FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 21, 2022.
PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY ADDRESSED BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY, JUSTIN KODUA FRIMPONG, ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE COUNTRY
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media.
We welcome you all to this press interaction and commend you for honouring our invitation at such short notice. We have invited you here to officially communicate the NPP’s position on recent developments in the country including the prevailing socioeconomic conditions.
RECENT ECONOMIC GAINS
Fellow Ghanaians, we cannot begin this press engagement without speaking on recent developments about the economy. As we have previously admitted, our dear country has in the past few months endured some challenging socioeconomic conditions partly attributed to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and worsened by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Depreciation of the Cedi against major trading currencies particularly the dollar, surge in prices of petroleum products and rising inflation nearly destabilised the local economy.
As the ruling political Party, we received numerous petitions from the length and breadth of the country which implored us and government to urgently address socioeconomic conditions which had increased cost of living for the ordinary Ghanaian and nearly suffocated businesses. Consequently, the leadership of the NPP had several engagements with government with the view to addressing the legitimate concerns so expressed.
It is heart-warming that following these engagements, remedial interventions put in place by the listening Akufo-Addo government are gradually yielding results. As evidenced by all and sundry, the Cedi has, in the past week or two, witnessed significant gains in value, appreciating by some 63.7% against the US dollar as at December 15, 2022. This appreciation has been rightly described by many economic watchers as an unprecedented feat in the history of our country.
Interestingly, our political opponents who were blaming government policies for the cedi depreciation are now saying we should not attribute the gains to government’s interventions. So we ask, if government can be blamed for the cedi depreciation, why can’t the same government be credited for the appreciation in the value of the cedi? We leave that to the judgment of discerning Ghanaians.
We also find as gratifying that owing to the massive appreciation in the value of the cedi, prices of petroleum products at the pump have reduced, resulting in a 15.3% reduction in transport fares as announced by transport unions. Although these developments may not entirely address prevailing socioeconomic conditions in the country, we do believe strongly that they may offer a sigh of relief to Ghanaians especially as we approach the festive season. Certainly, there could not have been a better Christmas gift! On account of the cedi appreciation, reduction in fuel prices and transport fares, we appeal to all manufacturers and traders to also reduce prices of commodities to conform with this reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is public knowledge that during the recent socioeconomic upheavals, our political opponents particularly the NDC, tried without success to take advantage of the situation for underserving political mileage. The NDC and Mahama never missed any opportunity to lash out at government even though they knew that the challenges were mainly caused by external factors.
Indeed, this position was recently confirmed by the IMF, through its Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, who, on the September 5, 2022, at the Africa Adaptation Summit in The Netherlands, stated categorically that the economic challenges confronting Ghana cannot be attributed to government’s policies but rather, exogenous shocks occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. She added that but for these external factors, the Ghanaian economy would have remained strong and resilient.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is interesting that even the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama completely agrees with the NPP government and the IMF that the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine are the root causes of our current socioeconomic challenges. Except that, for John Mahama, he only makes this admission when he is addressing international audiences. However, he tells Ghanaians to blame the Akufo Addo government for all our economic woes and not COVID and the Russia-Ukraine war. How opportunistic!
We, in the NPP, do not shy away from our records, and are ready to debate our political opponents on any day. The Ghanaian people are the best judges. The Ghanaian people have not forgotten the records of John Mahama and the NDC. The Ghanaian people are very much aware of the fact that, during their tenure, even without any global economic crisis, the John Mahama-led NDC government was so overwhelmed by their own incompetence that they could not even keep the lights on, plunging this country into darkness for four years while destroying many livelihoods.
As we can all attest to, the ‘‘dumsor crisis’’ was fixed in the first year of the Akufo Addo administration. The NDC and Mahama could also not implement any social intervention programme to mitigate the suffering of Ghanaians. To make matters worse, the existing ones were either destroyed or cancelled by them. Mention can be made of the teacher trainee allowance, nursing trainee allowance among others.
