Open letter to President Akufo-Addo

Open letter to President Akufo-Addo
Source: Ghana| Kobby Gomez
Date: 14-08-2018 Time: 06:08:11:pm

Dear Nana Akufo-Addo, despite campaigning, voting and guarding the votes for you nearly two years ago, I have become a spectator. I choose to remain on the fringes because not only are you going down as one of our worst performing leaders, you are not likely to leave a time-tested and enduring legacy, founded on well thought out programmes and policies. Policies aimed at improving the lots of the many who spent their entire lives believing in your person until you became president.

Mr. President, I was probably one of the first persons to openly criticise you before you assumed office after you were elected. I challenged your handlers to work on your outlook. Your boys made it clear that the message got home. Today, I see that has been done. Well done to those behind your current look. They make you fit for purpose.

However, despite promising to turn our country into something never imagined in our history, power and those around you seem to have clouded your understanding of the plight of the people, most of who remain in some awe of your person. For these, no matter their number, you cannot sink any further than you currently have.

Nana, since you became president, not only have we sunk in our public lives but we have also become people who place status, money, fame and more recently, social media likes above the once hospitable, caring, respectful and trustworthy individuals.

The lack of opportunities and the penchant to appear successful have pushed your citizens to throw caution to the wind and descend into the abyss with the political class. When a young medical doctor at Tema General Hospital’s attention was drawn to the utter lack of sympathy for patients rushed in on emergency cases, his retort was that politicians are the cause of what was happening at the hospital. Cheese and crackers! What role do politicians have in one deciding to live their passion and take on a career that in my view, makes them next to God?

But he explained that he works more hours than he ordinarily was expected to. In the previous government for which you served both as Attorney General and Foreign Minister, Additional Duty Hour Allowance was one of your major setbacks, culminating in numerous strikes resulting in the death of many of our kith and kin. It is terrible that, in modern times, only in our part of world do tussles between professional groups and governments results in numerous fatalities, without anyone paying a price.

Nana, medical professionals and educational workers have for years held this nation, its present and future to ransom on many occasions, but we remain on the precipice. The least provocation could throw us into that burning furnace before our final journeys. One would have thought that having been involved in this business and expressing a desire to be president since the 1998 Congress that chose Kufuor over you and my grand uncle who’s been called by his maker, you would have a thorough plan for this country. 

But as Stephen Sackur made clear in that interview before the 2012 elections, it’s become abundantly clear that beyond the allures of office, there was little driving your ambition - an opportunity to lord it over the people, while presenting yourself as their man. Nana, you are not for the people. I say that you do not care about the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the unemployed, the underemployed, the abused, both in domestic settings or work environments. In fact, this whole human rights icon business was a sham just to get you your long-held dream.

Nana, it hurts to see our people’s circumstances deteriorate under your watch. Nana, Ghana has become worse than you picked it. Laws are not enforced; roads have become zone of repeated disaster where your people get slaughtered and maimed every hour; healthcare is a mess; folks still can’t afford decent meals; children are going to pursue high school in a fashion never before imagined in our history; there are no jobs; and there seem to be no positive change. What people have, rather, is the sight of you, your trusted economist of a Vice President and your Finance Minister (who seem more obsessed with telling the story of his escape from abortion than the nitty-gritty of economic policy), demanding applause for a job well done. What job, exactly?

Nana, your emissaries are doing you a great disservice. As for those closest to you, the least said about them, the better. Our time bomb is fast reaching an explosion point. You cannot put your name to any action that wrecks this ill-fated business of democracy we have taken upon ourselves. Your saving grace is the near complete lack of analytical acumen in the Ghanaian media space, which has exposed your policies to much less scrutiny and criticism than they so sorely deserve. But that won’t be forever.  

Nana, when was the last time your health minister sent anyone to our health faculties for spot checks? What did they find? What action was taken? Health they say is wealth, therefore, our healthcare should typify how we guard our wealth. Is that what healthcare delivery in Ghana represents for you? Which hospital in Ghana do you, your laughing Vice President and your Ministers seek healthcare from, or like Bawumia did, they all escape to London to cure headaches? Hopefully, we are not paying for ministers to get healthcare abroad. But if touch wood we are, let those persons not be cured.

You introduced free SHS against glaring evidence that our economy couldn’t support it, with some experts in and outside government suggesting you hasten slowly. But you would have none of it. In fact, your appointees and social media pundits suggested that all naysayers were people opposed to your administration or wanted others deprived of an opportunity for higher education. Your children are obviously outside that bracket but show us where your appointees whose children are within that bracket go to school. Will they be beneficiaries or they will take scholarships from the state for their liquid gold-blooded kids to receive education that takes them to Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale?

