He is a good man, but I think he doesn’t get it. In his State of the nation address delivered on 25.2.2010 on the floor of parliament, the president surprised almost everybody when he declared that he never promised to put money in the pockets of the citizenry.
In his attempt to play down the negative effects on his government as a result of the growing discontentment among majority of the populace accusing him of not living according to his promise of putting money in our pockets, the president opened the curtain for people to question his faculty for leading the nation to economic independence by that unfortunate pronouncement.
I am still struggling to fathom how on earth he could have made such a statement in the first place. Instead of the president ridiculing the difficulties majority of the people are going through, the least he could have done was to have put himself in their shoes. This he didn’t, but rather poured salt to their injury — I didn’t come to emancipate you from your economic difficulties.
I would not have commented on this infamous statement if he had said it out of impulsivity; but folks, it was a statement contained in the speech which tells me that it was well thought of, and even well rehearsed before the day of delivery. Under the section, money in our pockets, he charged, “Madam Speaker…very often I hear the cry of our people…money is hard to come by. Some even ask the question, where is the money you promised to put in our pockets? Madam Speaker, if I remember correctly, I never made this promise.” (Check the audio version). Folks, I think our president is remembering incorrectly. Let us not trivialized this issue because it is one of the major blunders the president has committed during his presidency.
Now, let us take time to anatomize the statement, I never promised to put money in your pocket. What did the president mean by this statement? And what goal was he seeking to achieve? Perhaps, he is admitting that the going is getting tougher, and also the purchasing power of the people is reducing as the days unfold.
Again, he is saying that those accusing him of failing to put money in their pockets are liars, and are putting words in his mouth. These two scenarios suggest to me that the president is losing it, and until he stands up as a true captain of the Ghanaian ship, he would be sooner, rather than later losing the confidence that most of the citizens have reposed in him.
I can’t for a fact say that president Mills explicitly and directly said that he was going to put money in our pockets during the run-up to the 2008 elections. But I can confidently say that he did promise us a better country. Now if you promise to provide us a better country, what are you intending? No money in our pockets? Of course, that wouldn’t have been a better Ghana. A better Ghana in the opinion of the citizens is by extension, putting money in the pockets of the people.
If that is not the case, what does the president think motivated the electorate to vote him into the highest office of the land? The president should realize that he was not sent to the castle (I think he should pack his accoutrements and head to the Jubilee house) to form committees (most of which were unnecessary), but rather to put money in the pockets of the majority who are struggling to eke out a decent living for themselves and their families.
What is the president talking about? That he was not voted into office to better the living standards of the people? That the poor should still suffer, whilst those who are in government are enjoying? Buying tractors meant for poor farmers, wasting tax payers’ money on tea parties among others. He didn’t promise to put money in our pockets, but he made available 50,000 dollars in loans to members of parliament to buy luxurious vehicles.
He didn’t promise to put money in the pockets of the poor farmer situated at Mile 18 or Sudantoa or Aduntia or hia y3 ya (all in the Amansie East district), very remote villages where I spent some years teaching in the mid 90s, but was able to allow the well connected to grab from all directions farming equipment meant for them. And yet when they remind him of his promise to better their lot, he accuses them of being liars — when indeed he did promise them a better Ghana — which includes among other things putting money in their pocket.
What was he thinking about when he promised the people a better country? By a better Ghana, was he referring to the building of infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads, etc. etc.? If you build schools and parents don’t have money in their pockets, how do they pay for the tuition of their children? If you build hospitals and the sick don’t have money in their pockets, how can they pay for their medical bills? You see, folks, the statement was very insulting to the electorate who cued under the scorching sun, travelled several thousand kilometers to elect the president and his party to power.
Again, based on the above supposition, we can safely agree that the building of infrastructure such as the ones named above is a better deal since it will offer jobs to the countless number of people who are jobless. That is bloody true, but doesn’t employment put money in people’s pocket? So our good president got it wrong. During the run-up to the 2008 elections, didn’t he promise to reduce the prices of fuel drastically, although he ended up increasing them drastically? Didn’t he also promise to improve the living standards of teachers and other public and civil servants? And he doesn’t think that these measures, if they are implemented are meant to put moneys in the pocket of the people?
In winding up, either the president is not getting it or he is suggesting to the electorates that they erred in voting him and his party to govern the nation for the next couple of years. If he thinks he was not elected to the presidency to put money in the pocket of the masses, then he should understand that he is on the wrong job. The people voted him to the presidency to put money in their pocket so that they can also live in dignity. “Ah, ohia ny3 ad3 pa; ya br3 ne ohia, Oman Panin Mills” to wit poverty is not good; we are fed up with poverty, president Mills. Better still, for making such a pronouncement, I think he has to eat crow and apologize to the good people of the land. God bless Ghana!!
Source: Kingsley Nyarko, PhD, Psychologist & Educational Consultant, IAF- Munich, ([email protected])
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