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Notes from the Ghanaman File: Nana Addo’s First 100 Days in office

We seem to copy everything American, good or bad and either over do it or do it wrongly for poor results. The symbolic 100 days of American presidents in office where the public and pollsters do a critique of any new government is one democratic tradition we have incorporated into our governance system.

The History behind the Presidential 100 Days

William Lasser, recounting the history of the symbolic 100 days of the American Presidency says; every journey starts with a single step, and every presidency begins with the First 100 Days. Ever since 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt used his first three months in office to lay the foundations of the New Deal, the First 100 Days have been seen as a unique moment–the new president’s first and perhaps best chance to reshape the nation according to his own agenda and vision.

Success in the First 100 Days, however, has never meant a guarantee of success later. Nor have early difficulties necessarily doomed a presidency to failure or mediocrity. Like the early returns on election night, the First 100 Days will be the subject of great interest and speculation. But they should also be viewed with skepticism, prudence, and caution.

President Roosevelt’s first 100 Days was indeed a model of presidential accomplishment. Between March and June 1933 Roosevelt successfully urged Congress to enact a series of laws creating a host of new federal programs. These included the Agricultural Adjustment Act, designed to help the nation’s farmers; the National Industrial Recovery Act, which aided industrial workers; the Securities Act, a first step in regulating the stock markets; the Banking Act, which included, for the first time, federal bank deposit insurance; and much more. Some of these measures were temporary, but others (with various amendments and modifications) remain the law of the land even today.

But Roosevelt’s legislative onslaught was possible only because he took office in the midst of the worst economic depression in the nation’s history. The numbers themselves are staggering, though perhaps difficult to comprehend from our great distance. Fifteen million Americans were unemployed. The Gross National Product (GNP)-a measure of the nation’s total economic activity-had fallen by more than half since 1929.

US Presidential Executive orders in the first 100 days

PRESIDENT EXECUTIVE ORDERS     EXECUTIVE ORDERS REVOKED
Franklin D. Roosevelt          9                —
Harry Truman*         25                 0
Dwight Eisenhower         20                 1
John F. Kennedy         23                11
Lyndon Johnson*         26                 5
Richard Nixon         15                 1
Jimmy Carter         16                 5
Ronald Reagan         18                18
George H.W. Bush          11                  4
Bill Clinton          13                  2
George W. Bush          11                  4
Barack Obama          19                  9

The First 100 Days of the Ghanaian Presidency

In our Ghanaian situation, within the first 100 days of any new government should be used to form the team of ministers,CEOs and Board members of state and para-statal organizations,DCEs and MCEs of MMDAs etc. It’s also the period of studying documents of the previous administration and to take decisions on which ones to either  change or maintain etc. In its true sense therefore the first 100 days of any new administration is not for a serious assessment to conclude that it has failed or scored the best in governance.

However, due to the dirty political culture cultivated in our country at least since the forth republic in 1993,opponents of any new government assesses it in 100 days as if it has created all the challenges in our system. Hiding under our wise saying that, ‘the beginning of the market determines how it will end’, critics judge the new government by not wishing it well and conclude that it is doomed. We may probably conclude that it’s the measure they give when in opposition that they also receive when they get into power.

Interestingly, backers of the new government would per our political culture on the contrary usually score the government very high on the score sheet. You recall, the late Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, an academic to the core  even scoring himself over 70% in his first 100 days. His critics raised hell and I wondered whether they expected him to downgrade himself by offering an easy weapon for them to cut him in pieces.

So three days ago, Nana Akufo-Addo’s Government marked its symbolic first 100 days in office and as expected, commentaries have been written assessing him and his team. The usual debate has been on. Opponents, have scored the government by the Delta Force and the Invisible Forces and their very disturbing acts since the elections were won by the NPP.

Of course, the opponents and some of the analysts refuse to applaud the government on how quickly it has assembled its teams and taken certain policy decisions. For me,it shows that the president was prepared to lead a government before he came to power. We have had situations in the past where some presidents portrayed that they weren’t prepared before they were announced winners of the elections. So I applaud the current administration.

The Pluses and Minuses

Of course, the 100 days were not rosy throughout.Yes,the Delta Forces, the Invisible Forces and all the forces represented in all the regions as circulated on social media have detracted from the shine of the government. It’s been worse with some known NPP figures openly applauding  the rather shameful acts even when the president says they should stop those acts.

On the positive side, the beginning of the implementation of some of the manifesto promises by the government within the 100 days deserve commendation.Unfortunately,some of us have questioned the rational for the increase in taxi and tro-tro fares when some taxes have been pruned off the fuel charges for example.

Whichever way you look at the government’s first 100 days in power, you may be deceived as it’s early days yet.100 out of the 1,460 plus days which make the four years mandate for Nana Addo and his team to do what they have promised to do to lift Ghana from its current state to another is way too long. That long road naturally may be strewn with things none of us can predict and that is why the good book implores us all to keep praying for our leaders. Unfortunately, instead of prayer, some do rather curse because we love our parties than Ghana for which the NDC and NPP were supposedly formed to administer for our progress.

Well, I am not scoring the government any mark yet until it is reasonably fair to assess it. It is still working time!

By Kojo Ackaah-Kwarteng,

Head of Station, Onua 95.1

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