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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Is President Mills delivering on his Campaign Promises?

However, seven months into his administration the good people of this country cannot tell which direction the nation is going. Even though it will be totally insane to expect the President to deliver all his campaign promises in just seven months, it is equally unacceptable for the President to fail even to let Ghanaians know what his policies are. To be honest with the President, the people cannot identify any clear cut policy from his government regarding unemployment, energy supply and sustainability, infrastructure investment, inflation reduction, education, export diversification and positive interest rate regime.

In fact the situation in the country is getting worse by the day. We have seen unemployed youth, apparently from the President's NDC party seized toilets in Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi and many other places. We have seen fuel shortages in Accra and other parts of the country. Fishermen cannot get premix fuel to go to sea despite the fact that they are in their peak season. Since the premix fuel shortage begun the President has not told the fishermen what he is doing about it despite their threat to hit the streets to demonstrate their displeasure over the shortage.

More importantly President Mills and his Ministers have so far not shown any sign that they are in full control of the economy.

Since taking office, inflation has been soaring hitting more than 20% in May. Fuel prices are higher today than they used to be 6 months ago. Unemployment is more than 20% and is still rising steadily with companies like Vodafone threatening to slash over 950 jobs. Our currency the Cedi has lost more than 30% of its value putting prices of commodities beyond the reach of the ordinary Ghanaian. Armed robbery, high profile murders and other crimes are on the rise nation wide.

Besides, the corrupt Muntaka khebab and pampas saga; Mahama Ayariga's purchase of five tractors meant for poor Ghanaian farmers; allegations that the Finance Minister directed that development aid should be paid through his bank as well the confirmation that Alhaji Mumuni (current Foreign Minister) indeed has an audit report from the Auditor General implicating him in financial malfeasance and wrong-doing, still hung on President Mills administration, a clear manifestation that corruption sits very deep in his government.

Simply put Ghanaians cannot associate President Mills' administration with a new project, programme or even maintainance of conditions that was existing before he took office.

All that we have been hearing from the President are complaints of debts, confiscation of cars which are relatively less important compared to the many daunting problems confronting Ghanaians today.

Is this why we voted for the President? No. We expect real political action and serious effort to provide real solution to the problems because the general feeling and perception is that the President is simply not doing enough or let me be charitable to him and say he is not delivering on his campaign promises. Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communication speaking on Joy FM News File programme on August 8, 2009 admitted that "the recent premix saga was embarrassing for the government and promised it will never recur" but Ghanaians have now become used to such empty assurances from his government.

Compare President Mills performance in the last six months as enumerated above with that of Obama whom he took office one month earlier.

Since taking office Obama has implemented a stimulus package that has helped to stabilise the US economy, putting struggling businesses back in competition. He has helped to calm down the once soaring unemployment numbers which peaked at 9.5% in July, 2009.

He has directed that Guantanamo Bay detention Camp be closed. He has reached agreement with Russia to cut down the number of nuclear arsenals that each country has. He is working hard to withdraw US combat forces from Iraq by 2011. He is working with Congress to send more American troops to Afghanistan to contain the Taliban and bring stability in that war torn nation.

He has made US a key player in the fight against global warming and Climate change, an unthinkable thing under the Bush administration. He is working hard to get US Congress to pass his Healthcare Bill that would overhaul US Healthcare system and makes it more affordable to all Americans at a cheaper cost.

He has sent his envoys to the Middle East to get the Palestinians and Israelis talking again in the hope of finding solution to the ME problem. His Ministers are everywhere in the world to repair broken bridges in the international system.

In what has been called US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue he has acknowledged that the future of our planet and what happens in this 21st Century would be shaped by what goes on between his country and China, as a result he has declared a new era of cooperation, not confrontation with China. All these he has done within six months of taking office, the same period that His Excellency President Mills has occupied our Castle. What makes Obama's efforts so enviable is that these are the issues he campaigned to address and he seems pretty anxious to deliver.

And Obama is not alone. Most serious leaders around the world are doing more to help their citizens to sail through the global financial crisis with safety net for less fortunate.

Knowing what we know can we say that President Mills is delivering or will deliver on his campaign promises ?

By Lord Aikins Adusei

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