Some four or five years back, many astute observers predicted that the Brazilian coffee drinking greedy, corrupt and incompetent Atta-Mills-Mahama NDC administration would lead the country into a massive ditch.

NDCThe concerned people were insulted by the greedy bastards of NDC babies with sharp teeth.

Within two years of the incompetent, corrupt, greedy Mahama NDC administration, the truth has finally come out and the chickens have come home to roast.

The country has fallen into a deep socio-economic abyss, resulting in the call for an IMF bailout. The previous Kufuor NPP administration weaned the country from the IMF.

A recent BBC report on Bolivia presents a vivid picture of leadership under Mr. Evo Morales in Bolivia.

Many astute observers have argued that the greedy, corrupt, incompetent John Dramani Mahama NDC administration, which in the first place drove the nation into that massive ditch, is not qualified to handle any IMF bailout, and the situation would worsen.

The John Dramani Mahama NDC administration should be regarded as a very poor student in nation building and must leave the stage for a competent group of people to come on board to save the nation.

Bolivia?s President Evo Morales has claimed victory and a third term in office after presidential elections.

?This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists,? he told cheering supporters at the presidential palace in La Paz.

Mr. Morales has overseen strong economic growth since taking office in 2006 and was widely tipped to win.

He has presided over a period of economic growth and reduced poverty, using Bolivia?s commodity wealth to reduce poverty levels.

Mr. Morales said his aim was to ?decolonise? Bolivia after centuries of exploitation.

A country of statistical extremes, landlocked Bolivia is the highest and most isolated country in South America. It has the largest proportion of indigenous people, who make up around two-thirds of the population. Though rich in mineral and energy resources, Bolivia is one of South America?s poorest countries. Wealthy urban elites, who are mostly of Spanish ancestry, have traditionally dominated political and economic life, whereas most Bolivians are low-income subsistence farmers, miners, small traders or artisans.

The country has the second-largest reserves of natural gas in South America, but there has been long-running tension over the exploitation and export of the resource.

Indigenous groups say the country should not relinquish control of the reserves, which they see as Bolivia?s sole remaining natural resource.

In the 1980s, Bolivia experienced a deep economic recession. The tin market collapsed, with the loss of about 21,000 jobs, inflation was rampant and the national currency was in severe crisis.

While strict austerity measures, the introduction of a new currency and tax reform succeeded in curbing inflation and restoring foreign confidence, these policies also widened the already huge wealth gap and generated great social unrest.

Bolivia is one of the world?s largest producers of coca, the raw material for cocaine. A crop-eradication programme, though easing the flow of conditional US aid, has incensed many of Bolivia?s poorest farmers for whom coca is often the only source of income.

Before President Evo Morales came to power, the political fallout from the issue had led to the ouster of two presidents and had led to calls for regional autonomy, including in prosperous, oil-producing Santa Cruz. In May 2006 President Morales delighted his supporters but sent shockwaves through the energy world when he put the energy industry under state control.

Bolivia underwent further radical change in January 2009 when voters backed President Morales? project for a new constitution that aimed to give greater rights to the indigenous majority population.

First elected in December 2005, Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian, is first president to come from the country?s indigenous majority. As a leader of a coca-growers union, he was also the first president to emerge from the social movements whose protests forced Bolivia?s two previous presidents from office. ?On election, he promised to govern in favour of Bolivia?s indigenous majority, who had suffered centuries of marginalisation and discrimination. ?An avowed socialist, his political ideology combines standard left-wing ideas with an emphasis on traditional indigenous Andean values and concepts of social organisation.

But his first move, a few months after taking office, was to begin the process of putting Bolivia?s rich gas fields under state control.

By the middle of 2006, he had renationalised Bolivia?s oil and gas industries.

The increased tax revenue allowed Bolivia to vastly increase its public investment and helped boost the country?s foreign reserves. With the gas money, President Morales? administration invested heavily in public works projects and social programmes to fight poverty which reduced by 25% during his government. Extreme poverty dropped by 43%.

He also pushed for a radical re-interpretation of Bolivian national identity largely through constitutional reform. Amid protests and disputes, he won a referendum in August 2008 on whether he should stay in office, and then a few months later a referendum approved his plans for a new constitution. It came into force in February 2009 setting out the rights of the indigenous majority, granting more regional and local autonomy to them and redefining Bolivia as a ?multi ethnic and pluri-cultural? nation.

It also set out moves for large-scale land reform, enshrining state control over key natural resources.

In the Bolivian city of La Paz high in the Andes, the world?s highest administrative capital, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and buffeted by winds, the streets are clogged with cars and a brand new ?Teleferico?, a cable car transportation system that now connects some of the poorest parts of the city with the wealthiest below.? Much of the new prosperity in the city is new and has come during the administration of Evo Morales, the Bolivian President.? Bolivia?s new identity was symbolised by the adoption of the whipala, a rainbow-coloured indigenous flag which is flown alongside the traditional red, yellow and green banner. Bolivia?s new indigenous voice was heard at international climate negotiations where Evo Morales argued from an indigenous perspective for greater respect for ?Mother Earth.?

Mr Morales? left-wing policies have worried and in some cases antagonised many middle-class Bolivians who believe he is too radical. Opposition was concentrated in the wealthy eastern lowland province of Santa Cruz, Bolivia?s economic powerhouse. Regional leaders there led a campaign for greater autonomy, arguing that Mr Morales?s socialist policies were damaging the economy. But over the years, President Morales?s relationship with the Santa Cruz business leaders has improved and there is growing respect in Santa Cruz for his growth agenda. In December 2009 Evo Morales was re-elected president with 64% of the vote, easily defeating his conservative opponent and gaining ground in Santa Cruz.

But although support among ordinary Bolivians remains strong, some of the indigenous leaders, environmentalists and activists who helped put Evo Morales in power have criticised him, arguing that his policies seem to favour the wealthy, light-skinned minority. Mr. Morales met opposition from indigenous groups angered by motorway. He had said the 300km (185-mile) road from Villa Tunari to San Ignacio de Moxos would benefit communities throughout Bolivia. But isolated communities of Chiman, Yurucare and Moxos Indians argued the road would open their territory to illegal logging and land grabs. Protests led Mr. Morales to suspend the project. And many Bolivians were perplexed by a more eccentric idea for change ? the clock on the face of congress which was changed to run anti-clockwise and dubbed ?the clock of the south.?

Since coming to power, Evo Morales has forged close links with other left-wing Latin American leaders, particularly the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba. But relations with the US have been strained. In 2008 he expelled the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg, accusing him of conspiring against his government, and suspended operations of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Bolivia. In 2013, he expelled the US Agency for International Development (UNSAID), accusing it of seeking to ?conspire against? the Bolivian people and his government.

In New York for the UN General Assembly in September 2014, President Morales called President Obama ?an imperialist.? Like Mr. Chavez, he has cultivated ties with foes of the US such as Iran. ?Having come to power with a radical programme aimed at addressing the extreme social divisions and inequalities of Bolivia, he has achieved in a few short years real social gains for the majority of Bolivians who look on his as their own.

But despite Bolivia?s economic advancements, the country remains one of South America?s poorest countries with analysts arguing that it is overly dependant on natural resources. In the first half of 2014, natural gas and minerals accounted for 82% of export revenues. And the government?s ability to fight crime and corruption has been questioned. Last year Transparency International?s perception index ranked Bolivia as South America?s third most corrupt country after Venezuela and Paraguay.

E-mail: [email protected]

?By?Kwame Gyasi


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