But in our case, despite the lingering impacts of the global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, resulting in the worst global socioeconomic crisis in more than 7 decades, the NPP government led by President Akufo-Addo, is still able to sustain its ambitious interventions such as the Free SHS, the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative among others.
We have also been able to consistently pay salaries on time, and have undertaken unprecedented building of roads and railway infrastructure. Even more significantly, we have been able to keep the lights on. So the difference between us and the NDC is clear. The evidence shows clearly that even in the worst of times, we are better managers of the economy.
THE NDC CONGRESS AND MATTERS ARISING
The NPP, first, extends a hearty congratulation to the newly elected National Executives of the NDC at the just ended 10th National Annual Delegates Congress of the Party held at the Ohene Gyan Sports Stadium on December 17, 2022. We equally commend the NDC for holding their internal elections at the various levels.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that multiparty democracy is at the heart of every democratic society. It is the most significant measure of the strength of a country’s democratic tenets. If Ghana is to live up to its accolade as the bastion of democracy in Africa, it is imperative that we build a robust democracy that breaks new grounds and serves as blueprint for other countries in Africa and beyond.
The NPP wants to contest the 2024 general elections with a resilient opposition, a united NDC, and not a disintegrated NDC, so they will have no excuse when we beat them in the elections. This is the reason why we wished the NDC well in their Congress.
CONDEMNATION OF VIOLENT CONDUCT
The NPP wishes to use this opportunity to reiterate its condemnation of the violence and hooliganism that characterized the build up to the National Congress of the NDC, and appeal to them to appreciate that violence should have no place in our body politic.
Much as the NPP agrees with former President John Mahama that the NDC is second to none when it comes to unleashing violence owing to their revolutionary background, we believe strongly that such reckless comments incited their party thugs and vigilantes to perpetrate the violence we witnessed in Cape Coast. We wish to use this occasion in the interest of the nation to admonish the Asiedu Nketiah-led National Executives to take steps to reform the NDC and get rid of the Party’s addiction to violence.
John Mahama was right then, and he is still right today, no political party can match their records when it comes to political violence. We, in the NPP can certainly not compete with the NDC in unleashing violence, and we do not intend to give this an attempt. It is thus an established fact that the NDC has no regard for the nation’s laws. They have no regard for our Criminal Code. They also have no regard for the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act. That is why they are still keeping their vigilante ‘thugs’, who they occasionally unleash to cause chaos in the country.
It is not surprising that as we speak, the Ghana Police has declared as MOST WANTED, sixteen (16) thugs of the NDC for their violent conduct at the just ended Youth and Women Congress of the Party which was held in Cape Coast on Saturday December 10, 2022, and resulted in some of their thugs and supporters sustaining life-threatening injuries while several properties were destroyed. They virtually turned their congress into a war zone. We encourage members of the general public to assist the police with information that will lead to the arrest of these NDC vigilantes to make them face the full rigours of the law.
Following the public outrage and condemnation of the violence that marred the NDC’s congress at Cape Coast, many would have thought that the Party’s congress in Accra would be incident free. Rather, we witnessed the shocking physical assault of Madam Janet Nabila, General Secretary of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) by some vigilantes of the NDC, resulting in her hospitalisation. Her only crime was that she honoured an invitation extended to her Party by the NDC in line with existing inter-party courtesies where opposing parties are invited to deliver solidarity messages during such events.
DEMAND FOR APOLOGY FROM THE NDC FOR THEIR SELF-CONFESSED MISCHIEVOUS ELECTION PETITION
Ladies and gentlemen, the Ghanaian public would bare us witness to audios and videos on circulation in which Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, National Chairman of the NDC, admits that the leadership of the Party knew they had lost the 2020 General Elections, yet, still went ahead to deceive their supporters and lie to the Ghanaian people that the election was rigged. In pursuit of their clandestine agenda, the NDC, he said, went ahead to challenge the election results at the Supreme Court without a shred of evidence.
