Will the NPP’s Akufo-Addo Ever Learn Any Lesson? – A Rejoinder By Herbert Krapa Press Secretary to Nana Akufo-Addo

I have read carefully an article written by Dr. Michael J.K Bokor with the above heading, published on myjoyonline.com on Tuesday July 7, 2011.

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I thought it necessary to respond to the write-up because the Dr. obviously lacks a clear understanding of the man Nana Akufo-Addo, and his message to the people, and has unfortunately decided to share this sheer ignorance with the rest of Ghanaians and beyond.

But is the Dr. truly ignorant? A careful reading of the article immediately exposes the author’s pretence to be confused about Nana Addo posture and his message to the electorate and is trying dubiously to disseminate this self-inflicted confusion to the millions of discerning Ghanaians who have embraced Nana Addo’s message. I think it is a dangerous attitude and must be condemned in no uncertain terms. It is surely not the way to go in our politics and the Dr. and his pay masters will not have their way with this one, or any others.

Dr. Bokor writes in the article that barely three weeks after mentioning in London that he would not base his electioneering campaign on promises but programmes and projects, “Nana Addo is out, either knowingly contradicting himself or – by some inexplicable psychoanalytic film-flammery- betraying what really lies deep in the heart of his politics.”

He quotes a GNA report of July 10, 2011 in which Nana Addo is said to have reiterated his commitment to the Chiefs and people of Abirem that he is determined to lead a government that will make Senior High School (SHS) education free for all and questions whether “Akufo-Addo consider(s) this obvious promise-making as different from the programmes and projects that he touted as the substance with which to drive his campaign.”

But that is the problem because the Dr. only sees and hears what he wants to. Nana Addo has been consistent with his message of coming into government with programmes and policies. Nana Addo, for example, has always been consistent with his policy of making education his topmost priority and also transforming the economy which will wealth and jobs for Ghanaians. These policies can also be found in the 2008 NPP manifesto.

On his “listening campaign”, Nana Akufo-Addo gives people the opportunity to present to him, the problems and issues that confronts them in their lives and communities, after which he goes ahead to respond to the issues raised and also makes a few remarks. Nana Addo has been very consistent with his message.

He has been speaking mainly about three things. Firstly, he exhorts the people to endeavour to take the registration exercise seriously when the Electoral Commission opens the process later this year and urges them to encourage also all persons qualified under the law to register when the time comes. He explains that once we have all agreed as a people to use the ballot in deciding who leads our country, we must make it a point to participate fully in all the processes in that regard. He makes the point that we have all seen what the thumb is capable of, adding that it is the thumb that elected President Kufuor, whose government brought substantial growth and development to Ghana and the same thumb has elected President Mills, whose government is gradually reversing all the gains of the Kufuor era, and sending the country backward.

Secondly, Nana Addo speaks about education, his number one priority, and assures the people that his policy unit is working on a programme that will make sure that the cost of educating our children, from nursery school to SHS will be taken off parents and be borne by the state, God willing under his leadership. He further states that the concept of basic education will be redefined to mean nursery school to SHS and no longer nursery school to Junior High School (JHS) because the number of dropouts at the JHS level is just too scary and unacceptable to him. Nana Addo mentions that in his view, educating the population is one sure way of rapidly wiping poverty in our country, but unfortunately majority of the parents are poor and so making the matter of education a money matter will disadvantage most of the children and defeat that objective, hence his determination to lead a government that will make basic education free. He says it is possible that the child who didn’t have access to education, is probably the one who has the brains that if harnessed, could help our nation make that forward leap.

Still on education, Nana Addo says that the programme being drafted is a “teacher-based” one that will ensure that the teacher is well equipped and adequately motivated to provide quality education and training for his/her pupils. He mentions that the education policy is such that under his leadership, the habit of putting up school buildings without apartments for teachers will be a thing of the past because he believes that if the teacher is comfortable and well motivated, students will be given the quality education and training needed to grow the country’s human resource base which will lead to the positive transformation of our country. He says that irrespective of the place and circumstances of their birth, every child must have equal access to quality education because the human mind is the key, and because social justice warrants it.

