2020 (retail) Campaign Launch Speech by John Dramani Mahama

Good morning my brothers and sisters.

Today is 7th October, exactly two months to the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

This morning, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, will be accompanied by other members of the party to submit and file my nomination with the Electoral Commission.

Today marks the beginning of victory for the people of Ghana, who are all desirous of a change in the political leadership because of the worsening living conditions they find themselves in, the slow pace of development, the nepotism and corruption that is engulfing almost every action of government, the state of insecurity and the trampling of the rights of many of our people.

Today marks the beginning of victory for John Dramani Mahama, the NDC and Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang as we step out boldly, with the support of Ghanaians, to file our nomination for the 7th December election.

My brothers and sisters, the battle to transform our dear country starts now. The change starts now! It is our sacred duty to win this battle, to deliver true change – not for ourselves, but for all Ghanaians, who deserve to live a better and dignified life.

Ghana will be doomed if we stay four more years trapped within the fake reality, where the NPP propaganda machine paints a rosy picture that everything is perfect, while in reality it is rampant corruption, collapsing businesses, and never before seen levels of unemployment, and underdevelopment.

We have the moral duty to help stop this fake reality. We have the moral duty to restore truth, because it is only the truth that can generate real prosperity for every Ghanaian.

This country and the good people of Ghana can simply not afford to waste four more years! Four more years of lies and fake reality will widen the gap between Ghana and the developed nations almost beyond repair.

After four more years with an NPP government, we risk being seen as a poor country once again, overburdened with debt and unable to create prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen, when in 2018 I took the decision to run again for the highest office of the land, I did it out of a sense of urgency, which gradually took over my heart after I began to contemplate more and more thoroughly about our vulnerabilities, as a country.
 

As a nation, we are weakened by multiple vulnerabilities. Some are temporary and easy to deal with, but some are systemic. And today, because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, these vulnerabilities have deepened.
 
We acquired a middle-income status a decade ago, and since then we have fought hard to consolidate and improve on our gains. We have come a long way in the last ten years, but we are, today, facing a clear risk of being stuck at this level of development. This is our major vulnerability as a nation.

This government has made no real effort to begin to create an economy that generates prosperity. There has been very little investment in innovation and creativity – the main drivers of prosperity. And we are still witnessing cases of institutional failure.

To create sustainable and ever-growing prosperity – something we all deserve – it requires building a robust social and economic infrastructure, one that supports creativity, innovation and the production of high value-added products and services.

The risk of becoming a country trapped in poverty is unfortunately boosted by the fact that while we are fighting hard to consolidate our status as a developing country, the advanced nations are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, transitioning from a post-industrial world to the world of smart technology – and from a production-based economy to a knowledge-based economy.
 
In simple words, the advanced world is moving in one direction, while we are still moving in the direction the world moved 20 or 30 years ago. If we keep moving in this direction, we will become less and less competitive on the global market. And this will condemn us to perpetual stagnation and backwardness. This might happen because our main vulnerability as a nation is a weak infrastructure.

I have travelled round the country, deep into the hinterlands, meeting chiefs and interacting with communities and stakeholder groups. Over the last four days, I have been here in the Western North Region, and because of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to stop ongoing cocoa road projects, for example, many of our communities and cocoa growing areas are inaccessible or have very poor road networks.

Many of these communities are also still without mobile network connectivity, denying the people, students, teachers and health workers access to call and internet services, in this age.

This is precisely why, during my first term as President, I took aggressive steps to develop and consolidate our healthcare infrastructure, our educational infrastructure, our transport infrastructure and our digital infrastructure.

This is the only way to build a resilient nation. Without creating and consolidating a developed infrastructure, no nation can prosper and resist global shocks, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2012, Ghana’s GDP was 41 billion dollars. In 2016, it was 55 billion dollars. According to the facts, during my first term as President, we had an economic growth of almost 14 billion dollars. Ghana’s GDP in 2020 is projected to be somewhere around 59 billion dollars. This means that the current NPP government managed an economic growth of only 4 billion dollars in 4 years.

This is the difference between us and them: we delivered 14 billion dollars growth in four years, while they delivered only 4 billion dollars growth in four years.

Some might say: the reason NPP is delivering only four billion dollars growth is because we are now hit by a global crisis generated by COVID-19. That may be true but during my first term as President, we had to face two years of a fall in commodity prices on the international market, which affected us.

For almost a year, thanks to a court case, the country was on a wait and see mode. We also faced the Ebola epidemic. So, you see, the conditions are similar, and this is why my comparison between my first term as President and Nana Addo’s term as President is relevant.

