General News of Saturday, 17 November 2018
SPEECH BY HE JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA
FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA AT THE 9TH NATIONAL DELEGATES CONGRESS OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
Trade Fair Centre, La- Accra [November 17, 2018]
Party Founder and former President of the Republic, Your Excellency Jerry John Rawlings
Members of the Council of Elders
National Chairman Kofi Portuphy
Members of the National Executive Committee of the NDC
Regional, Constituency and Branch Executives
Supporters and Sympathisers of our great party, the NDC
Representatives of other political parties
Special Invited Guests and our friends, members of the Diplomatic Corps
My fellow Ghanaians
Our media colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me also join in welcoming you all, specially, to the Trade Fair Centre in Accra, and to the 9th National Delegates Congress.
We are gathered this morning for yet another important party activity, and on the theme, TOGETHER WE WIN 2020.
WHY NDC MUST UNITE FOR VICTORY 2020
Today, we are strengthening and boosting our collective and noble determination to reorganise our party, promote unity within our ranks, energise our branches and work towards winning the 2020 general elections.
I congratulate each and every one of you gathered here, and the millions across the country, for your individual and collective efforts so far.
We have begun our journey back to the Flagstaff House, and on my part, I can confidently promise you all that, I shall continue to provide the needed support and encouragement on that journey, and it will not matter who the Flagbearer of our party is.
Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, one key person who played a critical role in our reorganisation effort is not here with us. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, my Vice President. May the good Lord keep him safely in his bosom.
On this occasion, I remember very fondly our beloved Asomdwehene, Professor John Atta Mills of blessed memory.
Fellow Akatamansonians, we have gathered as one family at Congress to, among others, complete the election of our National Executives who will steer the affairs of our great party for the next four years.
It will be proper, at this stage, to once again congratulate our newly elected National Youth and Women Executives as well as all elected executives from the branches through to the regional level.
To all of you, accept my warmest congratulations!
It is important to keep in mind, my brothers and sisters that the choices we make here, today, will contribute to the determination of the future of the NDC and Ghana.
We must, therefore, put our best foot forward to rescue Ghana from the abysmal performance of Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party.
This congress represents the hopes and aspirations of our country. It is a divine calling to which we must answer.
The grassroots of our party, the hardworking farmers, fishermen, artisans, teachers, nurses, other public sector workers, the business and investment community have all seen the clear difference between us and them.
We cannot fail all these people.
We must be proud of our party and proud of our record in Government. At each opportunity we have had to serve in government, the people of Ghana have seen more rapid progress in terms of development and improvement in economic activity.
Business confidence was at an all-time high prior to 2017 and economic activity and investment in the real sector exceeded the performance in the last two years under the NPP.
Development in the roads, education, healthcare, electricity and water sectors, and also in the aviation and maritime subsectors were clearly visible for all Ghanaians to see.
Today, business confidence is down, and economic activity is at a complete standstill. The cry you hear from Ghanaians every day is “Enko yie”.
The inept handling of the banking crisis has led to the almost complete collapse of the local finance sector. Banks belonging to Ghanaians have been closed and Akufo-Addo administration’s predatory approach towards indigenous investors in that sector, has created a panic run on the remaining surviving Ghanaian finance institutions. This has gravely affected SME lending and led to significant job losses.
Meanwhile Government borrowing continues to spiral out of control. For a party that frowned on borrowing, the current rate of unbridled borrowing represents a hypocritical u-turn where words spoken in opposition do not match actions in government.
Ghana’s current debt has ballooned from GH¢122 billion at the end of 2016 to GH¢170 billion at end of September 2018. This amounts to a whopping accumulation of almost GH¢50 billion debt in a space of less than two years.
Currently the NPP administration is only counting on a rebasing of the economy to show an artificially lower debt to GDP ratio, but which will still be totally out of sync with a historically low 11% revenue to GDP ratio.
In the fight against corruption, the NDC has a better record in terms of regime accountability. The NPP has proven in government, that it is always reluctant to pursue their own despite the swirling stench of corruption around their administration.
All Ghanaians have received so far is lip service in the fight against corruption. A Special Prosecutor’s office, their flagship anti-corruption instrument remains starved of funds, personnel and the logistics to do its work.
As I said in Ho last year, (QUOTE) “It does not take bravery to prosecute one’s political opponents. The true test in the fight against corruption is holding your own accountable when they go wrong” (UNQUOTE).
So far, the President has failed this test.
Most appallingly, the President has become the clearing house for clearing his appointees accused of corruption. The President has on several occasions cleared his ministers and appointees when allegations have been made against them.
Indeed it was a low day for Ghana when the President peddled a falsehood on a panel at the recent African Investment Forum, that all allegations of corruption against his administration had been investigated and cleared by independent investigative bodies. That was an obvious untruth!
Even more worrying is the historic heights this administration has taken Nepotism to. All comments referring to the large number of family and cronies serving in Nana Addo’s administration has fallen on deaf ears.
At the same time, insensitivity keeps manifesting in the high taxes, high port charges, high fuel prices, high transport fares, high commodity and food prices, high rent, high Cedi- Dollar exchange rate, high national debt, high levels of insecurity and many others.
Recently, in a barb aimed at my fellow aspirants and I, the President is quoted as saying he does not respond to Presidential aspirants. Well I wish to remind Mr. President that aspirants are also citizens and not spectators.
And we only amplify the voices of our fellow citizens. Mr. President can choose not to listen or respond to us, but eventually the citizens of Ghana would demand that response and exact a verdict on the issues we have been raising
Ghana, surely, is at the crossroads and for that matter the NDC is also at the crossroads.
We must reach out to the people of Ghana with our alternative policy positions and programmes to end the hardships, curb the job losses, eliminate incompetence, fight and make corruption unattractive, eschew nepotism and misrule and position mother Ghana back to the path of sustainable development.
We have a track record of being the people’s party, and since 1992 under Jerry John Rawlings, through John Evans Atta Mills, to my tenure, we have demonstrated our resolve to act in the interest of the people, and we shall continue just that, when the NDC gets back into office.
After today’s exercise, and when we put our 2018 to 2022 officers in place, together with other structures and organs of the party, we must and we shall organise a number of policy dialogues and conferences to put forward our proposals, and discuss details with industry, business, labour, employers, students, farmers, fishermen, market women etc., so that our conclusions are not only anchored in the social democratic philosophy of the NDC but meets the hopes, aspirations and desires of our people.
This is why we must elect a formidable and experienced team today- a team that will fortify the already elected regional, constituency and branch officers to accelerate the process of reorganisation and to steer the affairs of our Great NDC for Victory in 2020.
We must unite for victory 2020.
My brothers and sisters, unity is crucial, and I believe with unity, respect for one another, mutual trust, focus, dedication and determination, we shall exert ourselves and work hard to recapture power for the development of Ghana and change the current narrative of majority of Ghanaians living in hardship to that of a shared prosperity for all.
Let us put our shoulders to the wheel! With Christ in our vessel, we smile at the storm!
Let the work begin!
Thank you and may God Bless Us All.