President Akufo-Addo says the 2020 presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, has proved over time to be inconsistent, as he flip-flops on issues of national development.
Speaking in Bibiani on Saturday (26 September) at the end of a three-day tour of the Western North Region, the president said it is important for the credibility of the country’s public discourse that people in the public space are seen to be consistent in their views and advocacy.
“When the bill governing the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme was being passed in 2003, I was in Parliament,” President Akufo-Addo said. “I witnessed the NDC MPs, which included Mahama, kicking against it by staging a walkout of the House.
“When President Kufuor successfully implemented it, Mahama and [the late president John Evans Atta] Mills said they would implement a one-time payment of the National Health Insurance, but for eight years, eight solid years, that promise never became a reality.
“Today, Mahama says he is bringing free primary health care if voted for. Can we trust him? Did he fulfil his promises, for which reason we should believe that he would fulfil this? No, we cannot trust him.”
Touching on the cancellation of allowances for teacher and nursing trainees, he said that students and, indeed, all well-meaning Ghanaians pleaded with the former president to restore the allowances, to no avail.
“We begged him to restore them, but he was adamant, to the extent that he said if that would mean he losing the 2016 elections, so be it. I restored the teacher and nursing training allowances, and now he has changed his tongue again: he says he will now continue to pay teacher and nursing training allowances! Can we trust him? No way!” the president said.
The president also spoke about the Zongo Development Fund, which, in his view, is bringing development to people in the zongo areas. He recounted how Mahama said that using the fund to provide ICT facilities and AstroTurf pitches amounted to misappropriation of funds, only for the former president to turn around and promise to build mortuaries and legalise “okada” for residents of zongo communities.
Touching on the Free Senior High School policy, President Akufo-Addo recalled how the former president had said that the NPP’s pledge to provide Free Senior High School was a political gimmick and a pack of lies, as the policy could only be implemented in 20 years.
“Two years ago, he said if you had GHC2 billion, you shouldn’t be spending it all on Free SHS,” the president said. “Today, he says that if he is given the mantle of leadership, he will continue with the implementation of Free SHS. Can we trust him on this? No!”
Addressing John Mahama, President Akufo-Addo asked: “You have fought the Free Senior High School all this while. What has happened? What changed your mind about the Free SHS? The Ghanaian people deserve to know: why have you changed your mind about the Free Senior High School policy? He is inconsistent and a flip-flop, a trait not seen in Akufo-Addo.”
He asked residents of Western North to maintain trust and confidence in him, adding: “I will always be truthful to you, and work for the unity, progress, prosperity and development of our nation.”
With the NPP holding only three out of the nine seats in Western North, he was hopeful, he said, that the 2020 elections will bring an improvement in the party’s local fortunes.
“I pray that massive changes occur this time around for all of you to be part of the elephant family. You will never regret being a part of the NPP. I urge you to vote Four More for Nana.” President Akufo-Addo also appealed to the residents of Bibiani to vote massively for the NPP’s parliamentary candidate, Alfred Obeng.
Click on the link below to listen to President Akufo-Addo.