Inaugural Speech by HE John Dramani Mahama-Inauguration of the NDC manifesto committee
Thank you very much, comrades and friends.
Let me thank our media friends for joining us, as always, and helping to disseminate to Ghanaians, the inauguration of our Manifesto Drafting Committee.
This is the official beginning of the process towards getting down to the people of Ghana, and listening to the various views of our people on how we can make our dear nation a better place for everyone, and not a few people.
The National Democratic Congress, NDC, remains grateful to you for your continuous interest in our activities- activities aimed at restoring HOPE and addressing the increasing hardship inflicted on Ghanaians, unprecedented corruption in high places, and the family and friends governance we are saddled with today.
We will through our manifesto provide a robust set of policy options, guided by research, but most importantly, by broad consultations to renew HOPE in the governance of our country, accelerate what was a successful beginning to the diversification and transformation of our economy, and significantly improve the living conditions of our people.
In the past, our manifesto had been drawn up by a technical committee set up by the party, largely based in Accra, and producing for the party a document based mainly on the expertise of the membership.
This manifesto will be different. It will be a manifesto that will be the conclusion of a long, detailed and consultative process involving broad interactions with our people, incorporating their concerns, their hopes and their aspirations.
Ahead of this process, two significant things have happened, in furtherance of our bottom-up approach strategy for drafting the 2020 manifesto.
First, I have put together a number of Working Groups on various sectors of the economy including Youth and Job Creation, Agriculture and Business Development, Health, Energy, Education, Finance and Economy, ICT & Innovation among others.
These Working Groups, are made up of persons from the public and private sectors with impeccable credentials, competences and solid records of achievements.
Indeed, some of them are private sector players and academics who you will not classify as politicians. They have been working very, very hard and I commend them for their time and energy spent over the past few months in the interest of our dear nation, Ghana.
They believe, collectively, that we must rescue Ghana from this sinking ship.
As a next step, and serving as the brain box of the Manifesto Committee, the Policy Working Groups are expected, together with the Committee, to hold wider sessions including what I have stated before, Policy Dialogue Sessions on the various sectors.
Secondly, together with the leadership of the party and other colleagues, I have over the last few weeks began consultative meetings with identifiable bodies including workers’ groups such as the University Teachers Association of Ghana, the Ghana Medical Association and other key national stakeholders like traditional leaders, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Pentecostal & Charismatic Council, traditional priests among others.
We will continue the consultative process with many others including the TUC, the ICU, Mine Workers, Student Unions, People with Disability, Federation of Muslim Councils, market women, fishermen and all others.
These interactions emphasise the importance we place, and will continue to attach, on the need for broad consultations and effective feedback from our people.
Our approach is to develop a working and an organic manifesto that is from the people, by the people, and for the people. The 2020 NDC Manifesto will be an affirmation of the sacred working contract we want to have with Ghanaians. And I promise you, we shall keep our promises.
When the average voter picks up the Manifesto, he or she should at a glance be able to see in clear and simple terms, what the NDC contracts to do in the next four years in his or her life, in his or her region and in every segment of our national life.
The next administration, my brothers and sisters, will either consolidate the faith of our people in our Republican Democracy or shutter it completely for good. The NDC, through this manifesto and pragmatic policies, will restore the confidence of our people, not only in our democracy but in the greatness of our country.
I am looking forward to a Manifesto that Ghanaians can boldly refer to and hold the NDC and myself accountable.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been there, I have experienced it, I have learnt useful lessons, I have reviewed issues and events, and I am coming back to you, together with my party, the NDC, with what will be a practical strategy for laying a solid foundation for the transformation of our country.
We are coming to give you hope and address your challenges because we feel your sufferings; and we believe in opportunity for all, not just for a few as we are witnessing today.
In emphasising the bottom-up approach to developing our 2020 manifesto, we are saying that, as we go round the country, we have heard and considered the issues that you determine to be of concern to you.
Therefore, as champions of participatory democracy, and believers in giving true power to the people, the NDC remains the party of the people, and we will through our manifesto bring home that unique political characteristic of our party.
Ladies and gentlemen, words, they say, reflect reality as it is. Sincere words can and do inspire a change of reality and of circumstances. Your word, your promise to those who put you in a position of trust is a sacred social contract that should never be taken for granted.
Sadly, that ‘word’, that sacred bond and pledge, has been so abused that it no longer inspires trust, but rather rings hollow in the ears of the listener, because of current happenings today.
In 1992, we sparked home in the heart of Ghanaians with the promulgation of a new constitution unto ourselves. Faith in our new democracy was high, Ghana became the toast of the comity of nations and was hailed as the model of democracy. Ghana was held as a champion in decentralisation and economic transformation.
Alas! The same cannot be said today. Our people are deeply demoralised and are increasingly losing faith in our democratic experiment.
As a consequence, I have heard, repeatedly, people throwing their hands up in despair and declaring: “it is no use voting… politicians are all the same!”
In all humility, I disagree.
Notwithstanding the unmatched legacy of visible, impactful development, acknowledged and celebrated the world over, we in the NDC are humble enough to admit our shortcomings and we refuse to cover them up.
It is this admission that has led to sober reflections and corrective measures to give Ghanaians even better leadership when the NDC and I are elected by the good people of Ghana in December 2020.
This is what stands us out, as the best party to give Ghana honest and efficient leadership that truly encourages both supportive and dissenting views and contributions from our citizens.
The party that I lead is made up of some of the most hardworking, resourceful and experienced Ghanaians, with a singular focus of producing results for Ghanaians, not excuses or blame.
Honour is an invaluable currency I do not take for granted.
I stand by my words that notwithstanding the misinformation and propaganda of our opponents and their insincere promises, we in the NDC will not lie to Ghanaians. We shall continue to be sincere and engage in the politics of honesty, not the politics of convenience.
Today, three years into his administration, promises have turned out to be a grand deception. The much-vaunted economic redemption has turned out to be an economic disaster in the lives of Ghanaians as they see hardship and prices of fuel and utilities skyrocketing.
The promised prosperity has been replaced with excruciating hardships and suffering, which have been the direct consequence of either ill-conceived policies or poorly implemented programmes.
Soon, I will be sharing my position on the state of our struggling nation with the good people of Ghana. But allow me to say that as someone who took over from President JEA Mills of blessed memory and the Ghana Compact 2 negotiations with the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the US Government, I am deeply disappointed in Nana Akufo-Addo for his handling of the Compact.
Fellow Ghanaians, we are all deeply disappointed because of the self-serving decisions that were taken, the deliberate acts perpetuated with the crude support of the Flagstaff House in the ECG Concessionaire Agreement that has led us to where we are today. This was absolutely needless and could have been avoided.
I have just noted a decision by the MCC to withdraw $190 million from the Compact funding. It’s a sad day for us all. This money was meant to improve the efficiency of our electricity utility corporation.
Let me emphasise that, all these shady happenings were avoidable if the right decisions, with the future development of Ghana in mind, were taken, and not parochial decisions that reflect the sad and worsening situation of state capture that we are experiencing under Akufo-Addo.
To conclude, ladies and gentlemen, let me congratulate the members of the NDC manifesto committee and remind you together with the Working Groups, that Ghanaians are looking up to the NDC to re-ignite the hope that was kindled in our hearts in 1992.
This must be a manifesto that ignites HOPE in Ghanaians. It must be a manifesto that incorporates the concerns of Ghanaians and it must be a manifesto that restores the confidence of the people in the leadership.
Win 2020 Together
May God Bless Ghana, May God Bless the NDC.