26TH August, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, good afternoon and welcome to this press conference. The 2020 general elections, we all know, were held successfully almost a year ago. The verdict of the Ghanaian people, as declared by the independent Electoral Commission of Ghana and affirmed by the Supreme Court, was emphatic. It was a big YES for the NPP Presidential Candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to continue his good works. Many have thought that we have all moved on.
The President is focused on putting in place his government to help him deliver on his second term mandate, an exercise which is almost complete. The economy, just like the world economy, which was ravaged by the crippling impact of Covid, is now seeing a strong rebound to the envy of many economic watchers. Ghana is once again showing the way. However, it appears not everybody is happy with these positive developments. Some Ghanaians still think that the 2020 elections are not over.
They are unable to come to terms with their reality, that, election 2020 is over, and they have lost. Ghanaians rejected them like they did in 2016 because they have nothing good to offer this country. They just cannot think beyond partisan politics. They are still in the campaign mood as though we are building up to a general elections. Unfortunately, John Mahama, the former President, who ought to know better, is rather the one leading this backwardness.
As we speak, he is embarking on a nationwide thank you tour to thank Ghanaians for rejecting his incompetence and insensitivity. Apparently, he was deceiving everybody. He hasn’t still accepted his faith. He is still in a campaign mood, stopping at nothing at firing salvos and peddling lies at the current President and the NPP government. We are really not worried about his distractions because our President is focused on delivering the public good.
We are however minded to respond to his recent allegations, because we think that much as the Ghanaian people know him, we still need to remind them of his deceptive utterances. As observed, he has turned his so called ‘thank you’ tour into an election campaign. Yes, he has a right to campaign, and we don’t begrudge him. But he should play by the rules of engagement. He has no right to deceive the people by twisting basic facts. During the 2020 election campaign, we recall him saying it is acceptable to lie to win elections. Having lost the election, he is still peddling half-truths and twisting facts. Some of his assertions are embarrassing and need rebuttals to set the record straight.
CREATION OF REGIONS
First, he accuses President Akufo-Addo of creating regions in name only without development. He is so wrong on both counts. Facts are that the people in the affected regions, Western, Brong Ahafo, Volta and Northern, did petition the then fresh Akufo-Addo administration after their failed attempt to get his cooperation on the subject. For some, their aspirations were decades old. The Akufo-Addo administration followed the constitutional processes of setting up an independent Commission of Inquiry. The Commission concluded that the demands had merit and therefore triggered the constitutional requirement of a referendum.
The constitutional bar for the referendum is very high. Fifty percent of eligible voters had to turn out with eighty percent of votes cast having to be in favour. To meet these high numbers, multiple parties, including NPP and NDC, worked together enthusiastically. Not once, however, did we hear a peep out of the former president Mahama. He did not lead his people in the Savanah Region. He did not lead the NDC. Now, he pops up to twist the fact of constitutional creation into the doing of an individual. Yes. That individual, President Akufo-Addo, was bold and responsive enough to lead the people to achieve their dream.
On developmental projects in the newly created regions, the Hon Minister for Local Government Decentralisation and Rural Development, has been more than emphatic. He tells us that Ninety six projects are currently ongoing with over 70% complete whilst a few have been handed over. 6 regional administration blocks, 24 blocks for decentralised departments, 66 staff bungalows. 30 motorbikes and 66 new vehicles have also been delivered. Furthermore, Agenda 111 will deliver regional and district hospitals as well.
For the information of failed candidate Mahama, the Akufo-Addo administration has pioneered a model where government and public service buildings are spread throughout the region. The advantage over the old cluster model is that every locality within a region will have a hub around which to deepen development.
Once again we insist that it is clear defeated candidate Mahama is yet to recover from the 2020 election loss. After deceiving a few of his supporters to attempt mayhem on the roads, he has the audacity to talk about averting civil war? His inept petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court in a public hearing where he went to court with no evidence whatsoever. He denigrates the military with talk about arm twisting? Except John Mahama and his cohorts in the NDC, the entire world hailed the 2020 elections. A solid record of running the entire election in six months at the height of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.
