Hot Debate Over State Of Nation Address

The key word that dominated the first day of the debate on President Mahama’s State of the Nation Address yesterday was “evidence.”

The speaker ignited the debate when he said Members of Parliament (MPs) in their debate, must support every claim they make with evidence and that he would not entertain any ‘loose statement’ from Members.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, said that President John Dramani Mahama came to parliament with a few selected Ghanaians and said that they were beneficiaries of his good policies, adding that if the president could single out a supposed NPP road contractor as beneficiary of his policy to award road contracts to local contractors, then it meant that about 99.9% of road contract beneficiaries are members of his (president’s) party – the  National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He said a classic example of the president’s evidence-based State of the Nation Address was to have brought the two Guantanamo Bay detainees to the public gallery to allay the fears of Ghanaians that their presence would not pose any security threat to the nation.

He noted that the president failed to talk about the present state of security in the country where people are being murdered and attacked by supposed armed robbers, stressing that President Mahama does not care about the security of Ghanaians.

Dr Opoku Prempeh also noted that carnage on the roads is becoming very alarming which should have attracted solid and sound policy from the president to address the high rate of accidents, but he never spoke about it.

The NPP MP for Adansi Asokwa, K. T. Hammond, said that what the president came to deliver in parliament on Thursday, February 25, this year was not a state of the nation address but ‘Hear Say’ address.

According to him, the president boldly said that some roads in the Obuasi area as well as in his (Hammond’s) constituency had been constructed, but the real fact on the ground is that all the roads mentioned in those areas have not been constructed, stressing that the president peddled untruth.

Mr  Hammond explained that all the major generating power projects like the thermal plant at Kpone and the Tico power plant at Takoradi were all started in 2007 under former President Kufuor and were completed by the present government and so that could not be the fastest mobilisation of power to solve the dumsor crisis as claimed by the president.

The MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, said it was pitiful and embarrassing for the president to drag one Comfort from his (Akyea’s) constituency to parliament to show that the people of the constituency were benefiting from a new water project in the Kyebi area. He added that what the president should have done was to tell the whole nation the menace of galamsey (illegal mining) which had destroyed all water bodies in the country and what his government was doing about such a menace – which is endangering the supply of potable water in the future.

The Minister for Employment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Mahama Ayariga, who is the MP for Bawku Central, however said that because of the president’s record-setting achievements, he has ‘no size.’

He said within the short period of his tenure, the NDC government had added about 600,000 hospital beds to the existing stock.

He said under President Mahama’s administration, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) after years of neglect is back on its feet and has started production. However, Ayariga forgot that it was the same NDC administration that shut down TOR for over six years.

Most of the NDC MPs who had the opportunity to contribute to the debate eulogized the president “for the tremendous achievements made under his tenure.”

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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