On development projects: Akufo-Addo has no moral right to win voter support

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Folks, politicking toward Election 2016 has so far taken on bizarre twists and turns as far as campaign messages of the main actors are concerned. While the NPP’s Akufo-Addo is leading his campaign to lambaste President Mahama for over-concentrating attention on development project so the neglect of the existential problems of the people, even extending the criticism to the point of accusing the government of damaging Ghana’s economy through excessive borrowing, the incumbent has remained focused on pursuing its agenda of “transforming Ghana and changing lives”.

Images of President Mahama’s regional tours portray the people’s reaction to his government’s agenda. To his detractors, all that he is doing is “non-sylla”, meaning that he isn’t worth retaining in office. That has been the substance of Akufo-Addo and his running mate’s political outreach all this while. Fair enough.

After all, politics is all about reaching out to the people with whatever will win their goodwill. So is it that the campaigns toward Election 2016 have picked up and are producing interesting moments for us to comment on. And we are more than happy to do so. We note upfront that the two sides of the coin are being played up simultaneously, which reduces the political manouevres to absurdity.

The first side is represented by the NPP and its allies deriding the government for embarking on development projects and playing the accomplishments as the trump-card for Election 2016. That explains why they are quick to condemn President Mahama to going on his regional “Accounting to the People” tours.

The reverse side represents the anger of communities that feel left out in the government’s agenda for development projects.

Interestingly, these are the constituencies loudly condemning the government and leaning toward Akufo-Addo to create the impression that a victory for him at Election 2016 would automatically translate into an improvement in the provision of physical facilities to upgrade living standards.

Our monitoring of the situation has revealed that those complaining about the Mahama-led administration’s neglect of their communities in the provision of development projects aren’t even aware of the NPP’s stance on development projects as a political capital. They have been quick to denounced the incumbent and to entrust hope and themselves in an Akufo-Addo leadership that would turn their communities into a heaven-on-earth for them to relish. Here are a few instances:

  1. Osabarima Agyeman Boasia II, chief of Boso, in the Asuogyaman believes a Nana Addo presidency will spur on economic growth and in particular development in his traditional area of Boso. He said “I would have wished if had come here during the day to see the deplorable nature in which the town roads of Bosu are. The young people of Bosu need jobs, Bosu needs progress and development. We need an agro based industry here so that we curb migration of our young men and women who seek greener pastures in the so-called big cities. I know God will see him through. I am in full support of Nana Addo Dunkwa Akufo-Addo and I ask for God’s blessings for him.”
  2. Osabarima Adugyei Gyamfi II, Chief of the Akyem Akrofufu said “we pledge to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that just as we have always done, whether in rain or in sunshine, day or night, we, the Chiefs and people of Atiwa, back and support him fully in this year’s elections.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/politics/Two-Eastern-region-chiefs-pledge-support-for-Nana-Addo-452584).
  3. Nene Asafoatse Majitey III, chief of Asesewa in the Upper Manya Krobo constituency in the Eastern Region said “You him, the NDC government has deceived them for the past years by not even providing them water. He therefore expressed hope that Nana Addo would come and save them by providing them with water. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Krobo-Chief-predicts-victory-for-Nana-452869).

These instances are part of what we have gathered over the period in terms of the reaction of the chiefs and people in areas visited so far by Akufo-Addo. The question raised by such a reaction is simple: So, if these people know that development projects matter that much and that a government has to borrow money to provide such projects, why would they side with an opposition front that condemns the government for borrowing money for such purposes?

More importantly, what do these chiefs and people take government for? That it can provide all the facilities needed by all communities in Ghana within just a short spell in office? Or that the government must be held to ransom for not meeting the needs of every community just because it has access to the national coffers? What kind of shallow thinking and negative political behaviour is that?

Folks, I see something negative emerging here, especially within the context of the NPP’s Akufo-Addo and his unbridled desire to capitalize on emotions and not reason to guide politicking toward Election 2016. What is motivating his tour of the regions is nothing but populist nonsense which will have a huge boomerang effect on him and whatever he is fighting for.

I believe strongly that he is not doing genuine politics here. If he is honest to the truth, he should be the first to tell Ghanaians that governance is not all about the provision of development projects (as he and his followers have already established, which explains their stentorian condemnation of Jerry Rawlings, Atta Mills, and John Mahama for focusing on development projects all these years as a way of helping improve Akufo -Addo now turn round to rise on the crest of protests against development projects not being provided if he already knew where he was coming from? Here is where I see him doing cheap and dangerous narrow politics that won’t serve any useful purpose.

And this is where I blame the government too for not levelling with the people for them to know that it cannot provide development projects top every needy community simultaneously. What has become of public education? Couldn’t the government have made it clear to the people that its agenda for a “Better Ghana” (or whatever else may be the catch phrase now—“Transforming and Changing Lives”) has to begin from a point and be spread across, depending on priorities? Why should it be difficult for the government to educate the people for them to know that every community will have its turn when the time comes?

If the government had done the people homework, it would have closed the loopholes now being exploited by the slimy Akufo-Addo and his NPP to create the unfortunate impression that the government is insensitive to the plight of the people and must yield to an Akufo-Addo phantom. Indeed, if the right thing is being done, it should have been possible to neutralize Akufo-Addo’s efforts at the level of development projects because he has already discounted that area as part of national development. Why is there so much laziness, lousiness, and clumsiness in the doing of government business?

I believe strongly that if the proper thing had been done, there would be no need for all these chiefs and people hailing Akufo-Addo as the one to solve their existential problems. Ask the chiefs and people of his own Akim Abuakwa area about their water problems and you should not be deceived about the man’s failures as a politician. I pity those reposing trust in him all because of the weaknesses of our system. Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaa!!

I shall return…

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