The Minority has described as a joke plans by the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to enact a law to protect his government’s flagship programme , Free SHS.
President Akufo-Addo while addressing a graduation ceremony at the University of Development Studies (UDS), Tamale over the weekend hinted of plans by his administration to prevent a future review of the policy in the event that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) loses power in 2020.
“We are going to enact a legislation to make access to SHS compulsory for every school going child. This will ensure that those who have pledged in their dreams to ‘review the free SHS policy’ do not get the chance to destroy this policy in the very unlikely event that they return, the president said.
His comment appears to be a response to former president John Mahama who has promised to review the policy which has been fraught with challenges leading to the introduction of the Double Track system.
The former president said the policy is ill-timed, "Our NPP friends, they don't listen to advice, they think they know everything," he criticised.
It appears his comment is not mere campaign rhetoric as the Minority seems to agree for certain changes to be made on the policy.
But the Ranking member on education in parliament, Peter Norstu Kotoe, in an interview on Joy FM’s Newsnight programme said the president’s intention is preposterous.
“There is no way in this country that you can make a law put an entrenched clause in it that nobody can amend the law. Since NPP came to power I can sight at least three enactments that they have amended. Is the president telling us that everything about the free SHS implementation is right? No there are a number of things that we have spoken about that government must review.
“So if you have failed to review those things and somebody says ‘if I come I will review those things in the best interest of the nation’ then you say they are dreaming I disagree with him,” Mr Norstu Kotoe said.
The Akatsi North legislator said had the government listened to constant criticism by the Minority and the former president , there would have been no need for the double track system.
The Minority believe strongly in the need for a review on the policy and seem bent on making changes to it in case they win the 2020 elections.
Mr Nortsu Kotoe said president Akufo-Addo has got it all wrong.
“We have passed a stage where you can pass a law and say that is the final. So for, instance, if a government passes a law that once you are sentenced to life imprisonment no government can come and give you clemency
“Is that the type of law we want in this country,” he queried.
You can make a law to make sure that there is free SHS but you cannot say that nobody should review any aspect of it, he added.