The Economy Is In Danger – NPP
Continued from yesterday issue
THE KUFUOR-LED administration increased the DACF from 5% to 7.5% and also instituted the District Development Facility (DDF) and the Functional Organizational Assessment Tool (FOAT) which the District Assemblies have tremendously benefited from because it brought on board another stream of financial inflow into the District Assemblies. Over the past years that the NDC has been in government, it has only paid lip- service to improving the finances of the District Assemblies.
THE GHANA SCHOOL FEEDINGPROGRAMME (GSFP)
This is one of the many laudable initiatives of the NPP Government. At the time the NPP exited government, the programme had been implemented for barely two years and almost seven hundred thousand (700,000) pupils were beneficiaries under the programme.
After four (4) years in government, the government of the NDC could only add three hundred thousand pupils (300,000) to Kufuor’s 700,000. Even though the NDC had promised to expand the programme to cover all public and private schools in the country, all that it could do was to engage itself in a re-targeting exercise which literally meant seize food from one pupil and give it to another child as if to say that those who were so denied were not Ghanaian children.
The nation is engulfed in filth. Were we not promised that the nation would be rid of filth within 100 days in 2009? What is the situation now in spite of monumental injection of funds into waste management through deductions made from the DACF and other budgetary allocations for that purpose over the past four years?
There is filth here, filth there and filth everywhere. No wonder the country recorded cases of cholera in the years 2011 and 2012. The NDC government has woefully failed the country as far as the sanitation situation in the country is concerned.
M. HUMAN RIGHTS
- To begin with one would want to know the state of human rights:
- 4 years ago by this time a calamitous event had taken place at Agbogbloshie. NDC supporters and sympathizers had gone on rampage and murdered persons suspected to be NPP supporters in cold-blood; others had serious machete wounds. The perpetrators are still walking the corridors of Agbogbloshie market. Even though the police asked for and were supplied names of the alleged offenders, not a single arrest has been effected, four years on.
- There were some communal violence in Gushiegu and some communities up north in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential and general elections. The violence apparently arose from victors in the 2008 elections attacking losers and the latter offering self-defence. Not surprisingly, the police effected the arrest of suspects. Four years after, the nine people who are behind bars and whose cases have not been heard are all NPP Members and supporters whose only crime is that when they were attacked they defended themselves. Those who attacked them who are all known NDC members and supporters were released less than one week after they were arrested.
- In the electioneering campaigns of the bye election of Chereponi following after the transition of Hon. Doris Seidu, a castle operative shot at 5 NPP supporters. The five persons owe their continued existence to Prof. Frimpong Boateng who had to operate on them at the Yendi Government Hospital to remove the bullets from their system. The person who engaged in that barbaric act has for three years now never been arrested. The video recording of that dastardly act is still available.
- In the conduct of the complementary elections in Akwatia NPP members were attacked and brutalized. Many MPs, unprovoked, had their vehicles vandalized and that group includes Hon. Isaac Osei, Elizabeth Agyemang, my humble self, and several others. Till this date not a single arrest has been made even though these incidents happened in the presence of many security operatives, policemen, soldiers and all.
- At the Atiwa by-elections a vehicle drove through a crowd, many of whom were innocent by-standers on that fateful day. The woman who caused that havoc, destroying human lives has not been apprehended because she is the national women’s organizer of the NDC.
- Two persons were in a radio studio in Kumasi: one of them and NDC operative, the other an NPP activist. The discourse on radio degenerated. The two panelists both ridiculed and insulted the leaders of the NDC and NPP in the person of former President J.E.A. Mills and Nana Akufo-Addo. The police effected the arrest of the NPP activist who had ridiculed President Mills and left the NDC activist who had insulted Nana Akufo-Addo.
- Last Tuesday, February 19, 2013 a group calling itself Coalition of Ghanaian Voters’ embarked on a march to protest what they claimed, among other things, is the disrespectful attitude of the Minority in Parliament. On January 8, 2013 the police blocked a planned demonstration by the Young Patriots. The same police would not allow the Let my Vote Count Alliance to even hold an indoor activity.
- In many parts of our country foreigners have descended and are engaging in illegal mining activities. These foreigners have the effrontery to shoot at citizens who dare to ask questions about their activities which are leading to land degradation, pollution of water bodies and general environmental pollution. The security agents protect such foreigners but deal harshly with Ghanaian victims.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, this is the state of human rights.
N. CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Against the background of NDC’s promise contained in their 2008 manifesto to “Create a society in which corruption is punished and probity, integrity and dedicated service are applauded and appreciated”.The fight against corruption has stunted for a while and hasalmost ground to a halt today. Indeed Ghana dropped one step further in the 2012 corruption perception index (CPI).
The real state of Ghana is that, fraudulent appropriation of state money is the order of the day and yet the state, under the current leadership, appears impotent in dealing with the perpetrators.
Even though the Constitution of Ghana has lots of provisions empowering laws on criminal prosecution, the state continues to succumb to the whims and caprices of criminals. This brings to mind the lackadaisical manner perpetrators of the gargantuan crime, i.e. Judgment debt, are being prosecuted.
The prosecution of flagship cases of corruption in Ghana has made very little progress.
What is worrying is that it is the state which appears not to be ready and willing to conclude the prosecution and to bring such cases to speedy closure.
Further, as we speak no action has been taken against public officials or political appointees like the then Attorney General, Mrs.Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who either fraudulently or negligently, made these huge but unwarranted payments out of the state coffers possible.
The appointment of a sole-commissioner to look into payment of judgment debts since 1993 is nothing more than an ill-conceived, after-thought and cover up to divert attention from the gargantuan fraud against the state.
It is a sad commentary on the government’s commitment to recover the fraudulent judgment debt that it has taken a private citizen, Mr. Martin Amidu, also a former Attorney General to seek the court’s intervention to retrieve these monies.
Worse still is the fact that the President has chosen to appoint as Attorney General, a senior partner in the firm that represents Austro-Invest, which along with Mr. Woyome has benefited hugely from the controversial payments of the state coffers.
Is that the reason for the apparent slow-down in the prosecution of the case against Woyome?
The State of the Nation with regards to the Judiciary of Ghana is as follows:
(a) The Courts lack adequate materials to aid judges in the dispensation of justice.
(b) As of now the Commercial and Fast Track divisions of the High Court lack basic I. C. materials to assist in speedy disposal of cases. Incidentally these divisions of the High Court give confidence to the investor so when their functions are impeded by avoidablecauses; the investor loses confidence in the nation’s conflict resolution mechanism. The investor will not,therefore, invest in such environment.
(c) Judges have to contend with a state unwilling to prosecute criminals but surprisingly and speedily the state is very enthusiastic in apprehending perceived opposition “offenders” only to leave them to the mercy of state andGestapo-like security institutions.Thus leaving the Judiciary in limbo in dealing with real criminals.
(d) Again, as of now, it is not known how many Judges must compose theSupreme Court as the state keeps on appointing judges to the Supreme Court
(e) The budget of the Judiciary remains inadequate leading to a situation where basic allowances, of Judicial Service Staff including judges,are not paid on time.
(f) Record keeping in the courts has not benefited from modern technology.
(g) Court houses in the districts are nothing to write home about, indeedsome of the court buildings are in real state of disrepair
(h) The state of the judiciary in the nation of Ghana today is that of thedemotivated staff whose workplace environment is unattractive, whose morale is low and whose basic tools of work are lacking
(i) A nation which does not give proper and adequate attention to its judiciary, thethird arm of government, with power to interpret the laws of Ghana with the view to maintaining law and order, protecting fundamental rights and liberties of the citizenry, is not focused to maintain DEMOCRACY & RULE OF LAW.
P.WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN GHANA TODAY
Gender mainstreaming is the public policy concept of assessing the different implications for women and men of any planned policy action, including legislation and programmes, in all areas and levels. Mainstreaming essentially offers a pluralistic approach that values the diversity among both women and men.
The situation in which we find ourselves today which should have attracted the attention of the President, not only to pronounce it but to have set out emergency programmes, to enhance the safety of women and children is as follows:
Firstly, there have been several reports of spousal killings and defilements which have been published almost every day of the week with gory pictures of how women or children have been killed, maimed or brutalised by fellow men in the country.
We are in the era of rampant abuse and killing of spouses which are spread on front pages of our dailies and women are almost always the victims. Immediate attention like specific programmes on public education, fast-tracking of such cases in the courts, public denunciation of such acts by the presidency to put fear in the actors and perpetrators of such dastardly acts. We should safeguard the dignity of women and create the enabling environment for the advancement of women and children.
In 2008 the NDC proclaimed that it will field at least 40% representation of women in their government. The figure was about 22%. Today, out of the 31 ministers nominated, only 25% are women. The nation has been told of government’s intention to set up a database of the poorest households in our society. This was established before the LEAP programme commenced. State funds must not be wasted on duplication.
