The other day, I warned that perception of corruption could unseat the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government in 2020, now I have to review it upwards. Perception, in general, could do the NPP in.
Over the past week or so, the country has been weighted in perceptions of mismanagement of affairs as in the unopened Ofankor medical facility, and the fact that no national aircraft will be able to fly our flag because of lack of office premises.
It was alleged that a journalist entered the premises of the yet-to-be-opened Ofankor Hospital at Asofa and produced a documentary tour of the place. One can hear the narrator, very vivid, while telling the world about the insensitivity of the government to the health needs of the people. It had decided not to open the fully-completed health facility, which would serve the people living within and around Trobu and Amasaman area, with a population of over 300,000 people.
The journalist went round the hospital blocks and the stand-by generator facility, but failed to go indoors, or, at least, tell Ghanaians what were inside.
Apparently, the hospital is just a shell and very hollow inside. It was not equipped to work, and this was its state when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) left office.
The NDC are saying that the facility cost $25 million, while the contractor, Barima Kweku Ameyaw, is insisting that it cost only $1.3 million. When fully equipped it may go up another $1 million.
The issue is that the health facility was part of social intervention packages associated with the construction of the Accra-Kumasi highway under the Kufuor administration. And it was supposed to have been built in or about 2009, but the NPP was out of power, and the NDC government shelved the project.
It was until 2013, when an NPP Member of Parliament (MP), Moses Anim, won the seat and started making noise about the abandoned project, rallying chiefs and opinion leaders behind him to force the NDC government to start construction works. The structure was completed in 2016, and the question is why was it not functional before 2017? Or was it that it was in an NPP seat, and so equipping it and making it functional will make NPP reap political gains?
Another report, which appeared on Ghanaweb, Monday June 25, 2018 and sourced from the Business Day, had it that “Ghana Airways comeback in limbo; lizards, rodents take over office complex.”
The reporter went on to express fears that the current government’s ambition to restore Ghana’s flag in the skies would come to naught, because the defunct Ghana Airways office building has been left to rot.
What this arm chair journalist wanted to portray was just to drag Ghanaians into his abyss of ignorance. For any sound minded journalist would only have to find out about that office block in the Airport Residential Area. It will be as effortless, as only googling on Ghana Airways and he or she would have found out that the property no longer belongs to Ghana Airways, and, in fact, that the airline has no property at all anywhere on the globe.
The airline was deep in debt of over $200 million, home and abroad. All its properties here and world-wide were sold and they fetched only a paltry $25 million or so. This went to pay off some of its creditors, and now it is for Ghana to look for money to pay the remaining creditors.
So how in the world can someone come out publicly to say that an office block, which is private property, can ruin plans of acquiring a new airline?
And, again, as we worry over inadequate ambulance services in the country, some quack concerned citizens decided that whether it is true or not, the best way to put the government on the defensive is to make it appear in the state of lunacy for not utilising some fifty or so ambulance vehicles rusting away at the Ghana Air Force base.
The Mahama administration purchased these vehicles from one of the wealthiest Middle East nations, and instead of being given serviceable ambulances, he was given what can best pass as delivery vans. So, to hide them from the public eye, he had them parked behind the head office block of the Ghana Air Force.
This is not the first time that Ghana paid for something we do not need. In the First Republic, we decide to buy tractors from the USSR and paid heavily for them. We took delivery of snow ploughs instead and kept quiet over it.
In this case, delivery vans came instead of ambulances, and to equip them will cost more than purchasing brand new ones.
Today’s journalists would want to be revered and would serve anything on the plate for gullible Ghanaians. I have no problem if it is the truth, however, the lies and cooked up stories some have started churning out are creating a wrong perception about the government.
This is something Cabinet must be up and about and come out either using the party’s communicators or using the information structures to explain the truth about these lies to Ghanaians. The perception is gaining a lot of currency – that the government is not bothered about the hardships of the citizens – and such perceptions can decide the fate of the NPP come 2020, partly because of arm chair journalists.