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General News of Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Source: The Al-Hajj

Mahama's popularity dips ahead of 2016 elections

The Al-hAJJ couldn’t agree more with a master piece buried in the middle pages of April 2, 2014 edition of The Herald newspaper titled; “Nana Addo’s Popularity Soars As John Mahama’s Falls”.

The author of the insightful piece, Abdul Razak Bawa, who doubles as the News Editor of the pro-government tabloid, among other things argued that even as opposition leader and twice unsuccessful presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s popularity in recent times soars, President John Dramani Mahama’s public outlook, is fast declining.

This worrying development, the writer blamed on the President’s handlers and publicists. The aL-hAJJ dare say that it would take the politically naive and myopic mind to brush aside the hardcore facts adduced by the The Herald’s News Editor, and we at The aL-hAJJ salute the young man for that courageous and bold piece.

It is fact that Nana Akufo-Addo entered politics before President John Mahama. It is also public knowledge that the twice failed presidential candidate has been at forefront of political struggle in the country long before the President cut his teeth on the political landscape.

But the fact that Nana Akufo-Addo has been involved in political activities long before President Mahama entered politics does not mean the former’s popularity should dim the President’s image. This certainly means there is something wrong somewhere.

It is either someone is not doing his/her job to brand the President or Nana Akufo-Addo publicists are just on top of their job and are able to draw the needed media attention to Nana Akufo-Addo even when he sneezes.

The issue is even more nauseating when you turn your attention to Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur’s outfit. For some time now, one wonders if Ghana has a vice President.

Comparatively, the twice unlucky vice Presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is by far popular and known that the sitting vice President of Ghana.

His views on the economic outlook of the country is well accepted by the populace and draws much public and media attention even when his is engaged in vile propaganda, in the name of economic lectures.

Ironically, Mr. Amissah Arthur and Dr. Bawumia both have the same financial backgrounds. Whiles the former was once Governor of the Bank of Ghana that supervised a steady decline in inflation for well over 30 months continuously, the latter was a former deputy Governor of the central bank in the NPP that oversaw the ‘deceptive’ redenomination of the cedi to arrest fast deteriorating macro-economic fundamentals.

However, unlike Dr. Bawumia, vice President Amissah Arthur is the Head of the Economic Management team of government but has gone mum at a time the economy is facing serious challenges.

Dr. Bawumia has instead assumed the post of ‘Head of the Economic Management team’ and has been provided platforms to tell Ghanaians the true state of the economy.

In all these developments, our vice president who is finance expert par excellence has been missing in action. There is no word from his outfit to douse the gloomy economic picture Dr. Bawumia has been painting. Euphemistically, there is no inspiration from vice president Amissah Arthur.

Certainly, something must be wrong somewhere. It will be unconscionable for someone to think, an economic expert of a vice President would sit aloof and unconcerned whiles opposition elements bastardize government on the management of the economy.

President John Dramani doesn’t have any background in finance or economics, but when he was vice President and Head of Economic Management Team under late President Mills, Dr. Bawumia was not held in such high esteem.

Though, Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia may still be hoping for the day they win elections in Ghana; the duo has nevertheless, and by default become de-facto President and vice President respectively. Their seeming popularity, as Abdul Razak Bawa observed, surpasses the rightfully and duly-elected President and vice President.

Read Abdul Razak Bawa’s full article

Nana Addo’s Popularity Soars As John Mahama’s Falls

Hate him or like him, he is arguably the most popular Ghanaian today. He makes the news more than any politician in contemporary times. His name evokes anger amongst some people, whilst it ignites joy among many others.

He, unlike others, does not have the luxury of sneaking in and out of this country. His movements make headlines in both the pro-government newspapers and the opposition papers. You will wish to slap him when you meet him but forced to hug him. He is another Jerry John Rawlings in the making.

Whenever he speaks some put spin on it, whiles others claim he is the new Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. His rendition of the Queens language wows everybody who stops to listen to him.

Indeed, it is said that the death of a man signifies the birth of another. One man’s mistake is a success story for another and so his success story has begun.

