AFAG Takes On NDC Over Free Laptops

Davis Opoku Ansah of AFAG

Pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), has asked the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to come clean on its claim to have distributed some 160,000 free laptops to students across the country.

This follows claim by the Ministry of Science and Technology that it has distributed 100,000 laptops to students across the country under the “Better Ghana Agenda Laptop Programme” and another 60,000 laptops to basic schools under the “Basic School Computerization Programme.”

The claim by the government has stirred a raging controversy across the length and breadth of the country with some of the schools and students supposed to have benefitted, coming out to deny.

A statement issued in Accra on Friday and signed by Davis Opoku Ansah, Callistus Agbaam and Ohene Djan noted “just like many Ghanaians, the Alliance for Accountable Governance is worried about the lies and factual inaccuracies concerning the developmental record of the ruling National Democratic Congress administration over the period 2009 to 2012.”

Among the list of schools to whom government claimed to have supplied the laptops included the Pentecost University, Zenith University College and the Sunyani College of Education.

Govt Complicity

Management of the Pentecost University College have however denied the claim insisting that none of its students (present or past) has benefitted from the government of Ghana’s “Better Ghana Laptop Programme.”

Public Relations Officer of the school, Emmanuel Kyei said the authorities were shocked after the data available proved that none of the listed beneficiaries were or are students of the university since commencement in 2004.

A number of students from the Zenith University College who were said to have received laptops under the programme have all denied receiving any.

Surprisingly, government and the Corporate Affairs Manager of RLG Communications, Emmanuel Arthur have not been able to tell Ghanaians what the unit cost of these laptops is.

In view of this, the statement noted, “Ghanaians would like to know where the laptops that have been distributed went to and who are the beneficiaries of these laptops since the said beneficiaries have denied knowledge of acquiring these laptops for their students.”[sic]

Interestingly, the list of beneficiaries supplied by government included one Magdalene Addy, a female, who was supposed to be currently enrolled as a student at the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School in Legon.

Quite apart from that it also gave the name of one of the beneficiary schools as the ‘Sunyani College of Education’ which turned out to be non-existent.

AFAG thus considered it “an indictment on the NDC and another piece of evidence about the lies they have told Ghanaians over the last four years of their administration” for which reason they said “Ghanaians demand accountability from the NDC and they must come clean on this.”

This, according to the group, was because “every said ‘unprecedented achievement’ of the government since it assumed the reins of office, has been proved to be either lies or factually inaccurate.”

Schools Under Tree 

A similar claim by government to have removed 1,700 ‘schools under trees’ has raised eyebrows with the heads of some supposed schools under trees having come out to deny operating under trees.

The Presbyterian Church of Ghana was the first to deny a number of its schools labelled as such.

Apart from the initial list of discredited 600 schools, government has not been able to come out with the remaining 1,100 schools eliminated.

Government’s claim to have provided 160 million exercise books to the 4.8 million children at the basic level has suffered a similar fate with President Mahama claiming at the recent IEA Presidential debate “we have also distributed 43 million exercise books.”

However, page 15 of the NDC 2012 manifesto states that “over 40 million exercise books per year have been distributed to about 4.8 million pupils in Basic Schools nationwide as part of our commitment to investing in our people.”

AFAG thus believes that these and others are part of desperate attempts by ruling NDC to stay in power.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu