It appears that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s role as the hatchet man for every dirty job in the New Patriotic Party has come under a new terms of reference with the man, who was set up to lie against the erstwhile Mahama regime, now being set up as fall guy for President Akufo-Addo’s incompetence in office.
Ghanaians had been witnesses as the Akufo-Addo regime went through the motions to superimpose Yaw Osafo-Maafo as a de facto Prime Minister, with the amorphous job title, “Senior Minister,” in spite of Vice President Bawumia.
It has also become abundantly clear that, in the scheme of things within the Akufo-Addo regime, the Vice President, who is supposed to be head of the government’s Economic Management Team, is on relegation to the role of a scarecrow figurehead, as Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, runs the show.
Mr. Ofori-Atta’s recent scandalous sale of $2.25billion to Franklin Templeton, a company that employs his business partner, Trevor Trefgarne, did more than offer observers a window into the intents of the Finance Minister to create, loot and share Ghana’s money with cronies.
The scandal also served as a coup de grace for the last vestiges of respect that had been left to Vice President Bawumia, after the man had poisoned his own credibility in opposition to help the NPP lie its way to power.
Interestingly, as everything points to the fact that Akufo-Addo and his cousin of a Finance Minister are running the economy without Dr. Bawumia’s involvement, Assin Central MP, Ken Agyapong, has made it clear that Dr. Bawumia is to blame if the economy crushes.
On Adom TV’s ‘Badwam’ Political talk show yesterday, Ken Agyapong, who himself is a party hatchet man in his own right, made a clarion call on the Vice President to stop giving excuses and fix the economy!
“So Dr. Bawumia, the Vice President, if NDC has collapsed the economy fix it!” Ken Agyapong said, to the shock of viewers and the show host.
According to Mr. Agyapong, when the ruling NPP was in opposition and the NDC was in government, both Akufo-Addo and Bawumia had taunted the regime, accusing their predecessors of being incompetent with the management of the economy.
“I remember the words Nana Akufo-Addo used for President Mills… President Akufo-Addo told President Mills, ‘If the economy is broke, fix it,’’ Ken Agyapong said, adding that now that the NPP is in power, the opportunity has come for Dr. Bawumia to prove his genius.
Truly, when the NPP was in opposition, the party had touted Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a former deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, as a genius with a Midas touch that would fix the economy once the NPP was voted into office.
Amidst sweepingly sloganeering that the NDC government was one of incompetence, Dr. Bawumia had been given frontline role in a deliberate choreography of lies, with the current Vice President, at a point, set up to lie that the African Development Bank (AfDB) had blacklisted Ghana.
Even after the AfDB had come out to deny the claim, Dr. Bawumia had been pushed forward to lie the more, eventually claiming that even figures that the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Statistical Service published on inflation were cooked.
As Dr. Bawumia did the dirty hatchet job of lying like the Devil himself to paint the NDC regime black, the rest of the NPP only mostly cheered, with Ken Ofori-Atta and Yaw Osafo-Maafo only remaining obscure without a single adlib to the compelling lies by Dr. Bawumia.
However, immediately Akufo-Addo was voted President, Ken Ofori-Atta, his first cousin, was named as one of two first appointees, with the latter’s appointment as Finance Minister, coming only after the appointment of Nana Asante Bediatuo, another cousin of Akufo-Addo, as Executive Secretary.
President Akufo-Addo has since also appointed Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a man who believes that only Akans deserve to rule over Ghana because of the preponderant quantity of Ghana’s resources being buried in Akan lands, as “Senior Minister.” Political pundits have since pointed out that the “Senior Minister” post directly undermines the position of the Vice President, even as it is totally emblematic of a Prime Minister’s office.
True to indications that the Akufo-Addo regime would sideline Vice President Bawumia, the man who was touted as genius par excellence in opposition has remained a white elephant as Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, runs the show, even though the Vice President is supposed to be head of the Economic Management Team.
Mr. Ofori-Atta, almost immediately after he had been appointed Finance Minister, took it upon himself to singlehandedly sell $2.25billion worth of bonds to Franklin Templeton, a company based in the US.
The sale, which was shrouded in secrecy, immediately triggered an outbreak of scandal as it emerged that Franklin Templeton was a company in which the Finance Minister’s business partner was a director.
As it increasingly became apparent that Ken Ofori-Atta had sold the bonds to his friends, it also became clear that the bond sale had happened on the blind side of major government actors, including the Attorney General and the Vice President.
Even so, as the scandal spiraled out of hand, the dutiful Bawumia was shoved into character again, set up by the NPP to go and lie in the US that Ken Ofori-Atta had not done anything wrong and that agitations by Minority MPs for investigations into the bond sale had been borne out of ignorance.
