The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says recent utterances by President John Mahama, coupled with his actions and inactions over the last 8 years, point to a President who has little understanding of democracy.
According to him, President Mahama’s comments on Tuesday, November 1, during a campaign in Abirem, in the Eastern Region, where he warned Ghanaians against continually changing incumbent governments were unfortunate.
“If changing governments was bad, why did he and his party agitate for the changing of the NPP government in 2008? Changing governments was good for him in 2008, but when the time has come for Ghanaians to change governments in 2016, it’s now a bad thing”,Akufo-Addo said.
“I get sad listening to the President sometimes. It is heart wrenching hearing some of the comments he makes. Does he understand the tenets of democracy? If he understood democracy, he wouldn’t be saying some of the things he says,” he adds.
Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing residents of Denkyira Obuasi, in the Upper Denkyira West constituency, in the Central Region, on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, when he made these remarks.
The NPP flagbearer explained that it was for a good reason why Ghana’s Constitution directed that elections be held every 4 years.
“Why is that so? It’s because when you come into office and do a poor job, Ghanaians have the opportunity of removing you from office. We (in the NPP) are coming to change this incompetent government and bring in a competent government.”
Again, Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that President Mahama’s issue with him begging for the votes of Ghanaians is yet another affirmation of the President’s weak understanding of democracy.
“Doesn’t the power reside in the hands of Ghanaians? So if I want the opportunity to serve the people, don’t I have to beg for it? Let it be known to him that I will not stop begging to Ghanaians for their mandate,” he added.
NPP will boost cocoa production
With the mainstay of the people of DenkyiraObuasi being cocoa farmers, Nana Akufo-Addo assured cocoa farmers in the town, and across the country of a massive overhaul of the cocoa sector which will ensure that the dwindling fortunes of the sector, as witnessed over the last 8 years, are reversed.
The NPP flagbearer explained that with Ghana barely managing to produce 740,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2014/2015 crop year, from a peak of 1 million metric tonnes in 2010/2011 which was achieved through programmes initiated by the Kufuor-led NPP administration, the cocoa sector, once a major foreign exchange earner for the country, is in dire need of rescue.
An Akufo-Addo government, he stated, will institute measures including,the payment of significantly higher producer prices of cocoa above the levels which the NDC administration has provided to farmers in the last 8 years; the reintroduction of bonuses scrapped by the NDC government; and the reintroduction and non-politicisation of the mass spraying exercise and the hi-tech programmes.
This, he noted, will increase cocoa production significantly, whilst, at the same time, improving the welfare and livelihoods of cocoa farming communities across the country.
Recounting the NPP’s record in the cocoa sector under President Kufuor, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that the mass cocoa spraying exercise and subsidized fertilizer programmes, originally introduced under the Kufuor administration, was solely responsible for doubling cocoa production within 2 crop years, from less than 350,000 metric tonnes in 2001/2002 to nearly 700,000 metric tonnes in 2003/2004, and to the peak of 1 million metric tonnes in 2010/2011.
Through these initiatives, together with the four-fold increase in producer prices under the NPP government, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that cocoa farmers’ incomes were boosted substantially.
These gains, he stressed, have, however, been quickly eroded within a short period of 8 years by President Mahama and his NDC government.
“All the initiatives put in place by President Kufuor have collapsed. Mass spraying exercise has collapsed. Subsidisedfertilisers no longer get to farmers.
The producer price of cocoa has reduced in real terms, and cocoa bonuses which the NPP paid whilst we were in office has been scrapped. It is not surprising, therefore, that, today, producing 700,000 metric tonnes of cocoa has become very difficult. We will reverse all of this,” he assured.