Ghana Politics

NPP Is Champion Of Electoral Reforms – John Boadu

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General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, has said the ruling party is the only political party in Ghana that comes to the fore at the mention of substantive electoral reforms in Ghana.

According to him, since the centre-right party received its official certificate of recognition on July 28, 1992, it has stayed active since then and interested in the development of Ghana’s electoral democracy.

Touting the achievements of the party in that regard, he asserted that “the NPP has been the champion of electoral reforms. We spearheaded the transition from opaque ballot boxes to transparent ballot boxes. We transitioned from black and white voter ID cards to coloured ID cards with pictures. We also were the first party in government to introduce picture ID cards for all citizens.”

Briefly comparing the NPP’s electoral initiatives to that of the NDC he added that “We used to have a situation where the NDC limited the picture ID cards to only the big cities leaving the hinterlands but we felt that it was unfair. We also ensured a quantum leap from a manual voter register to a biometric voter register and voting.”

John Boadu further pointed out that, despite the outbreak of COVID-19 it did not prevent the ruling party from undertaking substantive measures to maintain the country’s electoral democracy.

“In spite of the destructive threat of covid 19, Ghana’s general election of 2020 has been hailed as perhaps the cleanest, most peaceful and free and fair. nature of the COVID-19,” he told the media.

Read the full statement below;

John Boadu was speaking at the party’s 29th anniversary held at its Headquarters in Accra.

THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY @29 YEARS; A TRADITION FOR STABILITY, PROSPERITY AND CONTINUITY

STATEMENT BY THE NPP GENERAL SECRETARY, JOHN BOADU, TO MARK THE OCCASION

National Chairman of our Great Party, Your Excellency Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Your Excellency the Vice President, Chairman of the National Council of Elders, Leader of the Party’s Parliamentary Group, National Executive Officers, Ministers of State and Government Other Appointees, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, and all who have joined us through the various virtual platforms, fellow countrymen and women, I greet you warm greetings from the Leadership of the New Patriotic Party.

CELEBRATING OUR VALUES

Wednesday the 28th of July 2021, marked the 29th Anniversary of our beloved New Patriotic Party (NPP). Being such a significant milestone in the life of our Party and country, we, rightly so, should have been climaxing this anniversary with the necessary grandeur. However, due to the ‘new normal’ imposed by Covid-19, we chose to have a limited media engagement rather than the full participatory celebration that the occasion deserves.

Yes indeed, the NPP deserves to celebrate its contribution to twenty-nine years of democratic growth. The NPP is a centre right Party. We believe in inclusive governance for stability and prosperity. We believe in a “Ghana beyond Aid”, fostered through democratic practice for sustained socio-economic growth. Above all, we listen to you. As we develop and implement policies, you, the people, remain the focus of our thinking and delivery at every material time.

This anniversary marks the longest period of democratic practice in our country since independence. In the period, Ghana has earned an enviable reputation for political stability and security. Political stability is a valuable brand to be cherished, protected and enhanced. The NPP therefore takes this opportunity to congratulate all stakeholders who have supported the growth of the 4th Republic.

Diverse political parties, the Judiciary, Parliament, the Executive (including public servants), Independent Governance Institutions of State, Traditional Authorities, Security Agencies, the Media, Faith Based Organizations, Civil Society-including but not limited to organised labour, professional associations, welfare associations, academics, students, traders, farmers, teachers, health workers, drivers, contractors and artisans-, the public services, the private sector, media and the international community, have all contributed immensely to the stability that enables this celebration today.

WE RECOGNISE OUR FOREFATHERS

Being our birthday, the biggest thanks goes first of all to the Almighty for brining us this far. We are also very thankful to the founding fathers and mothers of our great tradition from the days of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in the 1940s, to the days of the Ghana Congress Party (GCP), the National Liberation Movement (NLM), the Northern Peoples Party (NPP), the Togolese Congress Party, the Ga Shifomokpe, the United Party (UP), the Progress Party (PP) and the Popular Front Party (PFP).

We also remember the stalwarts who sacrificed their wealth, time, intellect, fighting spirit to nurture and grow rule of law and individual rights in Ghana. Since the occasion calls for it, I will attempt to mention but a few, in no particular order, mixing the old and the not so new, accepting that, though it’s impossible to name all the heroes and heroines of democracy here, they are known to the history of Ghana and especially the growth of the NPP tradition. Forgive me in advance for the many significant omissions. For those who stand in line on the last day to add up to our winning vote tally are also heroes and deserve mention.

Paa Grant, JB Danquah, SD Dombo, KA Busia, F Awoonor Williams, RS Blay, E Akuffo Addo, J Quist Therson, JW DeGraft Johnson, K Bentsi Enchill, Victor Owusu, RR Amponsah, BJ Da Rocha, Baffour Osei Akoto, Attoh Okine, Saki Scheck, BK Adama, Haruna Esseku, KG Osei Bonsu, SG Antor, JA Kufuor, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Dr Jones Ofori Atta, MK Apaloo, Mumuni Bawumia, RA Quashie, Kwesi Lamptey, E Obetsebi Lamptey, William Ofori Atta, GK Ofosu-Amaah, BDG Folson, K Amoako Tufuor, Hawa Yakubu, A Adu Boahen, P Ala Adjetey, Jato Kaleo, CK Tedam, Steven Krakue, Adam Amandi, Rita Asobayire, Safo Adu, SA Odoi Sykes, K Dsane-Selby, Gladys Asmah, Christine Churcher, A Appiah Menka, Theresa Tagoe, Mike Ocquaye, RO Solomon, Nana Adi Ankamah, KA Adjei-Darko, Agnes Okudzeto, K Antwi-Agyei, FF Anto, Kwame Pianim, Courage Quashigah, K Donkoh Fordwor, Ama Busia, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Ken Nuworsu, Tommy Amematekpor, Peter Mac Manu, Shani Mahama, KK Sam, Daavi Ama, Adjiri Blankson, IC Quaye, Dan Botwe, Kwamena Bartels, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Cecilia Bannerman, Attakora Gyimah, Bishop Asante Antwi, Y Obeng-Manu, JA Addison, Baah Wiredu, J Agyenim Boateng, FT Sai, Alhaji Maiga, Osafo Maafo, Cecilia Dapaah, Abdul Raman Salifu (COP) and of course, our intrepid, indefatigable, human rights fighter and sitting President, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Permit me Mr. Chairman to make a special mention of the names of the first NEC members of the Party as at June 1992. They include BJ Da Rocha (National Chairman), Agyenim Boateng (General Secretary), Hackman Owusu Agyemang, Frank Abeizei Amissah (Western Region), John Bossu Kwesi Spio (Central Region), Henry Odartey Lamptey (Greater Accra), Yaw Albert Osebre (Volta Region), Malone Mac Stephen Yao Boateng (Eastern Region), Dr. Thomas Kwame Aboagye (Ashanti Region), Kwadwo Owusu-Sekyere (Brong Ahafo), Amadu Kaleem (Northern Region), Adam Amandi (Upper East), Abdulai Issahaku (Upper West).

We also recognize the invaluable role played by our Youth, Women and Nasara Wings of our Party, not forgetting TESCON, our external branches and the many volunteer groups we have had over the period in bringing the NPP this far.

OUR POLITICAL PRINCIPLES

On an occasion like this, we recall the sometimes painful history of the patriots whose trials culminated over time in the adoption of a detailed bill of rights in our national Constitutions. Dr J B Danquah’s iconic statement, adopted by the NPP as its lodestone, says that:

“The Party’s (UGCC) policy is to liberate the energies of the people for the growth of a property owning democracy in this land, with right to life, freedom and justice, as the principles to which the Government and laws of the land should be dedicated in order specifically to enrich life, property, and liberty of each and every citizen.”

Way ahead of his time, Dr Danquah had clearly stated the nexus between freedom and democracy. An individual, guaranteed the freedom to associate, move, speak, worship and work within the confines of unambiguous rules of law, is a more productive person than one who is oppressed by authoritarianism. Thus, the NPP’s current motto: “Development in Freedom”.

The freedoms and rights you and I enjoy today, had to be fought for, especially by the forbears of our political tradition. In the famous case of RE: Akoto & 7 Others, the list of freedoms and individual rights under Article 13 (1) of the 1st Republican Constitution of 1960, was construed by the Supreme Court as not being enforceable. They were only of moral persuasion to the President, who could choose to uphold them or not.

However, by 1969, chapter four of the 2nd Republican Constitution, and thereafter chapters 5 and 6 of the 1979 and 1992 3rd and 4th Republican Constitutions respectively, enshrined human rights and freedoms. The NPP is humbly proud of the role its forerunners, founders, members, sympathisers and adherents played in contributing to enhancing the rule of law and expanding the ambit of freedoms of speech, association, movement and non-discrimination by virtue of status, gender, religion and ethnic background. That is who we are.

We are a Party rooted in rich tradition and strong principles and values which were relevant in the pre-independence era, relevant during the times of independence and its aftermath, and even more relevant today and forever. The fact that we are the only political tradition in the country that have survived all Republics in pre and post-independence Ghana including the most cancerous dictatorial regimes and have stood the test of time, can only be a vindication of the richness and greatness of our political tradition. A tradition that was not built our tradition around individuals but strong principles and values.

ELECTORAL REFORMS

Since 1992, the NPP has been the champion of electoral reforms. We spearheaded the transition from opaque ballot boxes to transparent boxes, the transition from ‘black and white’ voter ID cards to coloured ID cards with pictures and the quantum leap from a manual voters register to a biometric register and photo ID Cards for all voters from limiting it to regional and district capital to national.

In spite of the disruptive threat of Covid-19, Ghana’s General Elections of 2020 have been hailed as perhaps the cleanest, most peaceful, and free and fair. Major benchmarks set by President Akufo-Addo, are the full financing without recourse to foreign aid of the 2020 Elections, and the introduction of political dialogue towards eliminating political violence and vigilantism. Out of the eight elections held under the 1992 Constitution, the 2020 Elections is the first ever entirely funded by the Government. The NPP is truly leaving a mark on democratic practice in Ghana. Once again, that is who we are.

TRANSFORMATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICIES

In terms of the economy, every policy of the NPP in Government is designed to benefit as many Ghanaians as possible. Moving to democratic rule from 1992, the NDC had massive support from the World Bank and IMF. Yet, by the election year of 2000, the country was a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC). The NPP Government of President Kufuor transformed the economy into Lower Middle Income status, found oil and gas in commercial quantities, restored and expanded cocoa production and expanded the financial sector.

He also intiated the introduction of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and introduced the novel communication service tax to help fund job creation and social initiatives.President Kufuor directed the unprecedented redenomination of Ghana’s currency, achieving the enviable feat of the cedi being slightly stronger and then at par with the United States Dollar. Growth rose from 3.7% in 2000 to over 8% by 2008. President Kufuor led Ghana into its first ever international bond market, and took Ghana out of the straight jacket of IMF and World Bank policies subscribed to by the NDC.

The NDC won elections and took over governance from 2009. By 2016, when they lost power, growth had fallen to 3.7% and Ghana was back under strict IMF conditions, including a ban on employment. Arrears to service providers had piled up, there was a debt overhang impeding the energy sector, financial sector crisis and a debilitating ‘Dumsor’, which had devastated the private sector, especially SMEs.

The NPP Government of President Akufo-Addo rapidly restored macro-stability. Growth went up to 8.5% in 2017, compared to the 3.7% of 2016. From 2017, the NPP Government of President Akufo-Addo restored macro-stability, restructured the public debt profile, tamed ‘Dumsor’ and dealt with the financial sector crisis decisively. Over two million jobs were generated and initiatives in Agriculture and Industry which brought new hope. In April 2019, we had done well enough for the IMF to depart from direct control and revert to Article IV consultation status.

