President Akufo-Addo and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been in power for three years now after succeeding the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
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Since assuming office in 2016, the NPP government has undoubtedly had very good moments as well as some lows.
There are those who say governance is tough but, in truth, the toughest aspect of it all is the part that has to deal with decision making.
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Despite being in office for just three years, President Akufo-Addo has had to take many major decisions, some of which turned out to be controversial.
In those three years, 2019 stands out as the year which saw the President make decisions which mostly ended up dividing public opinions.
Below, we take a look at eight unpopular decisions made by Akufo-Addo in 2020:
1. CSE Curriculum
One of the most topical issues in 2019 was the proposal to teach Ghanaian students Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).
In September, the Ministry of Education announced that, beginning next year, pupils in all public schools will be taught CSE.
The aim was to introduce pupils to sexual education, in order to keep them from being sexually naïve or vulnerable.
The CSE topics include teaching students about sexual rights, reproductive health, open-mindedness, respect for self and others, positive self-worth/esteem, comfort and non-judgemental attitudes.
However, the decision became largely unpopular with many Ghanaians kicking against young students being taught about sexuality.
2. December 17 Referendum
Another hugely unpopular decision by President Akufo-Addo centred on the amendment of Article 55 (3) of the Constitution.
This amendment was geared towards enabling political parties to sponsor candidates during local level elections.
The President led the campaign for the amendment, but most Ghanaians were not enthused by the idea and duly kicked against introducing a party system at assembly elections.
With many rejecting the referendum and calling for its cancellation, President Akufo-Addo was forced to act accordingly.
In a brief address to the nation on December 1, the President announce that he was cancelling the referendum due to the absence of “a durable national consensus” on the matter following consultations.
3. Communication Service Tax increment
The Akufo-Addo government again came under the spotlight following an increment in the Communications Service Tax (CST).
The CST, which is also known as talk tax, was surprisingly increased from six percent to nine percent.
The telcos obviously protested and even threatened to stop absorbing the tax, if the government went ahead to implement it.
The government, however, did not budge and went on to implement the increase in CST, which also prompted the telcos to transfer the cost down to their customers.
This caused a public uproar, with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) joining in condemning the increase in CST.
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4. New Parliamentary Chamber
One of the most popular phrases in 2019 was “Drop that chamber”. This was a phrase that topped the Twitter trends for many days, and rightly so.
Parliament was in the process of approving plans to construct a new Parliamentary chamber which was estimated at around $200 million.
However, this proposal divided opinion among Ghanaians, with many calling for it to be immediately dropped.
A section of Ghanaians felt the $200 million could be used for better things, instead of being used to further enhance the privileged class.
The backlash that Parliament received led to suspension of any plans to build a new parliamentary chamber.
5. National Shrine
The proposal to build a National Cathedral was controversial, but the idea of adding a national shrine became unfathomable for some Ghanaians.
The Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs earlier in the year announced plans to build a national shrine for traditional leaders.
Samuel Kofi Dzamesi said government was considering the idea after some traditional groups petitioned his Ministry about the subject.
This proposal was mocked by many Ghanaians, with some also hitting out at the Minister for even considering it.
The Ministry was forced to retract the statement, with the Minister insisting his words were misquoted.
6. National Cathedral
The Akufo-Addo government’s resolve to build a National Cathedral looks set to go on, but it still generates lots of controversy till date.
Having already been infuriated by the idea of constructing a National Cathedral, things got worse when it emerged that some monumental buildings had to be demolished to make way.
In August, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration announced that the head office of the Passport Office in Accra would be relocated to create space for the construction of the Cathedral.
A few months later, it emerged that the residence of some judges at Ridge would also be demolished. This did not sit well with a section of the public, who constantly protested the move.
7. Introduction of 100, 200 cedi notes
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) unpleasantly surprised Ghanaians when it introduced the GH¢100 and GH¢200 notes.
The Central Bank gave very little explanation on why the new notes were being added to the country’s currency denomination mix.
This decision, however, became unpopular, with many Ghanaians calling for its reversal.
The BoG has since gone ahead to release the new notes, but it is clear that any Ghanaians are not happy with the decision.
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8. Fuel price increment
The Akufo-Addo government has received lots of criticism from Ghanaians over the increment in fuel prices.
In August, the National Petroleum Authority announced an increment in the prices of both petrol and diesel.
Both were increased by GHS0.20 per litre, which in turn led to hikes in the fares of public transport.
This, many Ghanaians found outrages, with some drivers even threatening to hit the streets if another increment happens before the year ends.
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