Former President John Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Monday, 7 September 2020, launched the party’s 2020 manifesto for the 7 December 2020 polls dubbed the People’s Manifesto.
Below is the NDC flagbearer’s full speech at the launch which took place at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
My wife, Lordina
Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, our 2020 Running Mate
Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu from the Council of Elders
Members of the National Executive Committee
The good people of Ghana
My media friends
Ladies and gentlemen
The world is changing fast and in truly fundamental ways. Global climate change, migration, terrorism, racial tensions and lately COVID-19 are throwing up new challenges that are testing the quality of leadership of every nation.
The stress tests nations are going through are revealing fissures based on the development models and paradigms used by various countries.
In many cases, countries considered relatively less advanced with smaller economies are emerging more resilient and less affected by the global shocks than countries that are considered advanced.
The case of Vietnam a relatively smaller country bordering China, and therefore closer to the original source of the pandemic, has survived pretty much better with relatively less infections and deaths than known global superpowers.
Never in the history of the world has the quality of a country’s leadership been more critical to its survival than now. Leadership that has been proactive and visionary have emerged from the shocks with less effect on their people and economies.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for our beloved country Ghana. Our economy is in tatters and we are on track to post the highest ever fiscal deficit in our history since the 4th Republic.
Excessive borrowing over the last four years have placed Ghana in a high debt risk category with absolutely nothing to show for it. Job losses are at an all-time high with lay-offs and business collapses becoming the order of the day.
The capital and lifetime savings of small businesses and households have been eroded by the not to well thought through, financial sector clean-up.
Business confidence is an all-time low with many Ghanaian business struggling to stay afloat.
Ghanaians are tired and hungry while an elite few have access to all the opportunities the nation has to offer.
Our institutions have been politicised and there is a gradual erosion of our democratic space.
Government has clearly failed to contain the virus and has given up providing timely statistics and data on the status of COVID-19 in our nation.
Despite the huge resources made available to Ghana by the IMF, World Bank and withdrawals from our stabilization fund, Government has failed in its COVID-19 alleviation and containment programme.
Public education has been poor, food distribution during the lockdown was chaotic and disorderly. Protective gear remains in short supply, putting frontline health workers at risk.
It is critical that we rescue Ghana from the abyss into which it is sinking. We must prepare Ghana to cope with the current global changes. We must open new horizons and new hopes, to instill a new sense of purpose in our people, catching up on what we have missed while taking steps to enhance our growth.
We must place Ghana in sync with the new developments taking place around the world in order to prepare our economy to become an advanced one.
To achieve this, we must build a knowledge-based economy and move faster into the new world of smart manufacturing and digital services. This will generate not only growth, but prosperity for all Ghanaians. We will create not only jobs, but sustainable and decent jobs, so that people can live dignified lives.
We must put Ghanaian businesses at the centre of our economic growth. It is only when Ghanaian businesses thrive that our economy can grow and create jobs and prosperity.
We must create equal opportunities for Ghanaian businesses and not deal with them based on the political colour or family affiliation of their owners.
My brothers and sisters, I have had the unique and humbling privilege of providing leadership as President, stepping back and being elected again to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into the December 2020 elections.
I have had the opportunity, during the period, to reflect soberly on the challenges and expectations of governance and the heavy burden of people’s hopes and aspirations that come with it.
Ghana cannot afford to do things the old way. Survival and success for today and future generations require a much more urgent and, in many cases, substantial change to prevailing economic and social relations.
Ghana needs a new era of Social Justice:
· it is time for renewal and gathering
· it is time for greater self-reliance
· it is time to close the wealth gap that divides our society
· it is time to finally end intolerance and social discrimination against ethnic groups, religious groups, gender and age groups
· it is time to end repression of the media
· it is time to unite and create opportunities for all – not just for a privileged few
· it is time to do this democratically – with the full involvement of our people
With this in mind, we set out to develop the People’s Manifesto, a social contract between the NDC and the people of Ghana. To make our manifesto-writing process widely consultative and popular, we adopted a bottom-up approach.
In addition to internal consultations within the NDC, our grassroots organs engaged their communities and forwarded the expectations for inclusion.
I was also privileged to hold town hall meetings with representatives of different socio-economic groupings. I sought to derive a consensus on what the new NDC government must do, how we must do it, and what roles citizens want to play in our march forward.
The idea was to distil this knowledge and commitment into our Manifesto.
Our consultative process was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We did not, however, abandon our objective. We continued, using technology and small group meetings.
Six months later, the pandemic is spreading even faster and with more disruptive effect on our lives than the current government anticipated. From all indications, COVID-19 will continue to plague the world for some time to come, but this Manifesto lays the foundation for the renewal of our institutions and progress for all.
I hope you will identify with the ideals of our People’s Manifesto, vote for me, John Dramani Mahama, and for the great NDC team, and engage us with a view to improving our programme delivery.
I believe that there are great times ahead for our people. All of us, myself included, learned a lot of valuable lessons during the period of preparing this manifesto. The most important was the growing and humbling understanding of the fact that the December election will be unlike any other election in our recent history.
This election will be about the very soul of the New Ghana. Our historic mission right now is to provide our fellow Ghanaians with the opportunity to become a part of tomorrow’s world and offer our beloved country a clear chance to spread prosperity to all our people and move into the status of an advanced middle-income country within the next 5 years.
It is possible together. We can do it with the right and dedicated leadership.
We owe it to our wonderful people to create new job opportunities, to bring new skills, and to provide better chances for everyone, so that all of us will be able to live a dignified and prosperous life.
The time is now, my brothers and sisters!
The change starts now!
Let us all join hands to create the country that we all wish for!
May God bless our homeland Ghana!
May god bless each and every one of you!