President Nana Akufo-Addo, has admonished the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to remain resolute in its quest to win the 2024 general election, despite admitting that Ghanaians are going through hard times which he refused to take responsibility for.
The NPP has declared the next election; “Breaking The 8”, which will see the party staying in office beyond the two-term limit of eight years for a president, and Nana Akufo-Addo, has given his blessings to declaration which will see him handover the presidency to his party man; Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia or Trade Minister Alan Kyeremanteng, the two frontrunners in the NPP presidential contest.
Addressing residents of Juaben in the Ashanti Region during the commissioning of the party’s constituency office complex ahead of its National Delegates Conference yesterday in Kumasi, the President declared “I admit that Ghanaians are going through difficult times, some people are trying to say that it is my fault but you know that is not the case.”
The President believes a revival of Ghana’s economy is hinged on Ghanaians’ decision to support the government’s vision.
“I am hopeful that if you all support the vision of this government, we will be able to turn things around.”
At the NPP’s Delegates Conference yesterday, the President said the NPP’s victory in the next election is hinged on party members’ ability to stay united.
“Competition, we cannot avoid competition. Competition there will be, but let that competition help the party and not hinder the party so that we can break the 8 in 2024,” said the President.
“The 2024 election is for us to lose. If we conduct ourselves well, we remain united and we have a level playing field [we can secure a victory in the election].”
In touting the NPP’s achievements, the President said the government had expended resources on various sectors of the economy, as compared to the previous government.
“We have spent more money on improving the circumstances of our people than any government in the 4th republic. And I am very proud that we are the government that has brought this level of achievement to the people. So when you leave here, go with your shoulders and hand right in the sky that you belong to a government that has been most diligent in supporting the welfare of the people of Ghana.
“No government has our record in expenditure on social and economic transformation. What is the one policy that the NDC and their leader John Mahama have thought about in these five years in opposition? The answer is zero.”
On his part, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, described former President John Dramani’s election petition challenging the 2020 election results as “fundamentally incompetent.”
Dr Bawumia, said the former President failed to submit strong evidence to back his claims in the petition.
“Their election petition was fundamentally incompetent. The bottom line is that they had no evidence to challenge our victory notwithstanding all the noise they made to deceive their supporters,” the Vice President said at the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Delegates Conference on Sunday.
He said unlike Mahama’s petition, the NPP, had enough data in the form of pink sheets to back its 2012 election petition.
“You remember that when we went to the Supreme Court after the 2012 election to challenge the result we presented over 10,000 pink sheets to support our case. We told the court that we were relying on the data contained on the pink sheets because you and I were not there.”
Mr Mahama had filed the petition asking the Supreme Court to annul the results of the elections and order a re-run because of alleged irregularities.
He argued that neither he nor President Akufo-Addo attained a clear majority because of the omission of the Techiman South Constituency from the provisional declaration of results by the Electoral Commission (EC).
But the Supreme Court upheld President Akufo-Addo’s victory in the December 2020 presidential election after dismissing the election petition.
The Ashanti Regional Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kwame Zu, took the fight to the NPP, while delivering a solidarity message at the Delegates Congress at the Baba Yara Stadium, asking the ruling party to reconsider the 1.75percent tax on electronic transactions proposed in the 2022 budget.
Mr Zu, said the levy will worsen the difficulties many Ghanaians find themselves in already.
“Your excellency, currently, teachers are suffering and students are suffering. Doctors and suffering and Nurses are suffering. Farmers are suffering and drivers are suffering. Market women are suffering and Ghanaians are suffering. Yet, we are aware that you are planning to impose on the suffering masses of Ghanaians another set of draconian set of taxes.”
“Your excellency, we plead that you will again reconsider your decision to impose ta 1.75 percent e-levy on the already burdened people of this country that are already crying because it is not going well” he said at the NPP’s
Mr Zu, believes the conference presents a chance for party delegates to soberly reflect on various economic challenges.
