Former President John Dramani Mahama has launched a blistering attack on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, saying they are not applying ‘common sense’ to planning.
Rather, he said when he was in office he took sensible decisions, claiming that all presidents under the Fourth Republic moved Ghana forward but President Akufo-Addo has moved the country backwards.
“Government is planning and government is common sense. And that is what the NDC was doing. We were using planning and common sense,” he fired in the Ketu North Constituency in the Volta Region where he is on a campaign tour.
He told the chiefs that the NPP government had abandoned all the 200 senior high schools (SHSs) (E-blocks) that he was building and described it as senseless. Besides, he said the financial sector reforms that the NPP government carried out, which caught some insolvent banks, savings and loans and micro finance companies red handed for breaches of the financial rules, was also senseless.
He again claimed he started the Free SHS but the NPP government in implementing the policy had brought quality education down.
“And so we started the Free SHS step by step. We started with day students. We said day students do not need any fees and the following year in 2016 we started with some of the boarding students in the poorest districts and we left office and the new government came and said they were going to implement it immediately,” he stated.
“Today they say our Free SHS is the most expensive in the world. Meanwhile, look at that quality. The quality is going down. That is why NDC is coming to make it better.”
He said that “all the projects we were working on have come to a standstill. We just came from Ketu South, Aflao. There is a big E-block we were building there; where it reached on January 7, 2017 is where it has remained till now. If that school had been finished, the children in that area would have had a secondary school to attend instead of coming to Dodze and coming to congest the secondary schools in other areas.”
“There were 200 of them that we were building across the country; we would not have the problem that we are having with the double track, where some of the children would have to go to school and others stay at home for three months and then when they come the others will go and the others come back. Apart from that, if the children are at home you have to pay money for teachers to teach them,” he pointed out.
“When I come we will finish the secondary schools we were building quickly. If we build 200, each is capable of accommodating 1,000 students and that will be accommodating 200,000 students; and so we can spread the children out to all those secondary schools and we will bring an end to double track,” he added.
Claiming that the Akufo-Addo government has moved Ghana backwards, Mr. Mahama said, “Government is like a relay race. All of us were in secondary school and relay races were some of the sports we enjoyed the most because one will run with the baton and give it to the next one. The next one too will run and hand it over to the next and that is what we have been having since 1992.
“Rawlings ran, gave the baton to Kufuor; Kufuor ran, gave the baton to Atta Mills; Atta Mills ran, gave the baton to Mahama; and Mahama ran gave the baton to Nana Addo, but then he started running reverse.
“Instead of running forward, he started running back so Mahama has to chase him and collect the baton back from him,” he claimed.
Collapsing Financial Institutions
Mr. Mahama then switched his attention to the insolvent financial sector, saying “in the past four years, we have all lived in this country; financial institutions closed. It is not that financial institutions did not have problems when we were in government.”
He said “we knew there was a problem but we realized that the problem was a very complicated one and so we needed time to solve it, and make sure that we do not throw the baby away with the bathwater.”
“They needed GH¢9 billion to bail out the financial institutions that they closed down instead of investing the nine billion. And it is not money that would have been thrown away. You would have injected nine billion, taken equity of those financial institutions. And as they become liquid again and take your money back, simple! That is why I said government is common sense,” he indicated.
He added “and yet you go and collapse all these financial institutions and now you owe GH¢22 billion when you could have used GH¢9 billion to solve a problem; you created a problem and now you owe GH¢22 billion. And you assure the people of their money and now they say pay our money, and it is another story.”
He also claimed that “more people have lost their jobs under this government than any government in the Fourth Republic,” and said that some of those who lost their jobs were riding okadas and taxis and others were roasting sausage and khebab.
He appeared to turn himself into a debt collector when he said “up till now work that was done by contractors in 2016, they have not been paid for it.”
He then said as a result “they are causing financial loss to the state because if you do not pay their certificates there is something they call delayed interest payment and so all those certificates that government has refused to pay are accumulating delayed interest payments.
“And so some of the certificate that were GH¢20 million that they should have paid, today you owe him GH¢50 million and so you owe him GH¢70 million that is (50+20). That 50 million that has come as interest we could have used it to execute other projects.”
He also said the people of the Volta Region were intimidated and harassed during the voters’ registration exercise but they came out in their numbers to register and he expected them to vote massively against the NPP in December.
“There is a lot that is wrong with this administration and that is why come December 2020, we must change them and let them go back and sit at home so that a more competent government can come,” he added.