Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media,
We have asked you to this press conference to announce an important decision made a week ago by the PPP’s National Committee. The National Committee approved a resolution to work to establish a strong, viable alternative political movement in Ghana. After careful consideration, the party wishes to invite like-minded progressive political parties and individuals to discuss and reach agreement to forge an alternative to the NPP and the NDC to contest election 2020 and beyond. The PPP believes that it is only by bringing forces together that the dominance of the NPP and NDC duopoly can be broken. The party believes in an unconditional approach. Accordingly, it is open to alliance, merger and any joint action that will enable the winning of parliamentary seats and the presidency.
The PPP believes that alternating power between the NDC and the NPP while implementing essentially the same policies and winner-takes-all attitude to governing the country will not strengthen our economy and improve the standard of living of the ordinary Ghanaian. The party was formed as a movement and wants to stay open to ideas and principles and not be fixated on names, symbols, colours and personalities.
The National Committee has authorized party leaders to approach other political parties, pressure groups and individuals with the aim of bringing forces together to forge a united front in the shortest possible time.
There are many reasons why this has become an urgent matter at this time. The 2016 election campaign and results have proven the point that Ghanaians want an alternative to the political parties that have won elections since the beginning of the Fourth Republic but they want to see a united front that is formidable and one they can feel can win elections. Indeed, the 2008 elections gave this same indication that the people wanted change but felt their choice of the change agent was limited. Therefore, it is our considered view that in 2008 and 2016, the NDC and the NPP won the respective elections by default, not because they offered the best policies and people. We know that some people will disagree, particularly those who have received these election
“gifts”. But the facts on the ground are indisputable. A lot of Ghanaians do not believe that elections will bring about any real changes to their lives. The Presidential and Parliamentary elections have become four-year events. Many ordinary Ghanaians knowing that after they vote, nothing positive will come their way demand what they can get from candidates and political parties BEFORE they cast their votes – cash, clothes, electronic gadgets, food, electricity, roads (no matter how shoddy), water, etc. It is for this reason that rural electrification projects, real and not real are staged during campaign periods. This accounts for the distribution of laptops to students, vehicles to traditional authorities, heavy donations to churches, T-shirts and other such items. Signs threatening “light or no vote”, “water or no vote” and “road or no vote” all point to the fact that the people have realized that they only seem to have power before and not after elections. This situation, we want a united front of like-minded people to change by coming together to offer change the people can feel AFTER elections.
What has happened since the 2016 election tells us that Ghanaians stand the real chance of being disappointed once again, so we do not want to wait until election time to start pulling like-minded forces together. We want to stand together, now, united to offer disciplined, objective opposition and prove to the people that there is a better choice out there.
The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, delivered his maiden address on the State of the Nation on Tuesday February 21, 2017 as required by provisions of the 1992 constitution. Following the President’s address and on his authority, the Minister of Finance, Honourable Ken Ofori Atta also on March 2, 2017 delivered the Government’s maiden Budget Statement and Economic Policy for the year ending December 31, 2017. And on March 6, 2017 Ghana celebrated the 60th Independence Anniversary from the British during which the President addressed the nation.
The messages presented to the nation on these three important occasions point to the continuous erosion of our self-determination and African Identity. As nothing new was presented except the rehashing of campaign promises and the same old failed policies, we can only hope to experience slow economic development and a low standard of living for the majority of our people during these four years.
We, the PPP, are increasingly surprised that the change in government from NDC to NPP seems to represent mere changes in personalities occupying high offices and positions of trust in our land, and not change in the substantial matters of re-orientation, visions and strategies that will reverse the snail pace growth of the country.
Like the American Republican President Donald Trump, the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo stuck with the key popular promises made during the 2016 campaign. The administration has been playing a populist game and courted popularity from some of its known key support groups.
