The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) “should not even think of rigging” the 2024 elections because the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) “would mark them boot for boot”, former President John Mahama has warned.
Mr Mahama, who is campaigning for a comeback as flag bearer of the biggest opposition party, told party delegates during his tours of the Abuakwa South, Abuakwa North, Fanteakwa South and Fanteakwa North constituencies in the Eastern Region on Wednesday, 12 April 2023 that the grassroots of the NDC have been trained to protect the ballot papers.
In his entourage were former flag bearer contender Professor Joshua Alabi, former chief of staff Julius Debrah and the immediate past national chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
Still in the Eastern Region, Mr Mahama, during his tour of New Juaben North, challenged journalists to visit senior high schools (SHSs) across the country to confirm for themselves if his recent comments about the poor quality of meals being served to the students is not accurate.
Mr Mahama noted: “Recently, I spoke about the poor quality of meals for students in senior high schools but the NPP insulted me. I want journalists to fact-check”.
“This is a challenge to you [journalists]. Go to the SHS students to ask them about the quality of food being served and, as I said, with apology, that the food being served the children in school not even a dog will eat that food in the house.”
He urged “journalists go to the schools to interview the children and see for yourself if these are the kind of food Senior High School students deserve to eat.”
According to the NDC flag bearer aspirant, parents are currently spending more on their wards under the government’s free senior high school initiative than in previous times when they were paying school fees.
“When you [President Akufo-Addo] came, everything [you say] Free SHS. Now the children can’t go to school to learn. They go to school for three weeks and come home. Their meals are bad”.
“I have seen videos where food was being shared to students; the quality can’t be compared to what we feed them at home. Parents are spending more on children now than when they were paying fees. That is why we have called for consultation with stakeholders to review,” former President Mahama said.
He reiterated that free Senior High School began under the erstwhile NDC government with day students, thus, he would not cancel the programme if he becomes President.
“But they went round to say I said I will cancel it. That is the propaganda they did in 2016. But we started Free SHS with day students. At our time, day students were not paying schools fees in secondary school.
“We announced we were going to start with boarding students so in the first year, September, we selected 140,000 boarding students for Free SHS so how can I cancel it?”
The NDC flag bearer aspirant’s three-day tour of the Eastern Region will end today, Thursday, 13 April 2023.