As Akufo-Addo & John Mahama beg Armed Forces to remain loyal
Morbid fear, has stricken the Ghanaian political class over the economic hardship that the country is going through and smart ones are jumping to speak out.
Political analysts, have pointed out at the decision by the 95 Members of Parliament (MP) of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Ministers of State to step out and daringly demand the dismissal of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and his colleague, Charles Adu Boahene, as smart move to absolve themselves of blame.
Interestingly, both President Nana Akufo-Addo and his predecessor John Dramani Mahama, have also resorted to speaking directly to the Ghana Armed Forces and other state security agencies, asking them to remain loyal to the state and the Constitution, despite the economic crisis.
Economist and New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart, Kwame Pianim, has also expressed concern about the current economic crisis facing Ghanaians, saying it can cause civil disturbances, and asked the government to act immediately to tackle the situation in order to avert a possible mayhem.
In an interview with TV3’s Paa Kwesi Asare, Mr Pianim, asked the President to take responsibility and come up with a credible message to Ghanaians and asked all persons to drop their entitlement mentality and follow through with the president if he comes up with alternative programmes to ameliorate the hardships.
“The President should take responsibility for this crisis and come up with alternative programme throw away our entitlement mentality and follow the president,” he said, and further indicated that this is the first time he is seeing hardships of this kind in Ghana.
Already, two individuals have killed themselves, citing economic hardship.
This Mr Pianim charged, “This is the first time I have seen such unprecedented hardships being visited on Ghana. The crisis can result in upheaval so we need to stop it now.”
Asked whether, in his view, Ghana can seal a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before the end of the year, he answered that if the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who has come under intense pressure to leave office, is removed from the Ministry that can happen.
He said “with Ken Ofori-Atta gone as Finance Minister and, if the president stands up, this is what I am going to do, I have confidence.”
President Akufo-Addo, recently asked the rank and file of the military to remain “Patriotic and loyal” to Ghana’s Republican Constitution in the face of the nation’s current economic difficulties.
During his recent tour of the Ashanti Region, where he met with the soldiers at the Idris Barracks, he conceded that there were problems with their salaries and conditions of service, but indicated that it was being worked at.
The President’s choice of Idris Barracks to deliver his most iconic speech is telling.
Camp Idris is named after the late WOI Idris of the 48 Engineer Regiment, who was shot dead in 1983 during an abortive attempt to overthrow the Revolution of 31 December 1981.
Speaking about the difficulties the country is facing, President Akufo-Addo, urged the military to support him to steer the nation out of the present challenges with loyalty.
President Akufo-Addo, urged the security agency to remain “excellent patriots, excellent ambassadors of the security agencies and excellent citizens of our country”, saying he is very proud to serve as their Commander in Chief.
“We are going through a difficult time in the history of our country …. We are going through a difficult time in our economy. We also going through a difficult time as far as security is concerned” the President told the men and women in uniform.
“On the economy, we are all aware of the events that have taken place in the last year which have brought a lot of things under strain. We are making every effort in negotiations that are taking place with foreign partners to put our economy back in a good space. Very soon the difficulties that confront our economy are going to be things of the past.
The President went on: “I want to encourage you to continue the good work that you’re doing for our country. I encourage you to stand firm in your loyalty to the Republic, your loyalty to the Constitution of our nation so that the orderly, peaceful development of our country which is the only way that can guarantee the future prosperity we are all working for can come about…. So that these [present] generations of Ghanaians will leave as our legacy, that even when things were difficult in Ghana, we all held together under our Republican institutions and our constitution to find a way to a better future for our nation. I am confident that we can do it and I am counting on you to help me do it.” the President said.
Mr Mahama on his part, during his address on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at the Auditorium of the University of Professional Studies – Accra, told the soldiers; “As I conclude let me state that I agree with the President and wish to add my voice to his call on our Armed Forces and security services to remain loyal to the State and the Constitution. The current economic circumstances though dire, do not give excuse for any acts that are unconstitutional. Working together as one people and using the levers of the Constitution, we can turn this situation around.
But unlike President Akufo-Addo, he professed some solutions towards addressing the economic challenges confronting the country.
According to him “it is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. There is no denying that we are in desperate times. While responsibility for the difficulties we face lie with the Akufo-Addo and Bawumia government, there are things we can do as citizens in our own small way to minimize the suffering we are going through and help Government turn the situation around.
“A good way to start will be to regulate and minimize out expenditure, by sticking to only the things that we really need. As much as possible, we need to acquire and sustain a taste and preference for locally manufactured products. If we must buy consumables or food products, let us choose that rice or chicken that is produced locally so that it doesn’t become necessary to find millions of dollars to import the same items.
“Let us consciously eat more of our local foods like yam, local grains, cassava, beans, local fruits, and vegetables. That way, we reduce demand for foreign currency, reduce the pressure on our own currency and boost domestic production to create a win-win situation.
“Cut down on non-essential foreign and domestic travel and cut down expensive foreign products in our homes. If there ever was a time to be thrifty, this is it!
“Even after an IMF programme has been agreed, the austerity of the next few years is going to be severe. We must save scarce family resources and use them for only the most priority expenditure.
“I was touched by news that one of the biggest manufacturing companies in Ghana had extended a one-off cost of living payment to its employees to ease their suffering. This is a humanitarian gesture I would encourage many more companies to emulate because the suffering is real and intense.
