By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Jan. 10, 2015
I am always delighted to give the editor-publisher of the so-called Insight newspaper a back-handed slap, any chance I get. But in this particular instance, Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jr., has a point on Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentary Minority Leader (See “Ridiculous Kyei Mensah-Bonsu Must Shut Up! Pratt” MyJoyOnline.com 1/10/15).
I am not, of course, hereby implying that Mr. Pratt has it down pat when he rather curiously asserts that under the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the cost of living has gone down significantly. Anybody that I know who recently spent a considerable span of time in Ghana vacationing, tells me that the only worse time in the country’s socioeconomic history was during the Rawlings-led half-junta regime of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).
It was during the latter period that the level of poverty-induced suicides and, sometimes, murder-suicides, reached near-epic proportions. It was also during this period that the term “Rawlings’ Necklace” was coined. So famished were the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian citizens that it was routine for the level of one’s hunger and material privation to be measured by the extent to which one’s collar-bone threatened to jut out of one’s neck and shoulders. My telephone conversations with folks back home clearly point to the fact of the purchasing power of most Ghanaians having precipitously plummetted than it ever did during the 8-year tenure of the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
I am also certain that the balance of trade and income per capita under President Kufuor was far better than what Ghanaians have to contend with presently, particularly during the last half of the NPP government. And so, perhaps, Mr. Pratt would do his fellow countrymen and women a lot of good by explaining just why President Mahama would be desperately using Mr. Kufuor’s economic performance record, rather than either his own or that of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, to secure a bail-out loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
As well, Mr. Pratt needs to explain why talk of Ghana going HIPC has become so rampant on our media airwaves, if Ghanaians were enjoying the sort of unprecedented economic comfort that he would have the rest of the world believe. Well, when I say that I agree with Mr. Pratt, it is squarely on grounds of the fact that, sad to say, it is incontrovertibly true that the Kufuor administration equally played politics with fuel pricing. The one significant exception here, though, is that between 2000 and 2008, Ghana was primarily a non-oil producer consumer.
We must also credit the Kufuor government with singularly facilitating the glorious emergence of Ghana as an increasingly significant oil-producing country. Then also, I don’t think for a split-second that it serves the interest of the New Patriotic Party for Mr. Mensah-Bonsu to call a press conference and attempt to shadow box with the pro-NDC Committee for Joint Action (CJA). Regardless of whether the CJA is heavily packed with NDC operatives or not, it is still a pressre group or civil society organization. Mr. Mensah-Bonsu ought to take his battle straight-up and directly to the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress.