Former President John Dramani Mahama has asked the electorates in the Ashanti Region, the stronghold of the ruling NPP, to vote out President Akufo-Addo for failing to continue with the development projects the erstwhile government commenced.
Mr Mahama made this known at separate mini durbars at Abesewa in the Ahafo Ano South, Abuakwa in the Atwima Nwabiaggya South and Ayigya in the Oforikrom Constituencies as part of his 6-day tour of the Ashanti Region.
The NDC leader said he was surprised the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has neglected the region which voted massively for Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2016 elections. He then urged residents of the Ashanti region to change their voting pattern and endorse the NDC in the upcoming December elections.
“They [the NPP] have taken you for granted. They know you’ll vote for them always so they can decide not to provide your needs and still get your endorsement,” Mahama said while addressing the chiefs and people of Abesewa on the first day of his tour of the region.
Mr Mahama said despite the Ashanti Region’s affinity, the NDC has been their development partners for a long time and asked that the trend be changed to prove to the NPP that they cannot be taken for granted.
Failed NPP Promises
This comes after the government made a U-turn after having promised the region some projects such as interchanges, roads and other social amenities.
For instance, President Akufo-Addo, during sod-cutting event for the rehabilitation of some roads at Atonsu in the Asokwa Municipality in 2018, promised to construct interchanges at Suame roundabout and Oforikrom to check vehicular traffic in Kumasi.
The projects which were captured in the budget the same year have not begun yet. Roads which were being worked on in some areas stalled only to commence few weeks preceeding the President ‘s tour of the region this month.
Realizing the residents of the region were getting disappointed in the government, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, had to save the President’s face by assuring that despite the pledge to commence the critical projects as before 2020, the much-awaited Suame and Oforikrom interchange projects will rather begin when the Akufo-Addo government is re-elected in the 2020 polls.
Other interchanges which will ease traffic movement at Santasi roundabout and the Airport roundabouts have not commenced. The government announced in May 2020 that financial arrangements for the projects were currently being discussed yet were captured in previous budget statements.
Other promises that have not been fulfilled are the construction of the Kumasi Outer Ring Road to link up with the northern part of the country by diverting all the traffic from Ejisu on the Accra-Kumasi highway to to Offinso.
The Ashanti Region, according to the roads and Highways Ministry, has about 10,000 kilometres of road network. The Roads and Highways Minister Mr Amoako-Atta in an interview with Daily Graphic indicated that 3,000 kilometres of the region’s road network was paved while a total of 460 kilometres had been upgraded with an asphalt overlay.
However some residents believe the road construction being touted by the government is not true, especially as residents in Apire, Nwamase, Abuakwa, Tanoso, Buokrom, Aputuogya, Kromuase, Denkyembuoso, Atwima Techiman and Boko as well as other residential areas have unmotorable roads.
To this end, the NDC flagbearer, John Mahama said the NPP had not dealt fairly with the residents of the region. He went on to tout his achievements in the region such as the Kejetia market which he said is the biggest in West Africa, the Afari Military Hospital, the construction of roads, schools and the expansion of electricity and water to rural areas.
He said most projects that are visible for all to see that were at various stages of completion while leaving power had been abandoned by the NPP government.
“At the Barekese water treatment plant, we expanded the water treatement capacity by 6 millions gallons a day but when this government came, the work that needed to be done has been abandoned that is why most people in Suame do not have their taps flowing regularly,” Mr Mahama told Kojo Marfo in an interview on Kumasi-based Abusua FM.
He said his projects in the Ashanti Region cuts across various sectors of the economy and asked the electorates to demand accountability from the government.
To him, the era of describing the region as a stronghold of his opponents should not be encouraged but rather, they should vote for governments whose policies transform their lives, adding that it will make politicians sit up and not take the people for granted merely because they are in their stronghold.