“I would also propose that just as it was during COVID-19, industries and businesses that can, should give their employees the opportunity to work from home some days of the week as a way of cutting down on transportation costs which have become too expensive for many people.
“There are many things we can do to claw back control of our economy and resolve the cyclical bursts and booms we have suffered all these decades. The NDC 2020 manifesto contained many such bold proposals that can move our country forward. These include the “Big Push Infrastructural Plan” which has as its major plank, the implementation of critical, and relevant self-financing national infrastructure to facilitate rapid socio-economic development.
“With an imminent IMF programme, aspects of the ‘Big Push Infrastructural Plan’ with priority for self-financing projects will still be relevant in our present circumstances. Also, a well tabled and widely agreed consultation can approve a 10-year Priority Investment Programme (PIP).
“The Atuabo Gas Plant and the Kotoka International Airport Terminal 3 projects are examples of this model. They are yielding benefits for our country, as we speak.
“These policy proposals remain as relevant today as they were at the time we formulated them in 2020, and government is free to adopt some of these measures as well as what I have outlined tonight to save our country.
“In Building The Ghana We Want, we must all put our heads together. We in the NDC value the mandate bestowed on us periodically to govern, and do not intend to abuse it whenever we are given the privilege by Ghanaians to form any future government.
“In the interim, we will continue to play our role as a viable and responsible opposition party that keeps government in check and holds them accountable. It is in that spirit that we have outlined the above measures to help resolve the economic mess we are in and bring some respite to the people of Ghana.
“We are in crisis. This is not the time for arrogant and insulting posturing. This is the time for listening. A time for utmost humility and a time for honest contemplation. A time to admit and accept where we have gone wrong. A time to bring our suffering people together. A time to promote unity and seal the cracks. A time to demonstrate leadership and sacrifice. I mean genuine sacrifice in the interest of our people, our country, and our future.
“Scripture tells us that, although we may fall, we can rise again. It is however imperative that government accepts publicly – with a contrite heart – that they have gone wrong and earnestly seek workable solutions. Our very lives as a people are at stake. And we must boldly, even if for the first time, discard the arrogance of power and don the cloak of humility, come together, confront our reality, face the truth, accept our faults and act.
“We must not throw our hands up in despair. No matter how uncomfortable we may feel about confronting the truth, we owe it a duty to our people to look at what brought us to this point. To the people of Ghana, I say, the NDC and I fully understand and appreciate how serious today’s situation is. This is because we are a part of the Ghanaian community. We live together and we feel the suffering together.
“We know mothers and fathers are worried about the future of their children. Families with mortgages are deeply troubled and contemplating the future of their children’s education, just as families who must pay rents in due course. We know farmers and the elders of our communities are struggling to survive. We know businessmen are mostly running at a loss with only a few barely making ends meet.
“You are not alone, and you will never be alone. Together, we can save Ghana and build the Ghana we want. Regardless of how bad the situation is right now; I still have hope that we can turn things around. I wholeheartedly believe in the resilience of our people and the lengths we can go to secure a prosperous future for our families. I have had the privilege to work with some of the most brilliant Ghanaians and I have personally seen how dedicated they are to our country and its future.
“My brothers and sisters, throughout our history, Ghana’s darkest days have always been followed by its finest hours. We always mobilize when all hope seems lost. We always come together when nobody gives us a chance anymore. We always turn things around for the better; regardless of how grim the situation is.
“This fighting spirit that we all share as Ghanaians will never leave us, despite the numerous attempts employed by many to break it. This is our land, this is our destiny, and we are ready to move mountains to protect and build the Ghana we want.
Interestingly, Lawyer Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, a member of the legal team of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has alleged that but for the intervention of Akufo-Addo, some elements of the GAF, would have staged a coup.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo, picked intel that there was an impending coup by some members of the Ghana Armed Forces, following the hardships in the country.
He added that President Akufo-Addo, told the military to give him time, so he can restore the economy and make Ghana better once again.
“…The genuineness of John Dramani Mahama is beyond comprehension. He (Mahama) says he has heard that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has rendered an apology to the Ghana Armed Forces that yes we are in a crisis situation, yes things are difficult, and he’s pleading with them not to intervene. They should remain at the barracks…,” he said in Twi in an interview on Okay FM, monitored by GhanaWeb.
Lawyer Tamakloe, when quizzed by the host, Kwame Nkrumah Tikese, if he (Tamakloe) heard it himself, he responded in the affirmative; adding that it was a serious issue.
“Akufo-Addo had picked an intel…It was quite serious. Nana Addo met the soldiers and he rendered the apology that he should be given some time. He will restore the economy. He pleaded that they have to safeguard the 1992 constitution,” he reiterated on the local radio station.
Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamaklo, in a similar vein, has also revealed that, but for the intervention of the NPP MPs, Ghana would have been on the verge of experiencing a military intervention.
According to him, the call for the dismissal of the finance minister whipped away the plot.
He advised the president to learn from this development as the actions of the NPP MPs are unprecedented.
“Those who made this intervention have saved the 4th republic. We were getting close to military intervention but the MPs actions yesterday totally wiped it off and I think the country should learn from that as well. Akufo-Addo, as I know, will definitely make attempts to change their minds, if they instead allow that, then they will be the most hated people in this country or on the political landscape,” he said in an interview with TV3’s Big Issue show.
He added that what the NPP MPs did shows clearly that our democracy can be on course if we want.