I dare say your advisors didn’t crack the budget cycle. And you, who lead the pack, should have known that our resources couldn’t support free SHS as well as embark on all those grandiose castles you built in the air during the electioneering. But you won’t listen. Now eat the humble pie. Ask parents whose kids go to boarding school to pay for it. As was suggested, the boarding concept should even be privatised to create jobs. Look at how many hostels sprung around Legon in the mid-2000s. If you privatise it and set enforceable standards and do not leave it in the hands of the moribund GES, parents who can afford will take kids there, it will free up fiscal space and allow you more money for those fantasy projects.

Mr. President, in your numerous chants to get you this job, you suggested that you believe in Ghana. Nana, I dare say that’s a bloody lie! You don’t! What Ghana do you believe in? The one where emergency response is flat on its belly? The one where vehicles have become weapons in the hands of lunatics? The one in which police officers are more interested in bribes than attending to emergencies? The one full of filth? The one in which no law seems to work depending on who is the criminal involved? Nana you can’t believe in that Ghana. Dismantle Rawlings’ cadre organisation called NADMO. Our emergency response must have the military involved, they are swift, well trained and highly respected.

Banks, non-bank financial institutions and mobile money operators are taking the people you swore to serve night and day for granted; what are you doing about it? Before I forget, your bosom friend and his allies grazed on our 610 million cedis. What’s going to happen? You have well meaning people in your government who hold him in high esteem, but let the law take its full course! How much did the consolidated banks guzzle? We demand to know. They must all face the law.

You can’t be related to Joseph Boakye Danquah, believe in Kofi Abrefa Busia and be gifted to right what your father, Edward Akufo-Addo failed to achieve and mess it all up! Posterity won’t be kind to you. Look around the country and tell me you are impressed with anything that is happening and I will say give me back my vote.

Nana, running a country requires more than oratory skills that are why many spin their heads in disapproval when some names pop up as presidential aspirants. It requires careful thinking, deeper thoughts on how and where to take the country and a resolve to make it happen for the ordinary Joes. To put it simply, it’s a huge responsibility that requires careful monitoring to ensure that singular objective is achieved. How are you doing that? Because many of your believers have defected. 

Nana, the election you won was fought on jobs! You pushed the Goliath in that battle to claim that if he won, he would put money in people’s pocket. But you won, so where are the jobs promised? Edwuma no wo hen? The claim that 1D1F will be a panacea to unemployment is itself disingenuous. When the last NPP government spent millions of dollars on the Ayensu Starch Factory, it said it will build fifty of those. The single factory in Bawjiase has had a roller coaster for the most part of its existence and is now shut, with employees brandishing Akufo Addo version of Rawlings chain and tons of cassava either being stolen or rotten. Why are you reinventing the wheel? Why must government prop up some charlatans who will only waste our resources? Why are we not asking those successful at value addition to consider expanding their base taking onboard research and other support that government can give them?

Investors who have come to Ghana voluntarily can’t find litigation free land, despite decades of land administration projects. Do you have a plan to fix that?

You have appointed people who lack initiative, drive and acumen to run our governance at the grassroots. These folks sit on gold but go around begging. Nana, it’s sounding like a disaster to me. Nothing that shows the confidence that you exuded when you punched holes into Mahama’s maladministration. But you can pick up the pieces while you still can.

Remember that your predecessor had been Vice President for nearly four years and president for over four years. He was then gearing up to address the biggest challenge the continent has, unemployment, he failed at it and the people showed him the exit. You see how miserably he lost? This isn’t a monarchy; therefore, soon your reckoning will be here.

You can only survive that Tsunami if you find the people jobs, make your flagship programme successful and take care of the soft things of nation-building. You haven’t touched the two most important needs, and if you don’t, unlike President Kufuor’s resolve that party unity is what will keep the NPP in office for life, the same people who gave you nearly a million more votes than your closest contender at the last polls, will vote for someone else.

Remember how it felt to lose the previous elections, how you had to spend days in open court trying to stay awake. Remember the tortuous campaign you waged. So soon, you seem to have put all on the back burner. 

Two American missionaries, Jason and Brian, who left Ghana on Monday, were horrified about how a cab driver they rode with suffered extortions from the police throughout their ten days stay in Ghana. That’s the impression they leave with and not Ghana beyond aid. These British nurses who in their attempt to save a life have to pay out of pocket to get a prevent a young girl from dying, when they hear you shout Ghana beyond aid, they will troll you like all real citizens do to their elected officials. You haven’t started Nana!

I must assure you that you can reconstitute the entire electoral commission with NPP foot soldiers but if the people decide to vote against you, you may throw tantrums again. You may prevent some party folks from coming to your home; you may refuse to shake some hands and deprive them of your awesome presence, but you will no longer be president.

I cannot independently assume that God gave you this job. But I know that he’s given you an opportunity to change this country’ destiny. It’s your spot kick for now - you can be an Asamoah Gyan and waste it or be that young French lad, who made the best of all the opportunities in the recently held football World Cup, to make Mbape a household name.

I shall return pretty soon. Until then, I rest my case.

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