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Undoubtedly, Ghanaians shall go to the polls on 7th December, 2020 to perform a civic responsibility. That is, to elect a president who will man the affairs of the nation for a four year period and members of parliament for the 275 constituencies of Ghana. Without a dot of doubt, the election shall be fiercely contested by the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress.
The New Patriotic Party shall be led into the elections by its flagbearer who doubles as the current president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo and the National Democratic Congress shall be led by its flagbearer and a former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama.
Straight to the point, the outstanding feature of this year’s presidential election is the fact that both candidates have served their first four year period and are now seeking for the last four years. In light of this, each will be judged by the electorates according to their works and policies when they had the opportunity to form a government to run the affairs of Ghana.
To you as a voter, between the two presidential candidates, who deserves the last four years considering the effects of their policies and decisions on the socio-economic life of Ghanaians ?
I vividly remember the submission of a friend that he does not side with the assertion that former president John Dramani Mahama had done four years. He opined that former president John Dramani Mahama had done two terms because he has taken what is due a former president ( ex- gratia) for two terms.
He added that since the inception of the fourth republic dispensation in Ghana, no former president has taken retirement package more than twice and John Dramani Mahama will be cheating the system should he be given the opportunity to receive a retirement package( ex- gratia) for the third time.
He retorted that if John Dramani Mahama argues that he has not exhausted his two terms, he should return the 14 million Ghana cedis he took from the state as a retirement package for ending the six months of the NDC government after the death of Professor Evans Attah Mills to the wife and family of Professor Evans Attah Mills. He said that will make Ghanaians believe that the period from 2009 to 2013 should be appropriated to Professor Mills and not him. But it will be improper to pocket the retirement package meant for the president who served Ghana for that period and still insist that those years shouldn’t to added to his tenure of rule.
My friend was always of the assertion that if former president John Dramani Mahama indeed wants Ghanaians to believe that he didn’t have enough time to execute his projects, he should stop exclusively approbating to himself projects like the Sawla-Fufulso road, the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the Ridge Hospital project, the Tamale Teaching Hospital Expansion project among others that were all initiated by the late President Atta Mills.
One area that is worth considering in assessing the candidate to vote for is the demand of both candidates on the nation. In that regard, it is better to trust the destiny of Ghana in the hands of Nana Addo than John Dramani Mahama. The reason is straight and simple. Per the constitution of Ghana, both are privileged per their offices to enjoy some privileges from the state.
The president for example is supposed to be accommodated by the state and his car and fuel and other privileges should be at the expense of the state. The president has declined all this. He has stayed and continue to stay in his personal residence since he became the president of Ghana on 7th January, 2017 and uses his personal car and fuel for official use. Can you quantify the amount of money the nation as saved in this regard? Are you surprised that as human as he is, he will decline all these privileges though he is legally entitled to it? For former president John Dramani Mahama, he never spared any moment to declining such offer.
In fact, he even appropriated more to himself. Through the Presidential Emoluments Committee set up by him in 2016, he received 24 million cedis as retirement package. He has forced the state to cough out a non- taxable 22,809 cedis to him as his monthly salary, GHS9,400 a month on his accommodation, 400 gallons of petrol a month and payment of all utility bills at his residence and many more.
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