Akufo-Addo’s ambition to be president is as old as the 4th republic – 25 years.
As the longest-running republic in Ghana’s history turns 25 years, it would be doubly significant for the President who also marks one year in office.
The day is one step for Ghana but two steps for Akufo-Addo.
While government marked the 25-year-old republic with big celebrations, some Ghanaians would mark the feat with big questions.
CDD Senior Research Fellow, Kojo Asante and STAR-Ghana’s Ibrahim Tanko Amidu, joined AM Show host Mamavi Owusu-Aboagye to ask questions and trade their own answers.
It didn’t take too long into the interview for Kojo Asante to lament even if he felt grateful for progress as seen in seven consecutive, successful elections.
‘We have basically, a voice without accountability’, he said and explained, despite the pressure the media puts on government, the level of accountability in the use of public funds remains disappointing.
He found a way to tie in the non-passage of the RTI bill as a “symptom” of a diseased understanding of accountability. The RTI talk has lasted 17 years – a younger brother of our 25-year-old republic.
The governance expert was worried about Ghana’s ‘boom and bust economy’. A cycle of 8-year economic progress set back by a one-day election. How the economy struggles after every political transition.
He observed Ghana’s economy produces ‘jobless growth’. A Nick Perna term the economist coined in the 90s, to mean a macroeconomic stability or growth for the sake of macroeconomic stability or growth.
It is a man who has been told he is rich, shown a cheque to prove it but told he can’t spend it now. Maybe tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes as Ronan Keating’s song made romance out of what is the economic reality for many Ghanaians.
Kojo Asante remarked that in Ghana “you can get into the poverty line so easily” if there is a slight change in macroeconomic variables.
If inflation embarks on a trek, workers may find trekking cheaper than a boarding a bus. If transport fares increase, cost of goods and services take the hint – and increase.
Both governance experts were worried about the level of pent-up partisan aggression within the political system. It is also called vigilantism. A forceful take-over of public offices by NPP reds. A practical demonstration of Shatta Wale’s hit song ‘Taking Over’.
In a very pointed educated jab, Programs Director at STAR-GHANA, IbrahimTanko, described the Akufo-Addo government as one that “campaigned in poetry but govern in prose”.
Breaking this down, it meant sweating to explain problems after a sweet talk campaign to provide solutions.
One sweat, Kojo Asante pointed out was the 110 ministers. For him, it was a classic example of how a government wins on a message of change but refuses to change in government.
Government does not need a platoon to execute an agenda, he suggested.
He said free SHS policy is something that can be done not by more men in government but simply because the president, the most powerful man in Ghana, wants it done.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary, Asiedu Nketia’s comment on the Special Prosecutor drew a special giggle from Kojo Asante.
The Office of Special Prosecutor is the government’s battle-axe for fighting corruption. But the opposition NDC believe it will be a fight against corruption done in the previous regime.
The NDC want to see the axe swing the other way too. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) way. Asiedu Nketia noted that the Attorney-General (A-G) already has the power to prosecute. So if there is a need for a new prosecutorial power, it must tackle those the A-G finds difficult to prosecute – the President’s own men.
In essence, the Special Prosecutor is much more for throwing NPP politicians in jail than NDC if it really is anything special.
But the governance experts expressed some infatuation with some of the government’s good points.
Kojo Asante described the free SHS as a “development imperative”. No country can develop if it is not sure its youth can read, write and think with an SSSCE certificate – in the least.
They liked the National Digital Address System to help formalise the economy. The system is to help people find exact locations without having to rely on oral directions when technology would be happy to help.
The NDC reduced the plan to google map arguing government is trying to re-invent the wheel. Vice-President Bawumia explained google cannot take you home. It can take you to your neighborhood but it is the government system that will take you right into your house.
The debate on the matter died off.
But Kojo Asante expects to see the address system fully completed to maximise the benefits Dr. Bawumia talked about.
They were happy about the media-instigated fight against illegal mining. Government launched ‘Operation Vanguard’ to keep illegal miners out of water bodies and unauthorised mining sites.
The Akufo-Addo government still has a long way to go even after some prosecutions. But there is a taller list of electoral promises Ghanaians expect to see fulfilled.
One factory in every district, a million dollars for each constituency, an ambitious irrigation plan and hundreds of promises cramped into a 192-page manifesto which must be crammed into the government’s four-year mandate.
Ibrahim Tanko gave the government a B. Host Mamavi Owusu-Aboagye would respond “that’s a generous B”.