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Opinions of Friday, 9 February 2024

Columnist: Prof. Ransford Gyampo

Preliminary analysis of Bawumia’s address to share his vision with Ghanaians

Prof. Ransford Gyampo Prof. Ransford Gyampo

This essentially was an articulation of achievements and vision, fundamentally in the broader area of Digitisation and honestly, the various manifestations of this overarching policy, and what it can do to promote development, are indubitable and enormous. No doubt it formed the interwoven central theme of the presentation.

Unfortunately, Ghanaians had to wait to be told more about what digitisation has done for them by the man himself, in a manner that makes many of the achievements which should have been long known, sound new. Consequently, there may be the need to fact-check many of the claims to be sure.

⁠It appears that DMB is the only one who has a firm grasp over the policy, as the party itself has either been ignorant about the claims about Digitisation or has been incompetent in communicating its achievements to fester in the psyche of Ghanaians. Unless the party begins to undertake remedial tutorials about Digitization and its achievements for the purposes of political communication, the work will be difficult for DMB.

Despite what it can do, Digitisation is not the sine qua non to development. Other key interventions such as good governance and deliberate efforts to seal the leakages and slippages, fight corruption, exemplary leadership that first tightens its belt, rather than living bourgeoisie, etc should have been emphasized more than being treated nearly as appendages.

Parts of the presentation were an indictment on the government of which he is part, in a manner that raises serious questions and vindicates those of us who have been critics of the government. Promising to have not more than 50 Ministers when you are part of a government of over 100 Ministers; and promising to abolish some taxes like the Emissions tax, Gaming Tax, E-Levy, VAT on electricity consumption etc makes some of us feel vindicated for criticizing and calling for downsizing of government and the abolition of such nuisance taxes. DMB’s supporters came after us for such criticisms and I am wondering whether they will go after him, now that he’s taken a position that responds favourably to our criticisms on the size of government and nuisance taxes.

But the more important question is, why do these great interventions tomorrow, instead of today that they are greatly needed? Does the answer still lie in the claim that he’s not in charge? Well, in that case, then karma is not good at all. There was then absolutely no basis for the 170 questions posed to Veep Amissah-Arthur because he was also a mate and wasn’t in charge.

DMB still blames our challenges on COVID and the Russian-Ukraine war and there is no doubt at all that these have had negative effects on many countries including Ghana. But a more convincing explanation could have also focused on an admission of what was done wrong domestically, and a promise to refrain from our contributions to the challenges. It cannot be entirely accurate for us to blame all other than ourselves for our challenges.

Finally, there were great ideas that were espoused including the need for a national development plan, a move that was initiated by the predecessor government but was jettisoned. All the other contenders in the 2024 elections also have great plans. But it appears great plans wouldn’t really matter. Available empirical survey reports show that many Ghanaians now, do not believe in political promises, as many of them are merely vote garnering gimmicks. What would therefore be the decider in the 2024 elections, would be a side-by-side comparison of the trustworthiness, credibility and achievements of the various contenders.

In my next post, I will now offer a sharper focus and properly interrogate some of the policy vision outlined. Where they deserve commendations, we would commend and where they must be fact-checked and critiqued, we will do so.