Various organised groups are beginning to cast doubt on the 2020 campaign manifesto of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) barely 24 hours after the document was launched.
NDC launched what some political connoisseurs have described as a populist manifesto as the main opposition party is promising almost everything free to garner votes ahead of the 2020 general election.
For instance, the party promised to legalise the use of motorbikes for commercial transport popularly known as “Okada”, return excavators seized from small-scale miners during the clampdown on illegal mining, absorb 50% fees of university students for the 2020/21 academic year and cancel teachers licensure exams and give teachers clothing, transport allowances.
The party in what it termed as “People’ manifesto”, also promised 13th month pay for pensioners, instant recruitment of nurses and teachers after school, reverse ban on salvaged cars and decentralise professional legal education.
However, some of the affected groups believe the promises lack sincerity as they are just thrown out to lure the electorate for votes in the 2020 polls.
They are doubtful because of NDC’s record in government, especially the John Mahama administration. which created many of the current problems.
The groups including nursing and teacher trainees are apprehensive about party’s promise of freebies, particularly when its flagbearer, Mr John Dramani Mahama recently condemned President Nana Akufo-Addo for giving free water and electricity to Ghanaians to mitigate COVID-19 hardships.
The use of motorbikes and tricycles for commercial purposes in any form is currently against Ghana’s Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (L.I 2180) and the legislation was passed under the NDC administration.
However, NDC flagbearer John Dramani Mahama is now promising to legalise Okada if he wins the December 7 general election.
He claimed Okada has created more jobs for the youth in the country than the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s youth employment and flagship programmes like ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, ‘Nation Builders Corps (NABCO)’, National Afforestation’, hence the need to make it legal.
However, some individuals in the Okada business believe its legalisation will choke the cities with motorbikes and this may lead to more motor accidents in the country.
According to statistics from the National Road Safety Authority, motorbikes accidents killed 400 people this year.
Similarly, the Association of Small-Scale Miners at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region have indicated that they do not believe the NDC will deliver on its promise to return their seized excavators if they win the December polls.
Former President Mahama while unveiling the NDC’s manifesto, among other things, said the party will return to the original owners, all excavators that have been seized by the Akufo-Addo administration during the clampdown on illegal mining.
The party has also promised to give back all seized mining concessions to their original owners.
“We’ll retrieve the concessions and give them back to the rightful owners. We’ll make laws such that the country will benefit from the mining without destroying our lands and water bodies.”
But reacting to the promise, Secretary of the small-scale miners at Obuasi Haruna Seidu Aboagye told Accra-based Starr FM yesterday that they doubt the promise.
“We don’t believe the NDC will return our missing excavators. They [NDC] seized our excavators in the past and NPP has done same so we don’t believe them. What we need as an association is proper arrangement when acquiring land, equipment, and an environment to sell our gold”.