One year after re-echoing his campaign promises to help ordinary Ghanaians, President William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s first 365 days in office have revealed that his true policy priorities are only benefitting his family and party members, corporations linked to the ruling party and the wealthiest few at the expense of everyone else. His actions and those of his administration have been characterized by broken promises, gross conflicts of interest, and a stark erosion of transparency, ethics, and other democratic norms.
As a candidate, Akufo-Addo promised Ghanaians that there will be a new Ghana under his administration if he gets the nod to become president in the 7 December, 2016 election.
“…under my leadership, the face of our country, Ghana, is going to change. We are going to get out of stagnation and backwardness, and move our country onto the path of progress and prosperity. We can do it. We, the Ghanaian people, have the capacity to change the circumstances of our lives,” he said at a rally at the Jubilee Park in Tamale in the Northern regional capacity.
This new Ghana, according to Akufo-Addo, will be “a Ghana with opportunities for all, and where everybody is taken care of”, explaining: “We will have a society that is caring and compassionate and expresses solidarity. Nobody is going to be left behind. We are all going to march together, hands linked together, to that great future that beckons us, here in Ghana.”
But it is not the Ghanaians who have been enjoying — it is the NPP financiers, politically-tainted clergy and Akufo-Addo’s own family. The ordinary talk on the streets suggests that a majority of Ghanaians now believe that President Akufo-Addo does not keep his promises and is unable to effectively manage the government.
Yes, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his sidekick, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, won. But it took barely 100 days into this administration for Mr Franklin Cudjoe, president of policy think tank IMANI Africa, to declare that President Akufo-Addo and his government are not well-prepared to deliver on their major manifesto promises.
At a public lecture on the topic: Managing the Expectations of the Electorate and the Delivering of Electoral Promises, Mr Cudjoe said: “If there is ever the clearest indication of unpreparedness in executing the many promises the NPP made into their vagueness, it was clearly in the appointment of a 110 ministers, the highest ever in the country’s history.
Among some of the major manifesto promises of the NPP are building 216 factories across the country, building a dam in every farming village in the three regions up north, giving $275 million to each of the 275 constituencies in the country annually and also reviving the private sector.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS GOVERNMENT
Early this month, a former Senior Lecturer of the University of Ghana, Dr Ebenezer Kofi Hayford, has described President Akufo-Addo’s administration as a “new monarchical republic of Ghana”.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo has created family and friends government to run the affairs of the country.
Dr Hayford, who is also the Chief Convener of pressure group, Coalition for Democratic Governance (CDG), explains that more than 70 per cent of government appointees holding key positions are either clan relatives of the president or family friends.
According to him, “this is the first time Ghana is experiencing a government of the sort”, hence describing President Akufo-Addo’s presidency as “new monarchical Republic of Ghana”.
Dr Hayford said, apart from the Akufo-Addo-led administration creating “absurd ministries with over-bloated expenditures”, the allocation of huge sums of monies to the presidency for compensations, goods and services and capital expenditure was wasteful.
He noted that the budgetary allocation to the presidency was more than five ministries budgetary allocations put together.
He added that “it does not make sense for the presidency to have more budgetary allocations than key ministries such as the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Trade and Industries, and Ministry of Works and Housing”.
“It is absurd to have a concentration of expenditure at the presidency while students are suffering in Senior High Schools”, Dr Hayford said.
He said looking at how the Akufo-Addo-led administration “is managing the affairs of the country, clearly shows that the country is being managed without a proper plan”.
Meanwhile, in response to the one-year mark — a first waypoint for measuring the progress and tone of a new administration – The Daily Democrat has compiled a list of some of the top ways that the Akufo-Addo administration has hurt Ghanaians:
- Nepotism: Government composed around the president’s family – Asante Bediatuo (Private Secretary), Ken Ofori Atta (Finance), Gloria Akuffo (Attorney General), Atta Akyea (Works and Housing) and Amoako Atta (Roads) are all first cousins of President Akufo-Addo
- Vindictiveness and political cleansing: Ministers and Government openly called for an all-out ‘political cleansing’ of the civil service to ‘purge’ the system of all civil servants appointed by the Mahama administration. All Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) across the country were told by President Akufo-Addo to vacate their posts and hand over to their Coordinating Directors. Akufo-Addo’s administration has rendered thousands of Ghanaian youth lawfully-employed under the erstwhile John Mahama administration jobless through reckless and heartless dismissal of public servants in breach of governing laws and constitutional provisions
- Governor of Bank of Ghana and his Deputy forced to resign
- 205 NSS staff sacked
- 110 COCOBOD staff sacked
- 8,634 nurses appointments suspended
- 3,000 police recruits sacked
- 525 national security personnel sacked
- Nine-hundred-and-thirty seven (937) unemployed nurses picketed Ghana Health Service over failure to post them after completing their national service
- Arbitrary violation of Technical Universities Act, 2016 (Act 922) – by a letter dated January 19, 2017, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) dissolved the governing councils of public universities, public technical universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, Institute of Journalism, Institute of Languages and the National Film and Television Institute
- Festival of Ministries
Franklin Cudjoe has described the creation of more ministries by President Akufo-Addo as “a festival of Ministries for a single monolithic entity.” The appointments currently stand at 110 Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- Massive borrowing
After declaring on campaign platforms that Akufo-Addo/Bawumia would not borrow to run the government, the administration has exhibited its insatiable appetite for borrowing. The new administration has ballooned the national debt stock to Gh¢138.9 billion as at November 2017 with the following breakdown: First Quarter: Gh¢Gh¢17.4bn; 2nd Quarter: Gh¢22.2bn; 3rd Quarter: Gh¢17.4bn; Last Quarter: Gh¢15.9bn
- Create, Loot and Share: The sale of USD 2.25 billion worth of bonds by Mr Ken Ofori Atta was the single-biggest daily transaction in sub-Saharan Africa. Reuters, in a publication dated April 4, described the transaction as “jumbo debt action.” Ken Ofori-Atta’s friend/business partner, Trevor G. Trefgame, will make a cool US$400 million for 15 years before cashing the US$2.25 billion principals for acquiring almost 95% of the Ghana Government’s 25billion 15-year bond at a coupon rate of 19.75%.
