The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its 2016 manifesto stated that it would construct ‘new harbours at Jamestown in Accra and in Keta’ to among other things “… also increase the volume of business from landlocked countries in the region”. Over the years, some media reports have pointed to progress on that promise including the conduct of feasibility studies.
The status of implementation of the these projects, came into question this month when the former Deputy Minister for Education for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, who is also Member of Parliament for the North Tongu Constituency, in a JoyNews Programme (on June 15, 2020), re-echoed a claim that the Keta port and the Jamestown Fishing Harbour have not been started“…All we have seen in Keta, the region I come from, where my mother hails from, Keta. All we have seen is a signboard. And when you go to Keta, they call that director, signboard director. That is his name, signboard director. As for Jamestown, they haven’t touched it at all.”
The MP, had earlier chided the ruling NPP, in a presentation on the floor of parliament about what he said were failed promises of the NPP.
Fact-Check Ghana through its investigations and a site visit to the Jamestown Fishing harbor site found that while indeed, work has not started on the Keta port as already confirmed by a Joy News report on April 3, the claim that the Jamestown project had not “been touched at all” was Completely False. Prior to Samuel Okudzeto’s claim, the Daily Graphic had already reported on May 21, 2020, that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) had started demolishing existing structures for construction to begin.
Another claim by Mr. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme (Tuesday, June 16, 2020) re-ignited conversation about whether indeed the University of Ghana Medical Centre was captured in the NDC’s 2012 campaign manifesto as highlighted in the chat below:
Mr. Ablakwa: We promised that we will expand hospital infrastructure. You know what has happened at the Ridge hospital; what has happened at the University of Ghana Medical Centre; what has happened in Wa, the Upper West regional hospital.
Mr. Adom-Otchere: Was this in the 2012 manifesto, the University of Ghana Medical Centre?
Mr. Ablakwa: Yes
Mr. Adom-Otchere: Because I know the discussions had begun before 2012.
Mr. Ablakwa: It was in the manifesto. We have provided pages.
Thorough investigations by Fact-Check Ghana showed that the claim was Completely False. What the team found from the NDC’s 2012 manifesto which was launched on October 4, 2012 were promises made across varied sectors including health. The manifesto made no mention of the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC).
A further probing by the Fact-Checking Ghana team led to a news story by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) titled “University of Ghana begins construction of 600-bed teaching hospital” which stated that the University of Ghana (UG) on November 24, 2012 had organized an official “ground breaking ceremony” to commence the construction of the hospital. This followed the sourcing of a loan facility of US 217 million Dollars from the Israeli government by UG through the Government of Ghana.
This story was corroborated by a report from the Parliamentary Committee on Health in 2018 with the title Commercial Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Engineering, Development and Construction Ltd (EDC) for an amount of €40,500,00 for Works Known as Completing of University of Ghana Medical Centre- Phase 2. This report indicated that cabinet approved the University of Ghana Medical Center project in 2012 and the contract was signed on behalf of the Government of Ghana between the Ministry of Health and Messrs the Engineering, Development and Consultants Limited of Israel. Hence, before the December 2012 election, the NDC government had already contributed in securing a loan facility for the UGMC project and had approved its construction.
During the June 13, 2020 edition of Joy FM’s Newsfile programme, former Deputy Communications Minister, Felix Ofosu Kwakye, sharing his view on the economic growth of the country, claimed that “… this year they [NPP] will record the worst ever economic growth in the last 40 years which is 1.5%.”. The Fact-Check Ghana team subjected the claim to verification. Examined data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) on Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), proved the claim to be False. The stated GDP growth was 6.5% according to the GSS. However, due to the impact of Covid-19, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, projects that GDP will grow at 1.5% instead of the 6.8% target for 2020. However, 1.5% will not be the lowest GDP growth rate since 1980, which is the last 40 years
On COVID-19, the team published the Facts behind why contact tracers in the Ashanti Region had their allowances slashed, which had been a raging debate among Ghanaian citizens. For public education purposes, special reports such as the Basic facts of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) which was signed and gazetted on June 15, 2020 by the President of Ghana were published while also debunking several claims that spread false information about Covid-19.