Knowing they would lose to the sterling record of Nana Addo, the John Mahama NDC put every conceivable obstacle in the way of the Electoral Commission (EC). For over a year, they held sometimes violent demonstrations against the intentions and operations of the EC. They hailed Covid-19 as the panacea for not having elections at all, a posture that was bound to create constitutional crisis. They did not have a solution if elections did not happen. They could not care less. Indeed, John Mahama seeks to undermine our electoral and political stability anytime he comments on elections.
However, with the resolve of God and good service, the EC registered voters, exhibited the new register and conducted general elections from June to December 2020. In spite of Covid-19 that led to restrictions on international trade and travel, the EC managed to procure all its materials and deploy them to maximum effect. Remarkable. Even more significantly, the Government of Ghana, under the constitutional democrat Nana Addo, paid for the entire election. Another unprecedented feat in the history of elections under the 4th Republic.
International observers deemed the elections free and fair, local observers corroborated this fact, prominent local media houses independently called the election for the NPP and Nana Addo was duly declared the winner. Yet, aspirant Mahama would shamelessly have the world believe otherwise. But that is John Mahama for you. He never disappoints with his pettiness.
NDC AND ELECTORAL REFORMS
John Mahama and his NDC have no shame. After disrespecting and damning the EC and its leadership throughout the electioneering, they have the gut to call on the EC to undertake electoral reforms even after refusing to attend the opportune platform provided by the EC for all political parties to meet and undertake a review of the conduct of the 2020 elections. The NPP has said, and we going to repeat, that, we are not going to dignify their so-called proposals for electoral reforms by responding to them in the media. The media as well as the international community cannot be the right forum for such an exercise.
We are a disciplined political party and respect rules. We do not play to the gallery. We are a serious political party. And so, if the NDC is serious about their demands for electoral reforms, they should table it at the right forum, which is IPAC. But if, on the other hand, they think that the media can undertake the reforms they are calling for, then they should go ahead with their rantings in the media space. We are not going to debate in their own turf. They should be honourable enough and come back to the table for a civilised discussion and debate. The NPP has always believed in electoral reform.
The NPP is proud of its record in supporting the continued transformation of elections in Ghana towards more transparency and fairness. However, the NPP has always tried to act within the rules in pushing for changes. Let the NDC be advised to swallow their arrogance and get down from its high horse, accept the loss of the 2020 elections gracefully and participate within IPAC to input into the 2024 elections.
At the heart of his attempt to lead the NDC again as a flagbearer is John Mahama’s allegations about “his” abandoned projects. He has been particularly loud since the successful launching of Agenda 111 to change the health care delivery landscape of Ghana. So, even though the Hon Minister for Health has spoken to debunk John Mahama’s effusions, I wish to repeat with all the emphasis at my command that John Mahama did not leave a legacy worth abandoning. His best shot at housing is in court, facing questions over millions unaccounted for. His history of cocoa roads is replete with horror stories. He barely managed to deliver two interchanges, Circle and Kasoa. Both have serious value for money issues.
President Kufuor secured funds for nine hospitals under the Euroget de-Invest inspired project in 2008. The NDC did not complete even one of them in eight years. The NPP Government of Nana Addo had to come in and completed them. The Wa Regional Hospital and Ga East Municipal Hospital were commissioned for use in 2019. Nsawkaw, Twifo Praso and Tepa were available as at November 2020. The Afari Military hospital and Sewua Regional Hospital are due for handover in 2022. Salaga and Konongo are on course. These are not Mahama initiated projects. They were the brainchild of the Kufuor administration.
Mahama was behind a set of eight projects under NMSI. Most of the money for the project was invested in one out of the eight. That is the Shai Osudoku District hospital at Dodowa. The Akufo-Addo administration has had to restructure the contracts and get contractors back to site at Fomena, Kumawu, and Takoradi. Sekondi and Garu were not started at all. Now Garu has been separated into two districts, Garu and Tempane and they are to benefit from Agenda 111.