- Profligacy and Corruption
- Staggering GHC1.5 billion budgeted for the Office of the President for the 2017 fiscal year – more than the amounts given to the same office for all the four years of the Mahama Administration
- Waste of public purse with overlapping appointments like Ministers in charge of Public Procurement, Special Initiatives, Business Development, Planning, Regional Re-organisation.
- 2 ministers and 4 deputies in charge of Transport
- 2 ministers and 3 deputies in charge of Communication & Information
- 4 ministers and 6 deputies in charge of Education and Agriculture
- Numerous spokespersons, press secretaries and special assistants
- Violation of article 252(2) of the 1992 Constitution with impunity by slashing the appropriation to the District Assemblies Common Fund for local government and diverting the difference to be placed under the direct control of Flagstaff House
- Spiralling Cost of Living
- Frequent hikes in fuel prices and transport fares; rapid increases in prices of foodstuffs; uncontrolled hike in rents
- Fifteen per cent (15%) increase in transport fares
- Deceptive public proclamation of the freezing of purchase of cars for the new administration, after some vehicles have already been acquired e.g., bullet-proof Lexus for President and Land Cruiser for Minister for Fisheries
- Deceptive announcement in the Budget that the duty on spare parts had been abolished – then turned round and published a list excluding several items hitherto classified as spare parts
- Announced the abolition of the 1% duty on spare parts only to realise later that the tax is an ECOWAS requirement and cannot be scrapped
- Reign of terror
With tacit support of President Akufo-Addo and his security apparatus, NPP thugs and hooligans from pseudo-terrorist groups – Invincible Forces and Delta Forces respectively – unleashed horror on innocent Ghanaians and rendered security of the nation useless.
- Physical assault and harassment of Senior Police Officer, ASP Nanka Bruce, at Flagstaff on January 9, 2017
- Assault of Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator on March 24, 2017, at the Regional Coordinating Council in Kumasi
- Invasion of Kumasi Court on April 6, 2017, to free 13 assault suspects, terrorize the judge and vandalise court property
- Unlawful and forceful takeover of Kintampo Water Falls leading to the loss of 20 lives on March 19, 2017
- Holding of Castle official at gun point, on March 20, 2017, by two members of the Invisible Forces amidst threats to kill him because he questioned their unlawful seizure from the Castle of a Land Cruiser belonging to the State
- Unlawfully invasion of the homes of members of the immediate past government and seizure of their private property under the guise of retrieving ‘missing’ state vehicles
- Looting of government vehicles by vigilante groups
- Unlawful and forceful take-over of Government agencies and offices e.g., NADMO, NHIS, School Feeding,
- Forceful take-over and burning of toll booths at Fiapre in the Brong Ahafo Region and the Tema Motorway
- Vandalisation of the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange (Dubai)
- Murder of four (4) NDC activists by NPP-sponsored groups in different parts of the Western and Central Regions
- Shambolic and theatrical ruling on the Kumasi court issue
- Abysmal security failure – violence at Agbogbloshie 3 killed; ethnic conflicts in Bimbilla, 11 killed (despite appointment of Minister for National Security, Minister for Defence, Minister for Interior, National Security Advisor, Deputy Minister for Defence, Deputy Minister for Interior, Inspector General of Police, National Security Coordinator
- Reckless, rabble-rousing, provocative, incendiary and malevolent remarks from Government appointees and high-level NPP members like Kennedy Agyepong and Mathew Opoku Prempeh.
Ix Unfulfilled promises
- Energy Sector Levy (ESLA) not removed
- Fuel prices keep increasing
- No reduction of electricity and water tariffs
- No full restoration and payment of nursing and teacher trainee allowances (an estimated GHC 637.2 million per annum) for the 2017 fiscal year as promised).
- DKM, God Is Love and other victims of micro-finance not paid
- No instantly-Free SHS education for ALL JHS graduates – only 467,692 first year students for 2017/2018 academic year out of a total of 1.6m SHS students are benefiting
- No once-a-day feeding for all day students
This list is just a sample of the ways in which President Akufo-Addo and his administration have already broken their promises to Ghanaians and revealed their true priorities. As this list grows, real damage is being done to communities and working families across the nation. Akufo-Addo and his sidekick, Bawumia, should heed their calls to put the needs of ordinary Ghanaians ahead of family ties, party loyalists and the wealthy.
Nearly a century ago, Walter Lippmann wrote that the challenge for democracies is that citizens necessarily base decisions on the “pictures in our heads,” the images of reality we construct for ourselves. The Ghanaian voting public has just made a decision of the gravest consequence, largely based on distorted, frightening, and bigoted caricatures of reality that we all would recognize as caricature if applied to our own communities.
By Nii Noi Vanderpuye