“Even as you gather today to take steps that seek to entrench and deepen your internal democracy, we request that you set aside some time to soberly reflect and consider the main economic issues that plague, afflict and agonize the good people of this country presently.”
But the NPP National Chairman, Freddie Blay noted that the government’s “competent management” of the economy saved Ghanaians from experiencing the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Blay commended the government for its handling of the pandemic.
“We want to thank the President and his government for the way it has handled this pandemic. Although we are not still out of the woods, although things have not been as we want them to be since we assumed power in 2017, but for the good and competent management of the economy under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Vice President and his team, Ghana would have seen worse days.”
The NPP’s National Annual Delegates Conference gathered over 6000 delegates to among others discuss proposals that have been tabled for possible amendments to the party’s constitution.
Key among the proposals is to elect a presidential candidate two clear years before a major election.
Currently, the party elects a candidate two years before elections if the party is in opposition and a year when the party is in power.
Party members believe the current arrangement makes it difficult for a new candidate to mend bridges and heal the wounds of other aspirants before the election.
Seventeen executives from each constituency and ten members of the Regional Council of Elders and patrons, including the regional executives, participated in the conference.
High-profile personalities including the former President John Agyekum Kufuor, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice President; Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the General Secretary, Mr John Boadu, members of the National Executive Committee, among others are also present at the gathering.
Mr Blay also emphasized the need for members of the party to remain united ahead of the 2024 elections
“We have to stand united so that at the end of the four years, the people will vote for us or whoever represents us in the 2024 elections.”
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor advised the leadership of the governing NPP not to detach itself from the grassroots since doing so will destroy the democratic tradition of the party.
“Under no circumstance must leadership become detached from the grassroots, since this will destroy the traditions of democracy in the party,” Mr Kufuor counseled in a goodwill message to the party
Mr Kufuor also urged reconciliation among the rank and file of the party.
He said: “With unity and committed fellowship, the party and the government’s attractiveness would be urgently restored and deepened,” adding: “This will sustain the government through the year 2024.”
The former President also told the Conference to urge the party headquarters to urgently equip itself with a professional strategic team to ensure its opponents “do not outsmart us in the current battle of wits, which is obviously prevailing in the nation’s political arena.
“This must be sustained through the year 2024.” Mr Kufuor further encouraged all party faithful to resolve “unshakably” to uphold and live by the tenets of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition of constitutionalism, democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, freedom of thought and expression; and private initiative.
He said, “the golden rule of ‘each is our brother’s keeper’ must undergird these tenets.” He called on members of the party to pray for God’s guidance and protection for the government in discharging its responsibility to the nation.
Bernard Antwi Bosiako (Chairman Wontumi), the NPPs Ashanti Regional chairman contradicted the President when he said that the Akufo-Addo government has steered the country in a direction that Ghana is now ‘better’ than the United Kingdom and United States of America.
Chairman Wontumi said that Ghanaians are feeling the impact of the good policies of the government.
“Now I can say that Ghana is better than the United Kingdom and United States because of the good policies our president and government is giving to Ghanaians.
Despite his boasting that Ghanaians are enjoying good life under the Akufo-Addo life under the Akufo-Addo administration, Chairman Wontumi blamed the coronavirus pandemic as the cause of the rising level of hardship in the country.
Wontumi said that travelling restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus has restricted Ghanaian traders from travelling abroad to purchase goods.
“We all know about COVID-19. Prior to COVID-19, you could travel to the developed countries for holidays but now travelling has become a prison. If you go to China, they will keep you in a hotel for one month. If you go to the UK, they will keep you in a hotel for ten days. America is the same.
“If people are complaining, it’s because traders cannot travel. Because once they travel, they have to use their money on hotel. If you are checking the Ghana system, you will bear witness that the government is moving forward.”
He ended his speech with a warning to the NDC that they cannot stop the NPP from ‘breaking the 8’ in 2024. “I want to tell the NDC that, you denied us in 2009 but you can’t deny us from winning the 2024 elections. It is a movement. Winning 2024, 2028 and 2032 is a movement.