WELCOME

PRESS CONFERENCE BY YOUNG PROFESSIONALS HELD ON 9TH MAY, 2018 AT THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTRE - ACCRA

 Ladies and gentlemen of the press, good morning to you all. We want to first of all, thank you for responding to our call to be present at this encounter under the auspices of the Young Professionals, a team of professionals in the National Democratic Congress, NDC.

 
This morning, our mission is simple. Our mission is to examine the performance and conduct of this government over the past fifteen (15) months since assuming the reigns of this country.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, prior to January 7th 2017, the New Patriotic Party, NPP, headed by the current President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, embarked on a campaign guided by its manifesto, with the promise to excavate the people of Ghana from the ‘suffering’ they claimed they were going through. 
 
Fifteen (15) months down the lane, we believe that it is important to place the government on the examination table over very important sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
 
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, if you take the manifesto of the NPP for the 2016 elections, its theme reads “CHANGE AN AGENDA FOR JOBS”. It added, “Creating Prosperity & Equal Opportunity for All”. From the word go, the government failed in living up to its manifesto theme. Soon after power was handed over, individual Ghanaians, who have legitimate rights to work and provide for themselves decent lives, were sent home because they were deemed non-members of the New Patriotic Party. Indeed, if you would recall, among the first casualties were hundreds of new recruits into the Ghana Police Service Training Schools, whom, having acquired almost four months of training, and whom, having acquired training in weapon handling, were dismissed by an order from the government. We believe these were citizens, whom, no matter what, are citizens who ought to have been allowed the opportunity to benefit from job opportunities available in this country.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, we all are witnesses to the arbitrary transfers and dismissals of individuals employed through appropriate means by this government and its assigns. A specific case of one medical doctor and Medical Director, Doctor Thomas Anaba, comes to mind almost immediately. Perhaps, many are unaware of his story. Or, perhaps, those who are/were aware, have refused to or are refusing to tell it. 
 
This was an accomplished medical officer, a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of the Anesthesia, at the School of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Development Studies, UDS, whose private hospital, Habana Medical Services in Tamale, had won several international awards of excellence, having applied to the position so advertised as Medical Director of the Ridge Hospital, by the Ghana Health Service, whom, having attended the interview process, and topping the list out of three applicants, was appointed to head the Ridge Hospital, now Greater Accra Regional Hospital. As soon as this government assumed power, this gentleman, whose wonderful exploits are evident for anyone to see at the Ridge Hospital, was painful sacked to go home. As we speak, the gentleman is sitting home while patients are suffering at hospitals and in some cases, dying without seeing a doctor. We shall not go into the substance of this matter as it is up for adjudication. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, you are too familiar with the various youth, men and women, who were employed under the various government schemes, who have been sent home because they are to make way for NPP supporters and sympathizers to be recruited into their positions. 
 
Are these not contradictory positions to a government that promised to provide jobs? How do you pride yourself of having provided jobs by sacking people who are gainfully employed and replacing them with your party supporters? Is that the concept of job creation?
 
Sadly, after many years of success, this nation woke up to a new dawn of political hooliganism and terrorism that does not seem to have ended as just last week, the Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Bugri Naabu, had prided himself of having unleashed terror acts on innocent contractors in the Region. Since that admission, he has been walking a free man without any reprimand from government. 
 
Ghana had witnessed, ladies and gentlemen, the violent takeover of toilets, toll booths, National Health Insurance offices, the beating of a Regional Security Coordinator, freeing of party hooligans from the court rooms who were standing trial and in the process, causing a pregnant judge to run for her life. 
 
That is not all, and we shall attempt to refresh your memories on a few of the about 25 internal terrorist attacks by these party supporters of the New Patriotic Party on innocent lives. Somewhere in 2017, soon after taking power, youth activists of the New Patriotic Party in Atebubu visited mayhem on officers of the National Health Insurance Scheme, sacked them from the office and locked up their premises. Moments after the Akufo-Addo-led administration took power, at the seat of government, the Flagstaff House or now Jubilee House, members of the Invisible Forces were caught on camera assaulting a police officer, one ASP Nanka Bruce. The video footage was released into the public, and the government, feeling embarrassed, proceeded to issue a statement of apology to the said officer, while the perpetrators were left without any reprimand.
 
While we thought these hooligans were invisible and could not be seen, not too long ago, in a programme organized in Tema, of which government officials were present, and in the full participation of the public, members of the Invisible Forces took the microphone, and warned of mayhem should the government they operated to aid to power, fail to provide them jobs. They did that and were allowed to walk away. You in the media must have the records and we must not bore you with these.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, Young Professionals cannot lose sight of the current discussions within the public domain which attracted a demonstration a couple of weeks ago, which is currently being discussed on public fora and which promises to receive more demonstrations in the coming days - the United States of America and Ghana military deal.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, since this matter became public, there have been many prominent individuals who have spoken about it. While many have expressed disgust at this agreement, the government, apart from indicating that previous governments did sign similar agreements, has not been able to advance any convincing argument to warrant the support of the Ghanaian public for this agreement.
 
