While his predecessor and flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, fumbled to answer a simple question of whether or not he has taken bribe before, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has boldly stated that he is not corrupt and has never taken bribe before in his life. “I am not corrupt and I will never be corrupt,” said President Akufo-Addo. He was responding on questions bothering on corruption and corruption allegations in his government during this year’s President’s encounter with the Press.
He stated that accusations that have been made against some of his appointees have all been investigated or are being investigated.
The President indicated that for some people, mere allegations of corruption are enough to convict people saying he does not believe in that.
“Allegations are supposed to be investigated. It’s either they are investigated by the police or whatever other institution and at the same time in the court, but they have to be tried. In the process of trying people, people are entitled to make applications to test this or that and all of these things delay cases. But for me, it is a better system. The thing about due process is that, it is only when you are in trouble that you appreciate it,” he said.
25 past appointees facing trial
The president stated that 25 past government appointees of the previous government are currently facing trial for various corruption allegations. He indicated that just like his own appointees, he cannot just arrest them and put them behind bars without proper due process.
Planting for food and jobs
The president also described the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme of his administration as a spectacular intervention which had led to an increase in food production in the country.
According to him, through the PFJ programme, government has been providing state-sponsored support to smallholder farmers across the country which has resulted in a boost in food production in the country.
He added that this has led to an increase in food crops such as cassava, plantain, and maize across the whole country, hence gradually making the country food self-sufficient.
Buy made in Ghana Rice
He therefore announced that he has directed all government agencies and ministries to use locally manufactured food products beginning January next year.
Per his directive, all government agencies will use and consume Ghanaian rice.
“I’ve directed all the state institutions and government agencies to use Ghanaian produce, Ghanaian rice. I have started in my home at Nima, and I’ve started here [jubilee house],” he said.
The president also indicated that 58 companies under the One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative are already in operation in certain parts of the country. He stressed that the location and nature of the factories are a matter of records and asked critics to go round the country to fact-check the claim.
On opinion polls, the president indicated that he is not bothered about the ratings and polls on his government by institutions. According to the President, the real rating of his government will be done by Ghanaians at the polls in December 2020. IMANI Ghana in its 2019 Imanifesto report scored the President Akufo-Addo 48.78 per cent. Afrobarometer report by the Centre for Democratic Development – Ghana (CDD-Ghana), stated that if elections were to be held today, no political party would win a one-touch victory.
But, reacting to the report, the president scored his administration 72 per cent and expressed confidence that given his performance, Ghanaians will retain him in power to continue his good works.
“My attitude to polls has never changed. The only poll that matters is the poll of the 7th of December, that’s the only poll that matters. I’m not saying that if people do polling you then just rubbish it, no, that’s not my view, you have to look at it, take it into account, analyse it and see for yourself what is being said,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
“We know of situations where lots of people did not predict of my being here [Presidency], or I will never be here, I’m here,” he added amidst laughter.
One District, One Ambulance
On the issue of ambulances which has become topical in the country, the President explained that he stopped his Minister of Special Development Initiatives, Hawa Koomson, from distributing some 300 ambulances procured by the state for the 275 constituencies because he wanted all of them to arrive in the country to avoid accusations of favouritism or regionalism.
“Around 60 are already in and the other ones are on the high seas and will be here; by the end of the month, 300 would be here; on the 6th of January, I would commission them then the distribution would take place simultaneously across the country and nobody is going to accuse me of favouritism, regionalism”, he said.