This Is the first of three national broadcasts on 1. Governance and national discipline; 2. Jobs, jobs, jobs; 3. What Ghanaians should expect from a PPP administration
My name is Papa Kwesi Nduom, the Presidential Candidate of the Progressive People’s Party, PPP. On Wednesday 7th December, I will be Number 4 on the Presidential Ballot. I was born at Elmina in the Central Region, specifically, from Teterkessim. My grandparents are from and lived in Elmina, Senya Breku, Gomoa Dago and Tarkwa. My parents were both primary school teachers. I am where I am today by the Grace of God and through the diligence of my parents and hard work. I am a Christian and respect other religions. My life has been guided by my faith, family values and public service.
I am here in all humility and with a spirit of service to my nation, to ask for your votes to become the next President of the Republic of Ghana. I want to put the experience I have gained creating jobs for thousands of people in all the districts in Ghana to deliver jobs and prosperity to millions of Ghanaians.
I wish to pray to God Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and Earth to touch the hearts and minds of all Ghanaians. I pray for life and good health for all of us. I continue to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Angels and Saints to make it possible for the people to vote for me Papa Kwesi Nduom on December 7th 2016 to become the next President of the Republic of Ghana.
As your President, I will:
1. Unite the people to ensure lasting peace to enable development.
2. Put in place an all-inclusive, lean aministration of not more than 40 ministers of state for accelerated development and reform the public sector to become responsive to the private productive sector.
3. Fight corruption actively.
4. Implement the national identification system and mandate the use of a single identification number to enforce discipline in our society.
5. Eliminate winner-takes-all from our governance.
“In the long-run, every government is the exact symbol of its people, with their wisdom and unwisdom”. (Thomas Carlyle – Scottish-born English writer). I am convinced that you get what you vote for. Which means in the end, the person you vote for is you. I know you want the best for yourself. So I ask you today, please vote for the best to get the best that you wish for and this year, I believe that Papa Kwesi Nduom and the PPP offer the best ideas, solutions and leadership to make Ghana great and strong and its people prosperous. So vote for #4 Papa Kwesi Nduom and PPP.
Papa Kwesi Nduom and PPP will stop the “Social Sin of Politics Without Principle (Donaldson)”.
I am convinced now more than ever, that politics of intimidation, violence, abuse of incumbency, the use of our tax money by the party in power, tribalism and vote stealing will condemn and entrench the majority of our people in poverty in all its forms – poor housing, bad health, short lifespan, inferior education, disease and unemployment. A resource rich country like Ghana deserves better than what its people are experiencing. Nothing will change if we continue to do the same things and keep making the same mistakes. I ask, what is the point in engaging in this thing we loosely call “politics” in Ghana?. This Politics Without Principle?
I am worried about what will happen to Ghana during and after the 2016 elections. I am not afraid about how the PPP will fare in the 2016 elections. I have won and lost elections. So I have experienced what you feel when you lose and when you win. I have experienced what burdens we carry when we contest elections at the local and national levels. So I know that we are senselessly deluding ourselves that we are in a democracy, that there is freedom of choice and that elections are “free and fair”. The unfairness in Ghana’s elections starts way before the actual elections and continues to election day. Election observers are well-meaning but they have become another element of cover-up for stealing and bribery.
I am afraid for Ghana. Will we remain a one country, largely united under one administration after the 2016 elections? Will the Ghanaian economy have the ability to sustain the use of the government treasury to finance a partisan campaign? Will we still have confidence in using the ballot box to elect our leaders? I am believer in democracy. But I am questioning what type of democracy we have that allows some political parties to act with impunity, cheat and divide the same people they want to rule.
