By Frank Amponsah
Wing of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) said the Free Senior High School
(Free SHS) policy initiated by the Akufo-Addo government is dazing the opposition
National Democratic Congress (NDC) as election 2020 gets closer.
According to them, the NDC and John Mahama, whom after sensing that the Free SHS policy has gained roots in the country and is going to be a major campaign issue in 2020 that could potentially undo them, the NDC is now turning around to hail it after doing its’ best possible to wreck the successful implementation of the policy.
Addressing a Press Conference during its 2nd The Youth Must Know Series, the NPP National Youth Organiser, Henry Nana Boakye aka Nana B, indicated that the NDC leader and flag bearer, John Dramani Mahama, after realizing his continuous opposition to the policy could jeopardize his chances of returning as president, reiterated President Akufo-Addo’s statement that “the Free SHS programme is here to stay.”
He said the people of Ghana must not believe John Mahama on that and that the sudden NDC U-turn on the critical social intervention policy, which ensures that basic education ends at the SHS level, has sparked heated debate in the country and many are describing the NDC members who are now hailing it as a confused political grouping.
Nana B noted that Mr. Mahama, during the official opening of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students (GNUTS) 27th Annual Residential Delegates Congress in Kumasi on Wednesday, said “the Free SHS programme is here to stay; indeed, it is a policy that is guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution of our country so nobody or government can reverse it.”
Mr. Mahama after praising the policy then turned around to lambast the NPP administration for allowing several challenges to confront the Free SHS programme.
“In my first three months in political office in 2021, I will call a major stakeholders’ meeting, where parents, guardians and teachers, among others, would assemble to give solutions to how to properly manage the Free SHS policy,” he said confidently.
As if that is not the objective of the policy, Mr. Mahama said it is the core duty of every government to make the Free SHS programme “qualitative and enjoyable for the students, who are the beneficiaries, and my administration will ensure just that.”
The NPP Youth Organiser also mentioned that “The Youth Wing of the NPP can boldly state that former president Mahama and the NDC if given another opportunity to lead this nation will deliberately collapse the free SHS policy and re-direct the funds into dubious contracts that will directly put money into their pockets than benefit the millions of Ghanaians. It is on record that former president Mahama and the NDC in 2012 sponsored over 46 radio and television adverts against the Free SHS policy. Their vicious advances against the policy assumed fearsome crescendo when in the lead up to the 2012 elections a tape purported to have the voice of the respected Man of God, Pastor Mensah Otabil was doctored and thrown into the airwaves in furtherance to their vile attempt to discredit the policy.”
He stated some utterances by John Mahama which go to indicate his hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of Free SHS.
According to Nana B, “Mahama, on November 23, 2012, told the people of Okere that “Free SHS will collapse SHS education system. Mahama, on October 1, 2018, reiterated his aversion to Free SHS saying that it would undergo a review and hinted of the possibility of the policy being scrapped. Mahama, on February 24, 2018, said that Free SHS’s implementation was rushed and it is constricting government’s budget and, therefore, needs to have a review. Mahama at their Tarkwa unity walk had this to say, “It is unwise to implement Free SHS policy at all costs.”
He reiterated that it does appear that deliberately, former president Mahama, overtime, has been breaking his neck to hoodwink Ghanaians with the notion that Free SHS is a constitutionally mandated policy and not the idea of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo for which the NPP must be commended for implementing same.
He said: “The fallacy and intellectual poverty inherent in this line of argument does not only make Mr. Mahama look ridiculous but also demonstrates that the NDC as a party has been very wasteful and extremely disappointing in their performance when they were in power and for that matter should never be allowed, for even a day, to run this country.”
According to him, it’s been 28 years since the promulgation of the 1992 constitution out of which the NDC has had 16 years to govern this country. It is therefore humiliating that the NDC, albeit the more years they have had to rule the country than any other party, has failed woefully to implement the supposedly constitutionally mandated Free SHS policy. Is it not interesting that it has taken President Akufo-Addo less than one year to do what the NDC couldn’t do in 16 years.
These two narratives, he indicated, point to one conclusion, that the NDC are bad managers of the economy and lack the requisite skills set and competence to accelerate sustainable economic growth and development whilst the NPP exudes the competence to put on a spurt massive life-saving and transformational pro-poor policies for enhanced living standards and shared prosperity.