Ladies and gentlemen of the media, good afternoon.
You are welcome to the fourth in our series of press conferences, meant to refocus attention on the issues that best define the leadership needs of Ghana and therefore may impact your leadership choices in the run-up to the electoral contest on 7th December 2020.
As the media, we expect that you remain steadfast independent arbiters in helping to redirect the debate to sifting the grain from the chaff and weighing the grain in the white light of fair inquiry. We hope that in this fast evolving media environment of competing claims, you use the versatile tools at your disposal to throw even more light on the real issues of poverty eradication and jerky growth hindering our forward march.
Your role as gatekeepers has become even more important as Covid-19 locks society down with the new normal. You have become our eyes and ears.
So today, we ask of you. Please use your tools to better help governance partners to focus and debate the kind of leadership Ghana needs. Politicians, thought leaders, civil society influencers, voters, captains of industry and investment, international partners and competing fellow nations are all governance partners.
Yes, the nations with which we share common indices of development compete in the same international markets for the scarce resources that we need to develop faster. Therefore, what our governance partners think and say of our leadership shapes the voter preferences of the people.
Ladies and gentlemen, leadership is at the heart of the 2020 elections. National development rises and falls on leadership. Since the advent of the 1992 Constitution, there have been two contrasting political leaderships, the NPP and NDC. Of the two, the NPP is convinced that they have offered and delivered better leadership than the NDC. The NPP consistently performs better. We are better mangers of the economy.
That contrast is on offer again. Eight years in which former President Kufuor lifted this country out of HIPC and onto the path of progress as against several arid years of IMF and World Bank direction that he inherited. Now, we have three and a half years in which President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has had to start all over again, taking back direction from the IMF and restoring the prospect of jobs and incomes.
In this election cycle, only two candidates have a viable opportunity of getting the mandate of the Ghanaian people on December 7, 2020. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP and former President now candidate John Dramani Mahama of the NDC.
As H.E President Akufo-Addo has so succinctly reminded us, the choice will be made on the records of the two since both have had opportunity to demonstrate whether or not they can deliver on the leadership needs of this country. So, the choice before the Ghanaian people is clear- between President Akufo-Addo and candidate John Dramani Mahama, who has the vision, the commitment, the competence and the compassion to deliver a Ghana of consistent growth and prosperity? It is the NPP’s strong contention that candidate John Dramani Mahama does not have the focus and competence necessary to take this country in the right direction.
Candidate Mahama cannot do it. He had his chances and squandered them all. As a former Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister of State, Cabinet Minister, Vice President and President, candidate Mahama appears to be the luckiest politician in Ghana’s Fourth Republican history. Having experienced every political position of decision making significance in Ghana’s political structure, including six years as President, all we hear from him is that he be forgiven his mistakes so he can come back to continue experimenting with the future of our partners in governance.
Having had the most opportunity to affect Ghana’s fortunes positively, he blew it all, landing Ghana in the policy misery that saw him run to the IMF, barely 10 years after President Kufuor took us out of painful HIPC. Candidate Mahama’s omissions so impoverished Ghana that budgetary support to essential social services were cut, including the infamous cancellation of trainee allowances. Candidate Mahama’s omissions so impoverished Ghana that he refused the value of free SHS, blindly screaming that its implementation would collapse educational infrastructure and national finances. Candidate Mahama’s omissions so impoverished Ghana that we could not afford fuel oil to power our energy grid. Candidate Mahama’s omissions were so grave he supervised a caricature of financial Ponzi schemes and danced on the grave of the collapsed financial sector in Parliament, chastising Ghanaians for “looking for Alice in Wonderland” financial returns.
This is the man who wants you to entrust four years of your scarce governance resources to him. What he could not deliver and destroyed in six years as President he wants only four years to experiment with? Again? What are his thoughts, what is his vision, has his attitude to decision making changed?
Do not forget, he is a self-confessed doubter. One who is never able to make his mind about anything? He is convinced we have short memories, but we remember Candidate Mahama’s own confessions about himself in his book, My First Coup D’état, when he states that,
“All the decisions I have made in my life were REGULARLY PLAGUED WITH DOUBT. It can be challenging to sustain that feeling of hope or the belief that things will turn out for the best. Again, and again, I have felt like that boy Dramani, on the bicycle going downhill fast, without any brakes and NOT KNOWING WHICH WAY TO TURN.”
Former President now candidate Mahama’s record is one of riding the Presidency downhill, full of doubt and fear, without direction or brakes. His supreme political decision was to let the IMF decide for him.
Focus versus flip-flop
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, Candidate Mahama flip-flops. He follows the wind. As you can see, he is now converted by the forward looking policies of the current administration, the strong, focused wind generated in the wake of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s credible delivery. Policies aimed at building a functional enabling state that provides social inclusion, human resource development and steady economic growth in an atmosphere of international stability.
So, all the policies he rejected as impossible when in power, the good governance he could not deliver, he is now saying he will do. After Nana Addo-Addo has already delivered. Somehow, sitting on the side lines of governance for the past three and a half years, John Mahama is inviting governance partners-media, politicians, thought leaders, civil society influencers, voters, captains of industry and investment, international partners and competing fellow nations-to believe that he has made a magical jump from crass mismanagement, incompetence and corruption to a place where he will take over and successfully continue policies he never believed in.
He believes the very lack of logic in his desire to take Ghana back into his half-baked experiments will escape the notice of Ghanaians, because he sincerely believes we have short memories of his gargantuan gaffes. He wants the Ghanaian voter to take the ship of state away from the committed, competent and compassionate delivery of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and entrust our future fortunes to his indecisiveness whilst he attempts to learn how to do what Nana is already doing.
Visionary leadership serves as the anchor for the uncertainties and the volatility of politics. Ever since Candidate Mahama has been in politics, he has not once articulated a vision for the transformation of anything. Indeed, it is precisely because of his lack of vision that he follows the wind. He follows the gravy train- wherever he perceives that there is a juicy opportunity to harvest votes, there he goes.
What does he stand for? It is important he tells the Ghanaian voter exactly what he stands for. We cannot have as President, one who merely obeys the wind. We need a leader who can sail the ship of state safely to shore. Flip-flopping, wishy-washy, indecisive leadership will wreck the ship of state.
President Mahama hated free SHS with a passion. His government paid for over forty advertisements against it from his assumption of the Presidency. He failed to deliver on his ill-conceived alternate of E-Blocks. Today, he says he should be voted into office to maintain free SHS. Well, Candidate Mahama, we are not looking for a “Maintenance Officer”. We are looking for a President. A Leader.
He said that he would rather lose his presidency than restore trainee allowances. Today, he says he wants your vote to pay higher trainee allowances.He agitated against a new register, allegedly funding demonstrations and supporting threats of violence. Then he mounted giant billboards asking people to “rise up and register.”
He instructed his party to ditch empowerment of district assemblies through the referendum. Today he says he will pay assembly men against the dictates of the Constitution. He cut the sod and contributed our scarce resources towards the fabled 10-billion-dollar Hope City. Today he talks about infrastructure, conveniently forgetting the eight bedroom 14-million-dollar official residence of the Vice President of the Republic that he supervised.
In 2015 he said that ‘it will be foolish not to collateralize our oil for credit.’ Today he says he is against collateralization of our long-suffering mineral resources. Significantly, he is also threatening to return bauxite concessions to his brother, saying “I shall return seized mining concessions to their owners”.