Mr. President, you appeared by your promises and entreaties to Ghanaians to try you as our elected President to have been sincere as the person to be trusted to turn the fortunes of this country around.
Time has shown your tenure as our President to be one of wasted opportunity, greed, avarice and selfish devotion to your Family and Friends who constitute your government and the foreign governments and associates you are enamored to please than those who elected you to serve our country.
Your management style and penchant for national polarization has brought our economy to its knees. You appear to have squandered all the national aspirations contained in our constitutional preamble and directive principles of state policy.
Mr. President, I can tell you as one of the suffering people of Ghana who served my country in public office and came out without much to show for that service that very few Ghanaians today, including members of your New Patriotic Party, think that your government of Family and Friends is one that cares about the ordinary Ghanaian in the street.
The most recent developments and the challenges to your own authority within the New Patriotic Party is more than sufficient evidence for you to stop calling your government of Family and Friends a government that cares for Ghanaians.
The trust you have lost within your own New Patriotic Party is ample proof, if proof be needed, that as a lame duck President, you cannot between now and December 2023 (let alone by the end of election year 2024) restore stability to the economy and provide relief to the poor. Ordinary Ghanaians of every political persuasion are the recipients of the mess you have created in the economy. How can we support you to rescue Ghana from the throes of this economic crisis when you have demonstrated that your government is not for all Ghanaians contrary to your own promise when you sought our votes?
Mr. President, in your address to the nation on 30 October 2022 you appeared oblivious of the fact that the savings and incomes of ordinary Ghanaians have seriously and irretrievably been eroded by your mismanagement of the economy, and there is no measure that you can take now to restore us to the real value of our savings, incomes, and investments after the galloping inflation and depreciation of the cedi avoidably imposed on us under your watch.
Mr. President, the fuel prices will never roll back to January 2022 levels or even April 2022 levels. The prices of medications for the retired and aged treating chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension will never go back to less than GHS200 per prescription on less than a pension of GHC1000.00 for the majority of retirees. Working people will have no reasonable appreciation in their already low incomes as a result of the depreciation in their existing incomes. Only those of you in your Family and Friends Government and previous political elites who stored their wealth abroad may still benefit from the restoration of order in the forex markets and a return to some calm you spoke about in your address to the nation a few days ago.
Mr. President, it is interesting that in your Cabinet Retreat’s proposals to ameliorate the mess you have brought us as a country you talk about the role of the Bank of Ghana and expect Ghanaians to believe you when you have contrary to the 1992 Constitution treated the Bank of Ghana as an appendage of your executive chariot to do your bidding in the expropriation of our national resources. The Constitution envisaged an independent central bank capable of holding the executive’s spending and borrowing in check. Unfortunately, as each government after government has sought to appoint political supporters to control the central bank, it has lost the respect as envisaged under the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Like all institutions under your concept of good governance, the central bank may be living up to the letter of the Constitution while violating its spirit. The economic mess we are in as country would not have happened if the spirt of the Constitution had been upheld in the teeth of the purely partisan and self-serving political policies of your government that has politicized and damaged the banking and forex sectors of the economy.
Mr. President, whether or not your IMF programme contains a “hair cut” or not, your November 2022 Budget is going to impose further austerity upon Ghanaians for your failed and mismanaged policies and stewardship of this country which we regrettably entrusted to you upon your misrepresentations to Ghanaians for our votes.
How did you, Mr. President, expect to convince your fellow countrymen who are suffering for just a decent meal a day to see with your perception “in real time the devastation that was being wreaked on economies during the pandemic, ….” when you have been unable to transparently account for the millions Ghana Cedis that were received to ameliorate the pandemic situation? Mr. President, as a sign of the sincerity of your address to the nation and plea for support from Ghanaians why do you not account to Parliament for how the estimated Six Billion United States Dollars (USD6 billion) your government received directly or indirectly from the AfDB, the World Bank, the EU and the IMF for different Covid-19 programmes benefitted the ordinary man in the street and still took this country back into debt overhang? The Speaker of Parliament is waiting for your Government’s transparent accounting on this matter.
