The journey of governance is an interesting one. One that requires work, progress, achievements and narrations. Governance is a continuous exercise that must be assessed as such. One administration takes over from the other.
However, in measuring the achievements of each administration, one cannot have any difficulties drawing a line between one administration and the other. Clearly, whatever the delivery of any administration, there are clear cut differences that must always be the basis for assessment.
Sometimes, ideological inclinations map out administrations and what they have achieved to improve on the lives of the people. Whiles we admit that no government abandons the provision of water, electricity, schools, hospitals, roads, and the likes, we cannot fail to measure the achievements by the quantum of such projects on the lives of the people.
On the basis of this, we can assess two governments in this country – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Before proceeding, readers must be clear in their minds what these two parties stand for. The NPP is a rightist party believing in capitalism which focus on private sector participation in governance. A governance system that believes in the creation of an enabling environment for private individuals to advance their interests sometimes at the expense of the state.
On the other hand, the NDC is a leftist party believing in social democracy. A governance system that believes in government’s participation in every sector of the economy. Under this ideology, the government must create equal opportunities for all citizens to be able to take advantage to improve on the well-being of the generality of Ghanaians (communism).
For the purpose of governance and its preceding tactics – politics, a capitalist government may engage in activities in a social structure where private individuals cannot determine the winner of an election. An act that is aimed at roping more votes to be able to form government.
African countries have been closely knitted and have a natural disposition towards socialism where community care is much established. Anyone seen to be individualistic naturally falls out of favour of the African people. On this basis, the capitalists are quick at throwing in pittances to draw votes to be able to form government.
In crystallizing that in Ghana, the NPP when it had the power to govern this country, threw in some socialist interventions for that political advantage. The introduction of Metro Mass Transit after successfully collapsing OSA, the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that was piloted under the Rawlings’ regime, the introduction of School Feeding Program among others.
Being highly inclined to society, the NDC inherited the aforementioned programmes and have made them much better than they were. The Metro Mass Transit for instance, which I must stress was introduced after collapsing OSA, was able to procure its first buses under the NDC of today through its internally generated funds. As of today, aside the 116 new intra-city buses introduced, the company has taken delivery of some two new intercity air-conditioned buses for trial on the Accra-Bolgatanga road. The exercise, when successful, would lead to the procurement of 200 new long-distance air-conditioned buses in two phases.
The Health Insurance Scheme inherited was not national in usage. One could not move from Sunyani East for instance and be able to use the NHIS card in say Sunyani West. The national usage of the card was made possible under the NDC administration enabling one to use an NHIS card obtained from Tamale South in Ketu North.
The School Feeding Program inherited under the NPP has been made much better. While the NPP, at the time of exiting office, was feeding some 440,000 school children nation wide, the government of today under the NDC is feeding 1,700,000 school children. In the Brong Ahafo Region for instance, the NPP adopted 88 schools, feeding some 65,000 school children. Today, the NDC government has adopted 582 schools, feeding some 195,000 schools children.
While at that, the NDC government had introduced free school uniforms to school children. Again, the government had commenced the distribution of free sandals to school children. In addition to that, free exercise books have consistently been distributed to school children, while student to text book ration had been tremendously improved.
The NDC, inherited 3 Polytechnics and had proceeded to add 7 to complete the scheme of one Polytechnic in each region. Today, out of 8 public universities in the country, the NDC has constructed 5 in additional to the existing 3. The New Patriotic Party has none to their credit.
Again, it remains a fact that, if we want to ascertain the investments of government in the youth of Ghana, no other government had done better than the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The provision and expansion of educational infrastructure, is the number one legacy and opportunity any government can give to the people. Investments in eradicating schools under trees, the building of 123 Community Secondary schools, some of which have been completed and commissioned, the conversion of polytechnics into technical universities, the building of public universities, the building of more Nursing Training Colleges, the expansion of access to Teacher Training Colleges, all goes to affirm the investments the NDC is making in the youth of this country.
The records in the health sector are an open book. The New Patriotic Party has not build one, not even one Regional Hospital was added to the national stock. The population of Ghana had not remained the same until they left power. As of today, if the president decides not to cut sod for the construction of any additional hospital, the various hospital projects commenced some of which are completed, is expected to add 6,000 hospital beds to the existing stock.
Of what use is NHIS card when there is no hospital to attend? We can all bear testimony to the likes of the Legon Teaching Hospital, the Ridge Hospital ( Greater Accra Regional Hospital), the 37 Military Hospital in the Ashanti Region, the Ridge Hospital, the Regional Maritime Hospital, The Dodowa Hospital, the Fomena District Hospital, Upper East Regional Hospital, expansion of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, expansion of the Police Hospital among many other hospitals across the country.
These are, some clear investments made in specific and tangible sectors of the Ghanaian economy. Today, the provision of electricity and the expansion of same, can be much credited to the NDC. At the time the New Patriotic Party exited power, it was on record, that the only megawatts of power added to the national grid was some 80 megawatts which was as a result of a consortium of mining industries. Some power arrangements were put in place heading to the later days of the administration. Today, the NDC can boast of having added some 800 megawatts of power to the national grid.
The provision of water, the availability of electricity, coupled with the availability of raw materials, is what informs the establishment of a factory in an area. In all the promises being made by the opposition leader to build 216 factories across the country, no mention is being made to provide water and electricity. This is a clear admission that expansion of access to water and electricity has been achieved. Here are the facts; by the time the NDC exited power in 2001, electricity coverage was 43%. By the time the NPP exited, access to electricity was increased to 54% (an addition of 11% in 8 years). Today, the NDC has increased access of electricity from 54% in 2008 to 85% coverage.
Yes, there are other factors that I would find time to address in the future, but, if governance is about addressing the challenges of the people, the above issues raised and discussed, should be sufficient ground to assess and elect governments. We have challenges, but as a middle income country, we could not have gotten here if vision was missing in the government of the day.
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