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Ghanaian Professor Slams Politicians for Election-Year Projects

Academic urges leaders to be proactive and tackle development challenges regardless of electoral cycles

by Victor Adetimilehin

Ghana is gearing up for its general elections in December 2024, but not everyone is impressed by the flurry of projects and initiatives announced by the government and the opposition. A prominent political science lecturer has criticized politicians for using last-minute projects as a way to woo voters and neglecting long-term development goals.

A blatant insult to intelligence

Professor Ransford Gyampo, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana, took to Facebook on Monday to express his dismay at the release of GH¢150 million ($25.6 million) by the government for patching potholes across the country ahead of the elections. He said this was a very basic and elementary job that should have been done periodically by the Public Works Department and the local authorities, not by the central government as an election stunt.

“Let us stop the ignorant subservient excitement for the release of 150 million for patching portholes. This is a blatant insult to intelligence,” he wrote.

He added that Ghanaian politicians tend to deliberately delay important projects until election years to excite voters and create a false impression of performance. He cited examples of roads, hospitals, schools, and factories that were either started or completed in the run-up to previous elections.

“Everything must not be done because of elections and votes,” he said.

A call for proactive leadership

Professor Gyampo, who is also the director of the Centre for European Studies at the University of Ghana, called on politicians to be proactive and tackle the developmental challenges facing the country regardless of election timelines. He said that Ghana needed visionary and transformational leaders who could address the root causes of poverty, inequality, corruption, and underdevelopment.

“We must thwart the efforts of our political elites to perpetuate some of these tendencies. Their role in challenging some of these interventions must not be confined to their flag-bearers and a few acerbic communicators,” he said.

He also urged the electorate to be discerning and demand accountability from their representatives, rather than being swayed by short-term and superficial projects. He said that Ghana deserved better than what the current political system was offering.

“Ghana is not a poor country. It is a poorly managed country. We have the resources and the potential to be a prosperous and developed nation. We just need the right leaders and the right policies to make it happen,” he said.

A test for democracy

Ghana is widely regarded as one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa, having held seven peaceful and credible elections since 1992. The 2024 elections will be the eighth consecutive poll and the sixth presidential succession in the country’s history.

The elections will pit the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, against the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by former President John Mahama, who is seeking a comeback after losing in 2016 and 2020.

The NPP and the NDC have dominated Ghana’s politics since the return to multiparty democracy, alternating power every eight years. The 2020 elections were the closest in Ghana’s history, with the NPP winning the presidency by a margin of less than one percent and the parliament ending up in a virtual tie, with each party holding 137 seats out of 275.

The 2024 elections are expected to be highly competitive and contentious, as both parties vie for the majority of votes and seats. The elections will also test the strength and integrity of Ghana’s institutions, such as the Electoral Commission, the judiciary, the security forces, and the media, as well as the maturity and tolerance of the political actors and the public.

However, despite the challenges and uncertainties, many Ghanaians remain hopeful that their country will continue to uphold its democratic credentials and deliver peaceful and credible elections that reflect the will of the people.

Source: Modern Ghana 

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