Surely “Our economy, here in Ghana, like many, many others around the globe, was thrown into turmoil” but how come that our situation is the worst witnessed in the annals of the history of our country under your leadership? Mr. President, you do owe it to your credibility and integrity to convince the ordinary Ghanaian through transparent accounting that the contract for compulsory Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport was not one of the opaque crony contracts of your Family and Friends style of governance by making the facts and proceeds earned from that arrangement available to Parliament.
Your bloated rhetoric, Mr President, during your Sunday night’s address to the nation of comparing our Ghanaian situation to inflation in Togo, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire, and petrol queues in France is of no moment to the hungry and suffering electorate to whom you promised a better economy and well-being. One cannot probate and reprobate. The fact that you agree that: “In truth, however, the fact that there are petrol queues in France does not make it more tolerable that the trotro price from Kasoa to Circle has doubled in the past one year, nor does it make it any more tolerable that the price of cooking oil goes up every other week” is the reason for you to have realized that you failed and needed contrition rather than gloating during your address over whatever achievements you claim to have made in previous years.
Mr. President, it is not acceptable to belittle the scope of the suffering of the ordinary worker, farmer, fisherman and woman, and traders who risk their lives to let food reach the markets by first camouflaging the reality of our suffering with a litany of increases in prices worldwide as you sought to do. Ordinary Ghanaians cannot share your perspective of their suffering because you have openly lived in a different world from theirs the moment they elected you as their President trusting in you to better their deplorable live conditions. Like
the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, your Government of Family and Friends live a life of privilege at the expense of the public purse without any semblance of transparency or accountability.
Mr. President, does it not appear delusional for a person who has betrayed his peoples’ trust to ask them to forget their suffering and support and work together with him to get an economy he has mismanaged back in good shape so that he and his cortege of Family and Friends will continue expropriating the collective resource which will further empower them to ram further economic austerity upon the electorate?
Whatever, cuts in discretionary expenditure and so called thirty percent (30%) cut in salaries for political office holders you made in April 2022 means nothing to the ordinary man in the street. The ordinary worker in the street is thinking of how to feed his immediate and extended family, particularly when there is no evidence of the quantum of cuts that have hit the public purse from the so called salary cuts. In any case what is a thirty percent (30%) cut in salaries when you have been deaf to calls to reduce your over bloated number of political office holders and their fat salaries. Why do you not publish the salary scales of the political office holders’ vis-a visa that of qualified professional public servants so that you can have a reasoned understanding with the ordinary worker as to how poorly he is underpaid after years of public service while your political office holders are reaping a bonanza just for holding political office without a commensurate professional competence.
Mr. President, I have stated in one of my written publications of 6 October 2022 that going to the IMF in July was just a smokescreen behind which you intend to force an austerity budget down the throat of Ghanaians. The E-Levy experience was proof to you that you cannot on your own continue to deceive the ordinary Ghanaian with increasing taxes and rates while the national resources under your management are unaccounted for because you hide them in off- shore jurisdictions of your foreign government associates. And I hope it ought to be clear to you by now that many Ghanaians do not want to see you in their homes because you betrayed them and they have nothing in common with you again.
Ghanaians agree entirely with you, Mr. President, when you state honestly for the first time that:
“For us, in Ghana, our reality is that our economy is in great difficulty. The budget drawn for the 2022 fiscal year has been thrown out of gear, disrupting our balance of payments and debt sustainability, and further exposing the structural weaknesses of our economy. We are in a crisis, I do not exaggerate when I say so. I cannot find an example in history when so many malevolent forces have come together at the same time. …”
The only problem with the rendition of your statement is your attempt to insert your Family and Friends government as suffering with the ordinary Ghanaian who does not count your Family and Friends who have mismanaged the economy as part of us in Ghana, as you live in a social reality of privilege outside that social reality experienced by the ordinary Ghanaian on a daily basis. Mr. President, you are part of the problem and cannot lead its resolution.
