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Former President John Dramani Mahama says the Vice-President and flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, cannot divorce himself from the failings of the current administration.
“They have been so bad, their own poster boy is attempting an inexplicable and contrived separation between himself and happenings in the very government he was touted as the brain behind, for purely electoral purposes.
“From a position where they inherited an economy to which stability had been restored after a brief period of turbulence occasioned by unavoidable headwinds, this government has squandered its way into a ditch from which it has become impossible to emerge without imposing deep suffering on the people,” Mr Mahama, who is also the flag bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), said in an address to the parliamentary Minority Caucus at a workshop in Ho in the Volta Region last Saturday.
With 10 months to this year’s general election, Mr Mahama charged the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) to intensify their oversight responsibility, keep a check on the government, and to hold it to account in the interest of the country.
The former President explained that the Minority in Parliament had become the last bulwark between the people and an “overbearing, desperate and non-performing government”, and urged the group to take advantage of the hung parliament to deliver hope to the public.
“Ghanaians are counting on you to secure them against poor governance and keep this government in check.
“The effort you put into this will contribute to the consolidation of the confidence that Ghanaians have in the NDC due to our much better track record, commitment to do better and the well-considered policy proposals like the 24-hour economy programme, which aims to build an economy that works around the clock to enable economic recovery, expansion and creation of more jobs for our suffering youth,” he said.
Mr Mahama added that the 24-hour economy policy and over 60 other policy options he had tabled so far would ensure an improvement in the living conditions of Ghanaians, bring back the “severely damaged economy” on track and pave the way for sustained prosperity for all.
The next NDC government, he said, would work through the proposed policies to reduce the high cost of living, high inflation, a collapsed currency, high interest rates and debt default, among other issues, occasioned by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.
”Corruption, maladministration, nepotism, arrogance of power, incompetence and gleeful waste of state resources by this government are all set to come to an end at the polls later this year,” he added.
Mr Mahama described the Electoral Commission (EC’s) proposal to shift the election date from December 7 to November 7 as bizarre.
He said the lack of preparedness of the EC as manifested in last December’s District Assembly Elections, along with “elementary lapses and shocking logistical shortfalls” painted a picture of a commission unable to undertake the task of managing elections.
He added that the EC ought to have spent time to put its house in order and to hold itself in full readiness for the assignment ahead rather than proposing the changes to the voting calendar.
”We in the NDC do not find the proposals for a change in date for elections from December to November as feasible nor helpful, and will not be supporting same as we do not believe that this is being proposed in good faith,” he said.
The former President cautioned the EC against its insistence to use the Ghana Card as the only means of identification for registration, maintaining that it would disenfranchise sections of the population.
The Ghana Card, he said, was a relatively new feature and had its merits in the scheme of things but was currently being brandished more as a political tool, adding that “the haste on the part of the Electoral Commission to exclude all other means of identification is, therefore, clearly indecent and informed by an ulterior objective.
”The National Identification Authority cannot claim to have covered every Ghanaian who should be registered or distributed all the cards printed to those who have been captured in their system,” he said.
He stressed the need to allow sufficient time for its full integration into the country’s way of life before using it as a sole document for registration of voters.
“Until full and total coverage is achieved in the rollout of the Ghana Card, room must be made for those who are yet to be served to exercise their democratic rights of voting.
“They cannot be excluded from the voter register due to no fault of theirs,” Mr Mahama said.