish to provide him with a gist of some of the social interventions of the  NDC.  Ordinarily,  this exercise is  unnecessary;  but  when  the  Vice  President gives  the“unnecessary” his blessings without inhibitions, citizens may have no option but to obey.

I am glad to state that the specific NDC social interventions, beyond significantly expanding 
the  NHIS  and initiating  and  implementing  progressively  free  SHS,  include:  Free  School Uniforms; Free School  sandals; Free textbooks; Free cocoa  fertilizer; Free cocoa  seedlings; Payment  of  premium  to  cocoa  farmers  while increasing  producer price  of  cocoa;  Ayalolo metro  buses  and  Rejuvenation  of  State  Transport  Corporation; and  Provision  of  funds  to SMEs.

Also, the NDC deem social infrastructure as critical  to  the overall well-being of Ghanaians. 
After all, of what use is one’s NHIS card if the sick and their caregivers cannot access health 
care in health facilities? Of what benefit? Therefore, several hospitals, polyclinics and CHPS compounds were deliberately constructed across the country.

The Ridge hospital, the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the Bank of Ghana hospital, the Maritime  Hospital,  the  Dodowa  District  Hospital,  the  Upper  West  Regional  Hospital,  the expansion  of  both  the  Tamale  Teaching  Hospital  and  the  Bolgatanga Hospital  as  well  asdozens  of  Polyclinics  and  CHPS  Compounds  are  classic  examples  of  what  the  NDC  did  in Government with the view to relieve the sufferings of Ghanaians.

Even  more,  were the  development  of  several  educational  institutions, including  the 
University  of Health and  Allied  Sciences  (UHAS),  the  Community Day  Senior High  Schools, expansion  of  facilities  on  several  campuses  among  others. The  fact  that  limited  public schools  have led  to  the  infamous  double  track  system  at  the  SHS  level  should  trigger  Dr. Bawumia to appreciate what social intervention is.

In  the water sector, if today ‘the market for the yellow Kufour gallons’ has diminished, then 
it is  to  the credit of  the NDC! Dr. Bawumia, do not ignore  the long distances  that women 
and children have walked in the past in search of potable drinking water; and do not ignore 
the  plight  of  the  people  of  Adentan  in  recent  past.  The  interventions  in  the  road  sector which also brought relief to Ghanaians can also not be under-rated.

Dr. Bawumia, I  know  the  very  day  you  walked  into  your  office  in  the  South  wing  of  the Flagstaff House  (now  renamed  Jubilee House),  you  started campaigning  for election  2020 instead of working  for Ghanaians and Ghana. However, I believe, if you pause and soberly reflect,  you  will  admit  that, to  the  NDC,  economic  development  is  most  important  if  it impacts positively on Ghanaians.

We expect the NPP Government to work assiduously to at least maintain or improve upon our  record, given  the  strong  foundation  provided  by  the  Atta  Mills and  Mahama 
Administrations.  Ghanaians  do  not  deserve  the  reverse, as we  have  seen in  the  case hardships and in the fight against corruption under the NPP. Just an anecdote, do you recall 
that Ghana dropped in the 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index?


As Achebe advised in “Arrow of God,” I am equally and firmly of the mind that, Bawumia’s 
question is fully comparable to a naïve request for a man to list his children in the order in which he loves them. Unlike the NPP, the NDC has several social policies and interventions 
to her credit therefore, I have catalogued more than one.

Ghanaians, let us give thanks to almighty God for offering the Akufo-Addo Government the 
opportunity  to  test  their skills at  the highest level. The verdict has been  that of unending 
and spiralling hardships and monumental failures. But God works in mysterious ways; and as the Prophet Isaiah (55:8-9) captures it, his ways and thoughts are not like ours.

Dr Bawumia, I  repeat, simply get  to work and  stop  haunting yourself with ‘NDCism’ more 
than two years ahead of the 2020 general elections, for Ghanaians deserve better!

Dr Edward  Kofi Omane Boamah
Former Minister for Communications