Sika Mpɛ Dede and 9 other unpopular policies of Akufo-Addo in 2022

Sika Mpɛ Dede and 9 other unpopular policies of Akufo-Addo in 2022

  • President Nana Akufo-Addo’s promise of transforming Ghana and its economy endeared him to the hearts of Ghanaians during the electioneering campaign season
  • Known as an anti-corruption crusader and strict believer in the rule of law, the president had on two occasions been rejected by the Ghanaian populace due in part to what some described as his arrogant posturing
  • That tag was shed off when in the heat of the 2016 campaign season he appealed to the electorates to give him a chance to change the fortunes of the country

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“I promise to transform Ghana and the economy.”

That was one of the numerous campaign messages of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then-candidate of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Known for his tough stance on national issues and assertiveness, the current president who was twice rejected by the Ghanaian electorate in 2008 and 2012 repackaged himself into a calm persona ahead of the 2016 polls.

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Sika Mpɛ Dede, African Countries Must Stop Begging, and a list of other unpopular things President Nana Akufo-Addo did in 2022
President Nana Akufo-Addo Image Credit: Abednego Akwasi Asante Asiedu
Source: Facebook

Some analysts believe his so-called arrogant posturing which had been fueled by the All die be die’ mantra hurt his chances.

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In the buildup to the 2016 polls, his campaign messages were tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian.

From a promise to ensure children of school-going age get free access to secondary education, to introducing a job creation agenda, using the Anas principle to fight corruption among others, Akufo-Addo cruised to a landslide victory delivering a fatal blow to former President John Dramani Mahama and his NDC’s re-election chances.

In the early days of his rule, his policies were quickly rolled out leading to a groundswell of support from the country.

As he gradually cemented his position in power, the challenges in the Ghanaian economy continued piling up till its current status.

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Fast forward to 2022, seven years after he assumed the reins of power, a section of the populace has begun rewriting their notes on the man they thought will save the country from bad leadership and economic mismanagement. as part of its ‘Year in retrospect’ series focuses on some of the unpopular things the president did in 2022.

Sika Mpɛ Dede

In a bid to assure the country of his competent handling of the current economic crisis which had been exacerbated by the cedi-dollar depreciation, Akufo-Addo in a televised address to the country on Sunday, October 30, 2022, announced some measures to help stem the tide.

Beginning with his famous ‘Fellow Ghanaians’ mantra, the president’s speech was heavily criticized by a section of the populace who argued it did nothing to assuage the feelings of Ghanaians who were in a state of despair and hopelessness.

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His ‘sika mpɛ dede’ phrase which was coined to caution Ghanaians against unfounded speculations about the value of the cedi against the dollar and other major global trading currencies became a social media topic.

Some wondered how a commentary on the cedi will lead to its free fall as the local currency had then been tagged as the worst-performing one worldwide by Bloomberg.

African Countries Must Stop Begging

On the day the country secured a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3 billion economic bailout deal to help the ailing economy, the president waxed lyrical at an international forum rallying African countries to stop begging.

His speech at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington admonished leaders on the continent to desist from going around cap-in-hand begging for aid and funds from the West and other economic powerhouses.

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That statement has subjected the country to international ridicule with political leaders in other neighbouring countries questioning how Akufo-Addo will admonish his fellow presidents in Africa to shun begging when he had just benefitted from same.

Others also rehashed his recent speeches at international forums in which he appealed to Western countries to forgive Ghana and Africa of the debts owed.

“If You Decide To Vote For The NDC, That Is Your Problem, Not Mine”

In October while answering a question from an OTEC FM journalist over threats by some electorates to vote against the NPP due to their deplorable roads, Akufo-Addo responded “no problem, no problem.”

He didn’t end it there, he also added that such threats do not frighten him and added if they wish to vote for the NPP’s bitterest rivals, the NDC that is their own problem.

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“If it so happens that you decide to vote for the NDC, that is your problem, that is not mine. Nobody will hold your hand to thumbprint for any candidate,” he stressed.

That statement even though government officials say was taken out of context, appears to have already done damage to the NPP’s fortunes in its World Bank, the Ashanti Region.

Jetting Off To Qatar 2022 World Cup

One other decision that got the whole nation brooding over was the decision of Akufo-Addo to jet off to Qatar to ‘motivate’ the senior national team.

That decision which generated a huge public uproar came at a time, the citizenry had been urged to bite the bullet as the effects of the economic crisis raged on.

Despite his presence at Ghana’s first game, the Portuguese pipped the Black Stars by 3 goals to 2.

IMF U-Turn

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Repeatedly the president and his officials assured that Ghana will not make a return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout. But just like how some of his assurances failed to hold water, so did his decision not to seek an IMF bailout crumble.

In a sharp u-turn, the president in July announced a set of measures to help deal with the economic crisis including a bailout package from the Bretton Woods Institution.

‘No haircut’ on investments

In the October televised address on the challenges in the economy, Akufo-Addo again assured that the IMF deal won't lead to haircuts on investments in the country.

That position was however made a mockery of after the Finance Minister announced a Domestic Debt Exchange programme which will see bondholders unable to have returns on their investments for 2023.

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During the height of clamouring for a ministerial reshuffle, president Akufo-Addo burst the bubble of agitators when he declared that he will not listen to those suggestions since they will end up destabilizing his government.

One unpopular minister the president still kept faith in, was the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

In September, while at a public event, Akufo-Addo boldly declared that his cousin, Ofori-Atta remained the best person to take the country of its economic mess.

This vote of confidence came at a time the country’s economic fundamentals had taken a downward trend and were on the brink of getting out of hand.

Several leading NPP stalwarts added their voice to the calls for Ofori-Atta to be replaced with another person, yet the president failed to see reason with those calls.

Give Ofori-Atta Three More Weeks

The sack Ofori-Atta calls went up a notch higher after some ‘rebel’ NPP MPs petitioned the presidency to relieve the finance minister of his position.

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Not even a vote of censure by the minority which was a follow-up to the action by the majority caucus could get Akufo-Addo to change his mind.

In a meeting with the majority caucus in November, he is said to have reluctantly asked for some time for the minister to present the 2023 budget and secure the IMF deal before he’ll consider such a request.

Flying Private Jet

Again, just like other previous trends, the president abandoned the national air carrier for a more luxurious private jet for his foreign travels.

Those trips which have since cost the Ghanaian taxpayer a colossal amount in United States Dollars were heavily criticized by the minority in parliament and a section of the Ghanaian populace.

Carrying His Chair Around

That infamous act of the president again made its way into 2020. Since assuming the reins of governance on January 7, 2017, one constant feature that has always been present during his entourage for local trips is the presidential chair.

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From radio and tv interviews to high-level government deliberations and trips across the country, the presidential chair is said to be allocated a V8 vehicle.

The year 2022 indeed has been bad for the president. Apart from the unprecedented economic crisis that caused Ghana to return to the IMF, Nana Akufo-Addo also took some unpopular decisions, and made some unpopular comments that triggered a backlash. Maybe 2023 will be kind to him and his government.

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