Spat Over Water

Mrs. Samira Bawumia and President John Mahama

President John Mahama and Mrs. Samira Bawumia are at each other’s throats over whether Bole and Damongo – two important towns in the Northern Region- have regular potable water.

Whereas Samira claims the supply of the essential life-sustaining fluid is in short supply in the two locations, President Mahama thinks otherwise.

Our President could have managed this disagreement in a better manner without starting such an avoidable spat with Samira Bawumia.

Being a communications expert, the President knows how to, we think, avoid negative headlines.

Unfortunately, however, he has garnered a lot of these, as the political campaign heats up because of his rather poor management of his utterances, especially on the campaign trail.

Maybe having assumed the high office of President, he has lost certain qualities which many thought he had when he presented himself to be voted for.

Different people behave differently under varying conditions: some persons would behave hysterically under stress as others would be calm, hardly returning fire under a similar condition.

Those in the former category won’t commit blunders not so the latter.

We have observed the response of Samira to the President’s scathing reaction to her, the import of which is that her gender has been insulted – she in particular feeling offended.

Even if that was not what he intended, the import has been so; an avoidable blunder.

The President claims the lady does not have the technical know-how and therefore has no authority to complain when she sees women walking long distances to draw water in addition to the already back-breaking chore of hewing wood and raising children.

The President loses his cool under a tackle; his reaction to Samira being a typical example.

As President, he should be mindful about such pitfalls, lest he offends the sensibilities of his compatriots on such occasions.

We were told recently by the President that only former presidents should criticize him, presupposing that only such persons feel the pinch of the biting economy.

That cannot be true anyway and we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the President passed that remark out of anger without thinking about its possible fallouts.

Our President occupies an exalted office: the highest in the country and so any remark or action emanating from him should be bereft of obscenity.

Remarks such as not using loans to buy roasted meat, as he said recently, were insulting and should not have come from his mouth, being the father of the nation unless he is telling us that he is abandoning that responsibility which is bestowed upon him by virtue of his position.

Samira’s intervention has brought the subject to the public domain, a reality which has seen knee-jerk reactions from government: emergency boreholes would spring up in the next few days.

That has been the pattern in recent times.

No sooner has the opposition pointed out a deficiency than government rushing in to fix it at a very high cost, of course, to the tax payer.

We recall the Kpersi School in the Upper West Region where pupils had no furniture and so studied on the bare floor. Just when a consignment of furniture was being sent to the place by Dr. Bawumia, the president’s representative quickly sent in some desks and chairs to the place.

When governance is organized this way, there is no way things would move according to expectation.