It’s been eighteen months since Nana Addo Dankwah won the most historic elections in the fourth republic, beating his opponent the sitting president, John Dramani Mahama by over one million votes. His victory was met with optimism that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will do things differently from the one that had just suffered the biggest elections defeat in the 4th republic.
However just one and half year into his presidency, many neutrals who even supported Nana Addo Danquah’s candidature during the elections have begun to complain of how he is literally endorsing Mahama by repeating what he described as grievous mistakes while in opposition which are in turn justifying some of the ex-president’s decisions.
Now let go down memory lane and recollect the the numerous occasions Nana Addo endorsed John Mahama.
John Mahama was harshly criticized by the New Patriotic Party and civil society for appointing 80 ministers when he won the 2012 elections. Many were those who felt it was totally unreasonable for some ministries such as the Education Ministry to have two deputies. Nana Addo in particular led the charge on the John Mahama and called it a bloated government amid other names. However upon assuming power in 2016, Nana Addo forgot his own criticism of the Mahama government and went ahead to appoint a historical 110 ministers, 30 more than his predecessor, John Mahama.
Nana Addo defended his appointments by insisting that the work ahead demanded a lot of hands on deck hence the need to have that number of ministers. This was nothing more than an endorsement of fomer President, John Mahama’s decision to appoint 80 ministers. So is this to say that Mahama could have achieved more by appointing 110 ministers too?
In the build up to the 2016 elections when the debate about free secondary education became ripe, John Maham made his stance clear by insisting that free senior high school was not feasible and ideal considering the economic fortunes of the country. Then opposition leader and NPP candidate, Nana Akufo Addo made it clear in no uncertain terms that the time was right for Ghana to implement the free senior high school policy. True to his words, he implemented the policy just six months into his presidency. The after story has however not been what many had hoped for.
The policy has resulted in overcrowding of class rooms in the schools forcing the government to introduce what is known as double-track system. The policy has also faced lot of financial difficulties with headmasters having to come out and complain publicly on several occasions before funds are released to them for the running of the school. The situation has been so tough that finance minister, Ken Ofori-Attah came out to say that maybe it was about time government reviewed or rethink the policy, an indication that Mahama was right and Ghana was economically not ready for such a huge policy but as a major campaign promise, Nana Addo is left with no option than to implement.
Bawumia had been the biggest critique of the John Mahama-led administration‘s approach to development which was borrowing to put up infrastructure. According to the then running mate of Nana Addo, borrowing to carry out government projects was a lazy man’s approach to development. Bawumia insisted that there was other innovative ways of generating funds to carry out these projects. Despite these strong and bold declarations by then vice presidential candidate Dr. Bawumia, the government has gone ahead to borrow billions of dollars since taking over the administration of the country, the recent borrowing being the $2 billion Chinese fund in exchange for our bauxite minerals.
This continuous borrowing by the Nana Addo administration has caused people to question if there is indeed any difference between the Nana Addo-led government and the erstwhile John Mahama-led administration. For many this constant borrowing by Nana Addo is nothing but an endorsement of the former president’s approach to development.
Before the December 2016 elections, the NDC government had made known of its plans to give out the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) on concession for a 25 years. The NDC had indeed initiated the process just before the December 2016 elections but the NPP felt the concession of ECG was bad for Ghana and duly criticized it. Nana Addo used several platforms to express his unhappiness at the ‘sale’ of ECG and promised the workers to support his candidature as he had different plans for the energy company.
However, the Nana Addo-led administration upon assuming power went ahead with the process already initiated by the NDC to give out the company on concession, betraying the workers in the process. The foreign company to take over the management of ECG has already been identified and it is only a matter of time before a foreign company becomes the majority shareholder of ECG. While Nana Addo may have criticized the NDC’s concession of ECG, it has done nothing but endorsed Mahama’s decision to give out the company since assuming power.
If anyone ever said that an NPP government would continue with the Ameri deal and even extend it by some four years, no one would have ever believed it considering the vehement opposition that the then-opposition NPP party put up against the Ameri deal. Things however took a surprise turn when the NPP party assumed power. The NPP government upon assuming power, embarked on reviewing the Ameri deal signed under John Dramani Mahama and ended up extending the deal they so much talked against by some 11 years and committing $700 million dollars to it.
It is interesting to note that the NDC Ameri deal was for a four-year period with a government commitment of $500million, meaning a review has increased the number of years and also the cost for the state. While other technicalities may suggest that the new or reviewed deal is more favorable, many still think that Nana Addo went back on his word and even endorsed Mahama’s decision to bring in the power supply machine by not abrogating the contract in its totality.
Fuel Price Increment
Before Mahama left office, the price of a litre of fuel was around GHS15. The then opposition party NPP dragged Mahama for what they termed as unreasonable high prices of fuel. According to the NPP and its flagbearer, Nana Akuffo Addo, the price of fuel had gotten to that amount because of the unnecessary taxes the government had placed on the product and also the removal of subsidies. Nana Addo promised to introduce a relief by doing away with some of these taxes that had contributed to the increase in fuel price. A year into his administration and a litre of fuel currently sells at GHc24 per litre.
Mahama throughout his criticism period defended the regular increment by insisting that fuel prices are determined by the world market and the government had no control over it. Today the price of petrol is more of an endorsement of Mahama’s assertion that government has no control over prices of fuel.
Karpower Deal Extension
The Karpower was another emergency plant that was brought into Ghana in December 2015 as a stop gap measure to the ever dreaded Dumsor that faced the country between 2012 and 2016. Just like the Ameri deal, the NPP led by Nana Akufo Addo criticized the deal to bring in the plant as an emergency solution. According to then opposition NPP, Ghana needed to find a long term solution to the energy issue rather than spend millions of dollars on a short-term measure that was ‘highly priced’.
Many civil organisations also criticized the move and described it as one that made no sense as a short term measure was not what the country needed. To the surprise of many Ghanaians, Nana Akufo Addo reviewed and extended the Karpower deal by an extra ten years in March 2018, proving that Mahama was perhaps right to have brought in the Karpower plant; another endorsement of Mahama.