A huge dynamic range between the big promises and the achievements made indicate that the President has underachieved in respect of virtually every lofty promise that he made for votes in 2016.
And the President’s narcissistic claims that he has achieved more than every predecessor of his, including Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, has invited very uncomplimentary judgment calls on him.
Strictly on the basis of what the President promised in opposition and what he has achieved in office, the facts indicate that he has gone back on many of the promises he made or only managed to make lame inroads on the once that he made attempts at.
Free Senior High School, the President’s big tout, has reintroduced the backward shift system in schools across the country, with SHS students now having to go to school in turns in what has derogatorily been referred to as the “traffic light,” rotation.
Akufo-Addo’s ‘traffic light,’ Free SHS is solely the fallout of populist propaganda that the President led his government to do with Ghana’s second cycle education. Mr. Akufo-Addo had inherited a free SHS system christened “Progressively Free SHS” from his predecessor, John Dramani Mahama.
Mahama had tackled Progressively Free SHS by targeting brilliant but needy students in the various secondary schools with scholarships, with the program guided by an envisagement to gradually improve the program into what President Akufo-Addo had aimed to achieve with his version of Free SHS.
However, when Akufo-Addo came into office in 2017, he brushed aside the Mahama program and launched his own Free SHS which he had promised as a flagship policy in opposition. In the heat of the blind energy, Akufo-Addo did not even pilot Free SHS.
Three years down the line, Free SHS is a traffic light rotary that has reintroduced the dreaded shift system, which all governments previous to the current government had fought to a point when it was just about to be defeated before Akufo-Addo became President. Now, all the gains made against the shift system have been lost, at least at the Secondary Schools level.
But going into the 2020 election, this Free SHS is the President’s best achievement, even though the Free SHS he promised in opposition was markedly different than what he has delivered.
While in opposition, President Akufo-Addo promised to build 275 factories under a “One District, One Factory (1D1F)” program. It would be recalled that then Candidate Akufo-Addo had insisted that Ghana had the money to afford the factories in one fell swoop, maintaining the claim during a BBC interview in 2016 in which he had promised that the project had been costed and that he would make the cost available to Ghanaians.
Since coming to power, the government has not built a single factory. Rather, it has been touting cottage industries and mid-tier manufacturing set-ups by private entrepreneurs as the factories under the 1d1f programs.
The Akufo-Addo government’s spokesman, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has also gone on record to state that the President, while in opposition, never promised to build factories in all the 275 districts of the country.
Again in opposition, Akufo-Addo had promised to build a dam in every single village of Ghana. The government has since claimed, while in office, that it did not promise to build dams in every village, but only in the Northern part of the country to help weather the dry seasons of the area.
Meanwhile, rather than the dams promised in opposition, the government has been constructing dugouts some of which are often washed away during the rainy season.
When he was in opposition, then Candidate Akufo-Addo promised to work with a lean government, criticizing the then Mahama government which had a little over 90 Ministers. However, immediately after his election, Akufo-Addo appointed an unprecedented government of 110 Ministers. Since the creation of the six new regions, the number of Ministers has increased to 124.
Similarly, a power craving Akufo-Addo promised in opposition, not to run a family and friends government, chastising then President Mahama, who had only one cousin, Joyce Bawa Mogtari in his government. After becoming President, Akufo-Addo has been running the worst family and friends government in the history of the country, with his blood relations, including daughters, cousins, brothers, and nephews strewn across his government.
President Akufo-Addo has even ex-girlfriends and baby mamas appointed to ambassadorial positions. The administration has since been justifying the nepotism with the claim that there are too many brilliant people in the President’s family, that is why.
While craving for power in opposition Akufo-Addo had promised that his administration would allocate US$1million to every Constituency every year if he was voted for. That policy never saw the light of the day after his election.
The government has since been claiming that it had promised to allocate the money, in other forms rather than cash, to the Constituencies.
President Akufo-Addo’s administration has had the highest number of corruption scandals in the history of governments, with some liberal counts putting the tally in the three hundred plus (300+) zone. This is different from his promise in opposition to fight corruption with a fine-tooth comb, including a supposed “Anas principle” that never happened after assuming office.
Many illegal miners, (galamseyers) have vowed to vote against Akufo-Addo in 2020 because when he was in opposition in 2016, he had vowed never to end galamsey and gotten campaign funding from these illegal miners.
However, immediately after he came into office, the President turned around and banned galamsey, sending soldiers and National Security to arrest and seize equipment of galamseyers which would later be shared among his appointees.
When he was in opposition Mr. Akufo-Addo had promised not to borrow like the Mahama government was doing, famously claiming that Ghana was sitting on money but that it was incompetence and mismanagement which was causing hardship. Since coming into office, Akufo-Addo has borrowed more than every other President before him, pushing Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio into HIPC proportion.
President Akufo-Addo had even gone around to eat local dishes like ‘ampesie’, ‘banku’ and ‘fufu’ publicly when he was in opposition and campaigning for votes. But after he came to power, the President declared in 2017 that he loves Lebanese.