Just when the confusion of government got to its peak, we were told the president, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was billed to address the nation. We were with high hopes that the President would allay the fears of the people of Ghana. To our utter shock, the President missed a grand opportunity and rather went on an attacking spree, describing those speaking against an agreement that he himself could not convince Ghanaians to accept, as engaging in anti-America sentiments. Most definitely, Ghanaians did not elect President Akufo-Addo to present Pro-America sentiments on issues that are detrimental to them.
 
Indeed, we went searching soon after this issue became public. The research team of Young Professionals, chanced upon a document titled "Report on Status of Forces Agreement" of the United States of America by the International Security Advisory Board published on January 16th 2015. In that report, on page 19, in a footnote, the report captured "Under the Vienna Convention, the administrative, technical and service staff of an embassy (and members of their households) have immunity from host government jurisdiction for all criminal offenses but only for civil liability for acts arising in the course of official duties. (These are generally referred to as "A&T" – administrative and technical-protections.) Those with A&T status also receive varying degrees of immunity from taxes and custom duties, military and public service obligations, and visa and alien registration requirements. These vary according to the particular circumstances and preferences of the host government. All diplomatic immunities, including A&T status are normally granted on a reciprocal basis, but SOFAs on this model are not reciprocal".  We can only say that our large government, with 110 ministers and thousand other appointees, known and unknown to the public, has not come across this take by the Americans themselves. Otherwise, we wonder how our government would be jumping over itself and fighting Ghanaians, to ratify an agreement that is not reciprocal.
 
Not only that even more damming, is a statement on page 37 of the same report, "However, so far, the United States has only reached agreement on the Global Sofa Template with a small number of countries, mostly those that are able to be indifferent on sovereignty issues and/or that are very anxious to have a U.S. military presence". Ladies and gentlemen, did you hear that? Does this simply answer the question on why the President went ahead attacking those fighting against selling our sovereignty? Could it be that the President is indifferent on our sovereignty, the reason for which he is burnt on signing this disaster of an agreement?
 
Ladies and gentlemen, quite cunningly, in his defense, the President sought to conveniently use the word facility in place of a military base. For clarity, these are other names for a military base: military installation, military camp, military post, military station, military yard, military center, military homeport, and, military facility. In any case, if a military base can be defined as simply as "a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations", how do we define a military facility then? Can we not just define it as "a base directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations"? Ghanaians are simply not ready for any facility or base of the United States of America.
 
For this single reason of protecting our sovereignty, and refusing to be indifferent as our government, we shall continue to support and join fully, the demonstrations by the Ghana First Patriotic Front, until the government act to safeguard the interest of the people of Ghana. We call on all Ghanaians to be part of these demonstrations because, the way and manner Ghanaians would resist this agreement in its form and state, would determine how our government would act when pressure is mounted on it to legalize same sex marriage in a Ghana over some token aid. This is how it starts, and we cannot remain indifferent.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, over the past months, some very dangerous corrupt acts were recorded by this government which are worthy of highlighting. The president, then candidate, waged a campaign on the back of corruption, stating how corrupt the then administration was, and sought to be tried with his "try me" mantra which got him elected. Ghanaians agreed and handed him power to constitute and operate a corruption-free government.
Soon after taking power, the first heavy weighted corruption case emerged from the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST). We have not forgotten how some 5 million litres of oil was contaminated and sold out to a non-existing company. A company with no track record in dealing with such products, a company selected without following the Public Procurement Act of 2003, ACT 663 as amended, in the award of the said contract.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, it would be completely out of place to ever expect any government anywhere in the world to operate without one corruption case or the other. Not least, the Akufo-Addo-led government.
 
However, how corruption cases are dealt with, would tell citizens how serious government is at dealing with officials involved in corruption. What Ghanaians are presented with, is an attempt by the president, to present to the people that his government is made up of angels, headed by a senior angel, who cannot be corrupt. In doing so, the President has taken onto himself, the duties of a clearing agent, clearing every allegation of corruption brought to his attention. In the specific case of BOST, the President moved with the speed of light, to clear the individuals involved of any wrongdoing. As we speak, though an investigation is said to have been launched into the contaminated oil scandal, no report whatsoever, is out in the public. Again, when the Minister of Energy, Hon. Boakye Agyarko appeared before Parliament sometime in 2017 to answer to questions on this matter, he intimated that the ministry established a committee which found no wrongdoing, and had since cleared the individuals involved in this scandal. Parliament had since requested to see minutes of the said committee's meeting. As we speak, no such request has been honored to the best of our knowledge.
 
In another matter, also relating to corruption, and cover up, the two Deputy Chiefs of Staff were accused of some acts classified as corruption by one Kwame Asare Obeng, known mainly as Kwame A-Plus. Moments after the police had cleared the two individuals of any wrongdoing, an audio recording was released into the public domain, purported to contain the voices of A-Plus and the current boss of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo Danquah. Just when we thought, amidst several calls for investigations to be made into the matter to establish the veracity or otherwise of the content of the audio, the CID boss, then Deputy Director, was appointed into acting position and later promoted to head the Department of the Ghana Police Service.
 
