Who said elections are not good for this part of the world? For me, the use of the ballot box and its paper is the best thing to happen to this country since independence from colonial rule in March 1957. With the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections in the air, communities, which have never sniffed basic amenities, are suddenly being inundated with all manner of construction projects.
New roads are popping up where there were only footpaths. Previously rough roads are losing their undulating surfaces. Bitumen surfaced roads are making inroads in communities where they were alien to their bumpy and rough roads. Do not ask me how many of these projects have their genesis in the national budget.
With the opposition making inroads at the World Bank and other International Monetary Fund areas, the administration is responding with last-minute development projects showered on previously orphaned communities. Like many such events, the full cost would be known only after budget deficits are declared in huge ratio figures after the vote.
In 2012 for instance, the national budget deficit hit GH¢8.7 billion. Its effects are still manifesting itself in the new Mahamean Economic Theory with its Terkpernomics of borrowing to throw at every single problem.
With the presidential accounting tour translating into more promises, the national budget is likely to take a huge hit in deficit financing by the time the next Chancellor of Exchequer comes before Parliament House next year. We are now hearing that the much-maligned fee-free boarding education at the second cycle level would take effect this August, barely two months from now.
I do not ever recall Mr. Seth Terkper pontificating on this the last time the Minister of Finance presented the national budget to Parliament House. It is rather manifesting itself on the campaign trail. I am not an expert at budgetary compilation and accounting. But I am uneasy about the latest craze in the road developmental curve and other projects rattled on the accounting tour.
The last I heard, roads in James Town, Chorkor, part of Adabraka and Asylum Down are spotting bitumen surfaces. It is a nice thought to turn these old and worn-out passageways into new boulevards and highways asphalt surfaces. But funding city roads with resources which should have gone into paving the way for cocoa evacuation might not necessarily translate into economic gains.
I was at Ekumfi Ekrawfo at the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to note that the old worn-out and very difficult to navigate road to Gyinankoma, passing in front of my humble residence, is undergoing serious repairs, which is the best news for the neighbourhood for some time now.
It is informative to learn that the construction of that road, apparently, owes its funding to this nation’s Cocoa Road projects. The news in this kind of development model is that the government is diverting resources meant to make roads in cocoa areas in the hinterlands accessible, to run its election campaign of promises.
Like ostriches, we are all burying our heads in the sand and pretending to be unaware of the naked abuse of resources meant for cocoa evacuation, to prosecute the election campaign of this administration.
The bad news, for me, is that the contractor on the Gyinankoma road project chose to heap the sand from the gutter under construction by the wall of my house. A young man, with no sense of humour, took advantage of height of the sand heaped by the wall, jumped into my compound and stole a flat-screen television by the wall in the sitting room, together with its deck, in broad daylight last Wednesday, when people in the house had left to attend to their various chores.
Thank God, those in my household in the village still have their lives. But how are we going to account for the naked misapplication of these cocoa road funds in the near future?
This country is a very interesting society. At the approach of Presidential and Legislative elections, strange things are manifesting themselves. Last Thursday, the Supreme Court of Ghana put to rest the question of interpretation of its earlier ruling, asking the Electoral Commission to delete the names of those who registered for the 2012 vote, using the National Health Insurance Authority card as a form of identification of citizenship.
The ruling was unambiguous. As a matter of fact, the average Senior High School student should understand the import of the ruling. Strangely, men with letters, wearing their spectacles beclouded by images of the National Democratic Congress, led in a crusade to cast doubt on the import of the ruling. PHD holders – I mean so-called learned men holding the highest academic and legal degrees in this land of our birth – claimed loudly on radio and television that the Supreme Court ruling was ambiguous.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court removed every ambiguity in its ruling, and ordered the recalcitrant Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her Electoral Commission to appear before its august panel of judges tomorrow, armed with the list of all those who are on the voters’ register using the NHIA card as a form of identity, when they registered in 2012.
The instructions were issued to the Electoral Commission. Nowhere in the judgment did the Supreme Court cite the NDC, or any of its operatives. Somehow, NDC officials are behaving as if the Supreme Court has dis-enfranchised the party and its followers.
Deputy Secretary Koku Anyidoho hit the roof. He heaped gratuitous insults on the Supreme Court, and accused that Her Ladyship Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood of ambushing the EC, and invited the Chief Justice and her Supreme Court to take over from the constitutional mandate of the EC and run the 2016 Presidential and Legislative elections.
As if on cue, communication team members of the NDC, including Propaganda Chief Solomon Nkansah, National Organiser Kofi Adams, Greater Accra party boss Kobina Ade Coker and regional executive members of the party Jerry John Rawlings founded, have all descended on Mrs. Georgina Wood and her Supreme Court, as if the judges in the highest court of the land have committed murder.
When the guest mourns more than the bereaved, there ought to be a problem. It is informative to learn that the instructions from the Supreme Court are directed at the Electoral Commission. The NDC was not even mentioned, even in the remotest sense of the word. How NDC officials came to be more concerned than the Electoral Commission is one conundrum that would take some wizardry to unravel.
In the interim, it is pertinent to remind ourselves that when Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, presidential running mate of the New Patriotic Party, alleged at a news conference last year that some 76,000 names lodged in the Ghanaian voters’ register also appear in the Togolese register, and asked the Electoral Commission to investigate and pronounce its verdict on it, the EC merely danced around the problem. Leading members of the NDC rather hit the roof.
Like the ostriches that we tend to become on very sensitive matters, everybody kept quiet, even when the Electoral Commission treated the allegations with contempt.
What I do know as a social commentator is that Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia broke the lid on the secrecy surrounding the allegation of the ECOWAS vote in Ghana by admitting some time ago, that at a time the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, was concentrating on wooing Ghanaians in the United Kingdom and other European countries who are not allowed to vote in Ghana, the NDC was concentrating on wooing potential voters from Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, who are our neighbours.
Not too long ago, the General Secretary of the NDC was in Benin recruiting people from that country to come to Ghana and vote. According to the NDC scribe, his appeal was directed at Ghanaians resident in that country.
I would like to state, for the benefit of the uninitiated, that I have no intention of ever buying a secondhand car from Mr. Asiedu-Nketia. With a dyed-in-the wool NDC activist like Sylvester Mensah presiding over the National Health Insurance Authority, and directing the issuance of cards at the time, I would not be surprised to be told that some of the NHIA cards found their way into the hands of people who do not necessarily trace their roots to this country.
For me, if the NDC is mourning more than the bereaved over the Supreme Court ruling, there is your answer. The whole saga reminds me of one very great wise saying. “The day the monkey is destined to die, all branches and leaves of trees become slippery.”
I shall return!