“In most cases, if you are in a car, you don’t realise that the car is moving fast but a bystander will notice the car is over speeding. So those in Ghana are not seeing that things are progressing because we are in that car but someone who came to Ghana in 1992 and returned in recent times will notice that we have really progressed.” – President John Mahama, speaking on Angel FM.
History will record the name of Mr Dramani Mahama as a president who once ruled this nation of twenty five million souls and heaped insults on the people he ruled with impunity. Where I come from, you need not look a person in the face and tell him or her that he or she is a fool. If you tell such a person to go and look in the mirror and see how the face of a foolish man looks like, you have in one way or the other told him that he is a fool. This was exactly what Mr Mahama did per the statement quoted above.
When President Mahama said that Ghanaians are short-sighted and easily forget, I quickly fished for my Thesaurus, something I seldom do because I have enough vocabulary in my arsenal of words. Among the many synonyms of short-sighted that my Thesaurus mentioned were the following: narrow-minded, unimaginative, unadventurous, small-minded, insular, parochial and myopic. I did not read further because at a point I started experiencing unusual heartthrobs; and as someone who is hypertensive, my doctor has advised me to stop whatever I am doing anytime I experience such unusual heartthrobs. He said I stand the risk of contracting heart attack if I continue doing what I am doing when I experience such unusual heartbeats. And so I closed the page and went to bed with a sorrowful heart.
If you are a passenger in a vehicle and you cannot see that the vehicle is over speeding, then I am sorry to say you are a big fool. If even there is no speedometer in the car, you can easily feel it when wind starts blowing excessively over your face. So now that the president is telling us that strangers know our backyard more than those of us who live in the land, what is he trying to take us for? Ignoramuses? Fools or what? If an outsider who once visited Ghana in 1992 comes again to see that things have changed for the better, the credit does not belong to the John Mahama-led administration. The Bui Dam, the many interchanges, asphalted roads, hospitals, schools and universities as well as the many social interventions which the Kufuor administration left behind were not the handiwork of John Mahama.
In 1992 when the outsiders the president was referring to were in Ghana, we had just come out of a military regime where we had no checks and balances. For eleven years the military held the country to ransom and there was no Parliament. From 1992 to 2000, the country experienced a meaningful development under President Rawlings. Kufuor’s administration grabbed the baton and also did a yeoman’s job. Mills and Mahama have had six years, thereby leaving only two years to go but as compared to Rawlings’ eight years and Kufuor’s own, the NDC 2 has performed abysmally. What can the John Mahama government do in a matter of two years for Ghanaians to give it high marks, except to go in for an IMF bailout with its accompanying stringent terms and conditions which will put more burdens on the shoulders of the Ghanaian worker?
More than 95 percent of Ghanaians who were interviewed by various radio and TV stations said the two years of the Mahama administration had nothing good to write home about. These people included economists, lecturers, teachers, businessmen and women, professors, lawyers, farmers, politicians, petty traders and many more.
To tell these people that because they were in the car, they could not see that the car was over speeding is an insult and an impudent snub. Indeed, things have changed since 1992 but we are talking of a two-year period when John Mahama was at the helm of power. We are talking of the huge loans contracted and the works that those loans were used for. Yes, we are talking of GYEEDA, SADA, Woyome, NSS and the stinking corruption which has made Ghana look like the headquarters of corruption. We are talking about the hardships the ordinary Ghanaian is facing on daily basis, the continuous surge in armed robbery, the cocaine menace and the high cost of petrol despite the nosedive in the prices of crude oil on the world market. Nobody is saying that since the John Mahama administration took over the government has not done anything. We are trying to compare the quantum of loans contracted and the work that we are seeing. We are talking of the numerous promises made by the president and his appointees and the fact that one of such promises—doing away with ‘dumsor, dumsor’—has now turned into a prayer to God to take us out of the doldrums.
I wrote some time ago that President Mahama should learn some useful presidential habits and stop acting like a school prefect. A president must listen more and talk less. In the case of John Mahama, he easily jumps into the fray if even a JHS student makes comments against his government instead of leaving such infantile issues to serial callers to answer. A president must understand the mechanism of decision making, both hidden and overt. A president must try not to make any hasty comment when an issue arises. If you decide, decide and calculate your responses. One most useful presidential habit is that a president must always endeavour to tell his subjects the truth. Your people will respect you more if you open up and tell them the gospel truth. It soothes; and like curative medicine, it is sometimes bitter but the people like it that way rather than the propaganda style the president and his retinue are taking the good people of Ghana through.
Sometimes I refuse to blame the president whenever he goes wayward because we have Council of State members whose duty is to advise the president on issues. These honourable and learned members of the Council of State are paid by the taxpayer and as so they should know that they are accountable to the good people of Ghana but not to the number one servant we have chosen to steer the affairs of this country. In my holy village, when a child misbehaves people rather accuse the parents of the child of not giving him good training. As for the members of the Council of State who were appointed by the president, I do not blame them because they are always at the beck and call of the president. But those who we elected in the ten regions to be part of the Council of State should sit up.
My first encounter with Mr Mahama was at the Japanese Embassy where he was working. I saw a fine young man who was wearing a charming smile and very respectful. He was wearing a very simple short sleeve shirt with a well tailored pair of trousers to match. He spoke in the urbane cosmopolitan voice of an equal. As the years rolled by, he entered politics and was voted to Parliament to represent the people of Bole/Bamboi. I used to see and hear him during newspaper review programmes on GTV and admired his contributions. He was very polite. He was not the insulting type; neither was he the temperamental type.
When he was chosen as a running mate to the late President John Evans Mills, some of us who had been following his exploits as a politician were not surprised. Then the NDC came to power with Mr Mahama as the Vice President of Mother Ghana. That was when we started to know the real Mahama. He started using insulting words like ‘foolish’, ‘baloney’, ‘what a hell’ etc. After the death of Mills and Mr John Mahama stepped into his shoes, we then understood the reasons why the sages say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Today Mr Mahama is acting like an unguarded missile, bulldozing his way in the face of the hardships that his administration has brought upon the people. Ghanaians have bitten more than they can chew. Rambo Mahama is on the prowl, insulting and kicking like a bull. (Eii, me and my trenchant pen!!!)
As a tribute to the victims of the Paris Charlie Hebdo office attack which led to the death of twelve innocent souls, I decline to puff any cigar today. “Oui, Je suis Charlie.” (Yes, I am Charlie.)