By Frank Amponsah
The Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed that the whole idea about the establishment of a Zongo Development Fund (ZDF) started with his predecessor late Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
According to him, the former Vice-President was concerned about the perception being held that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was anti-Zongo and that in order to clear that perception, the late Aliu Mahama proposed the idea of establishing the Zongo Development Fund to ensure that such communities received the needed attention.
The Vice President was speaking at an Adua ceremony in Accra yesterday to mark the fifth anniversary of the passing of Mr. Aliu Mahama where he intimated that “He said that we have to continue and not give up on the Zongos because you have to continue to show that you care about them. We were talking about and he said we have to do things to let the Zongos appreciate that the NPP is not anti-Zongo as the propaganda was at the time.”
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who spoke fondly of his relationship with Aliu Mahama revealed how he spoke into his [Bawumia] life saying the renowned economist will one day replace him as a Veep of the country.
“We see him [Aliu Mahama] as a pioneer as far as our politics is concerned. As Vice President to President Kufuor, he brought something unique to the table. He straddled the Zongo and northern communities.
Dr Bawumia said from then, they started thinking on what they can do to make an impact in the Zongos by coming up with specific interventions.
“So that is why when we brought that suggestion to Nana Akufo-Addo he immediately said that it is a good idea, let us put it in the manifesto, and today by the grace of God, we are establishing the Zongo Development Fund,” he added.
The NPP during its 2016 campaign promised to establish a Zongo Development Fund to regenerate Zongo communities across the country. It could be recalled that the then running mate, Dr Bamumia announced it as one of the party’s flagship policies at its manifesto launch in Accra where he revealed that the said fund will be used to invest in education, sanitation and healthcare in Zongo communities.
The Zongo Development Fund Bill under one of the newly created Inner City and Zongo Development ministry was approved last week by Parliament with an allocation of $50 million made by the House to the Fund which is part of the Presidency’s budget.
The Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia also extolled the virtues of the late statesman and eulogised the efforts of Aliu Mahama in getting the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to establish the Zongo Development Fund.
The Vice President has also disclosed that his decision to enter into active politics was influenced by the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama. Dr Bawumia said the Former Vice President was an inspiration and said he is constantly minded by the enormous part he (late Aliu Mahama) played in his consideration to become a politician when H.E Nana Addo Dankwa called on him.
“When Nana Akufo-Addo was considering me for the position of Vice-Presidential candidate, all of you know [that] at that time, I was very much a novice in politics. I was not in politics, so he had to do a lot of consultation on whether to select this person. I know that one of the people who really stood up and made a case that yes, Nana, go for this young man was Alhaji Aliu Mahama. He was very unflinching in his support,” he said.
He said: “When I was selected, he knew that I was a novice in politics. And this is why I forever will be grateful to him. He told me I’m going to hold your hand and help you to become Vice-President of this country. He didn’t need to do it, he had already been Vice-President and he could just rest and give me advise and I will go but no! It wasn’t just about advice, he put in his boots and we started going round the country,” and added that “Amazingly, he was walking and going places that I never thought he would go with us. He was fully part of the campaign. And it was actually when we were going around that I began to have a deeper appreciation.”
Alhaji Aliu Mahama was the vice president of Ghana under Former President Kufuor from 2001-2009.
He passed on in 2012 after losing the battle to illness.