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Feature Article of Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama

President John Mahama was a womaniser. So what?

It seems some members of the NPP are girding their loins to launch a campaign based on the morality of President John Dramani Mahama ahead of the 2012 elections. I heard an NPP activist on Radio that they would expose all the moral escapades of President John Mahama after mourning the late President.

Well I would want to caution NPP members to be circumspect on the issue of President John Mahama's morality especially the number of women he slept with and the number of children he has or it could backfire. I am of the opinion that "morality" depends on the point-of-view of each voter because there are many ways of defining what is moral and what is not.

To me the driving issues of the 2012 election should be hinged on the performance of the NDC. The NPP must start finding ways of critically analysing and assessing how to prosecute the 2012 campaign especially with President John Mahama as flagbearer of NDC.

John Mahama is admired by many Ghanaians for his communication skills and charming face. He is largely acclaimed as a fine and appealing gentleman cast in the mode of the US president, Barack Obama, hence he was nicknamed, ‘Ghana’s Obama’ during the 2008 campaign period.

The number of children President Mahama has did not influence his election as MP for Bole-Bamboi and to some extent his rise in the NDC party and government and by extension would not necessarily affect him negatively in the 2012 election. The NPP has a lot of work to do to beat this man in 2012.

On the whole if the NPP can focus on "bread and butter" issues the better it would be for the party. I totally agree with Mustapha Hamid, Spokesperson for Nana Akufo-Addo who said on a Radio Station that the NPP's campaign is going to be based on the NDC’s track record. "That track record includes almost four years of incompetence, corruption, joblessness, and falling standard of education", he said.

Many Ghanaians are disgruntled because the much anticipated oil boom that started a few years ago has failed so far to create many jobs. Ghanaians are not happy with the speeding pace of inflation, now at 9%.

I believe the consistent good opinion polls Nana Akuffo-Addo have had before the death of President Atta Miills can be attributed to the way he has articulated his message based on the issues of the day.

Attacking from the angle of how many women President Mahama has slept with and how many children he has could be suicidal for NPP. The party could avoid that topic as much as possible. It will be really disappointing about this focus on wife's and children.To me genuine moral issues concerning the well being of people should be be raised by the NPP.

It is genuinely immoral, in my humble opinion, that hunger and poverty exist. It is immoral Ghanaians are dying for lack of basic medical care. It seems to me that any of these are far better candidates for moral outrage than whether someone has slept with many women or not.

Morality is socially defined. In the Northern part of this country, the number of wives and children one has is what defines his status in the community.

I can say about 90% of us from the North come from families with multiple wife's and siblings. I grew up to realise that the person who is more respected in my community is sometimes not the person who is wealthy but the person who has many children. It does matter whether the children are born with women one has not married.

E. A Mahama, the father of President Mahama gave birth to many children with different women yet was made the first MP for the Gonja West (Now Damongo Daboya and the Bole areas) and went on to become an important Minister in Kwame Nkrumah's government.

My own late father Alhaji Mahama Salifu who was a stalwart of the Danquah-Busia tradition in Gonjaland and founding father of NPP in Bole-Bamboi was very much respected and revered because he gave birth with 13 women. I have lost count of the number of siblings I have.

My father was made the leader of the PFP and later the NPP in Bole because among other reasons the people felt he was great because of the dozens of children he fathered.

Attacking President Mahama on the number of children could affect the sensibilities of some people because it is an accepted practice in my part of the country. It does not mean one is immoral.

If we listen to those who voted for the NDC, it appears that many of them made their decision based on what they saw as the "humility" but not the "morality" of Atta Mills and his running mate John Mahama. With pressing economic issues like judgement debts, the National Health Insurance Scheme grinding to a halt, high prices of food stuffs and many others why should a party focus on children one has and the number of women he has slept. Has that gotten a correlation to a persons performance as President?

It is for these same reasons some of us fiercely resisted attacks on the morality of Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP flagbearer in the past. In any case we should not deceive ourselves that Nana Akufo-Addo Addo will not have a fair share of attacks on his "morality" from NDC and that to me will simply cheapen our politics. I believe in 'bread and butter" politics.

I rest my case.

Mahama Haruna.

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