current of discontent

Ghana: Nana Akufo-Addo harassed by his own majority

By Damien Glez

Posted on October 27, 2022 10:13

 © Image by Damien Glez
Image by Damien Glez

With Ghana’s economic performance worsening and the government lacking a comfortable majority, the president’s regime is facing a rebellion. Legislators from the ruling party are calling for the heads of two finance officials.

One should never speak too quickly. In 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo titillated Pan-Africanists of all stripes, ploughing the furrow of liberation president Kwame Nkrumah and stating his firm intention to free his country from development aid. Five years later, his chairmanship of the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government has chipped away at the ideological dimension of his speech, and his appeal to the IMF has drawn the wrath of his own supporters.

In Ghana, inflation is currently estimated at 37%, the growth of the national economy is trending downwards, the cedi has lost 14% of its value in the last week alone, the Ukrainian crisis is spreading its deleterious economic consequences and the Ghanaian parliament is about to start debating a 2023 budget that looks like a headache. Not only is parliament equally divided between Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), but the jabs are no longer coming exclusively from the president’s rivals.

Political calculation or sincerity?

On 25 October, when the leader of the NDC parliamentarians filed a petition to impeach Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, 80 of the 137 elected members of the ruling party threatened to boycott the budget session if the said member of the government and his deputy, Charles Adu Boahen, did not resign or were not removed from office. These members of the parliamentary majority group even warned that they might not participate in “any government activity”.

According to Andy Appiah-Kubi, the spokesperson for the majority faction, the finance minister is discouraging the financial sector. The minister has just returned from Washington, where he negotiated a controversial $3bn loan from the IMF. Political calculation or sincerity? The parliamentary group members are in tune with the popular and commercial discontent over fears of austerity measures amid rising prices. Last week, vendors in Accra closed up shop to protest against the soaring cost of living.

If you should never speak too soon, you shouldn’t speak too late, either. Already worn out in the midst of his second term as president, for which he was nevertheless elected in the first round of voting, Akufo-Addo is expected to soon address the nation on the economic situation, according to the information minister.

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