Q. YOUTH AND SPORTS
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has for the past four years thrived on failed promises, deceit, reckless expenditure and unachievable projects and programmes in the Youth and Sports sector.
The NDC era has been characterized by the use of state resources to fund cohorts on fanciful trips to sport tournaments. In recklessly dissipating the funds, the Ministry has witnessed a high turnover of Ministers with the associated scandals. These include the trip to la Cote d’Ivoire within the first few days of its administration in 2009, the 2010 World Cup fraud and the Maputo All Africa Games scandal in 2011. The gargantuan judgment debt payments which the government is desperately seeking to retrieve is the mother-of-all scandals
The failed era of the NDC in the Youth and Sports sector is further manifested in the 2009 to 2012 budget statements of the Mills-Mahama administration. This has culminated in the unbudgeted expenditure of over three hundred million (GHC300 million) Ghana cedis in 2012 alone and corrupt practices, including the large presence of ghost names in the Ghana Youth Entrepreneur Development and Employment Authority (GYEEDA) – NYEP and LESDEP. The corrupt practices have led to the skewed enrichment of party faithful to the detriment of the majority poor and vulnerable Youth, which is yet to see the one million and five hundred thousand jobs touted by the NDC
The sector became a conduit for expending millions of the taxpayers money without achieving meaningful results. In the end the sector has witnessed a decline in output and productivity. The Youth and Sports sector cannot count on the NDC to provide hope, vision and progress, given the consistently poor record of the government.
In the 2008 NDC manifesto, Ghanaians were promised that there shall be legislation to “establish an Election Fund from which polling agents of political parties and of candidates shall benefit for training and on Election Day, among other things”
The failure to achieve this specific pledge, and the consequent 2012 Presidential Election petition now in the Supreme Court, speaks more of the governing style of the NDC. Promise heaven for votes and deliver hell during governance.
The palpable silence of the President in his ‘state of the future’ address on this issue can be explained by the apparent benefit that the NDC had by the presence of untrained polling agents during the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The major changes made for the 2012 elections-Biometric Voters Register and Biometric Verification before voting-were implemented with some success in the face of vehement protests by the NDC and the Chairman of the Electoral Commission himself. The nation should be grateful to the insistence and perseverance of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament. Wherein lies the truth in the oft repeated NDC statement that every improvement in our electoral process has been theirs?
Without doubt, we have as a nation improved our electoral landscape since 1992. In the conduct of the 2012 elections there were successes and there were failures. Since aspects of the conduct of the elections are before the courts it is only fitting and proper that we do not at this stage either condemn or commend Dr. Afari-Gyan and his outfit.
The challenges facing the security agencies in our country are serious drawbacks to the effective performance of their duties and obligations. The Ghana POLICE SERVICE has drawn up the Strategic National Police Plan to span over 5 years, i.e.,2010 to 2014. As a result of lack of resources, the full implementation of the laudable Plan which should have witnessed tremendous improvement in the level of performance in our internal security is in limbo. It reflects the poor levels of commitment and lack of professionalism. It is therefore not surprising that crime wave is on the ascendancy, infrastructural development is appalling, renovation of Police Buildings lag behind with a number of uncompleted offices and residential accommodation sited at various District Police quarters unattended to. The Police barracks are crying for new edifices to be constructed. Motivation for personnel is very low and it has intolerable tolling effect on efficient policing. As a result of lack of resources the training programs for the various units could not be carried out as expected. Notably, the training of personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department is nothing to write home about. It is shameful that only 100 personnel were trained last year. The promised establishment of a Unit comprising 250 to 500 well trained, well-equipped and well-dressed Police personnel to enhance Community Policing still remains on the drawing board. The Tent City Policing started in earnest but its advancement has halted. The recruitment and promotion in the Service are no longer based on merit and competence but rather on partisan lineage in particular to NDC card bearing members. One of the most important challenges in the Service is interference and patronage by the Government which stultifies and frustrates the need to prosecute suspects who belong to the National Democratic Congress.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the perpetrators of the Agbogbloshie (Accra) killings, arson and fatal personal injuries to innocent victims, the National Security operative who wielded a short gun during the Chereponi by-election campaign trail as well as persons who were pictorially identified when they were being trained on weapon handling in Bawku are still walking the streets and lanes of their communities with impunity. Sadly enough Hon Kennedy Agyepong who cautioned on preventive electoral violence is on fast track prosecution.
To be Continued
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