The venue for the lecture on NPP’s 100 days in office was the Makola law complex. For the opposition NDC, the theme of these 100 days is lawlessness – Delta Force style.
And so Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, arguably Ghana’s pound-for-pound politician took the stage to showcase nascent changes of his government that won the 2016 election on the need for change.
This setting must be new to him. In opposition, his lectures had the free-flowing attacking swagger of Guardiola but now in government, he would now adopt the drilled defensive cautiousness of Mourinho but hopefully without parking the bus.
No wonder that acknowledging the national anthem, Dr. Bawumia stood with the pose of a player defending a freekick, his hands infront, his fingers crossed.
He stood with an uneasiness of a humble person burdened with power and privilege and unsure of his authority.
But if his body language was uneasy. His mind was not. He proposed to give 103 achievements in the past 100 days – an achievement each day and three extra ones like market women dish out ‘ntosuwou’.
The Vice-President preferred to stay within the economy, play through the middle if you like. But this questioners adopted expansive methods – Marwako, Kennedy Agyapong’s vituperative outbursts on Delta Force.
Bawumia began by doing a mundane run through Mahama’s mess. He did it with some listlessness that perhaps revealed he may have become tired of talking about it or that he knows people are tired of hearing it.
But he could not resist mocking the NDC for announcing a 60% increase in NSS allowance without ever paying for it. And announcing an increase in peace-keeping allowance without paying a dime.
That derisive laughter, a highly potent jab in itself during the opposition has largely toned down – perhaps for 2020.
He argued that farmers can sleep properly because fertiliser has been subsidised by 50%.
He argued that raliway workers can eat properly because suddenly the company is getting enough jobs to pay its workers from its own pocket.
And he argued that commuters can breathe properly because the sulphur content of fuel known to cause respiratory diseases is set to be slashed from 3,000pmm to 50pmm.
But can Ghanaians drink proper water properly in this mining madness called galamsey? Bawumia said government has ruled out brute force. It would now prospect for the gold itself and then direct the small scale miners to dig for the tiny precious minerals.
A Wesley Girls High School student appeared unconvinced enough to bring back the subject during question time. Maybe it was that his take on the subject lacked the anger that puts the politician in the same room temperature with the electorate.
Continuing a better-looking Ghana, he noted that public workers use energy better because public institutions will use solar. And government had cancelled 20 power purchase agreements, stalled on several others to save $300million.
He stressed that government has made it clear to investors that it will only sign new power deals only if it is renewable energy. Ghana will also not pay more than 10 cents per kwh for power in any new power deal because the current 17 cents is the highest in West Africa.
And so, we could be flying better as government works to bring back several airlines that fled the country’s aviation sector over high cost of doing business.
He was quite excited about the ‘really very functional’ Economic Management Team which he chairs. The troubled economy is his comfort zone. They meet every week, he said.
And then he revealed what he called the deal of the year – a 15-year 2.25bn cedi bond that will not increase the wearisome public debt stock.
It was Bawumia’s version of Mahama’ smart borrowing. Then President Mahama told his ever-increasing critics to the ever-increasing public debt stock, his government was borrowing smartly by investing in infrastructure that can yield economic returns on loans.
With sharp tongued brutality, Bawumia jabbed the NDC record of borrowing to an alcoholic who believes in ‘smart drinking’ despite repeated warning that the pattern of alcohol intake is deadly.
More than two years since the March 24 2015 jab, Bawumia noted that smart borrowing in the NPP is basically replacing more expensive debt with less expensive debt and short term debt with long term debt.
‘It is a matter of strategy’ he said with some pride in his team’s ingenuity.
He said he felt glad for getting feedback from the audience on matters he had not paid attention to.
And his worst fears about honouring the Joy FM event was not confirmed.
Weighing in on the town hall meeting, Dr. Bawumia said he was in a good mood when he said yes to the JOY FM event but soon found himself asking ‘what have I gotten myself into’.
Governing party’s have second thoughts, opposition parties take first time shots.
Now that he had put up a defense of his government, the coming days should see the shape of an NDC attack.
Insiders say the problem is getting someone – a cloned version of Bawumia to do the kind of damage that has made him the star of the 2016 campaign and the nemesis of a one-term Mahama government.
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