Let’s briefly examine some of the President’s policy ideas:
A. Free SHS. While the President has unequivocally stated that Free SHS starts this September, it now appears that the budget caters only for first year SHS students. The PPP promised free continuous compulsory education from kindergarten to the end of senior high school with an estimated annual cost beyond one billion Ghana Cedis. We want to standardize school facilities from kindergarten to Senior High School with libraries, toilets, classrooms, kitchen, housing for teachers, playground, etc: and Ensure Free and Compulsory education in public schools from kindergarten to Senior High School (including significantly increasing ICT and Vocational training so that all school leavers gain employable skills). We want to enforce the compulsory aspect of the education policy that is part of the 1992 Constitution. The NPP must come clean – what does the Free SHS policy include? We need to know so we can track it and review it responsibly.
B. It is clear that the administration is keeping most of the energy levies. Where will the money come from to pay legacy debts and new ones being piled on to buy power from Côte d’Ivoire and inputs? What is the schedule and when can the private sector really look forward to no “dumsor”? We need energy for Industrialization and Rapid Development to ensure maximum benefit and prosperity for all Ghanaians. We want to see solutions provided with a sense of urgency to meet domestic needs for industry and domestic use and make Ghana a net exporter of power again.
C. The one district one factory idea is to depend on the private sector for implementation. What are the incentives – tax, industrial infrastructure, and import prevention that the administration is prepared to put in place to facilitate private sector action? How does a strictly partisan NPP local government ensure that all Ghanaians get opportunity to participate in this? What about those local investors who have toiled for years without any help from previous NPP and NDC administrations?
D. Kayayei Tax. What is Kayayei Tax and who are its “victims”. Are you a Kayayei only if you have recently migrated from the northern part of the country? What about if you are from any of the Zongos down south? If you are a Ga, Ashanti, or Ewe who carries goods for pay, are you exempt from “kayayei tax”? Or is this a political value proposition? And what does a kayayei really need? Not compulsory education? Not jobs in the three northern regions?
The PPP has since it was formed in 2012, sought the opportunity to create a just and disciplined society with a passion for excellence within ten years and with science and technology as the cornerstone, become a higher level middle income country. But we cannot talk about good governance without stating the need to change portions of the Constitution to abolish the provision that allows Ministers of State to also serve as Members of Parliament. We believe that this move will make available for governance a large pool of qualified, experienced Ghanaian talent whose expertise is currently unused and therefore lost to Ghana. And this should go along with giving Parliament the facilities and resources needed to pass good laws and scrutinize the proposals submitted by the Executive effectively.
So we are not impressed by the superficial changes announced by the current NPP Administration. President Akufo-Addo campaigned on a platform of inclusiveness and removing winner-takes-all from our politics. What we are seeing is an administration of dyed-in-the-wool NPP people, many recycled from the previous NPP Administration. What we are hearing is an Administration eager to justify its party’s place in Ghanaian history. We do not care about who gets credit. We want positive change the majority of Ghanaians can feel. We want change that will raise the standard of living of the average Ghanaian. We do not want fancy ideas or promises. We do not care for the repeating of campaign slogans. We want the implementation of ideas that will create jobs, put food on the table, educate all of our children, heal the sick, give us a roof over our heads and make our future bright.
We believe that only an alternative movement will make this happen. So, once again, after careful consideration, the party wishes to invite like-minded forces to come together to forge a united front.
The party in all humility wishes to ask Ghanaians to offer encouragement and stand ready to support this alternative. We welcome the participation and support of all who believe that Ghana deserves better than what we have experienced so far.
Our main contact and coordinator for individuals, political parties, and pressure groups who want to be part of this new foundation is our National Secretary, Murtala Mohammed (0243807244).
The PPP is a party of vision for the transformation of this country; hence our disappointment in the current state of the nation, which falls far short of the vision our forefathers and mothers envisioned.
The Progressive People’s Party shall remain unyielding in the quest to provide alternative progressive ideas and continue to offer policies that will reshape the destiny of our motherland.
Thank you and God bless our homeland Ghana.