All the polyclinic projects under Vamed have been completed. 10 in central region, 5 in Greater Accra and others in Savanah, Northern and Volta Region are all complete. The University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) required another fifty million USD before completion for active use in October 2020.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is the NDC for you. Touting achievements they have not concluded.
Former President Mahama asserts without proof that the NPP has stolen Ghana’s money and that, he can ensure accountability through elections. Extremely rich, coming from a party credited by the Supreme Court of Ghana, with the ability to ‘create, loot and share’ public funds with impunity.
Is Mahama, of Government Official One infamy and the Ford vehicle from Kanazoe Contractors, talking about corruption? Is that the same Mahama whose government signed onto a half-baked contract of $1.2 billion for the Ghana Retail Payments Systems Infrastructure? Sibton Switch Systems Ltd have just lost an arbitration demand for $478 million from Ghana for revoking that agreement. The Akufo-Addo administration did a far more enhanced project for only $4.5 million. $1.2 billion to $4.5 million.
On the Sibton Switch issue, the Bank of Ghana, as we all know, has won an international arbitration of $478million against Sibton Switch Limited. The case at the London International Court of Arbitration (LCIA) also saw Sibton Switch being ordered to make a substantial payment to the Bank in respect of its legal fees and costs of the arbitration.
On the facts of this case, John Mahama’s good friend, Roland Agambire was at the centre of being granted unbudgeted contracts without even PPA approval and paid upfront before services. He used some of the money for homes in Dubai and for paying media houses for NDC adverts for 2012. His biggest money heist was this Sibton contract. The fallout from the exposé was that the contract, was awarded at a cost of GH¢4.6billion under John Mahama.
What is even more remarkable about what has happened is that again, a lot of people were quoting billions of dollars and it became an issue of public debate, but this system has now been built for less than $4 million dollars under the NPP government. Is it not more worrying that, all dubious deals under Mahama were carried by the RLG man? Mahama advised Agambire to go into hiding after the elections. The NPP government saved the country billions of dollars which has helped the government channel resources into projects like FREE SHS, planting for food and job, 1D1F, etc.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the same Mahama who, asked on an international media platform whether he was corrupt, replied in which capacity? “…as a human being”? We all know that unlike President Akufo-Addo, candidate John Mahama cannot and has not been able to make any bold statement to tout his incorruptibility because of his personal involvement in a lot of the corruption scandals that plagued his administration.
John Mahama proved to be so corrupt that during his time as Vice President, his boss, Late President Mills had cause to set up a committee to investigate the role played by him (John Mahama) in the processes leading to the Acquisition of Five Aircrafts (5) including Embraer 190 Aircraft and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces. The committee included Mr. William Aboah, Mr. George Amoah, and Brig. Gen. Allotey (Rtd) former Judge Advocate-General.
In any event, as a former President, Mahama does not have to wait to deal with corruption. He knows the institutions within government responsible for investigation and prosecution. He can report his so called evidence of corruption allegations about the NPP to any of the enforcement agencies that Ghana can boast off, including the Special Prosecutor that he, Mahama, has advised to be independent.
Ladies and gentlemen, please indulge me on the matter of corruption. Ghana has experienced regime change, often violent, on the back of allegations of corruption and mismanagement. Commissions of inquiry have banned people from public office and in the extreme, a regime tied people to the stake and shot them for corruption. Nonetheless, corruption remains a matter requiring action, meaning that better means must be canvassed beyond mere allegations.
Ladies and gentlemen, best practice championed by international agencies and multi-lateral institutions show that the fight is not an event but a process involving several facets and aspects of the state and society. The World Bank promotes a multi-pronged strategy involving Institutional Constraints, Political Accountability, Civil Society Participation, Competitive Private Sector and Public Sector Management.
Under Institutional Constraints, expectations are of an independent and effective judiciary, legislative oversight and independent prosecution and enforcement. The NPP is investing heavily in judicial reforms, especially digitisation of processes that will make justice delivery faster and more responsive as well as court infrastructure nationwide.