The NPP had hoped that the NDC would have used the occasion of their Congress to render an unqualified apology to the nation’s Judiciary and the good people of Ghana for such unpatriotic and disgraceful conduct, which portends a great danger to our democracy and stability of our dear country. Unfortunately, it never happened. Instead, they continued with their campaign of hate against the Judiciary, scandalizing and attacking the very integrity of our revered judges without any justification. This is indeed shameful.
It smacks of dishonesty for John Mahama and the NDC leadership to lie to their supporters that they won the 2020 elections and ask them to jubilate. In fact, the NDC supporters were virtually asked by their leaders to seek justice on the streets because the Electoral Commission had stolen the elections for the NPP. These supporters also blindly followed their leaders and went to town terrorizing innocent Ghanaians going about their normal business. Some of their supporters were so much incited that they had violent confrontations with State security personnel.
The conspiracy to destabilise the country was deeply rooted in the NDC that their Members of Parliament, led by Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, abandoned their work in Parliament and embarked on an illegal protest to the premises of the Electoral Commission to threaten the Electoral Commissioners.
In effect, the NDC had sought to take the entire nation to ransom for their electoral defeat. Undoubtedly, they wanted to make the country ungovernable. The NDC-induced unnecessary tension was intended to destabilise the country and scare investors, both of which have had adverse impacts on the Ghanaian economy till date.
After intense public opprobrium against their undemocratic and violent conduct, the NDC then decided belatedly, to challenge the outcome of the election by filing a presidential election petition at the Supreme Court even when Tsatsu Tsikata, their lawyer, had advised otherwise as admitted by Asiedu Nketiah. Undoubtedly, they deliberately wasted the Court’s time for months with their unmeritorious petition.
Even the media were not spared of the NDC’s unjustified attacks. As you would recall, reporters of Accra-based United Television (UTV), Citi Fm and other media houses were physically attacked for their coverage of the 2020 general elections and subsequently, the election petition.
We, therefore, wish to reiterate our demand for John Dramani Mahama and the NDC leadership, on account of their own confession, to render an unqualified apology, first, to the nation’s Judiciary, which they have bastardized without justification, and to the rest of the country for wasting everybody’s time and creating unnecessary tension in the aftermath of the 2020 general elections.
Of particular concern to us, is John Mahama’s condescending description of the respected justices of the Supreme Court, as “UNANIMOUS FC”. John Mahama forgets that it was the same Court that affirmed his electoral victory in 2013. Strangely, John Mahama and the NDC didn’t have any problem then.
The leadership of the NPP has also taken notice of a comment passed by Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, National Chairman of the NDC, during his victory speech at the Party’s National Delegates Congress. To the shock of many Ghanaians, he boldly stated that the NDC is prepared to sacrifice everything including human lives to recapture power in 2024, an obvious threat to national peace and security.
On account of the foregoing, the NPP condemns strongly this nation-wrecking comment and implores other political watchers, the media, National Peace Council, Civil Society Organizations, National House of Chiefs, The Christian Council of Ghana, The Office of the National Chief Imam, the Diplomatic Community and indeed, all well-meaning Ghanaians to join us in demanding an unqualified apology from John Mahama, Asiedu Nketiah, and the NDC for their unpatriotic and disgraceful conducts, which portend a great danger to our democracy and the security of the State.
To conclude, the NPP warmly welcomes the new leadership of the NDC to the political table. As confirmed by their National Chairman, we appreciate their difficulty in collating election results over the years, and are willing to provide them with technical support in that regard. We are also ready to engage them on politics of issues, and NOT propaganda and deceit. We invite them to debate us on the records of good governance to enable the Ghanaian people make an informed decision in 2024.
Finally, we appeal to the Ghanaian populace to be patient and have confidence in the NPP government especially when its remedial interventions to socioeconomic conditions in the country are gradually yielding results. We may not be out of the woods yet but we are definitely on track to restoring our country to the path of sustained growth and prosperity.
On the anniversary of the birth of Christ, we would like to wish all Ghanaians a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance.
May God bless our homeland Ghana and make the NPP greater and stronger.