The possible return of John Dramani Mahama for a third and last bite at the presidency, has forced President Akufo-Addo, into an early campaign mood, instead of concentrating on the rest of his 4-year mandate, which has been reduced to 3 years, a month and few days.
Confronted with expressions of frustrations, high demands and lack of enthusiasm by residents during his tour of the three northern regions, the president is spending time chiding his predecessor aside a desperate attempt to hijack some facilities, including the Wa Water Supply Project and share the credit between himself, ex-President John Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Upper West branch of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has since taken on the President Akufo-Addo accusing him of peddling falsehood for suggesting that the erstwhile NPP administration under John Agyekum Kufuor, commenced the Wa Water project which was commissioned on Monday.
The $55.50 million water project at Jambusie, which was constructed with a facility from the Korean Exim Bank, will supply 3.3 million gallons of water per day to the 100,705 residents of Wa.
In March of 2009, then Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, serving in the NDC administration which had taken over office from the NPP, presented to parliament a number of water projects that were to take place. Among them was the Wa Water project.
Also, records from Parliament confirm that, the loan agreement between Ghana and the Korean Exim Bank was adopted by Parliament in October 2012, during the John Mahama administration.
The project, therefore could not have started under former President John Agyekum Kufuor as claimed by President Akufo-Addo, but rather commenced under the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama.
The NDC insists that the project was started by them under President Mahama. The party in a statement signed by the Upper West Regional Director of Communications, Issaku Issa Jerry, said “President Akufo Addo is deceiving Ghanaians to score cheap political points.”
He added that “President Akufo Addo and the NPP must provide evidence that the project started under Kufour.”
But despite the NDC’s statement, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda, says claims that the Wa Water Project was started under the erstwhile Mahama administration should be disregarded.
Mr. Adda says the project was the brainchild of the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under President Kufour.
“This project started in 2008; a delegation including myself and current President Akufo went to the Far East and China to look for funds for this project.”
It appears however that Mr. Kofi Adda’s position on the matter is inaccurate, and that may have informed the President to go along the same line.
Nana Akufo-Addo also spent time reiterating his 2016 election campaign promise not to embezzle state cash.
Addressing the chiefs and people of Lawra in the Upper West Region on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo attacked ex-President Mahama saying the road infrastructure he and National Democratic Congress (NDC) talked about was only a façade.
“I don’t know what infrastructure he [Mahama] has in mind; but clearly roads were not part,” he mocked.
President Akufo-Addo went on “We were told during the election that there was unprecedented road infrastructure in Ghana…” the president said, adding “was I sleeping or Mahama was misleading Ghanaians on the roads infrastructure?”
On Wednesday, repeated his assurances that he will not amass the country’s resources and wealth for his personal use, but use them judiciously for the country’s development.
President Akufo-Addo had on January 12, 2016 in Kumasi at an even dubbed “Save Ghana Now” Fundraising for Election” declared “as I always say, and keep on saying, I didn’t come into politics to spend Ghana’s cash; all I need is for Ghanaians to have faith in me and put me in charge of the resources. I won’t chop your cash, and my wife will not be dishing out contracts.”
And at a grand durbar of chiefs of the Upper East Region at Bolgatanga on Wednesday, October 4, on a 2-day tour of the region Akufo-Addo said, “we [government] are going to ensure that all the money that is mobilized by the government is spent in dealing with the issues that concern our people and that they do not find their way into my pocket or the pocket of my ministers. We are not going to allow that to happen again.”
In addressing the concerns of the chiefs of the Upper East Region on the deplorable nature of their roads, President Akufo-Addo noted that, “everywhere I go, the first thing people ask me is about their roads.
“…So this unprecedented infrastructural development trumpeted by my opponent in the last election could not have been about roads, it must have been something else. You yourself, have pointed out how very poor your network is. We are going to work on it,” he assured.
He stressed that the government was seriously considering plans of improving the country’s railway network.
He described as “the saddest and most egregious decisions” to allow the railway network inherited from colonial times to get into disuse.
“It is absolutely essential for the rapid development of our country that we connect our country by railway, and we are going to do it. Very, very soon, the Minister for Railways is going to roll-out, before the country, the exact plan that we have to redevelop our railway infrastructure. You can be sure that you the people of the Upper East Region, will be right in the centre of those considerations for railway development,” Akufo-Addo said.
He also reiterated his commitment to ensuring universal access to electricity to all parts of the country, and with the Upper East being the part of the country with the least access to electricity, 60% access, the President stated that it is necessary that every effort is made to accelerate the provision of electricity to the Upper East.
“So this year, 2017, and 2018, a total of 660 communities in the Upper East will be connected to the electricity grid, to expand electricity access to all in the region,” he added, receiving a rousing applause from the gathering.”
On the request made by the Chiefs for the revamping of the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Zuarungu Meat Factory, President Akufo-Addo, assured that these two factories are receiving urgent attention from the Trades and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen.
Akufo-Addo further appealed to the locals to support the government’s programs to help transform the country.
“I need the support of all of you, whether you voted for me or did not, whether you have supported my party or have not supported my party. In the period of my mandate, I will need your support so that together we can rebuild Ghana and let the Black Star shine and shine again,” he said.