The eighth Parliament of Ghana, has near equal representation of the two major parties and a Speaker from the opposition party. This should make for even more responsive oversight than before. President Nana Addo boldly fulfilled his promise of an independent anti-corruption Czar in the form of the Special Prosecutor. It is the expectation that the new occupant of the Office, will exercise the powers of the Office to the optimal level.
Political accountability includes political competition, credible political parties, transparency in party financing, disclosure of Parliamentary votes and asset declaration and conflict of interest rules.. The NPP administration is pushing forward legislation of public officers codes of conduct that has been neglected in Parliament for years.
The third leg of best practices is Civil Society Participation. There, we have freedom of speech, public hearings of draft laws and a role for media and NGOs in governance. Ghana has one of the most vibrant media environments. The NPP Kufuor Government freed the media from fear of attack when it repealed criminal libel laws on the statute books. Nana Addo has gone further. He has overseen the passage of freedom of information legislation. Again, Ghana’s freedom of information legislation lay in Parliament for over twenty years until the Akufo-Addo administration ensured its passage into law.
This further enables civil society, who are already involved in law making in Parliament through extensive stakeholder consultations. Indeed, civil society in Ghana, comments vigorously on most government initiatives without fear or favour, the most recent being GNPC and its investment intentions.
A Competitive Private Sector includes economic policy reform, regulatory simplicity, transparency in corporate governance and collective business associations. NPP-led reforms in this area includes the review and passage of the Companies Act and the Land Act, the disclosure of beneficiaries of companies and insolvency rules. These laws, amongst many others, are set to open up the private sector to more transparent and rewarding business.
Finally, the World Bank strategy looks at Public Sector Management. This area includes meritocratic civil service, budget management-especially procurement, and audit-, tax and customs, seSctoral service delivery in energy, health and education, and decentralisation. In all the areas, the NPP ticks the boxes. The NPP has led in cleaning up public procurement with specific laws and now, e-procurement platforms with standardised pricing. The government is moving on rationalising the taxation front with the Ghana card, whilst paperless customs procedures have improved revenue collection to the Government and service quality to port users.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NPP is investing heavily in health care delivery and education. Free SHS comes with infrastructure and more contact hours. Tertiary and TVET education are coming on stream. Covid-19 has been brilliantly managed to the admiration of the entire world, leading to less human losses and a faster economic rebound. Post Covid-19, Agenda 111 is set to strengthen health care infrastructure and thus delivery of health care services to every part of Ghana at costs supported by the NHIS. Swift and bold measures have stabilized energy supplies including getting a grip of the debt overhang in the sector left by John Mahama. Decentralization is moving forward with the arrival of six more regions. Public and government services are getting closer to the people.
So, on the whole, the political tactic of shouting corruption ought to be obsolete as all these factors and institutions work together to build resilient systems less dependent on human intervention. A call for a mere change of government by a personality who has no anti-corruption credentials, does not help the fight against corruption. NPP is adopting and adapting best practices to deliver system wide responsiveness and must be supported to do so.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NPP is also championing an employment agenda. With the successful location of the African Continental Free Trade Secretariat in Ghana, the local manufacture of diverse automobile brands and the location of the growth industries of Google and Twitter to Ghana, modern opportunities for growth are expanding.
This is coupled with the rapid turnout of 1D1F factories nationwide, generating employment and further opportunity at several levels. Equally, we can make mention of the aggressive digitization drive being experienced in the Ghanaian society. Digitization simplifies access to services and reduces human contact. Moreover, it secures paperless transactions, thereby reducing the cost of doing business.
Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, from facet of our national life, the NPP has a much better record. We do not even compare ourselves with the NDC, because they do not have any credible record to compare with. The 4th Republic is more mature than mere slogans. The good voters of Ghana expect concrete actions from politicians. That is what the NPP is showing with consistency. The 2024 shall be fought and won on records, and not who can insult his opponent the most. No amount of political mudslinging and fact twisting can change the fact of the incompetence of John Mahama and his cohorts.
We are focused on building a Ghana of opportunities and prosperity for all, and Isha Allahu, we shall get there.
Thank you for your attention.