The 1992 Constitution
To look ahead to the 2016 elections, we must look back to the beginning of the Fourth Republic. After the infamous “hand over to whom?” question was asked, we went ahead and did just that, handed over the administration of this country to the same man and the same band of men and women bent on hanging on to power by all means, at all cost using our tax money. Quite often, in our country, our people accept the views of what our situation is a lot more coming through the lenses of foreign institutions and individuals than local ones. For several years, I have campaigned against the excessive centralization of powers in one position, that of the President of the Republic of Ghana. Lip service is all we the locals get. It is this problem of excessive centralization of powers that is dragging our country more and more to become a habitual below expectation performer. And it is because those who happen to be in power are always happy to use the powers to try and steal elections. So if Ghanaians will not listen to me, here is what a foreign institution paid some researchers to produce about our governance system:
“Effective participation in the making and implementation of public policy has been limited to a small political elite which has succeeded in capturing the presidency, albeit through fairly competitive elections, and with it control of the public resources that the constitution places under control of the executive branch. Ghana’s political system combines competitive elections with what social scientists have called neopatrimonial rule. The principal democracy and governance problem we identify in this report is the excessive concentration of political power in the executive branch. The powers of the president dwarf those of the other branches of government. The president in Ghana possesses vast political and economic resources that he can employ to secure political support. Electoral competition is the only real check on executive dominance, as the opposition party will work to win power, often at almost any cost. But although both major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), accept the legitimacy of the rules that govern politics in Ghana, these rules have serious flaws. The elite consensus among political parties is an agreement to maintain the status quo, regardless of its increasingly negative impact on democratic practice and good governance, because it offers a clear path to gaining power and thus access to the vast network of state resources. The increasingly hyper-aggressive, winner-take-all nature of Ghanaian elections puts tremendous pressure on the one institution that has become a symbol of the country’s successful democratic transition, the Electoral Commission (EC). What happens if the EC is no longer able to perform its duties with the credibility it has commanded in the past? We raise a note of caution that the confluence of good luck and competence that marked the very close 2008 election cannot be guaranteed in the future. Ghanaians have higher expectations for the economic and social benefits of democracy than the government seems able to produce through current institutional arrangements. In this regard, the political status quo has gone about as far as it can in moving Ghanaian democracy forward and, by extension, in creating the conditions for broad-based economic growth and social development.” (Ghana Democracy & Governance Assessment Report, August 2011 USAID).
So there you have it. We have been lucky, so far. What happens when we run out of luck? What happens when those excluded from governance and those cheated during the process of participating in the elections decide that they cannot take it anymore?
The Electoral Commission
The Electoral Commission as it stands now, has not been able to fully enforce the Political Parties Law and make the political parties who want to come and govern this country law-abiding. Political parties are supposed to be national in character, have offices in two-thirds of the districts, raise funds from Ghanaians within the prescribed limits, deliver annual returns, among others. I know how the PPP has been working hard to raise money and stay active to ensure that we meet the requirements. Does the EC know how the parties raised money to fund their campaigns? We have so-called political parties in Ghana that are sole proprietors, ethnic based, specific regions in content, etc. We have an EC that is election focused and is behind times. Otherwise, why does the EC still encouraging the use of party polling agents when they do not exist in advanced democracies; Why do we not have continuous registration of voters when they reach age 18; Why are we not allowing Ghanaians abroad to vote; And why are we not using electronic voting methods?
State of Economic Emergency & Call for a Lean Administration
Ghana’s budget deficit in 2014 was reportedly more than 9.6% of the GDP. This is why the IMF has made a deal with government that includes removing subsidies on fuel, water, electricity etc. to reduce the deficit from 2015 going forward. But we seem to forget one thing. Budget deficits have been experienced consistently every four years i.e. after every election. My point is that election year spending by governments in the Fourth Republic has put our economy at risk and collapsed many businesses. The Mahama Administration is on course to repeat the excessive spending in election year 2016 and bring back problems for all of us after the election.
I intend to call a state of economic emergency my first day in office as President. Foreign travel will be the exception for me and members of my administration.
The words “Honourable” and “His Excellency” will be discouraged by me. Politicians are there to serve and not to be given special treatment as a higher class of people.
A PPP government will NOT pay for any generator or fuel cost for any Minister of State. This will force the government to fix electricity issues promptly. Government will NOT pay for the medical bills of any Minister of State, government official and their family members who seek medical treatment abroad. We will fix the Health Care System for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
I will fight tribalism in all its forms because it promotes inferior, mediocre leaders and results in poverty and intolerance. I am not an Ewe or an Ashanti so should that mean that my party cannot win support or votes from the Volta or the Ashanti regions? I am not a Frafra, Dagomba or Ga so should I avoid areas where these ethnic people can be found? I am a Fante but I have created jobs in every district in Ghana. I will behave the same way in government – tribal blind with opportunity for everyone
The 1992 constitution aids and abets tribalism in our politics. The constitution does not stop at being Ghanaian as what qualifies one to contest election to go to parliament. It requires you to “hail” from an area or live there for a number of years. In the First Republic, an Nzema won election to go to Parliament in Accra. An Ewe went to Parliament from the Central Region. In this Fourth Republic, due to tribal-based politics, some seats are “reserved” for political parties identified with those tribes. If this is repeated in 2016 and beyond, where will the competition in our campaigns be? What will the point be in contesting an election in an area where your party is not considered a member of the tribe? What sort of democracy is this where tribalism overtakes merit? Without merit, this nation we call Ghana can never be prosperous and our good people will continue to run away to other countries. Those who occupy most of our political positions will be “inferiors”.
I believe in inclusiveness. I believe passionately that using the best brains in Ghana regardless of political, ideological leanings can help transform Ghana. I believe we can transform Ghana from a beacon of democracy and political freedom in Africa to become a prosperous country on earth through a considered method of forming a government using the best men and women without regard to ethnic, religious or political considerations. This will not come easily. It will take a lot of hard work and sacrifice. It will require withstanding ridicule from some members of the public and opposing political parties. We will have to overcome old UP/CPP wounds. Worse, it will take a real battle between those who want to go back to pre – 1966 days and the ones who want a forward march into the 21st century. But, it is a battle worth fighting. Ghana needs a political leader who is truly for giving advantage to Ghanaians in all fields of endeavour economic, social, etc and one that will promote equal opportunity for all of our people without regard to ethnic,religious, geographic or social standing considerations. I am that leader.
I do not understand why some people would use undesirable words to describe political opponents . I have always been against “winner takes all politics”. I have spoken against it. I have written against it. Many politicians have heeded the calls of different political parties in government. Currently we have Governor of the bank a known Cppist, we have senior journalists who have declared their intentions to vote for presidential candidates other than their known party candidates. I respect them for their forthrightness even though I would have wished they were in my corner. In the USA, UK, Netherlands and other advanced countries coalitions are known as politically necessary, and political opponents do not use unsavory adjectives to describe them. It is time we became politically matured.
I am not interested in an East-West political, economic or ideological divide to distract our attention from the difficult task of solving our huge infrastructure deficit and eliminating poverty. I will not be guided by the socialist-capitalist struggle as an independent, practical leader only moved by need to solve the basic human problems of the people in order to create a great Leap Forward. I have studied all our past leaders and those from South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and progressive leaders from the developed world. I will use the best ideas they applied successfully in their countries but fine tuned to suit our environment.
Ghanaians can expect from me an uncompromising adherence to the principles of social justice and self-determination. It is time we brought the economy back home to benefit our own people. I will be an activist leader of the positive type. In that regard, I aim to present visionary leadership that is vibrant and one that connects positively with all of the people.
To enable transformation to happen in Ghana, I will promote a real, tangible change in attitude, commitment and a strong competitive spirit. A government led by me will apply the full weight and authority of the state to liberate Ghanaians in an unapologetic manner. We will champion the cause of “Yen ara asaase ni”. This means making formal education a right for all and not a privilege, giving the Ghanaian entrepreneur advantages by the use of the state’s purchasing power and giving power back to the people through the right to elect those who govern them in their local communities. It means the state making it possible for Ghanaians to live in an environment that is clean, hygienic and free from preventable diseases like malaria and cholera. I will put the Ghanaian in front of everything that happens in this country and not parochial interests.
I will lead a real, formidable alternative in Ghanaian politics whose policies will make a positive difference in the lives of our people for years to come. I am prepared to work in a way that is different with forward- looking people who are willing to work and make sacrifices and with a single purpose vision of making Ghanaians proud and prosperous in their own country. I want to be focused on eliminating poverty, preventable diseases, educating all children and promoting the Ghanaian private sector to create well-paying jobs at home.
Every time someone takes the NDC Administration to task for not fighting corruption practically, vigorously and seriously, they fight back, not to prove that they are dealing with it, but they try to cover the matter up by pointing to others as also being corrupt. Some of their leading members and communication team members delight in taking to the airwaves in what has become known in Ghanaian politics as “equalization”. Essentially, that we are all the same. Not true. The point of this is, the NDC was not forced to take power to administer the affairs of this country. So no matter what happened or who did what before they were handed this country to administer, it is their responsibility to solve the problems we face as a nation.
When the Anti-Corruption Crusade was launched by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and other partners, some people rose up with their usual propaganda – “corruption is everywhere”, “even Kufuor said corruption is as old as Adam”, “every administration has engaged in corruption” and so on and so forth. Is this something to be proud of? That the Mahama Adminstration is not more corrupt than the previous ones? John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo are people I consider as friends. So I know that the PPP’s crusade is not about this game of who is more corrupt. The fact is that corruption is the rot killing this nation and the PPP has successfully raised the consciousness of our people to understand that if we do not deal with this rot systematically and successfully, the majority of Ghanaians will continue to live in filth and poverty.
