In an election year, promises are bound to be made by political parties whether they can be implemented or notâand why notâwho can or calls them to account for the promises that are not fulfilled? Â The electorate who have the power to call them to account, ethically vote as if there is nothing at stake in an election. Â Unfortunately, when things turn soar economically after the elections, the same electorate turn round and deny ever having voted for the Government in power. Â The promises can also be denied by those who made them on assumption of office without any sense of shame.
Nobody expects all promises to be fulfilled by the end of the tenure of office of any administration, but like all examinations, some percentage marks need to be registered for a performance to be adjudged Â bad, average, good or excellent. Â The late President (Law Professor) conscious about this fact, unwittingly awarded himself 80% marks for his first year in office, which was widely disputed. Â Ex-President Kufuor did not fulfil all his promises but by his acts and deeds, many Ghanaians can attest to the fact that he obtained very high marks.
In the 2008 elections, âgargantuanâ promises were made by all political parties especially the NPP and the NDC, and amongst the NDCâs promises that concerned the average Ghanaian were, the drastic reduction of fuel prices, the cleaning of Accra in 100 days, the âone timeâ payment of national insurance premium, creation of millions of jobs and the last but not least, âputting money into peoplesâ pocket.â There is nothing wrong in making promises, for example, if you are a leader of a political party that has no chance of winning an election, you lose nothing by promising every Ghanaian a Rolls Royce if you win, because some Ghanaians, in their wildest imagination may believe such trash as it happened in 2008, to cast a vote for your party. Â It must however be remembered that on assumption of office, you will be called upon to fulfil your promises. A review of the past performances of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP) can confirm those who make achievable promises and those whose promises can be considered as merely propaganda.
For the NDC, the drastic reduction of fuel ended up in astronomical increases which shamed such NDC advocates like Mr. Kwasi Pratt, whilst the creation of 1.6 million phantom jobs created in space by Mr. Okuzdeto Ablakwa could not be accessed. Â The âone timeâ premium payment of the NHIS could not be implemented but the existing programme that needed continuation has been badly damaged. Â Money in peoples pocket turned out to be lectures on radio and TV by âbabies with sharp and dangerous teethââ explaining how those monies mysteriously found their way into Ghanaian pockets. Â The integrity, sincerity and honesty of the party and its leadership suffered greatly and should serve as a warning to those who intend to tread on this path.
Once again, promises are not only being made by political parties, but also, by the Electoral Commission who has promised to create 45 new constituencies. Â Some prominent Ghanaians have been advising the Electoral Commission to back down but Dr. Afari Gyan is bent on fulfilling this political gimmick of his âmastersâ and still assures Ghanaians of his neutrality. Â We are aware that this whole deception started when the Government delayed the release of the population census report and dismissed Dr. Grace Bediako for allegedly being incompetent and paved the way for the release of the results.Â The subsequent creation of the new Districts necessitated the justification to create new constituencies by the Electoral Commission. In reality, many Ghanaians are not against the creation of new constituencies but for all intents and purposes, the timing is bad. Â The presentation of the Bill, CI 73 or CI 77 or CI (koominini) to give legal backing to the creation of the new constituencies has compounded the problem and tarnished the reputation of the Electoral Commission. Â Ghanaians are weary of the shoddy manner in which the last district elections were conducted and the Commission needs to reclaim its credibility to restore the confidence of Ghanaians reposed in them. Â Defending their action by citing the creation of constituencies in the Kufuorâs era is laughable because enough time was allowed at that time for the implementation.
In my 10 yearsâ experience as a chief executive officer of two government institutions, I learnt interestingly that taking a decision on any issue that has a hidden agenda is extremely difficult, simply because you will have to battle with your conscience to justify the decision, and if you insist on doing so, facts, figures and reasoning have to be twisted to support the decision. This is exactly what is happening in the creation of the 45 new constituencies and not all of us are amused.
Interestingly, what interpretation does the Commission give to Article 47(6) of the Constitution of Ghana which states, âWhen the boundaries of a constituency established under this article are altered as a result of a review, the alteration shall come into effect upon the next dissolution of Parliamentâ? Â I am not a lawyer but I understand this to mean that this new creation will be effected after âthe next dissolution of Parliamentâ which takes place in January, 2013.
Since Nana Addoâs evening encounter with IEA on the 21st August, 2012, his promise of free SHS education and his explanation of the funding has convinced many doubting Ghanaians that the policy can be implemented. Â As usual, there have been some infantile critics condemning the policy as unrealistic and impossible to implement by the NDC propaganda machinery. Â Fifty-six years of independence, I believe, is enough time for Ghanaians to assess our situation and identify what our priorities are as a nation. Â Nana Addo has done his homework and has identified education as his priority and if elected, he believes that will speed up the progress of this country and place it amongst the comity of modern nations. Â Â Surely there will be some challenges in implementing such a programme but these should not deter us in pursuing what is considered a national priority in our quest to develop. Â After all as President Mahama noted, it is a constitutional requirement.Â The debate should therefore be focused on the implementation and whatever it takes to make it a reality.
On my recent visit to the Northern part of Ghana, I observed the giant bill boards of the late President Mills and that of President John Mahama that have sprung up along the highway to Paga and wondered what the NDC hopes to gain from these morbid pictures? There seems to be a new found love between the President and the late President, no quarrel about that, but what could be gained from the battered image of the late President is best known to them. When the Woyome scandal broke out, the President then the Vice-President, kept his distance and never commented on the issue and allowed the late President to take the flak all alone. Â Why is the President now hiding behind Millâs ghost and character traits such as âasomdweeâahobraseâ to project his image? Why wonât they allow him to rest in peace?
Let me remind all political parties that it is the Almighty God who crowns/anoints kings and queens and therefore irrespective of the diabolical plans of Mr. Yaw Boateng Gyan and his ilk, what God has ordained will come to pass. Â Let us therefore stop the deceit, mischief and propaganda and move the nation forward.
To the NDC, I say âthe chickens have come home to roost.â
By Brig-GenÂ Â J. Odei