The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the belief by most Presidents that a second term in office is all but guaranteed, even though they have clearly failed, is beginning to become a thing of the past in the politics of Africa.
With 2016 marking the end of the second consecutive term of the NDC, since 2009, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1992, Ghana has seen two transfers of power from one democratically elected president to another from a different political party.
However, with 2016 marking the end of the second consecutive term of the NDC since 2009, the NPP flagbearer explained that “like in Nigeria, it marks also the end of the first full term of a vice president elevated to the highest office, after serving out the term of a deceased President.”
According to the NPP flagbearer, “what we, in the NPP, have to do like the APC did in Nigeria, is to mobilise the majority of Ghanaians to ensure that there is no automatic second term for a non-performing President”.
Nana Akufo-Addo was speaking at the E-lection Bridge Africa Conference organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, on Monday, May 16, 2016, at the Alisa hotel, Accra, when he made this known. This event brought together experts from sub-Saharan Africa and Germany to build a bridge between players in modern political communication and provide a forum to share ideas, practices and successes.
Describing the 2016 elections as a critical one for Ghana, “critical not only because it signals the end of an incumbent party’s second term in office”, Akufo-Addo stated that determining the future direction of Ghana and the wellbeing of the people is even more critical, i.e. “whether we let things continue to deteriorate, as they have been doing, or stop the sinking ship, and change course.”
Making reference to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, which stated that one of the biggest threats to democracy in the world “is the anxious mood of our times”, the NPP flagbearer noted that Ghana, likewise, finds herself in an anxious mood.
“With a president desperate for a second term, yet pulled down by his own unimpressive track record since 2009, and with Ghanaians clamouring for a change in their circumstances, the stakes are very high. Nigeria showed the way in April of last year and we hope this will turn out to be a lesson that Ghanaians can learn from our neighbours; that change is, sometimes, needed after just one full term,” he added.
The calls for change in Ghana, according to Akufo-Addo, stem from widespread despondency, brought about by severe hardships, rising cost of living, high levels of youth unemployment, collapsed businesses, low real wages, and increasing poverty, which is partly the result of a 4 year old energy crisis, all under the leadership of President Mahama.
With Ghana’s public debt shooting up by 1,000% in 7 years since the NDC took office, GDP growth rate reducing from 8.4% in 2008, without oil, when the NPP left office, to 3.9% in 2015, under the NDC, when Ghana is now an oil producing nation; and with agriculture and industry, which should be the key drivers of the economy, doing very badly, Nana Akufo-Addo stressed that change was, indeed, imperative.
“Unemployment, especially amongst the youth, is widespread. The macroeconomic indicators are troubling, to say the least. Inflation is on a persistent upward trajectory, currently over 19%, and so are bank lending rates well above 30%. The cost of utilities, particularly electricity, poses major challenges for the ordinary budget. The cedi is now a weak currency, which has destroyed the confidence of our traders,” he noted.
Instead of proffering solutions to the myriad of problems, so as to assuage the fears of Ghanaians, Nana Akufo-Addo stated the Mahama government’s only reaction has been to throw a ‘green book’ in the face of Ghanaians, hoping that all the problems will be solved by this.
“This book supposedly sets out a record of its infrastructural projects, many of which have turned out to be artists’ impressions and non-existent on the ground. Others are the work of the former NPP government. The ‘green book’ fails to tell Ghanaians why the economy has degenerated so markedly under the management of a government that has received more monies, in terms of revenues, taxes, and loans, than any other government in our history, and what is being done to fix it so Ghana can be put back onto the path of progress and prosperity. The return of the country into the embrace of the IMF is eloquent testimony to the difficulties the Ghanaian people face. Ghanaians are clearly in an anxious mood,” he stressed.
ⓒ PEMTSIKATA POLITICS