Mr Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party has won the Ghanaian presidential election on his third attempt. Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) declared Mr Akufo-Addo the winner with 53.85 percent of the votes, while Mr Mahama took 44.40 percent from a turnout of 68.62 percent. President John Mahama called Mr Akufo-Addo to concede defeat, a spokesman for his party said, as the Electoral Commission announced the result.
— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) December 9, 2016
The NPP had a more convincing campaign because they proposed two key programmes. First is the “One District, One Factory” project, which they said would see Akufo-Addo’s presidency build a factory to provide jobs in each of the country’s 216 districts. They also promised that each of the 275 parliamentary constituencies in the country would be allocated at least $1 million every year for four years to carry out poverty alleviation programmes. Their core argument was that they would not concentrate the execution of development projects in the centre but would spread the funds and reverse the Accra-Kumasi focused development approach.
This is indeed an era of change as the NPP’s Manifesto ‘Change, An Agenda for Jobs’, resonates with the recent trend in Africa, whereby the incumbent government concedes to the opposition party. Also the situation in Ghana runs parallel with the circumstances that championed the present administration in Nigeria into power. Like President Mohammadu Buhari, Nana Akufo-Addo contested the election twice but won the third time and he is also 72 years old.
But examining PMB’s policies as a military head of state in line with his present administration, there is little or no difference between his regime in 1985 and his tenure as president since May 2015. In analysing the former dictator’s regime, the Encyclopedia Brittannica, stated that: “Insurmountable economic problems, plagued Buhari’s regime, as petroleum price collapsed in the face of expanding foreign debt. Buhari instituted austerity measures that caused severe hardship to the average Nigerian. The austerity measures affected the local industries negatively leading many of them to close down. There was also massive retrenchment as many people lost their jobs, in a bid to increase ‘cost effectiveness’ but all these actions were accompanied by high inflation.
So far, the change promised by the Buhari administration has been synonymous with economic recession which is even escalating to the point of depression. Then, in a bid to salvage the deteriorated situation in the nation, the president said the much needed change Nigerians are yearning for must start with them, to the dismay of the people. Majority of the people who rallied and supported the ‘Change’ are now regretting it especially with the increase in the cost of living and the tax rates which are just going through the roof.
Meanwhile as foreign minister, Nana Akufo-Addo was tagged the Devil’s advocate because of his support for one of the world most vicious leaders, Liberia’s former president, Charles Taylor. Nana Addo and the NPP were known to have strong ties with him. On 4 June 2003, the Special Court for Sierra Leone issued an arrest warrant against Charles Taylor, the President of Liberia. Taylor was indicted for ‘bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and serious violation of international humanitarian law’. The special court had no way arresting Taylor in Liberia so they waited till he was in Ghana before unveiling the indictment. The international warrant was served on the authorities of Ghana and transmitted to the Interpol. But Ghanaian government did not make any effort to apprehend Taylor, and Nana Akufo Addo personally participated in the escape of the indicted war criminal. Akufo Addo provided Taylor with the Ghanaian presidential jet and the warlord returned to the immunity of Liberia.
In 2007, Nana Akufo Addo was a minister in the NPP cabinet. His company imported low quality frozen low poultry produced by US, Canadian or European farmers who receive generous subsidies from their governments. The unfair competition with Akufo Addo’s cheap imported poultry products have resulted in huge job cuts. Ghana’s large poultry farmers were forced into other types of farming or quitting altogether. Already by 2002, the domestic market – which supplied 95 percent of Ghana’s poultry requirements in 1992 – only provided a dismal 11 percent.
In different reports, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) found that the Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP have been funded with drug money. Drug lord, Raymond Amankwah has been a major donor for Nana and NPP. The drug lord is the president elect’s brother-in-law, while serving as Attorney general, Akufo-Addo returned seized properties to the Amankwah’s family.
Nana Akufo-Addo’s self portrayal as a champion of human rights, rule of law and justice raises questions about why he saved a man who is responsible for one of the most atrocious wars in the history of Africa. With him as president, he poses a major threat to the nation because this may lead to impunity for drug lords and increase the extent of the drug dealers’ power over Ghana’s government. , As much as Akufo-Addo has promised the people change, based on his past record, he is likely to still repeat the same policies which he implemented when he was a foreign minister.