Former President John Mahama is not sabotaging the Free Senior High School programme as reported by some newspapers, his special aide Joyce Bawa Mogtari has said in a statement.
The statement, titled: ‘Blame Not Mahama for Your Failures’ said the “government-sponsored attack” launched at Mr Mahama is “based on a deliberately concocted lie that the former president is working to scuttle the government’s free secondary education policy”.
It said: “Two pro-government and pro-NPP newspapers, Daily Statesman and Daily Guide, together with sponsored leaflets in circulation in the Ashanti Region claim that Mr Mahama is working with some officials of the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), and some faceless South Africans to make it impossible for the Nana Akufo-Addo government to implement its Free SHS promise.
“How is it possible”, the statement wonders, “for a person who does not control government’s kitty to make it impossible for the government to implement its policy initiative?
“It is obviously evident, as previously noted by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in parliament that government has no plans and has outlined none on how it is going to fulfil the many promises it made to the people of Ghana.
“The publication and circulation of this syndicated story, which has no merit, is concocted, and which also debases the intelligence and character of officials of the GES and BNI, is nothing but a diversionary tactic.
“Government has huge challenges with implementing a campaign promise to make education at the senior high school level free for all students, both day and boarders, and starting from the next academic year.
“But this attempt to begin a careful process of accusing the former President and hopefully blame him for what was a clear deceit of the Ghanaian voter, SHS students, and their parents will not succeed.”
It wondered if government made “adequate budgetary allocations in its 2017 Budget for the implementation of the promise, and the many others it made during the campaign period”.
It asked how it could be Mr Mahama’s fault that “government has failed woefully to align its lofty promises with practice and adequate financial allocation?”
“Will all Ghanaian students in SHS and those who will be entering SHS One in September enjoy free education? Government should boldly answer that question and find answers for parents instead of plotting and sponsoring attacks on the former President,” it continued.
The statement noted that Mr Mahama as president “demonstrated his commitment to an accelerated and multi-faceted development of our nation”, adding: “He had a clear focus on expanding the country’s economic and social infrastructure, and also worked to actualise his vision of expanding access to secondary education and also to quality healthcare across the country.
“The start of work on 200 community day senior high schools, implementation of a $156 million Secondary Education Improvement Programme (SEIP), implementation of a Progressively Free S.H.S. programme in 2015, start of work to expand infrastructure in our technical and vocational institutions, among others, are evidence of his work.
“These critical interventions in access, quality, and affordability ensured both increased enrolment and enhanced performance in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results.
“I will not want to delve into concerns that President Nana Akufo-Addo may have embarked on a deliberate game of deception and actually lacks commitment to the things he said during the campaign.
“The government-sponsored syndication of this concocted story by two newspapers aligned to President Nana Akufo-Addo as a person, coming just days after his meeting with all living former Presidents of Ghana, is yet another demonstration of a betrayal of trust by the President. Like every good leader,” the release continued, Mr Mahama “remains a true Ghanaian and will support any efforts towards the growth of our country.
“The John Mahama legacy of rapid economic and social development, gradual transformation of the economy, the impressive and massive revamping and expansion of infrastructure across the country, is solid, has been proven and recognised by all Ghanaians and many outside our country.”