In his 11 months as President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo appears to have had his fair share of challenges.
The present government has succeeded in implementing some policies, some of which have been shrouded in controversies. Then there are times certain actions or have also courted debates among sections of the Ghanaian public.
1. Suspicions of plagiarism with respect to his inaugural speech on Saturday 7th January 2017.
President Akufo-Addo’s inaugural speech was rumoured to have contained portions of speeches of former United States presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It alleged that credit wasn’t duly given to the original authors.
2. Appointment of 110 ministers
Soon after the issue with the inaugural speech, Ghanaians woke up one morning to hear of the appointment of 110 persons as ministers in president Akufo-Addo’s administration. As it was unprecedented, it generated a lot of discussions, as many sought to examine the reason for the action. Key in the debates was the financial burden to be borne by the government. The president however indicated that all the persons so named had key roles to play.
3. Vigilantism in Ghana
The current Akufo-Addo-led government has had to battle with the negative image being created as a result of vigilantism in Ghana. There have been reports of disruption of court proceedings by some persons identified as members of vigilante groups.
Some allegations of corruption have come to the attention of Ghanaians since January 2017. Key among them were assertions of bribery levelled against the Appointment Committee of parliament. There was also the issue with the US$2.25 billion Bond saga. Again, there were claims of fuel contamination at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited(BOST).
5. Ghana’s position on homosexuality
In a recent interview with Aljazeera, president Akufo-Addo’s comments with respect to Ghana’s position on homosexuality generated a lot of talk. The president is reported to have stated that “At the moment, I don’t feel, I don’t see that in Ghana there is that strong current of opinion that is saying this is something we need to deal with. It is not so far a matter that is on the agenda.” The trending perception is that the president failed to clearly state Ghana’s position on the matter.
6. Official residence of former president Mahama
In a letter dated 19th December, 2016, allegedly signed by former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, former president Mahama requested that he wished to keep Bungalow No 3 in Accra and its adjoining facilities as his retirement home. He also requested for Bungalow No 6 in Accra as his office. The release of the letter sparked a heated debate amongst Ghanaians. John Mahama later withdrew the request, an act for which president Akufo-Addo commended him.
7. Proposed use of the Heritage Fund to implement the Free SHS programme
One of the key campaign promises of the then candidate Akufo-Addo, was the implementation of a free SHS programme. The question of how to fund the programme was a major topic for discussion. Comments by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, that the Heritage Funds, which takes 9% of the nation’s petroleum revenue would be the answer, did not go down well with Ghanaians.