If I Were President Mahama
If I were President John Dramani Mahama, this would be what I would tell fellow Ghanaians in the midst of the mounting economic challenges currently facing the country.
Ghanaians are witnesses to the fact that in view the country’s economic woes, there are growing dissenting voices from my own party to sack my Finance Minister and other ‘non-performing’ appointees.
But even before then, it is pointless to ask whether I’d contest the 2016 elections. Of course, I will. I love the job. This position is the most revered and influential in Ghana.
The last time, I read a story in TheaL-hAJJ newspaper which sought to question whether I’ll seek reelection. I couldn’t help it but laugh spitefully; yes, I agree with some of the issues raised in the publication-incidentally edited by my brother from a different mother, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu, but I’m working unremittingly to address them and I believe in no time all the shortfalls in my administration will be history.
I cannot fail Ghanaians. I cannot entrust the destiny of this precious nation in the hands of a desperate wannabe President whose age is nothing to write home about. If for nothing at all, the demise of my former boss, the late President John Mills is still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians, therefore, relinquishing power to a septuagenarian will not be in the best interest of Ghana.
I’ll repeat what I said when I visited my opponents’ stronghold; irrespective of the attacks on my government, I still insist that “yentie obiaa”. Those making the needless noise about my leadership style should continue, at least such an enterprise can draw some slim public attention to them.
It is no more secret that I’ll seek reelection in 2016, but I dare say that will not be easy at all. Public disagreements in my own party is just too many and that is adding up to the insomnia I’ve developed of late, especially when I’ve to contend with volumes of corruption allegations against some members of my administration with the topical been the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
In the midst of all these difficulties being heaped on me, even if I may not be the cause, I remain resolute, I’m unshaken and I still stand by the oath of office I took on January 7, 2013 when I was sworn into office. On that memorable day which was boycotted by members of the New Patriotic Party for reasons I still think was borne out of “skin pain”, I promised to among other things preserve, protect and defend the constitution of Ghana. Since the day I took office, some people have accused me of lacking on-the-job experience, but I say they don’t know me…, they have no idea about my antecedents.
I dare say, my solid track record, my experience in serving my country is unmatched. I’ve served in the following capacities — Member of Parliament for twelve years, Deputy Minister and later substantive Minister of Communication for many years, Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Communication Director for my party, the NDC, Member of the African Parliament, Vice-President under the government of the late President John Mills, Head of Economic Management Team, President of Ghana and now Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States.
My meteoric rise to the presidency is one that surprises many including myself, but as the good book says “God works in mysterious ways.” Following the unfortunate death of Prof Mills, I received the unanimous nod to step in as President. From July 24 to January 7, 2013, I operated as ‘caretaker’ President and I really enjoyed the days when the opposition referred to me as ‘spare tyre’. I can’t think of any politician, dead or alive, with such an impressive record of service to his fatherland.
Without doubt, and aside my late boss, I’m fully aware my public image and rating as well as my political authority have suffered the most since I became President. I’m the most abused, ridiculed and scrutinized president after former President John Kufuor. Although John Kufuor desecrated the high office of president with wanton scandals, he never received in two terms of eight years the kind of despicable insults that have been heaped on my government so far. Despite the record of achievements of the government that I lead, the people and the press complain raucously about my performance. I’m not scared or puzzled because my achievements are my armor against evil machinations.
Since been sworn into office almost a year and half ago, I’ve made many enemies. But that does not worry me because I was duly elected by the people of Ghana. My obligation is to provide the basic needs to the ordinary people.
I’ve made numerous promises and continue to make many, gave assurances to Ghanaians and even made changes in my security set up. I did all these to demonstrate to Ghanaians that I’m a listening president. When people complain, I listen. When people whine about the ongoing hardships, I show concern. The much expected ministerial reshuffle may have delayed but I can assure that it will surely come to pass.
In my humble opinion, the greatest challenge confronting the country today is how to reform the energy sector of the economy so that hospitals can operate without having to rely on small generators, so that small and medium scale businesses can operate without spending their hard-earned income to buy generators and fuel, so that families do not have to take the risk of using generators that emit fumes that choke family members when they retire to bed. No economy can rely on electric generators and perform at its best. For this reason, I’ve undertaken the greatest ever reform that the power sector has ever witnessed in the history of Ghana.
I’ve commissioned the final phases of the Bui Hydro Power Project and very soon gas will start flowing from the Ghana National Gas Company at Atuabo in the Western region to aide in solving the power crisis. Even with all these remarkable initiatives at the power sector, nothing seems to work. It’s early days yet but I’ve tried my best and I’m determined to continue to make a difference in the energy sector. Ghanaians deserve steady and reliable supply of electricity and water. I’m tempted to agree with my aides who inform me that sabotage could be the reason the power sector has not responded positively and productively to all the financial and technical resources we have poured into it.
My political opponents say I lack courage. That’s not true. I’ve demonstrated strong will and leadership on several fronts. When I was recently informed about how one of my young ministers at the Communications ministry ‘misbehaved’, I quickly erased her footprint at that ministry. The controversy has since been over, even though no concrete evidence was produced against the ‘Princess’. Now, peace has returned to that difficult ministry and I’ve even gone ahead to appointed her successor.
My assistants have been telling me about rumbles at the Finance Ministry. I understand that unsubstantiated and hare-brained allegations are being leveled against my wonderful and exemplary Minister of Finance, Emmanuel Seth Terkper, by impetuous fly-by-night men and women who regard themselves as kingpins of my party. Though many of them have gossiped to me on the quite to fire Seth, the Central Regional Communication Director, Bernard Allotey Jacobs, last week did the unthinkable by taking the issue to the media. He even refereed to my trusted Finance minister as “Judas.” I can understand Allotey, maybe because he prides himself as the only “educated fisherman” he thinks he can stampede me into ousting Seth.
Yes, I’ve come out boldly to defend Seth when immense pressure was mounted on me to fire him. I was scolded for doing that, but I still think it was the right thing to do for a loyal Finance minister.
However, from the ways things are unfolding, I don’t think I can still defend Seth; it seems he has been deceiving me with his so-called ‘home-grown’ measures. I was impressed the first time he briefed me on it but the measures are not yielding immediate results as I’d wished. The last time he went to parliament, the only alibi he gave for his home-grown measures not yielding the desired results was that it will take some time for it to work.
Is Seth serious at all? Ghanaians are on my neck, some are even heaping insults on me for bringing untold hardship on them and I trusted him to turn things around, now he goes round announcing to the world that the measures are long term ones. I need urgent measures to arrest the challenges now and if Seth cannot find me one, then I’m afraid I have to remove the shield I have provided him. If I’d listened to members of my Economic Management Team who were advocating we opt for IMF bailout, I think the problem would have long been solved.
I’ve followed Seth, hoping his measures will work and now going to the IMF will be a tough decision to take, especially now that the Trade Union Congress has kicked against it. I’m not unaware that Seth is not on good terms with other managers of the economy and if sacking him will be the solution, I’ll bite the bullet and fire him. He can go back to the IMF and work; after all he has now enriched his CV. Follow Ghanaians, I know we are in torrid times but trust me, I’ll assembly the best team to put back the economy on track.
Attempts to blame the former Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, will not solve the problem. If Dr Duffuor is being blamed for the ills in the economy, then that is an indictment on me because I was the Head of the Economic Management Team of the erstwhile Mills government. My major preoccupation now is to solve the problems we are facing. Hope to address you another day!