We both had to face dramatic situations. The difference is that we, the NDC, faced them by delivering a 14 billion dollars growth, while they, the NPP, are facing them by tearing our country apart and delivering only 4 billion dollars growth.

And there’s another big difference. We, the NDC, did not only face dramatic crisis. We also proved we were able to overcome them and moved Ghana forward. They –the NPP – never proved they are able to overcome a significant crisis.

So, the facts are crystal clear: we are better than them, far better than them in delivering progress and growth. This is why during this campaign we have to be far better than them – and I am absolutely sure that we will.

My brothers and sisters, we need to make Ghanaians hope again. We need to make them feel they are listened to and taken care of. We need to make Ghana work for everybody.

This is why in our Manifesto, the People’s Manifesto, we pledged to create One Million new and decent jobs over the next four years. We will do it, I guarantee you!

Let me give you just one example of how we’ll do it. We will turn our economy into a 24-hour economy, with factories working 24 hours a day every day, especially in the production of high-end goods not only for export but also for the local market.

The additional shifts will create a significant number of new jobs. And, since we are talking about the production of high-end goods, they will be decent jobs, with decent salaries, which will allow people to live a dignified life.

In the People’s Manifesto, we also pledge that every Ghanaian will have access and benefit from a Free Primary Health Care Plan. This will include cure, prevention and health promotion.

When you visit a district hospital, polyclinic, health centre or CHPS compound, you will be attended to for free.

I guarantee that we will deliver on this, because access to healthcare is a human right and because we, the NDC, are always putting people first. Ghanaians deserve to have access to free primary healthcare services.

We have also outlined elaborately how we will place Ghana at par with nations which have already embraced the fourth industrial revolution. We will develop our digital economy at a highly accelerated pace, one that has never been witnessed, here in Ghana.

This is why in the People’s Manifesto, we pledged to provide universal and affordable internet access to all Ghanaians. We will also train One Million Coders, who will become the backbone of our digital economy.

Digital companies serve clients all over the world, and they pay decent salaries. With our plan to train one million coders, our digital economy will flourish – and a significant number of new and decent jobs will be created.

This is great news for our young people. They are creative, they are innovative, their entrepreneurial spirit is an inspiration – and we are offering them a significant opportunity to help us create a 21st Century Ghana.

Because of the impact of COVID-19 and in response to the challenges many parents and self-financing students face, the NDC has decided that tertiary students will pay 50% only of their tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year.

This is what we call the KYEMPE policy. It is important because many homes and businesses are yet to recover from the shocks and impact of the pandemic.

Ghanaians, therefore, have every reason to have hope again. We, the NDC, are offering a future to be proud of.

My brothers and sisters, beyond the powerful pledges in our Manifesto, this campaign is about our true vision – and about you!

All the attacks and lies won’t stop us from delivering on our vision. We are better than ever before; we are more prepared than ever before.

We faced real challenges in the past and we overcame them, so we know how to deal with them. This campaign is about all of us, together.

Today, from Dwinase here in Wiawso, I am launching our campaign for 2020 with the largest and most effective door-to-door campaign in Ghana’s history.  

We will touch every soul, we will heal every wound, we will restore dignity and truth. To all my compatriots across the various branches and constituencies, I entreat you all to take our message to the people.

Share the People’s Manifesto with them, and let every community understand what is in this book for them.

My Running Mate, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, who is in the Eastern Region now, will also continue her activities today with a community door to door campaign.

We have broken our messages into simple fliers, and also produced an abridged version of the manifesto, to make it easier for all to have access and get the details. You can also download these documents from my website, www.johnmahama.org or download the JOHN MAHAMA App on your phone or device and get access to the People’s Manifesto.

Let me thank my brother, Johnson Asiedu Nketia for submitting the nomination forms on our behalf.

I want to assure all the teeming supporters of the NDC, sympathisers, well-wishers and the millions waiting to vote for John Mahama, Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang and the NDC that we are winning this election.

We are determined and the Electoral Commission and indeed no institution can and should try to subvert the will of the people. We have had concern to draw the Commission’s attention to many instances of infractions and actions that have not satisfied us.

While we are expecting that the Commission will live above reproach, I want to assure you all that the NDC is very well prepared and we will police the ballot from all polling stations, through the constituencies to the regional to the National Collation Centres.

This is our battle for Ghana’s future. Embrace it like your life depends on it because Ghana deserves to be a place where everyone has a chance to thrive and prosper.  

We are the people’s rescuers!
Feel it!
Believe it!
And let’s deliver it!

May God bless Ghana!

May God bless every one of you!

Let’s win this one for Ghana!

Thank you.

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