Former President John Mhama is confident the opposition National Democratic congress (NDC) will perform better in the swing regions during the 2020 elections.
Mr Mahama, the NDC’s 2020 flagbearer, said the swing regions such as the Western, Western North, Central, Bono, Ahafo and Bono East regions are shifting towards his party because the Akufo-Addo administration’s “bad policies.”
The NDC leader who recently toured these regions revealed in an interview on Adom TV’s Badwam programme that most projects his government initiated before leaving office have been abandoned, citing road projects as an underlying factor.
“It is one of the factors that will cost them [the NPP government],” Mr Mahama said while pointing to the neglect of the Cocoa Road Projects his government initiated in the Western, then Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Central regions.
He said his government observed that cocoa-growing communities had some of the poorest roads in the country hence together with Cocobod, they agreed to devote $150 million of cocoa proceeds annually to construct roads, which included feeder, urban and highways in cocoa growing regions.
Mr Mahama said in his recent tour of the Bono, Ahafo and Bono East regions, he observed that those road projects under the phase one of five phases programme of reconstruction of cocoa roads nationwide, spanning five years from 2015 to 2020 and funded by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) had been neglected although some works had been done before the ruling NPP took over government in 2017.
He said work on the road linking Gambia Number 2 in the Ahafo region and Kyeremasu in the Bono region had stalled while the road deteriorates further.
“We put first layer of coal tar on it but today go and see the road. It has developed more potholes. If you want to work on it again, you have to take off the layer and put gravel on it before tarring it again,” he added.
He also bemoaned the nature of the road from Yefiri through Bodom to Jema Nkwanta in the Bono East region, saying “There were two contactors on the road and put first layer on the road but today it has developed potholes because you [government] said they should stop work and pave way for an audit.”
“Its costing the nation more. Why let them stop work. You can allow them to work while you audit them,” Mahama lamented “Assin Fosu to Twifo Praso road, an important road was being worked on. A contractor was on the road working but when they [the NPP government] came, they said stop work. It’s been four years but all the work he [the contractor] did has been eroded; If you go back to the road today, it will cost us twice the amount to go back and do it when you want to construct it.”
Mr Mahama who is more concerned about farmers in these regions has, therefore, demanded that President Akufo-Addo makes public the $10m-worth audit report conducted on the Cocoa Road Project.
According to the former president, the bad policies for cocoa farmers and rampant illegal mining (galamsey) in the regions have angered the people such that they will not endorse the Akufo-Addo government during the elections.
He cited the decline in cocoa production and the sale of fertilizers to farmers as well as the increasing spate of illegal mining which he alleged is being led by NPP stalwarts in the cocoa growing areas is why the people will reject the NPP government.
Mr Mahama who is on a tour of the Western region has pledged to bring back the free fertilizer programme, continue with policies that will boost cocoa production and also establish a programme that will regulate small scale mining to help preserve farm lands and water bodies across the country.
By Henryson Okrah|Mypowerfmonline.com