Mr. President, the outline of the main and firm decisions your Cabinet Retreat took that should put us on the path that will take our nation out of the current economic difficulties to restore and sustain debt sustainability, is supposed to be fully achieved by 2028. This will be four (4) whole years after you have ceased to be our President and left us with footing the bills for your economic mess. You expect ordinary workers to do their patriotic duty and support the GRA in your proposed exercise to improve the revenue collection effort, from the current tax-revenue to GDP ratio of thirteen (13%) to between eighteen and twenty percent (18-20%), to be competitive with our peers in the West Africa Region when you have politicized the GRA and used it as a persecutory agency against your perceived political adversaries. You aim to restore and sustain macroeconomic stability within the next three (3) to six (6) years, with a focus on ensuring debt sustainability to promote durable and inclusive growth while protecting the poor, knowing very well that your tenure which terminates on 6 January 2025 has rendered you a lame duck President already as evidenced by recent events within your own New Patriotic Party itself.
Mr. President, is it not too late for you during these lame duck period of your presidency to be making projection for economic recovery that focuses on ensuring debt sustainability to promote inclusive growth while protecting the poor when in the past six years you spent your energy and efforts empowering your Family and Friends and pushed this country into its present economic mess?
Mr. President, are we not being strangers to the socio-economic reality of this country and to the truth when you mismanaged the economy for the benefits of not only your Family and Friends Government but also for the benefit of your foreign friends and governments while expecting the ordinary market queen or market woman who sits in the burning sun in Makola, Kejetia, Tamale, Half Assini, Aflao, Kulungugu, Osei-Kojokrom or Paga not to feed her family? Does it lie in your mouth, Mr. President, upon the oath you took to serve the people of Ghana to call our attention to the fact that “fuelling the high prices is the high margins that some traders are slapping on goods, for fear of future higher costs” when the market queens and ordinary traders are learning how to survive from the modus operandi of your Government to expropriate the natural resources of our country for your local cronies and foreign friends and governments, while the traders and market queens were perishing?
What you ought to be doing, Mr. President, is to accept responsibility for your failure of leadership, seek contrition from God and Ghanaians, and then be in spiritual grace and redeemed grounds to tell the traders and market queens to be measured in the margins they seek. Mr. President, you have lost the moral authority and respect under the Constitution and your oath of office that empowered you to make any accusations against the suffering traders sitting in the burning sun daily when you sit in your airconditioned office at the expense of their sweat and supervise the economic mess you have brought unto the country.
Mr. President, you hold a university degree in economics from the University of Ghana, (courtesy the late Mr. Justice Philip Edward Archer), and you know how market forces work. How then do you pretend to shift blame from your poor management of our economy by saying that the “recent turbulence on the financial markets was caused by low inflows of foreign exchange and was made worse in the last two to three weeks, in particular, by the activities of speculators and the Black Market.” What efforts did you as the President of Ghana make to bring all stakeholders together to brainstorm on your plans for the resuscitating your mismanaged economy at the earliest opportunity to avoid your political opponents speculating on your plans with the IMF?
Does it lie in your mouth, Mr. President, to resort to the blame game and state that: “An anonymous two-minute audio message on a WhatsApp platform predicting a so-called haircut on Government bonds sent all of us into banks and forex bureaus to dump our cedis, and, before we knew it, the cedi had depreciated further.”? Is it not too late in the day for you to remind all Ghanaians that we can each “play a part in helping to strengthen the cedi by having confidence in the currency and avoiding speculation.”?
And Mr. President do you not realize that this is the time you need to work with all parties on the political divide and not the time to threaten your opponents with penalties for publishing their perceptions of the suffering reality which you selectively call falsehoods? The Constitution enjoins you to put Ghana First. Threatening your political adversaries with the capricious use of executive power to suppress enlightened political discourse and freedom of speech subverts the 1992 Constitution.
Mr. President, learn for once to be humble in these difficult economic times you have brought upon the nation and also learn lessons from what Mark Twain once said: “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme”. Mr. President, we who defend the 1992 Constitution expect you at this time of unprecedented mass economic suffering of our people to listen closely to the echoes of history and avoid replaying the discordant notes of past Governments that cost this nation dearly. Shalom!
Souroce: Martin A. B. K. Amidu