The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, appears to be playing a key role in Alan Kyerematen’s ambition to lead the New Patriotic Party (NPP) into the 2024 election as its presidential candidate.
Last Thursday, the Moderator, who in recent times has been vociferous in support of policies of the Akufo-Addo government, including the controversial E-Levy and government’s Agenda 111 hospitals by referring to people who took issues with its feasibility as witches, hosted the NPP flagbearer hopeful as the Guest of Honour at its 3rd National Public Lecture.
Ahead of the event, the Alan Kyremanten campaign team, sent out notice which christened it as a “National Public Lecture” and dubbed it as “Alan speaks on jobs”, and announced it was taking place inside the Osu Eben-Ezer Presbyterian Church Hall, in Accra from 10am to 12 noon.
The theme of the national address was “Job prospects and opportunities in the trade and industry sector”.
The announcement had since left many wondering, why he chose the Ebenezer church hall, where now President Nana Akufo-Addo, used to address the nation before and after he became the flagbearer of the NPP.
The notice left many wondering why Mr Kyerematen, would not hold the event at the Trade Ministry or the Ministry of Information, but the Osu Eben-Ezer Presbyterian Church Hall.
But the official facebook page of Mr Kyerematen, has sought to explain that the event was at the invitation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, with the Trade Minister, as a Guest of Honour.
Although, the Presby church is yet to speak to the matter, Mr Kyerematen, has been at pains trying to dispel reports that he was campaigning to be the flagbearer of the NPP, while still holding his ministerial portfolio.
“The programme which had the theme “Harnessing Job prospects and Opportunities in the Trade Industry sector” was under the distinguished Chairmanship of the respected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, he explained.
“I indicated that the trade and industry sector is pivotal for the advancement of any economy. The most industrialized economies in the world remain the most developed.
“Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry is pursuing a comprehensive and integrated programme for industrial transformation which has led to the creation of significant employment opportunities for Ghanaians, particularly the youth. Under the 1D1F programme alone, 106 operational companies have created over 156,782 direct and indirect jobs.
“We have also enhanced access to business development services across the country by establishing Business Resource Centers (BRCs) as One-Stop enterprise support centers providing a full range of business development services, investment facilitation, regulatory services to entrepreneurs and business enterprises at the district level, and urged them to take advantage of it.
“I commended the leadership of the Church for establishing this platform to promote dialogue on critical issues affecting the good people of Ghana.
There is a tall list of NPP members interested in leading the NPP in the 2024 general election as its flagbearer, but it is not clear, if the other flagbearer hopeful will be invited by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante to also speak to the church as was done with Mr Kyerematen.
It is also unclear, if the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, has plans to invite any other flagbearer hopeful, particularly from the opposition parties to also address the church.
Some NPP members, habour the view that holding the event outside the Trade Ministry, shows the use of government platform and working hours to campaign.
Meanwhile, there are suspicions that Mr Kyerematen would soon announce his departure from the Akufo-Addo government to focus on his presidential ambition.
Mr Kyerematen, who has been credited with the one-district-one-factory concept ahead of the 2016 general election which brought President Nana Akufo-Addo to office in January 2017, however, has had difficulty speaking directly and specifically to the number of jobs the policy has created.
The factories are difficult to create, and attempt to revise the programme had seen existing ones labelled as part of the 1D1F concept where monies would be doled out to them for investment and expansion but many of them say despite the flowery words and eye-catching slogans have not resulted in the cash they were promised.
Just this week, Casa de ropa, a potato processing factory in the Central Region, lamented about a 3 million Ghana cedis cash the government promised under 1D1F from Ghana Exim Bank, which is under the Trade Ministry but the cash has come two years after the promised.
There are also claims that some expatriates have collected some huge sums from private commercial banks and guaranteed by the government and fled the country.
The economy under Akufo-Addo isn’t performing well, but it is not clear if Mr Kyerematen will touch on this, aside from the promise of jobs which many Ghanaian politicians, especially those seeking the presidency, have used to entice the electorates.