Election 2016 In the era of 'promises', here's what Ho residents want to know from flag bearers

Many of their concerns had to do with education, healthcare, and employment, with their major headache being what they called fake promises which are yet to be fulfilled.

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Ahead of the December 7 elections, several of the presidential candidates have already begun making campaign promises, many of which have become the subject of controversy.

With the access to education, healthcare, and employment being major challenges in Ghana, politicians have managed to couch the best campaign promise regarding those issues.

The New Patriotic Party flag bearer had recently promised a ‘1-village-1-dam’ policy to boost agriculture, but opposition groups have argued that it is not feasible.

The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has also promised to implement what it calls a progressive free tertiary education policy, with many arguing that it is a replica of the NPP’s much hyped free SHS policy in the 2012 elections.

But residents of the Volta regional capital, Ho believe such promises will mean nothing if they do not reflect meaningfully in their living conditions.

play Some traders

 

Several of the residents, mainly traders, artisans, transport operators, students, among others, made this known during the Institute of Economic Affairs #IWantToKnow Campaign.

The #IWantToKnow Campaign is aimed at getting questions from the average Ghanaian on the street on what they would want to ask the presidential candidates if they had the chance to meet them.

READ ALSO: We will no longer tolerate 'fake' promises - Kumasi residents to flagbearers

The campaign has already been rolled out in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi as well as in Accra, where the team interacted with the people to solicit from them what they would want to ask their various presidential candidates.

Many of their concerns had to do with education, healthcare, and employment, with their major headache being what they called fake promises which are yet to be fulfilled.

When the #IWantToKnow Campaign hit the streets of Ho in the Volta region, the situation was no different.

Many who expressed joy at meeting the team said they wanted a change in how affairs are being run in the area and the country as a whole.

Esinam, a trader at the Ho central market said all she wants is an enabling environment which will help grow her business. As she puts it: “...now the school fees is high, so I want them [presidential candidates] to help us so that we will get work and get money for the fees.”

play A trader at the Ho central market

 

For the vegetable seller, Xorlali, all she wants is peace to reign during the election so that she and her colleagues can continue their trade without any hindrance.

Speaking in her local dialect, she said: “We don’t want any war during this election. We want everything to go on smoothly and peacefully because that is the only way we can continue with our business without any problems.”

play A trader around the Ho Nurses Training College

 

Other traders also wanted to know what plans the flag bearers have for the National Health Insurance Scheme which they believe is gradually collapsing.

Some taxi drivers and commercial motor riders at the market were also concerned about the many promises made to them which are yet to be fulfilled. The issue of bad roads, insurance premiums, among others were their major concerns.

As one motor rider energetically puts it: “We lack places of convenience in the market. When it rains here, many of our traders’ goods get destroyed. So we are pleading with the next government to come to our aid. We commercial motor riders help a lot with the transport system here, but the police end up chasing us. We have nowhere to go; this is what helps us put food on the table. So we will plead with the presidential candidates to help us do our job.”

play Some commercial motor riders

 

READ ALSO: What is wrong with our education system? - Accra residents ask flagbearers

The campaign team subsequently made stopovers at some major streets, where T-shirts and other paraphernalia were distributed to residents who were excited to receive the team.

Some masons who the team interacted with could not hide their joy at the opportunity which was given to them to ask their flag bearers any question they wanted.

“We need the money...we need development. I’m a mason but I don’t get the work better. There is no money,” was the plea of one of the masons who appeared tired from the task he was busily engaged with.

play Masons and spare parts dealers

 

For the foreman, his major concern has to do with high utility bills. He said: “The electricity has come down, but as for the water, we are three in number, every month we spend about 50 cedis, that is bad, so they should see to the water rate for us.”

When the team made its next stop at the Ho Nurses Training College, many of the trainee nurses did not mince words with concerns about their allowances that have been scrapped by the government.

Franklin, a first-year student at the school said: “I want to know if the president that is coming, I want to know if they will bring our allowance back because without the allowance the work cannot move on well since we are dealing with health because our health is our concern. So if they will bring the allowance to us, we want to know.”

For Samuel, he wanted to know how the NPP flag bearer will restore their trainee allowance when he comes to power, or whether he intends increasing it for them.

Meanwhile, Noah, a social worker around the Volta regional hospital said he would want to know how the various flag bearers intend financing the major state institutions like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, (CHRAJ), National Commission for Civic Education, (NCCE), Road Safety Commission, among others.

He believes “most of the state institutions are under-resourced since our fourth republic.”

play Karen Hendrickson, Director of Advocacy and Programmes at the IEA

 

A resident around the same hospital said: “I want to know this from the NPP flag bearer; the 1 district, 1 factory, I want to know if it can be achievable in this condition.”

Meanwhile, the IEA has announced that five people who ask the most compelling questions will have the chance to be in the audience during the debate which will be held in Accra.

play The campaign team distributed T-shirts and other paraphernalia

 

The Executive Director of the IEA, Jean Mensa said the #IWantToKnow campaign was to “enable the electorate to demand accountability of the candidates even before one of them is elected president. Additionally, this approach will ensure that the real concerns of the citizens are addressed by candidates.”



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