The late Mills would have been very successful in his short spell in government but for the shenanigans of the conspiratorial plotters that surrounded him.
But despite his brief spell at the presidency, the late Mills performed exceedingly better than his predecessor, Rawlings and his successor, Mahama.
Take, for example, the late Mills managed to move the economic growth from around 9% in 2009 to 14% by 2011.
And against all odds, the late president increased the GDP from $28 billion in 2009 to $47 billion by 2011.
Former President Kufuor increased the cocoa production from around 380,000 tons in 2001 to around 780,000 tons by 2008.
The late Mills impressively increased it from 780,000 tons to around 1 million tons by 2011.
Before his sudden death in July 2012, the late Mills left the agricultural growth at around 7.4%, and sadly dropped to a meagre 2.5% by December 2016.
I have never been, and will never be an NDC apple-polisher, but I will forever highlight the late President Mills unparalleled adherence to moral principles.
Of course, the late President Mills had his shortcomings. Yet he was morally ahead of the other insensitive NDC apparatchiks.
Take, for instance, it is on record that prior to the dubious Wayome’s judgement debt payment of GH51.2 million, the late Mills warned the ‘create, loot and share’ cabals not to effect payment.
Yet the cabals incredibly disobeyed the good old Mills orders and doled out the staggering amount to Wayome, who had no contract with the government of Ghana.
In spite of the late Mills good intentions for Ghana, the naysayers within his own Party needlessly kept squalling, shrilling, and whining about his style of leadership until his sudden and mysterious death in July 2012.
I hate to admit this, but the fact of the matter is that the late Mills greatest mistake of his short spell in government was his decision to mix religion with politics.
Of course, there is nothing wrong if a devoted Christian or a Moslem decides to play active politics. But a supposedly religious person, in my view, must not and cannot ‘play God’ in the political terrain.
“The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country (Jerry Falwell).”
It is absolutely fine if a politician is humble and altruistic. But that does not mean a politician can claim to be “more catholic than the Pope”.
In fact, serious governance is not about “let us give to God”. But it is all about cracking the whip when necessary. After all, Jesus Christ even once cracked the whip in the Temple.
“Let us give to God” (FAMA NYAME) does not augur well in governance, but it rather leads to the road of absolute failure.
The late Mills wanted to please everyone, and hence earning the weird epithet-‘Asomdwehene’.
But the crucial question we should be asking is: is it possible to please each and every one in our day-to-day living activities?
The worldview, however, is that every great leader must be prepared to step on toes if he/she is to be successful.
To paraphrase the great man Nelson Mandela of blessed memory, any person that changes his/her principles depending on whoever he/she is dealing with, can never be a great leader.
If we stroll down memory lane, former President J. J. Rawlings’s ruled Ghana for approximately 228 months (military, 132 months and democratic, 96 months). Suffice it to state that he only managed to destabilise Ghana’s macroeconomic indicators.
Rawlings’s administration adopted the seemingly calamitous Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), which was introduced under the auspices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The vast majority of tangible national assets, including the state owned enterprises were allegedly sold to friends and families for pittance.
The unfavourable Economic Recovery Programme, so to speak, culminated in a catalogue of hardships. And, on top of the harsh programmes and policies which threatened the economic fundamentals, the population had to brace itself for food shortages, a situation which was comparable to the concurrent Ethiopian famine that resulted in millions of deaths.
The initiation of the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment (PAMSCAD) did not improve the unfortunate situation as untold hardships permeated many households.
Starvation, so to speak, visited the vast majority of Ghanaians, and as a result developed hideous collar bones which the humorous Ghanaians renamed as “Rawlings Chain”. That was indeed the pernicious extent of the hunger.
Ghana was then declared as Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC). And as a consequence, the newly elected President Kufuor had a tough decision to make, by either embracing or rejecting the HIPC status.
However, following a carefully considered reflection, the thoughtful Ex-President Kufuor chose to ingest an insipid pill with a view to getting over the pernicious malaise. He therefore pragmatically embraced the HIPC status in 2001.
President Kufuor worked studiously for eight solid years, laid a favourable economic foundation and retired honourably.
He then passed on the baton to the late President Mills on 7th January 2009.
To his credit, the late Mills improved upon the favourable economy left by former President Kufuor.
The economy grew from around 9% to around 14% by 2011 and Ghana thus reached the Lower Middle Income status.
The late President Mills, regrettably, capitulated, got carried away and somehow allowed the create loot and share cabals in his government to have their way. The incompliant cabals began to dip their hands into the national coffers as if tomorrow will never come.
The racketeers even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (purported to be around GH600 million), with the sole objective to create, loot and share. Do you remember Woyome’s GH51.2 million dubious judgement debt payment?
Following President Mills sudden and mysterious death, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worst. The conspiratorial plotters then had a field day leading to the 2012 general elections.
Ex-President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went berserk in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, many observers harbour a strong view that Ghana’s economic downslide came about as a result of the unbridled sleazes and gargantuan corruptions which took place in the erstwhile NDC administration.
Somehow, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks failed to acknowledge that corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.
The general consensus among well-meaning Ghanaians back then was that they bought votes with the tax payers’ money. They clung on to power following the controversial election on 7th December 2012. Suffice it to state that their victory came with a huge costs to the state.
The previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. The GH9.5 billion debt which former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 rocketed artificially to unpronounceable figures. Our total debt ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.
To be quite honest, Ghana went into the throes of economic collapse due to mismanagement and wanton corruption under the leadership of Ex-President Mahama.
Take, for example, Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
Prior to the 2008 and 2012 general elections, President Mahama and NDC beseeched the good people of Ghana for the electoral mandate and in return, they guaranteed everyone protection of life, property, provision of social amenities, better socio-economic standards of living and to a certain extent liberty.
Ex-President Mahama and NDC gave a slew of Manifesto promises, among other things, making dumsor a thing of the past, putting money in Ghanaians pocket, creating more jobs for the jobless, stabilising the economy, protecting Ghanaians from the menaces of galamsey and Fulani herdsmen, bringing an end to dubious judgement debt payments, fighting the rampant sleaze and corruption, working with ‘lean’ government, getting rid of the filth in Accra within 100 days, introducing free SHS, implementing one-time NHIS premium etc.
The good people of Ghana bought into the NDC’s Manifesto promises and gave them the needed electoral mandate in the 2008 and 2012 general elections respectively. Unfortunately, however, the NDC government failed to honour their promises.
Take, for instance, the NDC promised wholeheartedly to make ‘dumsor’ a thing of the past, if voted into power.
If you may recall, Haruna Iddrisu, the then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, asserted passionately: “If voted into power, the NDC government would have no excuse to keep Ghanaians in dumsor”.
The dumsor disappointingly got worst following the NDC’s electoral victory. Consequently, the discerning Ghanaians rightly fretted thy souls with disappointments and curses, and, demanded answers as to why President Mahama failed to bring the dumsor under control.
However the dire consequences of the dumsor, President Mahama and NDC government could not fix the dumsor. The dumsor continued to cripple hundreds of businesses. The dumsor indeed contributed to Ghana’s economic meltdown.
Besides, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government pledged to implement one-time NHIS premium. That Manifesto promise, so to speak, was destitute of honesty and integrity. The NDC government failed woefully to implement the one-time NHIS premium to the utter dismay of Ghanaians.
And, after successfully shooting down Nana Akufo Addo and his NPP’s campaign promise of Free SHS, Ex-President Mahama and NDC hastily turned round and promised to implement the ‘Progressively’ Free SHS policy. However, they failed once again as the Mahama’s government tentatively implemented their supposedly Progressively Free SHS, with each student getting around GH48.00.
But according to the Education Minister, ‘Senior’ Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Mahama administration could not manage the ‘Progressively Free SHS’.
It would also be recalled that the NDC told Ghanaians back in 2008 that the NPP government under President Kufuor had sunk the economy into the mire, so Ghanaians should give the NDC the opportunity to put the economy back on track.
In fact, all the available evidence suggests that the NDC government under Ex-President Mahama rather managed to worsen the socio-economic standards of living than any other government in the history of Ghanaian politics.
Whenever the good people of Ghana decided to express their grievances over the never ending harsh economic conditions, Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would go berserk: aren’t we transforming lives by building roads, hospitals, schools, toilets, water facilities and many other social infrastructural projects?
Most of the projects were regrettably not up to the required standards, albeit the projects were often overpriced. The former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda would attest to such assertion. He previously decried over the NDC’s poorly constructed and overpriced projects.
When the concerned Ghanaians complained about the poorly constructed roads in Kumasi for instance, President Mahama would angrily respond: ‘You ungrateful lots, you would never even be appreciative if I constructed your roads with gold’.
Somehow, President Mahama and his appointees refused to appreciate that exemplary governance is not all about putting up numerous infrastructural projects.
Truly, excellence governance goes beyond the provision of social infrastructural and amenities. Praiseworthy governance also involves continuous improvement of socio-economic standards of living.
The good people of Ghana experienced economic hardships due to President Mahama and his NDC government’s inability to improve upon Ghana’s economic fortunes.
Former President Kufuor quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering $28 billion in 2008. While the late Mills inherited the discovery of oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to $47 billion by 2011.
Unfortunately, however, President Mahama reversed the GDP to an incredible $40 billion as of December 2016.
The late Mills left an economic growth of around 14 %, but Mahama succeeded to asphyxiate the economic growth to an amazing 3.4 %.
Moreover, President Mills left an agricultural growth of around 7.4 %in 2012, while President Mahama dragged it to around 2.5 %as of October 2016.
In addition, former President Mahama incredibly reversed the cocoa production from 1 million tons in 2010/2011 to around 750,000 tons by 2016.
Ex-President Mahama dragged the late mills “unprecedented” single digit inflation to double digits (15.8 as of October 2016).
Last but not least, the late Mills left a fairly stable currency exchange rate-it was around GH1.65 to 1 U.S Dollar in 2011. However, the exchange rate stood around GH4.20 to 1 U.S Dollar as of December 2016.
As a matter of fact and observation, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government recklessly collapsed the hitherto thriving economy. Indeed, they broke their earlier promises, thus the bonds of trust were infringed to the utter chagrin of discerning Ghanaians.
Columnist: K. Badu, UK