Former President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated his challenge to the Akufo-Addo Administration to arrest and prosecute former appointees of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) it claim have stolen state funds and stop the media trials.
He said the media trials was an indication the Akufo-Addo government was credible because if on daily basis people hear from the media that huge sums of money were missing and nobody has also been arrested and prosecuted, ”you are destroying the confidence of the people in the credibility of the government,” he said.
Former President Mahama made the call at a rally to climax a health walk dubbed Unity Walk in the Ashanti Regional capital in Kumasi on Saturday.
The walk which attracted stalwarts of the party from across the country was attended by a large number of party supporters.
Some notable leaders of the NDC who were at the walk were Mr Kwame Peprah, Mr Kofi Totobi Kwakye, some Members of Parliament and national party executives.
President Mahama reiterated his challenge to the present government to stop what he called “trial by newspapers” because it had all the coercive power of the state at its disposal and should use that to prosecute those of the previous administration they believed stole state money.
He said the present government had been claiming in the media that Ghc150 million was missing from the coffers of the Tema Oil Refinery and wondered how such a huge amount could be lost.
He noted that a similar claim had been made that Ghc90million had also been stolen from Sanitation Fund and explained that during his tenure, the Ministry of Local Government failed to institute measures for the disbursement of the sanitation fund, therefore the money was not disbursed by the Finance Ministry.
He asked if the money was not given out and how could such huge about be stolen.
President Mahama stated that the blanket ban on illegal small scale mining and the formation of the Operation Vanguard to ensure the enforcement of the ban “was not the way to go”.
He said although it was a fact that illegal small scale mining was destroying the environment, it was incumbent on government to put institute measures to regulate it and also provide alternative livelihood programmes to cater for those displaced by the bad on illegal small scale mining.
Members of the Concerned Small Scale Miners carried a placard with inscription “Welcome The Honest John Mahama”.
President Mahama stated that his administration used force to stop the illegal small scale mining but they realised it was not working so it commenced processes to institute laws and regulations to govern the illegal mining and ensure that the mining benefited all.
“But if you put a blanket ban and then you send soldiers after the young people that are not the way to go. As you stop illegal small scale mining at the same time you have to put in place livelihood packages so that as you are displacing people they have something else to do”, he added.
“But when there is nothing to do and you are chasing them and shooting them, it is not the way to go. So government must look at the regulations and put in measures to ensure that those who want to engage in the small mining will do it within the law”, he added.
He said the time will come for the party people to select leaders and he expressed confidence that God will provide a leader who will lead the party to victory in 2020.
This admonition attracted chants of “we want John” from the teeming party supporters.
He said the NDC was a tried and tested government but some people [NPP] came to Ghanaians and asked them to try them but the people of Ghana have seen the difference and they will be careful when faced with such a choice in future.
Former President John Mahama said because Kumasi was the economic hub of the country, the bad economic policies that had brought hardship was being felt the more in the Ashanti Region and stated that since he entered the Ashanti Region from Friday, many people he had encountered have complained bitterly about economic hardship.
He said in 2016, the NPP used hardship as campaign tool against the NDC which culminated in the NDC losing power “but if it was hardship alone that is used as the measure to vote, like by now Ghanaians would have voted out the NPP about 1000 times.
“if you compare the current hardship to that of 2016, the current one was serious because drivers are suffering, a friend of mine who is a taxi driver says he works for a filling station because he uses all his sales to buy fuel”, he added.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, said although President Akufo-Addo promised that he would ensure that men get married to men, upon assumption, he was propagating that men will marry men and women would marry women.
He said Ghanaians have voted for a government that promised US$1 million per constituency, fix the roads and One District One Factory which have not been realised but they were claiming that it was just a vision.
He commended the NDC party members for the keen interest and peaceful nature of the branch elections and said the leadership would ensure that the four areas with issues would be resolved.