Thursday, March 25, 2010

Voodoo statistics?

Politicians are very funny people. Especially for those in Africa and by stretch Ghana, they make nice characters for a comedy script. Every single word emanating from their mouths is enough to create laughter, making one wonder if they take themselves serious at all.

Just last week I heard a story attributed to Deputy Minister of Information Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa to the effect that government has created 1.6 million jobs, since taking over power in 2009. Lots of eyebrows were raised. 1. 6 million jobs in 15 months? That is too much! I did not hear it but heard reactions from other persons.

The opposition New Patriotic Party was the loudest, accusing the government of massaging figures for political reasons. But pro government supporters quickly jumped to the defence of the minister and pointed to the agriculture sector as where majority of those jobs are?

I personally find it interesting, the statement from government especially when one considers the defence often put out that they’ve only being in power for 15 months. If 15 months how then does one reconcile the creation of 1.6 million jobs? I have personally heard some of the harsh comments made against the young minister and it’s not my intention to repeat them on this platform.

The only thing I’ll say is that the comments were extremely harsh, with some hitting at his personality. It was unfortunate, but that’s what happens when politicians decide to talk in the open without watching their backs. I remember in the heat of the campaign and how figures were bundled around with glee.

In their desperate bid to maintain power the NPP used all kinds of figures to show how good the economy was doing. GDP, Inflation rates etc were making the rounds. Almost on daily basis Ghanaians were inundated with figures, contrary to the harsh economic conditions on the ground. ‘We Are Moving Forward’ was the phrase from the NPP at the time.

It was a throat-seated obsession. The reality on the ground however dawned on them when they failed to win the first round of the elections, as predicted by fake polls. They lost after three rounds of elections. The NDC at the time accused the government Ghanaians don’t eat figures. Is it not an irony the same party is today making claims with figures while the opposition shouts the loudest?

The voodoo statistics in Ghanaian politics is becoming way too much and it’s important our politicians learn some lessons. But I doubt if they will.

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