By Maxwell Ofori
On Monday, the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) released a report on Ghana, which, among other things, predicted victory for President Akufo-Addo come 2020, something which has got the National Democratic Congress (NDC) wailing.
Touching on politics in Ghana, the EIU report said Nana Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) will see the country’s economic situation generally improved during the remainder of their term of office.
The report, which has generated discussions on the media landscape, also said the 2016 campaign was dominated by the faltering economy, which many Ghanaians still associate with the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama.
Against that background, the think tank trusts that it will be tough for the NDC under Mr Mahama to portray itself as the better custodian of Ghana’s economy, especially as the country’s growth outlook is fairly strong.
As a result, the EIU said it “expects Mr Akufo-Addo and the NPP to secure re-election in 2020.”
However, the report noted that if the NDC can present a coherent opposition, and hold the NPP to account on unfulfilled campaign promises, particularly on job creation and industrialisation, where progress has been generally slow and success patchy, the election could be closely contested.
These words have not gone down well with the NDC party, which finds itself in a fierce position, trying to purge itself of dozens of corruption allegations, which contributed hugely to its awkward defeat in 2016.
A statement signed by its National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, endorsed the credibility of the think tank, but said the EIU’s predictions were not proven facts, even though some of their previous predictions had come to pass, they had also got it wrong on many occasions.
“We (NDC), therefore, submit that the latest prediction by the EIU – that it ‘expects Mr. Akufo-Addo and the NPP to secure re-election in 2020’ – is bound to fail if not reviewed. The NPP’s ship is sinking fast, and nothing can save it. Akufo-Addo has failed Ghanaians and will be rejected in 2020,” the statement said.
In an attempt to discredit the report of the firm, especially the aspects that said President Akufo-Addo would be retained, the release said: “Having done an objective and dispassionate analysis of the latest EIU report on Ghana, the NDC comes to the obvious conclusion that the EIU has largely gotten their latest prediction of Ghana’s 2020 general elections wrong.”
The NDC, which has had a larger chunk of the political terms in Ghana since the birth of the 4th Republic, believes that the citizens were in a worse living standard at the moment than they were under President Mahama, despite the economy being oil-driven.
“Over the last two years, the living conditions of the vast majority of Ghanaians have deteriorated due to a high and unbearable cost of living, occasioned by steep increments in the the price of fuel, hefty taxes, and rising food and commodity prices among others…
“These are the realities Ghanaians see and feel, and these will largely determine who they vote for in 2020. The NDC contends that the key issue for the Ghanaian voter in 2020 will be whether or not his or her living conditions have improved or deteriorated under the four-year reign of President Akufo-Addo, and not based on an oil-driven growth, which they cannot see or feel,” the release added.
The NDC, in its statement, indicated what it assumed more important than what the think tank raised in the report.
Amongst others, Sammy Gyamfi stated in the release that the EIU report should have captured the “ever-festering culture of corruption and nepotism,” as well as the “alarming levels of insecurity, lawlessness and impunity we are witnessing under President Akufo-Addo,” and perhaps not to say the latter would retain the seat.
“All these critical issues border on the disregard for good governance by the Akufo-Addo government, to which the Ghanaian people will respond by rejecting him.”
The NDC, which had won the 2012 elections with Mr Mahama, lost it when he tried for a second term, with a result which has gone down in history as the worst ever, and the first time a sitting president had been ousted after his first term.
Campaigning for the presidential seat in 2016, the then opposition leader said if given the mandate, he would make senior high school free, a promise which touched the hearts of voters, and he has fulfilled that promise.
However, little or not much information is heard on the government’s One District, One Factory, One Village, One Dam, and similar programmes, leaving doubts in people’s minds, especially as the next polls draw near.