July 19, 2024
P.O.Box 613ER Gombilla House, Lamashegu Market, Tamale, Northern Region

Honesty or hypocrisy? ~ Dr Bawumia’s invitation to youth and technocrats

Vice President and now flag bearer for the New Patriotic Party (npp) Dr Mahamudu Bawumia appears to be banking his hopes on Ghana’s huge youthful population as his victory speech focused extensively on inviting the youth to have a stake in his vision for a 2025 presidency.

After sweeping a convincing 61% lead in the governing party’s presidential primaries; Dr Bawumia crafted his initial remarks to identify himself with the sufferings that several youth in Africa endure to get to the top.

He recounted, “I attended Sakasaka Primary School in Tamale, Tamale Secondary School, Buckingham University in the UK, Oxford University and Simon Fraser University in Canada.

“However, it has not been an easy journey. My work experience includes a stint as a farm-by-day worker (with my good friend Dr. Abass Awolu (who is now in the civil service) during holidays in my secondary school years, to driving a minicab (taxi) in London and cleaning dormitories in Canada with friends like Richard Oppong of Vancouver (as I studied for my PhD) to make ends meet.”

Many critics have questioned his identity with the poor insisting Dr Mahamadu Bawumia could not have been a ‘hustler’ by fate. They refer copiously to his lineage having been born to Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia; a teacher, lawyer and politician.

Dr Bawumia’s Father who also served his due in politics as one of the founders of the Northern People’s Party and a minister of state, was a Mamprugu Royal and Chief of the Kpariga Traditional Area.

Appeal for Youth Participation

The new leader of the New Patriotic Party who has led Ghana’s Digitization Drive across mobile communications, digitization of all transactions of state agencies and the building of a National Identity Database, leveraged the platform to appeal to the youth to trust his vision for economic transformation and development.

“I want to lead a nation that improves and unleashes the talents of our youth and offers good jobs with good pay, and sustainable growth with macroeconomic discipline.”

As the Presidential candidate of the NPP, it would be my commitment to the youth of Ghana. The talent of our youth in various sectors such as information technology, robotics, entrepreneurship, creative arts, sports, etc. is just amazing.”

When we bring the talents of the youth together, we will surely build a mighty nation. Together, we can transform this nation and do even more, in many areas. I therefore invite the youth, particularly the ‘GenZs to join me in this journey of great possibilities. I have a place for you.”

Dr Bawumia’s keen eye on the youth has been deemed a politically safe and smart approach as Ghana’s mean age stands at 20.2 demonstrating a clear mass of floating voters who will be casting their first ballots in national elections next year.

Out of Ghana’s 31 million people; about 35% are children (0-14 years); 38% constitute young people (15-35 years), and about 4% are in the older population aged 65 years and above.

Pacifying Youth Activists

Dr Bawumia extended an olive branch to the thousands of youth whose three day #OCCUPYJULORBIHOUSE received huge media coverage especially after a team of police personnel resisted their movement towards the Jubilee House amidst visible manhandling, harassment, assault and brutalities against leadership and members of the Fix The Country Movement.

The Vice President indicated, “While on the campaign, I became aware of a 3-day demonstration staged by the young people of our country. They had a simple message for the political class: they needed more opportunities for work, they needed improved living conditions, and they wanted improved public services,”

“These are legitimate demands and we cannot ignore them. We will continue to work hard for the people of Ghana. I have spent the last seven years assisting the President to deliver on many of these demands to: create more opportunities for the youth, improve the well-being of our people, create inclusive access to secondary education and healthcare, develop and expand the road infrastructure of our country, create great convenience in accessing public services wherever one finds himself or herself, and to leverage technology to fast-track development,”

This will be the first comments from the new flag bearer who has been silent on his appraisal of the protestors and the police brutalities.

Not even the insistence from Builsa South MP Clement Apaak and a host of others that the brutalities were sanctioned by president Akufo ADDO AND VEEP Dr. Bawumia with a tacit approval of the IGP Dr Akuffo Danpare could elicit a response.

Invitation to Technocrats

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia further threw a challenge to technocrats inviting them to feel comfortable joining his vision to improve the fortunes of the country.

Though this government has been widely criticized for disregarding the voice of CSOS AND Technocrats, most of whom have been tagged naysayers and opposition elements, Bawumia emphasized he had not abandoned his former hat and affinity as a technocrat.

“As a technocrat, it was doubted if I would gain space in a politics long dominated by career politicians. This victory is an invitation to technocrats and professionals to join me in this journey of possibilities. The NPP has a place for you. I have a place for you. With open arms I invite everyone watching or listening to me tonight to join us on this journey of possibilities. Together we can build this nation,” he noted.

Economic Management

Political watchers including President Nana Akuffo Addo’s Director of Research at the presidency Dr Isaac Owusu Mensah have posited that Dr. Bawumia’s chances at convincing Ghanaians will be impaired if Ghana’s dire economic challenges does not witness a revival before the December 2024 elections.

With Ghana’s cedi plummeting over the years, hyperinflation and a return to the IMF for a bailout, the opposition and several Ghanaians alike have questioned the technical finesse of the Economic Whiz Kid who was strategically poached from Ghana’s Central Bank to steer the country’s economic ship towards accelerated growth.

Dr Bawumia has abundantly blamed Ghana’s economic downturn on the Russia Ukraine War and the shocks of the COVID 19 pandemic, a position he reiterated in his victory speech.

“Notwithstanding these achievements, the unforeseen global economic downturn of the past three years, which derailed the significant economic gains and impact we made between 2017 and 2021, has had a devastating effect on our economy in the past two years, just as it has, on many other economies in the world. This has affected many, including government itself, the private sector and our households.”

Dr Bawumia and Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta have refuted accusations of superintending an economic failure; overlooking arguments that neighboring countries had not gone through such harsh economic knocks like Ghana which received over a billion dollars in COVID 19 support from the World Bank, the IMF and other donor agencies aside the locally mobilized support from the Private Sector.

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