The two main political parties — the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) - took advantage of the Easter holidays to rock the streets of Kwahu and Accra in the Eastern and Greater Accra regions respectively with various activities.
Whereas the NPP took over the streets of Kwahu with activities that included a mini rally, the NDC remained in Accra as its flag bearer for the 2020 presidential election, former President John Dramani Mahama, took his tour to some bus stations in Accra.
In Kwahu, the NPP used the festivity to tout the government’s performances, which the party described as “exceptionally amazing” especially in the education sector.
The NDC, on the other hand, used the event to backlash the government for its “failed promises”.
The NPP’s rally, which had a massive attendance, was graced by the Vice-President, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, and some of the party’s bigwigs.
They included the party’s Youth Organiser, Mr Henry Nana Boakye; its National Organiser, Mr Sammy Awuku; the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Daffuor; the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and a host of others.
At the mini rally, the Vice-President used the podium to throw more light on the government’s programmes, particularly the Free Senior High School policy.
He said there must not be no room for hypocrisy on the implementation and beneficiaries of the Free SHS policy, indicating that the government had no plans to stop the policy.
“I hear somebody (former President Mahama) says we are spending so much on free SHS. Have you heard him? He said we are spending so much so we won’t have money for other things. Did you hear that?
“You who said free SHS was not possible.
When you did not have free SHS in your government, you couldn’t pay teachers and nursing training allowances, you couldn’t pay National Health Insurance, is it free SHS which stopped you?
“I’m from the North. I benefitted from free education.
It is good for the people of the north and it is good for the people of Ghana,” he said to the buzz of vuvuzelas and cheers from the crowd.
“It must be enjoyed by everybody,” he told a cheering crowd at the mini rally organised at Obo, a suburb of Kwahu.
On employment, the Vice-President said the freeze on public sector employment was over, with the government employing about 350,000 people.
He said in the last two years and four months, the government had taken at least 40 measures to reduce the hardship Ghanaians faced through reducing the electricity tariffs of households by 17.5 per cent and that of industries by 30 per cent, while doubling the capitation grant for public schools by 100 per cent from GH¢4.5 to GH¢10.
Dr Bawumia said the government was implementing the one-district, one-factory policy, which had so far seen the completion of 60 factories in addition to the execution of the one-village, one-dam policy in the five regions of the north.
Additionally, he said the government had saved 1.5 million depositors from losing their funds in the banking crisis that gripped the country while at the same time reducing import duties which were a burden on the business community.
When Mr Sammy Awuku took his turn, he worked the crowd up with “tsooboi” and chants of “Kukrudu” before launching into attacks on former President Mahama’s administration, which he said could not be trusted.
He said the return of the former President would be a nightmare for Ghanaians.
He cited the taxation of cutlasses and condoms by the Mahama administration as examples of the previous administration’s lack of sympathy for ordinary Ghanaians.
Addressing some transport organisations and drivers on his tour, the NDC presidential candidate, Mr Mahama, admonished the President Akufo-Addo government to release buses purchased under the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) arrangement to members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU).
He said some 350 vehicles, including buses, were procured in 2016 by the scheme through hire purchase for members of the GPRTU but the vehicles were, however, not in use following a disagreement over the prices.
Mr Mahama said his administration would take a look at the matter when voted back into office.
“The NDC procured some buses under MASLOC but there seem to be some pending issues and the buses are still there.
I would like to plead with the government to revisit that issue and ask those in charge to release the buses so that the drivers can use it to convey people around.
When the cars are not used, they begin to rot away after lying idle for so long.
“Another issue raised by the drivers is insurance.
They say the cost of car insurance has gone up.
Some of them also mentioned the high cost of spare parts, among other things.
At the appropriate time, the NDC will come around to discuss the best solutions with you.
We will also come and tell you the plans we have for you in 2020 when we are elected,” he added.