After carefully examining the state of affairs as presided over by these two regimes, one can safely conclude that neither the New Patriotic Party (NPP) nor the National Democratic Congress (NDC) can create the change we so desire.
The evidence lies in the scandals and high level of incompetence recorded under both regimes over the years.
Having been disappointed by NDC’s reign, majority of Ghanaians expected that the new establishment under the stewardship of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and, by extension, the NPP government would be a useful alternative to the NDC.
Evidently,it was out of the immense hope that the electorate attached to NPP, that they decided to elect its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, despite having shied away from him in his previous two attempts.With a 53.85 percent victory, this was a statement of confidence not only in his capability but also in his party. Has he lived up to his billing? The jury is out.
A review of the NPP’s performance in the last two and a half years shows that the administration has not been any different from the NDC. Nothing has changed! The same graft allegations that irked the electorate in the NDC regime seem to even be on the rise under the NPP.
Anyone interested in examples of how a regime can be perceived as corrupt will not have to struggle because the NPP administration is replete with lots of such.
For instance, over 230 cases of premix fuel diversions were recorded in November 2017. This subsequently led to a decline in the nation’s fish harvest.
Another bizarre instance was when the Ministry for Special Development decided to budget GH¢800,000 of taxpayers’ money to build a new website.The BOST scandal, where several litres of off-spec fuel ‘evaporated’ from storage and the matters that preceded it which caused the state to lose about GH¢7 million, are still fresh on the minds of Ghanaians. Others, including the Australian visa scandal have still not been resolved and duty bearers whose actions or inactions caused Ghana global shame are walking freely.
The circumstances surrounding Mr Boakye Agyarko’s removal from office over the controversial AMERI deal, Anas’ recent expose on Galamsey where key members supposed to be fighting the illegal mining menace were seen taking money allegedly to compromise the fight, and many others form a cloud that hangs over this administration.
The recent resignation of a Minister of State at the Office of the President, Rockson Bukari, over his attempt to conceal an effort to pervert justice by facilitating the bribery of a journalist many think requires more decisive action apart from making the Minister to resign.
This clearly shows that what Ghanaians did was akin to “having changed the forest while retaining the monkeys.” This regime is not only being seen as allegedly plundering our public funds but also exposing Ghanaians to moral graft.
Corruption under Mahama
We know that the NDC does not have a clean record either. We all witnessed the glaring, uncontrolled and cancerous alleged instances of corruption under the stewardship of former President John Dramani Mahama. Nothing characterizes the NDC government better than the 3.6 million bus branding scandal, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) saga, the Woyome case, and the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) saga. These were all clear cases of corruption.
It was even more disheartening to notice Mr. Mahama’s sheer failure to prosecute corrupt officials implicated in these scandals, save Abuga Pele, who many think was sacrificed for bigger people. Mr. Mahama presided over a regime seen as corrupt and allowed his cronies to enrich themselves at the expense of the state while he silently observed.
His government failed to take measures to handle the huge Public Debt – which was approximately USD 13.9 billion at the time – and the slow economy which was having far-reaching effects such as unemployment, inflation, and slow development.
And, in an attempt to court the electorate in the run up to the 2016 election, Mr Mahama, like many other desperate politicians, initiated some projects [Kotokoraba market, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange, the Eastern Corridor road project, Rattray Park, Kasoa interchange] in various regions to woo voters. This appeared to have boomeranged because it seemed he was not really interested in ‘changing lives’ as his mantra suggested. He was only obsessed with votes.
A case for independent candidates or third force
Given the several cases of alleged corruption under these two regimes and the apathy to the national cause with which the two parties have governed over the years, it will only be prudent for Ghanaians to reject these establishment parties and, perhaps, try new parties and/or independent candidates.The idea of doing away with the two main political parties needs to be emphasized given the minimal faith we entrust in any third force.
Although the Constitution of Ghana provides for multiparty democracy, the NDC and NPP have, since the return of multiparty democracy in 1992, been dominating the polls at both the presidential and parliamentary levels. In every subsequent competitive electoral contest , fringe parties have performed abysmally. A case in point is the 2000 election, which saw the five minor parties [PNC, CPP, NRP, GCCP and UGM) polling just 6.7 percent of the total votes cast. In the 2016 election, all other candidates polled a paltry 1.76 percent.
If Ghanaians are for a credible change, the trend has to change in 2020. In the words of Albert Einstein, “insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results.” We either make up our minds and be the change we desire or forget about change and embrace the status quo.
Come next general elections, we need to consider these options critically as a basis for informing our choices. A particular focus should be on candidates who are genuinely interested in impacting society and creating the change we so desire. If all the good people keep away from politics, a vacuum will be created for bad people to fill.
In other jurisdictions, independent candidates and third party establishments have made the desired impact in various ways. Countries including Croatia, Kosovo have taken the chance to opt for independent candidates. Benin set a good example years ago by choosing an independent candidate, Yayi Boni as President. We can equally take that bold step of opting for third party/independent candidate. Enough is enough!Let us not reward bad governance and incompetence! As a people, we must get it right next year at the polls. If we don’t, then let us not be heard complaining about bad governance! May the day break!
Columnist: Marian Ansah