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Like Manasseh, I Am Disappointed In President Akufo Addo But…   
 
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01-Jul-2019  
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Dear Manasseh,

Permit me to share my unsolicited opinion on your recent article. These days it is strenuous to engage in a proper discourse without been suffocated by the invasion of noise producing a politically affiliated swarm of bees whose sole determination is to crush out the discourse and suffocate the bearer. But can you admonish them that much? It appears the critics are gradually transforming themselves into mini-gods powered by an egoistic (I can make you and unmake you.) posture that loved to throw tantrums full of innuendos instead of focusing on the actual content of their text. Most importantly they can even criticize God but are repulsive to criticism. Notwithstanding, with your kind permission allow me to praise and criticize you with this piece.

First, I applaud your take on corruption and the abuse of the public purse by this government. As for Zoom lion man de3 regardless of the topic, you will find a way to dissect him.

I know right! Believe me, bro, me too I no dey like am.

His grips on politicians still fascinate me. I understand you dare not mention his name at cabinet meetings ooo, You will receive a quick scarlet letter from his camp. Dude, I have been pondering on why politicians continue to embark on strategies that seek to concentrate the wealth of the nation in the hands of a few. Just conceptualize a system where the contract for sanitation is awarded to 16 people from the 16 regions of Ghana. We could have created 16 companies with 16 CEOs, 16 MDs, 16 Head of Finance, 16 operations managers, 16 accountants and so on. Its economic impact on their extended families and the local economy would have been massive regardless, governments continue to award the whole nations sanitation contract to a lone man amidst inefficiency. I agree with you that with the corruption noise that has centred on these models, for the current administration to renew his contracts is a contradiction of the Presidents own principles and past statements and it amounts to a visible indication that Nana's government is not ready to fight the waste in the system.

Since you have decided to provide only one example let me, help you with another. In 2016 the Mahama government paid several billions of Cedi’s to support struggling indigenous Ghanaian banks, by 2017 these banks had again fallen back to insolvency. The 2016 Assets Quality Report conducted by the former governor unveiled several causes including improper lending to directors and shareholders to fund related and unrelated business for their own profit. Many of these directors established multiple businesses and engaged in purchasing of houses and other properties with customers deposits. The Akuffo Addo's government retains no option but to spend 13 billion of taxpayers Ghana Cedi’s to clean up the mess orchestrated by these people that allegedly includes Dr. Mensah Otabil who happens to be your godfather. According to Gabby Ochere Darko, the amount is voluminous than the famous Ghana/China Sinohydro loan that is taking away the entire Atiwa forest and this could have been used to build many hospitals and schools. Thus far; the government is expending public funds when properties and businesses of the perpetrators could have been sold to defray part of the cost. Despite the importance of the exercise as long as the perpetrators are walking free and enjoying their bounty don’t you think it amount to waste of public funds and as you remain a proponent of proper use of public funds how this has eluded your attention stills baffles me but you see, I know you will retort that you choose your choice and I have the right to also choose my choice.

Manasseh. Like you, I am disappointed. Yes! I am.

The waste is massive and the corruption fight is a joke. As for the super incompetent Martin Amidu he doesn’t even deserve my time and data. Throughout my continuous adult life, I have inevitably maintained the conviction that Nana Addo represents the saviour in the waiting. I had believed that he remains the only politician capable of combating corruption even in his own camp. It was even rumoured that ex-President Kufuor reluctantly supported his candidacy in 2008 because he was capable of jailing his corrupt appointees. On corruption and the abuse of the public purse, Nana has always stood taller than any known Ghanaian politician. I believed in him. I idolized him. I was so vociferous that at a point I was nicknamed Nana Addo by my colleagues at work. I had high hopes that Nana was going to introduce a radical transformation to governance in Ghana. But today when my friends questions “Charley but your man how far”? My only response has been hmmm.   In fact, if any of our celebrity angels cum pastors had prophesized that Nana Addo government would one day have ballooned the number of ministers under Mahama I would have probably invoked antoa on his head, but here we are with 110 ministers? I have a saying that government is not an assemblage of angels but Mr. President where art thou no-nonsense attitude?

Nonetheless, as a policy person, I also believe that for 2 years Akufo Addos government has outperformed all governments with the exception to Nkrumah. Great nations are built by policies. Even infrastructures are built to fit in some specific policy demands and I believe this administration is on the high way to success considering the number of developmental policies introduced so far and that’s where I disagree with you key soap analogy. Mr Azure. Your comparison of the implementation of FSHS to infrastructure for a vote is juvenile and exposes your lack of understanding of the policy literature and its implications. Using the countries funds to pay for kids school fees can definitely not be equated to buying dogs from Bongo market. Contrary to the government’s communication that asserts that FSHS is a social intervention project, it goes beyond just social intervention project but an economic strategy used for the equal distribution of a nation’s wealth or for the redistribution of income to fend off income inequalities. Since it is impossible for developing countries to impose an extra tax on the rich, introducing, such policies find a trade-off because the value received by low-income families on free education is clearly higher than what they pay in taxes. Consequently, in developing economies  where the concentration of wealth is in the hands of a few, such policies tend to minimize inequalities and soften the hardship of the people and it helps to sustain political support for the market economy because the alternative may be people rebelling against market forces. In this regards, there is absolutely no way Kasoa interchange can be compared to FSHS. It is unconvincingly feeble to suggest. Free education anyplace is a well thought out policy and with a budget deficit economy, I am certain if the implementation of any policy has outstretched the mental muscles of any politician in Ghana then FSHS will win the contest. But regardless of the challenges the project might be facing as a poverty researcher, I can confidently profess that FSHS is one of the excellent things ever to happen to Ghana.

Many at times those of us that are privileged intentionally, blindly or ignorantly assume that Ghana is only Accra and that every policy should be aimed at massaging the egos of the urban elites. For your information, over 65 percent of the Ghanaian population are rural dwellers that care not about Kwame Nkrumah Dubai, Kasoa interchange or Kumasi Kejatia market. The policy answers the daily prayers of the farmers in Sefwi Akontomra, Bongo and my home town Dunkwa offin and believe me this people will definitely not choose Sofa line interchange over their wards school fees.

According to the World Bank, a person is classified as poor when he or she earns below $2 averagely GHC 9 a day. Living on less than $3.20 (17GHC) also reflects poverty lines in middle-income countries like Ghana while $5.50 in upper –middle-income countries also reflects poverty. Close your eyes snatch a deep breath for a moment and visualize your family spending less than 9GHc a day. Does it trigger your emotions a bit? Per the above description of poverty, we may have over 45 percent of such people living here in Ghana. Even for the public sector workers who draw salaries monthly I have first-hand witnessed many who always resort to loans during SHS enrolment years so envisage the women that sell petty kinds of stuff to survive. A Bangladesh researcher on poverty opines that the immediate shameful effect of parents who are unable to sponsor their wards to senior high school is equivalent to gotten caught from stealing at the community market. Per his findings, some parents stayed out of public gathering for 90 days and the psychological effect on the child cannot even be measured. So the next time you decide to embark on an emotional comparison on a subject, take you and abreast yourself with some knowledge in the area and remember that Ghana is not only for the rich and the middle class.

Signed

Nana Kwame Ofori

[email protected]
 
 
Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
 
 

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