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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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Reborn of PP Busia/Akufo Addo administration in modern Ghana

The administrative style of the Akufo-Addo-led administration is no different from that of Busia and Edward Akufo-Addo. There is no difference between the agenda of the two regimes. But under the Busia/Akufo Addo administration (PP), all attempts by the Prime Minister and his ceremonial President to muzzle the media, the judiciary and the TUC were fiercely resisted.

The editor of the Daily graphic was removed by Busia/Akufo-Addo for being critical of Busia/Akufo-Addo government’s stance on the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. In 1971 when the Spokesman newspaper published a story about J.H Mensah the then Finance Minister that he was a director of Odumasi Farms Ltd, the opposition tabled a censure motion calling on J.H Mensah to resign for his flagrant disregard for the constitution. Busia and his government manipulated proceedings in parliament and opposed this the minority’s move by a vote of 81 votes to 24 votes.

The Busia/Akuffo-Addo government summarily dismissed 568 public servants for corruption and ineptitude. This move was fiercely challenged by the TUC and other discerning minds. Sallah challenged the legality of that wicked action in court and had the judgement given in his favour. Busia challenged the court’s decision and warned the courts that “no court can enforce any decision that seek to compel the Busia/Akuffo- Addo government to employ anyone”.

How different is this arrogance and gross abuse of executive power from the wanton sacking of workers perceived as opponents of the Npp by the Akufo-Addo administration in 2017.

Busia promised workers if elected to lead the country he would improve their situation and their condition of service. When he took over, he imposed on them the National Development levy when the Afrifa government which Busia and Akufo-Addo were part, had already brought hardship on workers.

Busia and Mr Edward Akufo-Addo who promised workers heaven on earth and promised were going to cooperate with workers, passed the Industrial Relations ( Amendment Act, 1972( Act 383) to dissolve the TUC the mother organisation of workers. The TUC fiercely resisted this move. The 17 unions which constituted the TUC met on same day to reconstitute the TUC under its old leadership. Organizations such as NUGs, GBA etc offered support to the TUC and issued a strong worded statement to condemn the government.

Then came the Aliens Compliance Order. The police and fanatics of Busia’s government went to extremes as they brutalised and killed people they perceived as foreigners. They extended their inhuman treatment on some Ghanaians because of their dress code. Farms and houses of some Ghanaians who were perceived as foreigners were confiscated and deported to other west African countries. The TUC, NUGs and some lawyers vehemently criticised the administration for not retraining its party folks and the police from the excesses.

Busia in opposition condemned the Nkrumah administration for borrowing for infrastructure development and mismanaging the economy. In December 1971 the Busia/Akufo-Addo government devalued the cedi by 43.8% against the dollar. Production levels in industry started to decline which affected employment and wages. Labour strength dropped significantly. This affected prices of basic consumer goods and services. To reduce the growing production cost, employers had to layoff some workers. Labour and other organizations defied all odds and spoke vehemently against the trend.

Busia who promised workers better condition of service, imposed unofficial wage freeze. In 1970, wage earnings went up by only 4.5% level while the consumer price index shot up to over 90%. Workers demanded for upwards adjustment of the minimum wage from NCO 75 to NC 1.50 but was ignored and government arrested leaders of the workers unions who spearheaded that demand. Workers battled the administration and made sure their leaders were released.

How different is what happened in terms of workers disappointment from what workers are experiencing under the Akufo-Addo led administration in 2017

What about corruption… Busia consistently accused Nkrumah and his government of corruption and promised Ghanaians corruption free government. Corruption and display of opulent lifestyle became prevalent under Busia , his appointees and family members of his appointees were seen driving flashy and living very expensive lifestyle.

Unfortunately for the masses and fortunately for the current administration, the media and other organizations who hitherto resisted arbitrariness have all been cowed into submission. People are afraid to openly challenge bad policies and actions of the administration and the few who make the attempt do so carefully to avoid victimisation.

by

Mahama Ibrahim Watara
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