We successfully rolled out some integrated initiatives towards agro-industry, which include One District One Factory (1D1F), One District One Warehouse (1D1W), One Village One Dam (1V1D) and Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ). Heavy investments in the cocoa sector have resulted in the highest ever cocoa crop in Ghana in excess of a million tonnes in the 2021 crop season. President Akufo-Addo has also championed a novel premium for cocoa farmers called the Living Income Differential (LID), which pays farmers a substantial premium over and above subsisting world prices.

Furthermore, with mobile money interoperability enabling digital payments across diverse platforms, roping in 70% of the bankable population into the financial space. This has changed the face of banking in Ghana and is set to drive transactions in the African Continental Free Trade Area headquartered in Accra, which is another major plus for Nana Akufo-Addos’ leadership. The President has also championed the successful establishment of a credible automobile assembly enclave in Ghana. Moreover, the revamped Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA) is set to drive the SME sector with appropriate support.

Perhaps President Akufo-Addo’s greatest achievement on the fiscal front is the expansion of the tax data base by over fifteen million names. This is a jump of nearly five times the number of taxable sources available, implying the possibility of no new taxes, yet with increased revenues, as the current tax levels are applied to the vastly expanded base. The benefits of the NPP Government’s innovative and bold economic policies include private sector growth, more jobs, more incomes and a continuous reduction in poverty levels.

SOCIAL PROTECTION

The NPP, despite its centre right ideology, has implemented more social intervention programmes than any other political party in the history of Ghana. Kufuor established National Health Insurance and provided free maternal health care. He introduced the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) for indigent families and provided the Capitation Grant and the Ghana School Feeding Programme. He undertook pension reform, instilling sanity and bringing relief to retirees. He also initiated Cocoa Mass Spraying, creating new jobs, higher yields and increased incomes in the cocoa sector.

President Akufo-Addo has continued with innovative social interventions. One of his greatest legacies, Free Senior High School, is set to provide the literate society which will ensure skills and technical innovation to feed the industrialisation drive. President Akufo-Addo has delivered One Constituency One Ambulance (1C1A), a drone service for delivery of medical supplies, restoration of Teacher and Nursing Training Allowances, introduction of allowances for Arabic and Islamic Instructors under the National Volunteer Service Programme and the absorption of examination registration fees for BECE and WASSCE candidates.

He also brought NABCO, which employed one hundred thousand graduates. 50% of NABCO employees are being absorbed into permanent jobs in the public sector. The Zongo Development Fund is also expected to transform the lives of many youth through skills training as well as modern sports facilities in selected communities.

BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

The NPP government is championing rapid digitisation of government services to improve access and turnaround time, reduce human contact, and ensure integrity of payments and receipts and the quality of records. Paperless Port System, Digital Address System, online passport application and processing system, online production of driving licences, National Identification Card System and NHIA are all taking government service delivery to a new level. The recent launch of the Ghana.Gov platform will make things even better as most government services may be accessed online from the comfort of your home or office.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

Distinguished friends, Digitization also supports anti-corruption. Some of the best ways of preventing corruption include minimizing human contact and strengthening the capacity of regulatory, monitoring and enforcement agencies.

President Kufuor legislated to strengthen public procurement and internal audit systems. President Akufo-Addo has enhanced the legal framework and invested heavily in improving the financial and operational capacity of independent regulatory and oversight agencies, including the Judiciary, CHRAJ, EOCO, the Security Services and Parliament.

President Akufo-Addo has also established the Office of the Special Prosecutor, with unprecedented independent powers to initiate investigations and prosecute corruption. He has also ensured that after pending in Parliament for over twenty years, Right to Information legislation has been passed, with an independent implementing Commission. A new Companies Act and Land Act have also been passed to ease bottlenecks in the private sector.