You simply cannot understand the motivation. Aside these two instances, there have been several allegations of corruption made against members of government by its own party members including the likes of Abronye DC. In all of these super heavy-weight allegations of corruption, the President superintended over them and cleared them, making his government clean. We do not think this is how Ghanaians expected corruption to be dealt with. They would not have engaged in this exercise of change in 2016.
 
Ladies and gentlemen this government came to power on the back of these promises among a legion of others:
 
One Constituency, One $1 million
One District, One factory
One Village, One dam
 
While we must express our admiration for such ideas, we must register our disappointment in the handling of these programmes over the last 15 months.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, while in July, 2017 the President promised disbursement of the One Constituency, $1 million to begin in a few weeks, we are in April, 2018. No constituency has received a Cent or its Cedi equivalent as monies relating to that promise.
 
Ghanaians took the president, his Vice and the NPP serious on the promise of One District, One factory. Ghanaians needed jobs. For this reason, a populist message was crafted and bandied about which resonated and resulted in the victory of the NPP. Many, including the teeming unemployed youth, thought Yes! These factories were coming up as a result of direct investment from government. Indeed, many who questioned how a capitalist government would spearhead the establishment of factories, were described as lacking vision. Today, 15 months down the lane, to quote the Coordinator of One District, One factory programme, "ɛkunkɔn hɔ", hanging in the balance. To hold brief, she stated that these projects had hit a slack because the so called $2 billion Chinese Loan, so announced, and linked to the goodwill of the NPP government, having received the terms, is not favorable to the people of Ghana. One may ask, how did Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia arrive at this facility, announced it, before seeing its terms and conditions? That is the level of super incompetence former President John Dramani Mahama spoke about.
 
Again, ladies and gentlemen, in Chapter 5 of the NPP 2016 manifesto, on page 65, under "What The NPP Will Do", on item number (g), the NPP presents "support for the retention of water for irrigation and dry season farming through a policy of" One Village, One Dame" to provide "dams" to all villages". With emphasis on all. As soon as the NPP took power, this promise began seeing its demise. They started by "not every village will receive a dam". Then Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia took the opportunity to insult those demanding to see actualization of their promise in the areas of dams, and proclaimed that those making the demands were ignorant that dams are not constructed during the rainy seasons. We waited patiently for the dry season of 2017 to come. Not one was seen constructed. Surprisingly, and rather so, in March, 2018, when the rains had started, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia returns to announce the commencement of the construction of these dams. This time round, dams can be constructed during the rainy season. Since the announcement, the dams have gone into coma.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, in all of these, there is a clandestine move by the Minister of Information, Hon. Mustapha Hamid, to engage in a psychological expectation management on the seemingly failing Akufo-Addo government. He has started making claims that not even an 8-year-two-term for President Akufo-Addo could achieve all that was promised ahead of the 2016 elections. He further presented that they were vision espoused by the then candidate Akufo-Addo so that subsequent governments after him, if they pursue, would make all those manifesto promises realizable. Since when, ladies and gentlemen, since when have Ghanaians and specifically, political parties, begged Nana Akufo-Addo to espouse their vision? In any case, the abandoned projects in the areas of roads, schools, hospitals, among others, were they not abandoned because they are not the priorities of this government His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo? The Pokuase Interchange, the Obetsebi Interchange at Kaneshie, the Ho dual carriage, which have been abandoned, were projects that would benefit the people of Ghana, but this government apparently thinks otherwise.
 
While concluding, ladies and gentlemen of the press, we wish to state that this is just one of a series of press conferences as we could not touch and exhaust every sector of the economy today. To send a clear message to the President, while on his 2016 campaign trail, and proclaimed "Sika nu wɔhɔ", with his then vice presidential candidate who said he worked at the Bank of Ghana and knows the money is right here, they made Ghanaians believe that indeed, we could be constructing Kejetia Market, Ho Central Market, Kotokuraba Market, Cape Coast Sports Stadium, Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, build the Ho Airport, expand the Accra-Tema motorway, build the Flowerpot Flyover, build the Kumasi 37 Military Hospital, build the 123 Community Day Senior High Schools, construct over 1,300 CHPS Compounds, build the Ridge Hospital, the Maritime Hospital, expand access of potable water to over 80% of urban folks, extend electricity to over 80% communities, and still provide each of the 175 constituencies, a million dollar each year, provide ALL villages with a dam, every district with a factory. This is what we demand to see.
 
While at it, the NPP knew that all these were expected in 4 years as that was the mandate they were seeking since Ghana's Constitution does not give anyone a term of more than 4 years. 
 
These, we shall demand until the term, One Nana, One Term, becomes the very drive to vote against this government on the basis of massive and pervasive corruption, gross incompetence, deceit and broken promises, coupled with cronyism, nepotism baptized with arrogance.
 
We thank you for coming and God bless our homeland Ghana.