With the upcoming general elections in December 2020, the major political parties in Ghana have been throwing light on their achievements during their administrations in the bid to win favour in the eyes of Ghanaian voters.
Flooding the online space are discussions following the Vice President, Dr Mahmoud Bawumia’s presentation titled, Presentation of the Government Infrastructure Development During The First Term in Office.
After this presentation on August 18th, 2020, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) came out to highlight some of the inconsistencies in the figures quoted by the Vice President and some officials of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
As stated by the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Hon. Okudzeto, via his Twitter page, the figures stated on the Community Day Senior High Schools completed during the NDC administration by the Vice president and the Education Minister are inconsistent.
This is unfortunately true.
On March 7th, 2017 graphic.com.gh published an article in which the Minister of Education, Mr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is reported to have quoted a different figure.
“Only forty-six out of the 200 planned Community Day Senior High School projects initiated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has been completed,” the article stated.
Fast forward to 18th August, 2020. The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, stated during the “Presentation of the Government Infrastructure Development During The First Term in Office” that the NDC government completed 29 community day senior high schools. This can be seen on page 56 of the speech read by the Vice President, in the column named “Completed by 2016”. See Screenshot below.
Another instance of inconsistent figures on executed government projects was the July 2020 report on Facebook, by the Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, which stated that Three Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Seven (313, 837) senior high school students would be writing the West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This was repeated on the official Facebook and Twitter pages of the President, Nana Akufo- Addo.
Contrary to the figures claimed by the President and the Deputy Education Minister, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) on their website reported a contrary figure.
Both Facebook accounts of the President and the Deputy Minister have since corrected the mistake in the figure stated, however, the twitter account of the President still has the wrong figure in the post made on July 19th, 2020. This was evident when Dubawa made a followup to see if the error had been rectified on the various accounts. See below screenshot taken on August 20th, 2020 below.
Why does this matter?
Millions of Ghanaians are exposed to wrong figures either intentionally or otherwise. Based on the followership of the parties or examples used in this article alone; President Akufo-Addo (1.5 Million followers on Twitter), V.P Bawumia (835,712 followers on Facebook), Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa (90.4K followers on Twitter), and Hon. Osei Adutwum (113, 476 followers on Facebook), it is clear what a large number of citizens are exposed to by information from state actors.
The broad ecosystem of false information, corrected information, true figures, and contested figures, create a web of uncertainty and possible confusion for people who are exposed to them. This is why it is important for government, politicians, and government agencies to come clear and be consistent with information they put out in the public space. This is vital in ensuring that the citizenry are able to make informed decisions based on actual and truthful information without any uncertainties.
PS: Dubawa has contacted the relevant agencies for clarity on the claims made by Dr Bawumia and that members of the opposition have made regarding the number of community day SHS built so far.