Very often in African politics, governments embark on projects not with the sole purpose of enhancing the lives of their citizens, but also with an eye towards increasing their vote count in the next elections.
So it goes without saying that projects—infrastructure development— by and large, are the vehicles that many governments on the continent use to woo voters, win elections, maintain power and sustain themselves.
Small wonder that a government’s achievements in office is measured largely by how many projects it manages to initiate and successfully execute.
Fall short of that and your chances of retaining power is greatly minimized, which also means your unfinished projects stand the danger of being shooed aside by the incoming administration, which then proceeds to initiate projects of its own with the same intention of wooing voters and consequently winning elections.
Usually when in coming administrations shelf the uncompleted projects of out-going administrations, the decision stems largely from vindictiveness and ugly politics: “Why should we finish our rival’s uncompleted projects and give them the credit?” they ask, while mouthing off the oft-repeated refrain; “we are saving the taxpayer’s money.”
Abandoning projects started by outgoing administrations was pretty much the order of the day after the violent overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Many of the projects he started were unceremoniously dumped, abandoned by the National Liberation Council, the military junta that forced him out of power, and the consequences were dire for Ghanaians. We sure don’t want to go through that period, ever again.
It is against this background that I find the President-elect, Nana Akuffo Addo’s statement that he will continue “genuine” projects that the NDC government had initiated, very refreshing. It has the potential to heal wounds opened by his electoral success.
Of course, Mr. Addo’s promise is bound to elicit skepticism from some quarters. His political enemies will pounce and criticize, and see it as political posturing and calculated to win over voters who preferred his rival, Mr. John Mahama, in the elections.
But assuming that there is an ulterior motive behind Mr. Addo’s vow to continue the unfinished “genuine”projects, it is still important to see his decision as clearly a commitment to the welfare of Ghanaians and doing something positive and substantive for the nation.
What is more, Mr. Addo’s promise is a continuation of a policy pursued by recent Ghanaian governments. The outgoing NDC administration when it came into office, sure did complete projects started by the NPP. In doing so, the economic, financial and social well being of Ghanaians become paramount.
I don’t understand why Mr. Addo elected to use the word “genuine” to describe projects he says he would eventually bring to fruition. Is he making reference to projects not stained by official corruption or does he intend to abandon projects out of expediency, those that he deems unworthy and waste of tax payer money?
Or by “genuine” did Mr. Addo mean only projects situated in NPP strong areas? He owes the nation an explanation. After handily winning the elections, Mr. Addo remarked emphatically that he will be a president for all Ghanaians. Well, we are waiting.