Dr John Osae-Kwapong  — Executive Director, Democracy Project
Dr John Osae-Kwapong — Executive Director, Democracy Project

SONA reflects country’s condition — Experts

The Executive Director of the Democracy Project, a political think tank, Dr John Osae-Kwapong, has described President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s message in the State of the Nation Address as a true reflection of things in the country.


“For example, he duly acknowledged the difficult decision to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, and all the various steps, including debt exchange, that the government had to take.

The President highlighted the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme and the access it has provided to several thousands of students since its inception,” he stated. 

Reacting to the address in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Dr Osae-Kwapong said those were but two examples of the many others highlighted by the President.

“Granted, some of these initiatives and programmes have come with implementation challenges but the President highlighted the state of the nation as he sees it,” he added.

He said he believed that the President covered the essential issues about the current state of the nation.


Dr Osae-Kwapong said he was struck by the amount of time President Akufo-Addo devoted to security and its consequences for democracy and elections in the sub-region.

That, he said, was coming in the wake of democracy and good governance challenges the country was facing in addition to the fact that military coups in the West African sub-region over the last two to three years had become a concern to most governance observers.

He said the President’s assertion that the country’s security was intact and that the safety of the people had come at the cost of government’s ability to spend resources in other areas were profound.

“I interpreted the entire section of the address on security as a reminder of the current situation in West Africa, and signal that although Ghana’s experience is currently different, it is not something we must take for granted.

“That Ghanaians must appreciate the position the country finds itself in where security and safety of the State is concerned; that governing is about trade-offs where difficult choices have to be made in the face of unlimited demands but limited resources; and that it was the consequences of deliberate policy choices made by the government,” he said.

An Associate Founder of the Institute of Applied Politics, Ghana, Ransford Brobbey, said a truer assessment of the President’s tenure would be presented next year when he makes his final State of the Nation Address.

He said if there was anything Ghanaians might take for granted, it should not be their belief in constitutionalism, freedom, the sovereign will of the people, and the rule of law.

He said for President Akufo-Addo to admonish “the state and its population to revere and protect the tentacles of the freedom upon which they ride was by far the preeminent tone to set the ball rolling in his address”.

Mr Brobbey said the internal threats to Ghana’s “democracy, however, can and is being managed by the overwhelming support for democracy and elections, a vibrant media landscape, vigilant security, free and strong opposition, active citizenship and deliberative democracy”.

He, however, said the external threats were more contagious, stressing that when they reach the point of normalisation, “they diminish the hopes and aspirations of the younger generation and impress that unconstitutional political change is the freedom to behold”.

He commended President Akufo-Addo for acknowledging his failures and apologising to Ghanaians about some of his unsuccessful economic policies, with just a year left to his exit.

“Eventually, SONAs are always an echo of the government’s achievements.

This time, it was about the digitalisation of the economy, the numerous infrastructure developments in healthcare services, payment of coupons of domestic debt bondholders and, of course, the flagship Free SHS and all education sector reforms and corresponding achievements,” he said.

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