By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Folks, many issues cropping up confound me. I will lay some bare now for us to discuss.
There is much concern all over the place that the Mahama-led administration is not performing well. Those complaining are NDC supporters as well as political opponents, especially those in the NPP.
The critics are quick to cite the prevailing economic situation, high prices of goods and services, low productivity and the fluctuating Cedi-Dollar rate to support their criticisms. In effect, the cost of living is worsening.
Others are on roof-tops complaining about corruption and blaming President Mahama for presiding over “a create-loot-and-share” administration. Many others have simply written off the government as a total flop.
The NPP is out today, doing its own assessment of President Mahama’s performance in one year. The verdict? To them, he is a failure. They claim that 2016 is not dawning fast enough for them to kick out the NDC from office. Really?
Specific mention has been made of appointees of the government whose performance has been described as appalling. I saw a list of names posted on Myjoyonline’s Facebook page by a group based in the Volta Region that contained names of appointees to be dismissed by President Mahama.
One particular Minister who is on people’s lips is Mr. Seth Terkper, Finance Minister. Even before we are told the outcome of the appraisal being done by President Mahama, some people have shortlisted Mr. Terkper to be kicked out.
Now, President John Mahama himself has spilt the beans (so to speak), saying that “there is pressure mounting on him from within his own government to sack his finance Minister”.
“I mean several times they’ve interceded with me to sack Seth because he’s hurting the politics. He doesn’t understand the politics. ‘If there’s no money he should go and borrow’, as if it were that easy”, the President said, in jest, when he met the new managing director of Barclays Bank Ghana, Patience Akyianu, at the Flagstaff House Wednesday.
(Take note, folks, the President said pressure is mounting on him from within his own government)!!
Why the pressure? Because Mr. Terkper is spearheading certain reforms to tweak the economy to not only break the cycle of ills inherent within it, but also fix certain fiscal weaknesses through some reforms, have got tongues wagging in the government, thus the pressure for his dismissal.
According to President Mahama, “… It’s a vicious cycle we need to break and that is why a lot of the reforms that Seth is carrying out in the Finance Ministry with regards to the Ghana Integrated Management Information System (GIFMIS) and making sure we budget properly and MDAs follow budget discipline and all that are issues that we’re trying to introduce”.
It involves the use of a number of integrated electronic financial modules in the management of public funds, thereby reducing the human element as a means of reducing corruption.
President Mahama said the reforms are meeting some internal opposition within certain circles in government because they appear to be politically imprudent.
“…People have been used to the bad old ways for so long that it’s very difficult to change the attitude to see what is happening”, he bewailed.
Just a few days ago, it was reported that the Minister of Local Government, Akwasi Oppong-Fosu was facing similar problems for insisting that the right thing be done and payments for services to the Ministry properly scrutinized to weed out malfeasance.
Folks, here we are. President Mahama’s revelation is disheartening in essence and import, apparently because Ghana’s economy needs reforms, which includes plugging all the loopholes that facilitate corruption—which is what the Finance Minister and Oppong-Fosu have begun doing only to become the bull’s eye for opponents within the government itself.
How paradoxical? Do those opponents see the NDC’s manifesto for national development as different from measures being taken to improve the economy?
Or is the government itself doing things to reach this point of cross-purposes?
Of course, reforms are not necessarily meant to be “enjoyable”; but if what the President has revealed is anything to go by, then, there is no hope that anything good can be achieved in this atmosphere.
Seth Terkper to go just because he has begun doing the right thing for the good of the country’s economy?
It is beyond being pathetic that the opponents from within will simply base their reasons on what they claim is hurting the NDC’s politics. In fact, it is totally despicable for these opponents to even go that way as if what is good for the NDC’s politics is necessarily good for Ghana and Ghanaians.
No sane person will equate a political party to a country and claim that what is good for the party (to remain in power for its own sake?) is in the interest of the country and its people.
In our Ghanaian situation where voters vote on the basis of superficial issues regarding common ethnic backgrounds, physical features, and how much material benefits they have had from candidates, it is dangerous to claim that the NDC’s politics should supersede what the government does.
Those waspish elements in the government and the NDC putting pressure on President Mahama to relieve Mr. Terkper and others of their posts just because what they are doing is not favourable for the NDC’s politics must be identified and kicked out themselves.
Truly, there is every reason to suspect that those people don’t wish Ghana well. If they do, they won’t kick against reforms geared toward improving the national economy for Ghanaians to live in decency.
I trust that President Mahama will put the national interest above narrow and selfish considerations to ensure that his government solves national problems and not the NDC’s problems alone.
Those in the NDC who cannot wear their thinking caps at the right angle and poise should be disregarded. It is their responsibility to build the party, based on good thinking and performance to enlarge membership.
They have to separate their party from the government and not deceive themselves that the government is at their beck-and-call.
Of course, the government and the party need to know how to implement the party’s manifesto to achieve lasting results. Unless the government’s own agenda for “Better Ghana” conflicts with the NDC’s manifesto!!
If the government’s reforms at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning are well-intentioned, why should those in the government put pressure on President Mahama to get rid of Mr. Terkper?
Something is really not adding up properly.
I shall return…