Mahama accused of reaping where he has not sown

A former Western Region Minister under the Kufuor administration is accusing president John Mahama of dubiously taking credit for a project his government did little or nothing to bring into fruition.

Joseph Boahen Aidoo said the president’s mention of the Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri road as one of his achievements smacks of deceit.

During the state of the nation address to Parliament on Thursday, the president mentioned a number of projects including the Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri as one of many road projects his government had executed.

But in a statement issued Sunday, the former Western Region Minister said that road was a legacy project Ex-president John Kufuor bequeathed to Ghanaians before leaving office.

According to him, 87 km of that road project had been completed before leaving office. He said the ex-president left behind funding, engineering specifications and designs for the completion of the entire project but it stalled under the late John Mills.

He therefore found it surprising that the president will take credit for that road project when in fact it was the NPP that did everything.

The full statement is as follows;

Delivering his 2016 State of the Nation Address, President John Mahama claimed the construction of the Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri road as one of his achievements. That was absolutely a mark of sharp practice. It is unfair to claim laurels on a silver platter and reap where one has not sown.

The Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri road project is a legacy that President JA Kufuor bequeathed to Ghanaians including funding, engineering specifications and designs. The road is part of the western arm of the Golden Triangle (Takoradi-Kumasi). Before NPP left office in January 2009, the 87 km stretch from Takoradi to Tarkwa has been fixed. The focal point from Apemenyim to Tarkwa 57 km was funded by the European Union. It was a grant, and construction works up to Tarkwa town were completed in 2008. Just at that time, President Kufuor secured another tranche of EU grant, equivalent of US$73 million, to continue to Ayanfuri (98 km) starting in 2009.

Following caustic-tongued Tony Aidoo’s peppering of the late Professor Mills in his early days in office to discontinue all works on Kufuor’s projects, the Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri road project just like many others (i.e. Legon-Adenta, Kumasi Sofoline interchange, and Suhum overpass) was stalled. It was not until 30th of March 2011 before the late President went to Bogoso to cut a sod for the resumption of works. Construction had needlessly been delayed for 27 months just because of sheer political expediency. And as we speak today, the project is still not completed.

For John Mahama to usurp credit for the construction of Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri road today, smacks of disingenuousness. The same undue sharp practice of the President finds expression in the provision of rural electrification.

On record, the all-time single largest rural electrification project ever to have happened in Ghana was initiated by JA Kufuor in 2006. This was referred to as the WELDY LEMONT Project, which was to benefit close to 3,000 communities. Hitherto, the number of beneficiary communities in any single electrification project in Ghana has been in the tens and hundreds but never in the thousands.

The process of securing the loan of US$358 million from the American EXIM Bank took more than 2 years until 2008 when the money was finally granted. At the time of approval of the loan in Parliament, John Mahama was a member of the august House.

And so, when President Atta-Mills and the NDC assumed office in January 2009, the cake had already been baked, and was ready for sharing. Weldy Lemont, the American contractor had been selected by the Kufuor administration and gotten ready with the mobilization. What the NDC came in to do was simply to continue with its implementation. From September 2008 through 2009, 2010 to date, therefore, virtually every rural electrification that has taken place in the Western and Central Regions in particular and other regions generally in Ghana, has been part of this gargantuan Kufuor legacy.

Oteng Adjei luxury cars saga is very reminiscent of the woes of this project. Put in-charge of the implementation of the project, the then Energy Minister Oteng Adjei diverted US$2 million of the project money for the purchase of luxury cars. It became a household news. And he did reveal that it was an NPP project they (NDC) inherited.

By his act of misapplication, many beneficiary communities have unduly suffered. Many have not been connected at all. Many that are connected, suffered long delays from start to completion. For many others, even though the towns and villages have been connected long ago, meters have not been supplied to enable the people enjoy light. Settlements such as Ohiamatuo Simpa, Kookoase, Aggrey-Parkso, Krofoforom, Appiahkrom, Kwahu Bisaagya, Benna Nkwanta and many more all in the Amenfi West in the Western Region, which were connected way back in the 2012 general elections, have not been supplied with any meters as we speak. It is painful to see the rights of the people to the enjoyment of social good deliberately being denied by incumbency ploy all because of votes in the forthcoming 2016 general elections.

Quizzed at a DW worldwide telecast interview recently about electrification in Ghana and the question of the luxury cars, John Mahama himself admitted that the project that had generated so much brouhaha in the country was in his own words, “initiated by the previous administration”. He himself did not play any role in the advent of this project save that he might have participated in the approval of the loan then as a Member of Parliament. If he turns around today to take credit for this same project, then where lies his integrity?

Finally, if the national coverage of electrification today has increased from 58 percentage points to 80.5 percentage points, the giant contribution of former President Kufuor to rural electrification can in no way be glossed over or taken out. Ghanaians must be told the truth, and I dare say that President Mahama cannot reap where he has not sown.

….. Signed….
Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo
Former Minister W/R
Former MP Amenfi East

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