The case has since been picked up by the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAG) after a petition, even as the opposition NDC has also petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US over the issue.
Dr. Bawumia has since also been shepherded back into obscurity by the regime after the incursion on behalf of the Finance Minister, apparently waiting to be unleashed again in the advent of another scandal too dirty for anybody in government to tackle.
It is while the Vice President is on hibernation from his latest public gimmickry that Ken Agyapong is firing him to fix the economy.
“I remember the words Nana Akufo-Addo used for President Mills… President Akufo-Addo told President Mills, ‘If the economy is broke, fix it, so Dr. Bawumia, the Vice President, if NDC has collapsed the Economy fix it!”
Mr. Agyapong added that the Ghanaian people are not in the mood for excuses from the government whose economic wizard is supposed to be Mahamudu Bawumia, whose supposed genius had been touted to the Heavens when NPP was in opposition.
“…No theories anymore, they have given you the power!” Ken Agyapong said on Badwam.
Mr. Agyapong’s demand comes in the wake of nebulous excuses that the Akufo-Addo government is making in attempt to save its blushes following a totally underwhelming performance amidst the breakage of promises and corruption scandals after just four months in office.
Contrary to promises in opposition to reduce cost of electricity, transportation and create more jobs, the Akufo-Addo regime has rather superintended over at least three upward hikes in transportation fares, continued increase in electricity cost and also effected mass dismissals from the public sector.
The President’s promise from his days in opposition that he will construct a factory in all 216 districts of Ghana, a dam each in every village and furnish every one of 275 constituencies with $1million every year are increasingly appearing as pipedreams.
Even so, the President has so far appointed an unprecedented 110 ministers to his government that is mostly made up of his family members and personal friends, allocating a whopping GHc1.5billion to the Presidency alone, while cutting down statutory payments to district Assemblies.
Also, a prominent promise to make Senior High School education free all over the country has since seen alterations after Akufo-Addo came to power, with the Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, recently indicating that the policy will be a scholarship scheme for brilliant students only.
Again, the government has backed down on its promise to walk away from an ongoing IMF program that the predecessor NDC had initiated, with the Finance Minister indicating that the government is rather considering renewal.
The regime has also opted to go through with an agreement with the US to put the Electricity Company of Ghana under concession, contrary to an outright promise to cancel the concession agreement if it was voted into office.
In an attempt to mollify the Akufo-Addo regime’s mean streak, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, had claimed that ghost names on the national payroll were responsible for massive leakage in revenue.
After an en mass deletion of names however, the same Finance Minister on Monday, this week, reported that there had been a mistake in the cleansing attempt on the payroll, revealing that some of the so-called ghost names were actually names of living and working people!
As the regime stomps about in confusion, new jobs are not being created, with graduate nurses recently picketing at the Health Ministry, while a promise the President had made while in opposition to not tamper with illegal mining (galamsey) has been broken, with the regime rather cracking down on that source of livelihood for many Ghanaians.
Recently, in the wake of threats of protests from a number of labour unions, President Akufo-Addo pleaded with members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to have mercy, claiming that the country is broke.
“There are some things that should be easy to deal with but will prove difficult for some time to come largely because there is no money. But now arrangements are being put in place that will enhance the generation by the state.
“The economic situation my government and I inherited was not the best; both in terms of the growth of our economy and the balances available in the public treasury. Many of the problems you are putting here are the results of a poor office treasury.
“If we had money in the public system, you would find that many of the issues that concern you would not be there,” the President had said.
Interestingly, this beggarly countenance of Akufo-Addo was the direct opposite of what he cut when he was in opposition. On the 2016 campaign trail, Nana Akufo-Addo had pooh-poohed a similar explanation by President Mahama, insisting that Ghana had overflowing coffers.
“God has not placed us on this rich land to be poor. Ghana is not a poor country; the money is there in abundance. It’s just a matter of priority” Mr. Akufo-Addo had said at Suame Magazine in the Ashanti Region on 22nd June, 2016.
Also, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, is on record to have said at his vetting before the Appointments Committee of Parliament that Ghana’s economy is fundamentally strong.
The contradictions within government have conspired to entangle Akufo-Addo and his regime projecting the current government an incompetent one which has totally clueless in matters of statecraft.
However, with the odds tipping against the regime, the ruling party has apparently been more than constrained to resort to an old trick, falling on its hatchet man and glutton for infamy, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.
Only this time, the regime does not seem to aim to deploy Bawumia as a wild card but to set him up as the fall guy for the looming crush of the Akufo-Addo government.