NPP AND FREE SPEECH

Both Presidents Kufuor and Akufo-Addo are enthusiasts of media freedom. They significantly enhanced the space for engagement with the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. President Nana Addo has gone even further with the passage of the agelong Right to Information Law and the set up of the Right to Information Commission.

Free speech has expanded tremendously, especially with heightened resort to social media. Along with expansion has come investment in infrastructure and services, creating a new brand of jobs, incomes and multiple channels of feedback. The vibrant social culture and promising corporate opportunities for new streams of income and technology transfer, have attracted the two international giants of social media, Google and Twitter to set up corporate offices in Ghana to serve Africa. The location of these two modern businesses in Ghana shows how attractive an investment destination Ghana has become.

NPP OPENS ITS DOORS

Ladies and gentlemen, friends in the diaspora and stakeholders, politics as practiced now, is the best alternative out of all the governance systems Ghana has experienced since independence. We have had One Party rule, Military rule and Authoritarianism. We have also tried the Westminster Parliamentary system. Arguably, none of those systems endured because they did not provide the inclusiveness and participation that we crave as governors and the governed. Mistakes will be made. But the endurance of the 4th Republic, in the face of fierce partisanship, demonstrates that democratic institutions and processes, however slow and uncertain, is the best way to go.

Mr. Chairman, I’m pleased to once again inform the Ghanaian people that very soon, the Party will provide opportunity in every neighbourhood for you to register your name and join this great tradition. So, we are inviting you, the youth and women, who are perennially underrepresented in politics, to register to join the NPP when our membership drive starts. Many of you are politically conscious but you do not trust politics. The reality is different. The NPP is different. We are different. When you join the NPP, we expect you to be actively involved in enhancing and protecting democracy with the provision of quality political leadership in the long term so as to consolidate the path of progress and consistent growth.

In this regard, ladies and gentlemen, the Party will soon launch the ‘NPP Institute’. Members will benefit from lessons in our political history, understanding our ideology, policy analysis, communications, research and other related political issues. The NPP humbly asks that you support the Party school to succeed to further enrich policy delivery and democratic practice in Ghana.

COVID-19 AND RELATED MATTERS

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot end my review of the past twenty nine years without a comment on the global Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic threatens our very way of life, affecting not only our health but also disrupting business and social activities. Due to Covid-19, the IMF estimates a contraction in the global economy of 3.5% and a reduction in trade of 9.6%.

In Ghana, swift mobilisation of technical, material and financial resources, as well as smart planning, have led to a quick rebound. From a depression in growth to 0.4%, the IMF estimates a rebound to about 4.7% in less than a year. The quality of leadership shown by His Excellency the President, who personally led the task force, has attracted admiration and recognition for Ghana worldwide. In particular, the President’s clear sighted strategic goal, gave the entire world a framework for dealing with the pandemic. He said;

“We know what to do to bring our economy back to life. What we do not know how to do is to bring people back to life.”

Taking a cue from the above, governments worldwide spent heavily on the matters necessary to save lives. Revenue shortfalls due to slow economic activity means that many governments have racked up high debts. Tackling post Covid-19 debt will likely lead to a review of the world economic framework, an approach being championed by the President.

We thank Mr. President for the exceptional leadership and urge him not to relent in his efforts at delivering the best possible welfare for the people. He is a personification of the saying that leadership is key in tackling a global pandemic and its associated challenges.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, we continue extend a hand of hope to our foot soldiers and youth and assure them that going forward, they will always remain the heart and soul of the Party. The longer the Party manages Ghana, the more likely we will all enjoy inclusive growth.

The longer NPP manages Ghana, the more opportunities for new jobs and higher incomes.

The longer NPP manages Ghana, the more social interventions like free education and improved healthcare.

The longer NPP manages Ghana, the more the private sector will expand with jobs for the youth.

Thank you for your attention.

Source: Peacefmonline.com

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