The opposition NDC which is seeking to return to power in the December polls will be campaigning largely on John Mahama’s first term as it aims to make him President again after December 7. The other side of the party’s re-election bid will focus on what has transpired between 7th January 2017 and December- that is, the reign of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo as President of the republic. As has been articulated by many politicians, the 2020 polls presents a unique dynamic between of a race between a former president and an incumbent; the first such scenario since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1992. It’s a battle of performance as stated by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who early this week put out a facebook post chronicling and comparing achievements of the two front runners in the upcoming polls. The NDC has responded to that challenge by listing 60 achievements of John Dramani Mahama as president. The claims span sectors like energy, water and sanitation, health, agriculture, education and sports. On the Starrfmfactchecker today, we want to put 3 of the claims to some verification
- CLAIM 1: WA WATER SUPPLY PROJECT
VERDICT: MOSTLY TRUE
This project has been the subject of controversy between the governing NPP and the opposition NDC. The controversy started when President Akufo Addo commissioned the project in October 2017. At the commissioning ceremony, the President emphatically stated that “God made him commission the water project because the project was secured by the Kuffuor administration in 2008”. The NDC took issue with that comment, saying it was untrue and laying claim to the project. That triggered a response from then Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda who reiterated that the project was the brainchild of the previous NPP administration. Today the NDC is listing it as an achievement of John Mahama. So what are the facts?
In 2009, then finance minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor presented to parliament a number of water projects that were to take place. Among them was the Wa Water project. In 2012, parliament signed the loan agreement between Ghana and the Korean Exim Bank. However there was a delay since that agreement but in 2015 two bilateral agreements were signed. The two documents are the Framework Agreement on Grant Aid and the Framework Arrangement of the Concessional Loans from Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). Then finance minister Seth Terkper noted that “Ghana would get access to the equivalent of $200 million between now and 2017”
Also present at the signing ceremony was the Korean Ambassador to Ghana Lyeo Woon-Ki who commented that the Korean Exim Bank had been providing EDCF loan facilities, which had supported various projects in Ghana to the tune of $182 million, including the ongoing Wa Water Supply Project.
2 years later, on April 4 2017 the Korean Ambassador noted at the signing of the 200 million dollar loan which then finance minister Seth Terkper had spoken about in 2015 that “the fund, which will be disbursed from Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to Ghana between 2017 and 2019, will cover five projects. He listed the Wa Water Supply system development project as the first and added it “will be completed in April this year”.
Although the project was to be completed in April of 2017, it wasn’t until October that year when President Akufo Addo commissioned. The commissioning happened 10 months into his administration. Again, as at March 2017, Upper West Regional Chief Manager of the Ghana Water Company, Francis Agyei-Boateng had said that the project was complete and was awaiting test run.
Given that this was a major project, it could not have been started and completed within 10 months of the Akufo Addo administration. From the facts, it is clear that the project began during John Mahama’s administration although it was completed 3 months after he left office. The facts also show that the agreement was signed in 2012 and not in 2008. This means the NDC’s claim that the Wa Water Supply project is an achievement of John Mahama is true. However the Starrfmfactchecker will rate this claim as mostly true with five stars solely because it contains no outright falsehoods but just some omission of the fact that it was under Akufo Addo’s tenure that the project was completed
- CLAIM 2: The expansion in the utilisation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). In 2015, the out-patient utilisation of NHIS stood at 29 million, up from nine million in 2008.
VERDICT: This claim is mostly true
Background: the politics about the National Health Insurance Scheme is not new. The NDC and the NPP have been trading claims and counter claims about the scheme and who improved it. So it is necessary to subject this one made by the NDC to some scrutiny
In verifying this claim, the Starrfmfactcheker relied on reports and information on the official website of the National Health Insurance Authority; www.nhis.gov.gh. The 2009 annual report of the NHIA indicates that the out-patient utilization of the scheme stood at nine million three hundred and thirty nine thousand, two hundred and ninety six for the 2008 year. http://www.nhis.gov.gh/files/1(1).pdf
Checks by Starrfmfactchecker however show that that contrary to the claim that in 2015, there was an outpatient utilization of 29 million, the figure is actually for 2014. This is evidenced in a review paper written by a group of persons including Dr. Lydia Dsane-Selby who is the current CEO of the NHIA which stated that “As of December 2014, the active subscriber base was 10.5 million (equivalent to 39% of the total population), and in that same year, about 29 million outpatient visits were recorded,2 or about three outpatient visits per enrolee per year”.
Source: Ankrah, D, Hallas, J, Odei, J, Asenso‐Boadi, F, Dsane‐Selby, L, Donneyong, M. A review of the Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme claims database: possibilities and limits for drug utilization research. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2019; 124: 18– 27. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcpt.13136
Conclusion: this claim cannot be the whole truth because it contains a factual inaccuracy, the fact that it wasn’t in 2015 that the NHIS achieved an out-patient utilization of 29 million but rather 2014.
- CLAIM 3: Ghana produced more than 1m tonnes of cocoa in 2011, a significant increase over the output in 2008, which stood at about 680,000 tonnes.
VERDICT: HALF TRUTH
VERIFICATION: Data from the Ghana Cocobod website confirms that in the 2010/2011 Cocoa season, cocoa production increased. The country produced more than 1 million tonnes of the crop, specifically the amount of cocoa produced that year was one million twenty-four thousand five hundred fifty-two point eighty-one. It is also a fact that the figure represents a significant increase over the output in 2008 which stood at six hundred eighty thousand seven hundred eighty-one tonnes.
However this improvement in Cocoa production came in 2010-2011 season. At the time it was Prof. John Evans Atta Mills who was president.
CONCLUSION: Yes, the only time Ghana has recorded a million tons of Cocoa production, according to available data on the website of the Ghana cocobo, was in the 2010-2011 season. But that feat cannot be termed an achievement of the John Mahama government. While Mr. Mahama was part of the Atta-Mills government during which this was achieved, he was not the President and leader of the administration. He was Vice President whose role was to support the vision and ideas of the president at the time. John Mahama’s tenure as president started unconventionally earlier due to the passing of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills. Mr. Mahama’s reign started in 2012 and ended in 2016. It is for this reason that the Starrfmfactcheker rates this claim as half-truth with four stars.