The policy unit is examining in depth the prospect of legislation committing a certain high percentage of our GDP to expenditure on education to enable proper planning and execution of the development of this most sensitive sector of our national life.

Thirdly, Nana Addo speaks about the need to introduce programmes and policies that will provide the people with jobs. He says that strengthening the private sector, especially small and medium scale enterprises, is a central component of this policy so that people can expand their local economies, generate jobs and be able to live improved and dignified lives. This programme is what he calls “creating a new society of opportunities”: education, skills training for jobs in an expanded economy: a hand-up and not a hand-out approach to the problems that confront our people.

Let me quickly draw the attention of Dr. Bokor to the fact that Nana Addo talks about programmes and policies that his policy committee is still working on and that is also part of the reasons why he has come on the listening campaign in order to know at firsthand what the problems of the time are in the lives of the various people in the various communities, so that the final programme will be mindful of all the various details. He does not make promises. Indeed on the same platform, Nana Addo condemns making promises on campaign platforms for the sake of winning power and after winning the power, turning your back at the very promises that won you the power and denying ever making those promises, a sad occurrence in our national life in the Mills era. He thinks it is dishonest and unfair to the people who vote to bring you to power and he will not do that.

Akufo-Addo is mindful of what he’s doing and has assembled a competent team to help him do the work. My observation, as will be the same of most watchers of our political scene is that the instantaneous positive response that the “listening campaign” is drawing across the country, is causing fear and panic to the NDC government and hence the attempt by their discredited propaganda machinery to run down the gains of the tour. The Ghanaian people know better.

It is also clear that the NDC government and their spin doctors are determined to reduce the 2012 electioneering campaign to one of personal attacks and wicked lies, since they will have very little by way of concrete achievements to trumpet. We would resist any attempt to be drawn into such useless and unproductive endeavour. We would prosecute a clean campaign based on ideas, policies and programmes and we would ensure that our good message goes to every little corner of our country.

We in the NPP are content to leave propaganda politics and the politics of lies and fabrications to those who know no other politics. They can keep lying about us and we would continue to tell the truth about them and we leave the rest to the good judgment of the good people of Ghana.

Neither Nana Addo nor the NPP need any lessons in political mobilisation from their enemies and detractors. The latter are better off attempting to assist the current administration that has all the hallmarks of the most incompetent government of the 4th Republic, if not of our entire history. The only growth industry in the Mills era, this era of recession and regression, is that of Akufo-Addo haters and NPP bashers. The louder you can express or do either or both, the swifter your rise to prominence and riches. Dr. Bokor is welcome to both.

Nana Addo will keep focused on what he has been doing for the last thirty five years- fighting for the liberties and freedoms of the Ghanaian people, participating in the search for a responsible system of governance for our nation, helping promote effective policies for the rapid eradication of mass poverty and the speedy enhancement of the living standards and dignity of the Ghanaian people, refusing to accept mediocrity and backwardness as the natural lot of the Ghanaian and African peoples, and believing in their capacity to build admirable civilisations worthy of emulation by others. These are the matters that will continue to engage his attention and energies, not responding to the useless propaganda and crude smear campaign of the NDC gutter press.

Nana Addo has already publicly refuted flatly the allegations of cocaine use or peddling or narcotic abuse. That denial is not convenient to the “masterminds” (sic) of the NDC, whose only strategy against him appears to be to stay clear of urgent public issues or his public record, and concentrate on the big lie. The big lie was the creation of the unlamented fascist and communist leaders of the 20th century, especially Josef Goebbels and Joseph Stalin. They believed that, if you were bold enough to concoct a big lie, no matter how outrageous, and to repeat it enough times, the gullible masses would buy it. They were both proved wrong, and the systems of governance with which they were associated remain the most reviled of our times.

Nana Addo has a much higher estimation of the intelligence of the Ghanaian people, and is more than happy to leave his political fate in their hands, free of unsolicited puerile advice.