His popularity, unfortunately, is by default, it was borne out of the failings of some people. He is mobbed like a President, celebrated like a King, yet he does not deserve all the accolades that are coming his way.

We pretend he does not exist or matter, yet he gets under our skin with all he does.

Saturday March 30, 2014, marked his 70 years of existence, three scores and ten, that is more than anybody could ever wish for, at this age with the current happenings means the man’s story is yet to be told.

His birthday was marked as if he had won an election that has eluded him in his 70 years on earth and in frontline politics. His birthday made news dwarfing all the important and critical issues affecting this country, albeit what the Government is doing to put this country on a sound footing.

Chiefs, former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, party faithful, Members of Parliament (MPs) and ordinary Ghanaians graced the occasion to give him a memorable birthday. I had the occasion to wish him happy birthday, yet when he was sending the invitation, I never got one. The old man is not a President yet and he has started discriminating. You would understand why my heart bleeds with the stumbling that is creating a conducive environment for the rise of the old man.

Anybody who wants to win the National Executive position of his party must tie his apron strings to him; you need to get his blessings to make a good showing.

Insult him, curse him or call him names and a horde of uncivilized and misguided irritants, who think they love him more than the country, will descend on you.

When he is out of Ghana, what he does outside this country is news. Surprisingly the President does not make that much news. The President’s handlers are not doing him any good.

At the moment, I can say without any shadow of doubt that he is more popular than President John Dramani Mahama, who beat him fair and square in the 2012 elections. Can the same happen in 2016, only time will tell?

On Monday, as I tried to count and come to terms with the party and thanksgiving that took place over the weekend to commemorate his birthday and as reported by newspapers and online portals and whether or not the man will fade into nothingness after the fun fare, something dramatic happened on Tuesday, in fact, two things happened.

First was an announcement by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) that prices of petroleum products are up by 7 per cent. Any slight increment in petroleum products means prices of goods and services also goes up.

Unfortunately, the people are not well informed of the automatic price adjustment formula that was introduced during the era of former President, John Agyekum Kufuor. We do not, as a country control what happens in the International market, but na-who-cause-am.

So any increase, will be placed at the doorstep of the Government, and why not, the opposition will always make capital out of petroleum increases to score political points. So, it is the politicians who are shooting themselves in the foot, because no one political party will be in power forever.

The Greater Accra Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) gave the indication that prices in transport fares will inevitably be increased following hikes in fuel prices.

The second thing worthy of note is the appearance of the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper in Parliament. His visit was simple, to tell the Honourable men and women that all is not lost. There is still hope, even though the picture before us gets bleaker and bleaker by the day.

It is always good to give a message of hope even during times of despair; a leader like Winston Churchill is celebrated today, because even during the British darkest hour, his speeches were enough to lift the spirit of the nation.

Seth Terkper is a very fine gentleman, but, unfortunately, he does not understand politics, he needs to learn the political language.

Standard Chartered Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have all said that the recent policy measures introduced by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to halt the free fall of the Cedi, will not work, it will rather worsen the situation.

What side of the coin is our Finance Minister looking at and what side is the IMF and Stanchart looking at? To our Finance Minister the glass is half full, whereas to our developing partners, the glass is half empty. We need to find out what Ghanaians think. They are the people who are affected by all the policies, be it good or bad.

Every day that passes with the news of increment in prices of goods and services, erratic power supply and shortage of water makes the headlines, the 70 years old man warms himself to Ghanaians. He can become a President, not because that is what Ghanaians desire, but because they feel betrayed by the current administration.

I have never been hopeful of the future of this country when in 2012, I joined the queue for five hours to cast my vote for John Dramani Mahama. I have no regret for that because I believe the joy of today is a promise of a better tomorrow.

I believe in delayed gratification that is why am not bothered with what is happening today. Things will shape up. But I am by one person; will the million others also see the need to delay satisfaction?

I am appealing to Government to try and halt the rise of the old man. His popularity is soaring. You hear people who willingly and gleefully voted for the President in 2012, tell you in 2016, they will either vote against President Mahama or stay away from the polls.

We are not there, but if things stand the way they are now, then God help us all.

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