In 2012, I decided to take a personal stand against corruption. This I did in the most public way possible and one that is unprecedented in the history of our country. I made my income tax returns from the 1980s to 2011 public at a press conference that was broadcast live on radio and television nationally. On that same occasion, I made public, the asset declarations made to the Auditor-General’s Office as a minister of state, member of parliament and presidential candidate. I made all my cancelled and current passports from 1970 to date public. I made the results of a comprehensive medical examination public. I wanted Ghanaians to know that my aspiration is to be an incorruptible leader with transparency. It was not about being better than everyone else but to set an example of practical transparency. Unfortunately, many people including the media saw this as just another event and did not even bother to look at the documents. For a lot of them the question was, could I win the election or not.
So my point is, I have made my personal commitment against corruption. I am asking that each and everyone also makes their own commitment in their own way. We can all lead from wherever we find ourselves. If the taxi driver, media men and women, brick layer, carpenter, teacher, civil servant, banker, lawyer, architect, pastor, etc. all work to stamp out corruption where they work and live, we will make tremendous progress as a people, together.. As your President, I will set a personal example for everyone to know that corruption is not acceptable in Ghana.
Ghana is not a two party state and must not become a one party state
THE POLITICAL PARTIES LAW ACT 574, (2000) PART I – FOUNDING AND REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES Founding of Political parties. 1. (1) Political parties may be founded to further purposes which are not contrary to the Constitution and the laws of the Republic. (2) Subject to the Constitution and this Act, every citizen of voting age has the right to form or join a political party. (3) A political party may, subject to the Constitution and this Act, participate in shaping the political will of the people, disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for public elections other than elections to District Assemblies or lower local government units. Participation in politics. 2. (1) Subject to the Constitution, every citizen of voting age has the right to participate in political activity intended to influence the composition and politicizes of the government. (2) No member of any organization or interest group shall be required to join any particular political party by virtue of his membership of the organization or group.”
Everyone must note this part: “(3) Any person who (a) suppresses or attempts to suppress the lawful political activity of another person contrary to subsection (1); or (b) requires any person to join any particular political party contrary to subsection (2), commits an offence and shall on summary conviction be liable to a minimum fine of two million cedis or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.”
I choose to be a member of the Progressive People’s Party. I will not allow anyone to take that choice away from me in any way.
Violence & Intimidation – the silent majority must be awake
I have been in elections from the Assembly level to Parliamentary and Presidential levels. Sometimes, I am seen as being too mild, perhaps too “correct”. It is not because I am not capable of competing boot by boot. I have invested my sweat, emotions, everything in this country. If I do not work to keep Ghana together, who will? Many people have hidden their funds overseas, in safer shores. Mine is visible, right here in Ghana. I have a responsibility to my family, my customers and business partners to be a responsible Ghanaian. I am a public servant, not a career politician.
The PPP and Papa Kwesi Nduom have the guts, the patience and enough patriotism to sacrifice some comfort to wage a relentless battle on tribal-based politics, corruption and wanton waste of public resources. By joining we made a commitment to provide incorruptible leadership to this country. We agreed to make education, healthcare and job creation priorities so that our people can become prosperous and our nation great and strong. We cannot do this if we join the rest, the professional politicians who attach themselves to political parties for an opportunity to empty the state’s coffers to fill their private pockets while the people go hungry.
The Founders of this party are independent minded people who decided to put together an Independent Movement built on a progressive foundation. We are a political party because we want to stay together and propagate our ideas and principles. We are a political party also because the Electoral Commission would not allow us to be independent and still use the same agenda and manifesto. I cannot join the NDC or the NPP or any other party. No amount of money can get me to abandon my independent principles. But we can collaborate with others and we must seriously promote this to offer the country the type of incorruptible leadership our people deserve.
As your President, I will build a coalition of like-minded people and political parties who will agree amend the constitution to give power back to the people so they can elect their own DCEs; reduce the powers of the President and remove ministers from Parliament as members; provide free, compulsory and continuous education to every child; and check corruption.
Today, I leave you with an appropriate quotation from a politician from afar:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
I know one thing for sure – a country gets what it votes for.
Thank you, for your attention.