Mahama should give us a break
The remarks of President Mahama, made in the Volta Region and played widely on radio cannot pass without comment. President Mahama said the NPP Communications Director, after he had heard the NDC plan to build 200 community schools, also promised that the NPP would build 300 schools in two years, that is “175 schools in two years”.
Expressing incredubility, President Mahama asked the NPP Communication Director to give him a break. President Mahama went on to say the NPP had not ensured free basic/primary school, but were rather promising free SHS. The President Mahama then prophesied that the NPP will soon be promising free accommodation, free transport and even free air.
It must be stated that neither the NPP nor its Communications Director have promised 300 new SHS in two years. What the NPP has promised is to build 350 new community SHS, over four years, from 2013-2016. And this promise was not made after the NDC’s promise of building 200 SHS. This plan to build 350 new schools was announced by Professor Gyan Baffuor, when he presented the NPP programme of free SHS on 29 august 2012. This was way before the NDC outdoored its manifesto on 4th October 2012. So if there is any copying, it is the NDC which is trying to follow the NPP lead as far as the plan of building new SHS is concerned.
It is also most ironic that President Mahama, who with his siblings, benefitted from free secondary education in the 1970’s is today, able to tell Ghanaians that free secondary schooling for all our children is not possible, 40 years after he and his siblings have enjoyed free secondary education!The NDC, led by President Mahama, claims free SHS is not possible on account of costs, and also because the NPP has not got good track record in fulfilling manifesto promises. These claims are very dismissible.
On cost, the extra cost of free SHS per year would not be more than 1.4% of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product per year. The NDC government spent, in 2010, about 1.4% of our GDP to pay so called judgment debts.
If a government of Ghana can spend 1.4% of GDP to pay judgment debts, then the same can be spent in providing free SHS for all our children. On fulfillment of Manifestos, a list of broken promises in the 2008 NDC manifesto would fill several papers. One cannot help but recount one. NDC pledged to rid Accra of filth in their first 100 days. But four years after this pledge what we have in the last 100 days of the NDC is Cholera in Accra and other cities!
The promises they made in the so called Action Year of 2011 have become the subject of jokes across the country.As for the programme to deliver free SHS, it has been embraced by millions of long suffering Ghanaian parents, as a very direct way of spreading benefits of our oil economy. They would not be swayed by ill motivated sentiments from any quarter.
President Mahama should give us a break.
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