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Try Kweku Kwarteng, for a change!

BY: Enimil Ashon

Last Tuesday, two events took place that signalled (for me) the declaration of the opening of the 2024 political season. First was the release of the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) prediction. It said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would win Election 2024, but that this could only happen if they presented a new face other than John Mahama.

Sounds cryptic to me. It’s like the message of the gods in the 11th Century BC any time the Greeks or Romans consulted the oracles to find out who wins the next battle.

The message from the gods was terse: “Hoi Hellenes Hoi Romanoi nikasontai,” which translated as, “The Greeks the Romans will conquer.”

There were no punctuation marks, so it was difficult to determine to whom the gods were giving the victory.

Can’t blame the EIU, though, seeing as what most of us have read from them is only a summary, as given out by the media, without the percentages assigned to responses to the various questions.

The second event that signalled, for me, the opening of the political season was the donation of food items to the Muslim community by Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, 2020 Running Mate to Mr Mahama.

Lacing of boots

The lacing of boots has begun. To get a picture of “lacing of boots”, cast your mind back to NDC images on TV in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 elections, particularly when the results seemed to point to an NDC majority in Parliament.

Everything about Haruna Iddrisu had suddenly changed: his strides were more measured as he walked conscious of his new nobility; he commanded more power among the MPs-elect who hung around him and his voice carried more authority.

He himself declared that “I am the Majority Leader”. He was lacing his boots.

I am happy nobody in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has disputed the accuracy of the EIU prediction about the party’s likely fate in 2024.

My advice to them is that they better keep quiet.

Knowing what we have all been familiar with in the past one year, I am not sure even the President is surprised by the prediction; perhaps a little shocked by its suddenness, and perhaps a little angry that someone has dared to tell him what his wife, Rebecca, and his cousin, Finance Minister, have been too embarrassed to tell him.

Not a single day passes without threats of strike action. Television fare is now predictable: footage from miserably deprived communities threatening “no roads no vote”, unpaid nurses training allowance and demonstrations inside the party’s own strongholds.

I can only hope that the report is only a wake-up call. To all Ghanaians (except the Jubilee House Kitchen Cabinet), it flouts the logic of reasoning that a few days after the approval of E-Levy, within the very month that the President himself admitted that the economy was on wobbly legs, he (President) jetted off to America on a private plane, though he had, only a few days before, banned “wasteful” travels by state officials.

Is it true that the President’s travel was to attend a church in America?

That last trip was an insult added to injury. The feeling was not unlike how Ghanaians felt when Rawlings sang into our very faces that “moka no koraa na meye no more!”.

Shambles, change

Usually when a President publicly confesses that his economy is in shambles, he follows up with a change of his Minister of Finance.

Ken-Ofori Atta has done his bit, but as in football, even the best coaches do get replaced after a series of defeats. It’s not that they are no good; it is that in life, one has to step aside some time.

A change also signals hope of “new man, new strategies”. The NPP has no shortage of economists. Kwaku Kwarteng, for instance, is a man with the credentials of Osafo-Maafo, a deadly combination of civil engineering and economics.

A former Deputy Finance Minister, he has the advantage of age.

Perhaps E-Levy offers some hope. But isn’t it a shame that in spite of all the agricultural inventions by CSIR, Ghana still has issues with producing enough to feed ourselves?

We have known about transportation bottlenecks for ages but we still have farm produce rotting on farms.

It’s not a failure by our scientists; our governments have failed us.

There is never a shortage of money to pay MPs, ministers or presidential staff and to conduct presidential and parliamentary elections; we are never short of money to buy V8s et al, but never enough to invest in the things that improve the lives of the masses.

No more champagnes on a beer budget.

The writer is Executive Director,
Centre for Communication and Culture.
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