Former President John Mahama is offending Ghanaians when he suggests they were only swayed by the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) overly ambitious agenda for change, according to a Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. In an Eyewitness News interview, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah asserted that Ghanaians were well aware of the change they desired when they decided to vote out the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Mr. Mahama, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Durban, South Africa on Thursday, said he was honest with Ghanaians about the state of the economy in the run-up to the 2016 elections, but Ghanaians were instead drawn to Nana Akufo-Addo’s rosy promises of heavenly economic prosperity which had no economic basis. The former President also spoke of what he called an incumbency disadvantage as he reflected on the reasons for his defeat.
But Mr. Oppong Nkrumah downplayed the former President’s assessment, noting that the NDC had the most resources at its disposal. “When a government is in power, everybody knows in the world over that you have what we call incumbency advantage. That advantage is borne out of the fact that you are in charge of resources for you to deliver on what the people want.” “People also vote on what they feel and your advantage comes from your ability to be present and deliver for people to be feeling what you are doing in their pockets and in their lives. People vote on what they feel and what they see and not because of exactly what you tell them,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah retorted. He further held that Ghanaians were discerning and well aware of their economic situation which ultimately influenced them leading up to the election. “People don’t need to be told whether their conditions are better off or not. People don’t need to be told what government is doing for them. People see it, people feel it so when the people see it and feel it and make a choice, and you suggest that these people were deceived and didn’t know what government was doing for them because there wasn’t clarity of communication channels to communicate to them, I think that in itself was evidence that the then president wasn’t able to deliver on what the people want.”
Nana Addo’s vision wasn’t dishonest
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also explained that, the promises the NPP made were anchored on key indicators that were available in a budget statement, like the annual growth rate, the annual debt numbers and the annual deficit. “We looked at those figures, the same numbers that the former administration was looking at, and it was based on those same numbers that we said; we can do X, Y, Z. Our promises were not put out there without recourse to what the situation was, we knew because those numbers were available to everybody.” “When it comes to visions, you cannot say this vision is honest or this vision is dishonest. A vision is a balance between audacity and ability,” the minister noted.