Feature Article of Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Columnist: Ayeboafo, Yaw Awuah Boadu
President Mahama does not respect cocoa farmers, livestock farmers and farmers in general. In order words the president does not respect a larger section of the Ghanaian population and the larger contributors to our nation’s gross domestic product as it is estimated that over 60 per cent of the population is engaged in farming.
The disrespect and disdain of President Mahama for farmers and people from lower levels of our society makes his commitment in public office and the presidency of the republic of Ghana very questionable and hypocritical. Indeed, the president’s goal in public office can only be accidental by virtue of his privileged family background and self-interest, rather than for the public good or quest to serve the public if we analyse his disdain and utter disrespect for the majority of Ghanaians who represent our farmers.
A critical analysis of President Mahama’s view of a dormitory mate at Achimota primary school has larger implications and vividly exposes him as a bigot, out of touch with the ordinary people and a person with utmost disrespect for the uneducated and people from lower backgrounds of our society. Indeed, what is shocking, unpardonable and revealing of President Mahama’s view is for him to have held such belief as young as a seven-year old boy and class two pupil to recount it as he did in his book clearly, publicly and proudly now as a 53-year old man, a politician, vice president and now president of the Republic of Ghana. We are of the view that by virtue of hindsight, age and public office responsibility, President Mahama should have changed his views as recounted vividly in his book.
The President’s long held mockery and disrespect for majority of Ghanaians is exposed in his maiden book “My First Coup d’Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa”
Now read President Mahama’s view of children from farming communities as quoted from page 40 of his book.
"I wasn't at all surprised to learn that his father was a farmer, though I would have guessed that it was an animal farm and not a cocoa farm, because Ezra looked as though he had been born, raised, and fed in much the same way as livestock. His father, though uneducated, had made a lot of money for himself. He wanted his son to attend Achimota, the school where the doctors, lawyers, politicians, and other members of the upper echelon sent their kids. With good reason: Ezra was a bush boy; he was tactless and uncouth. Little by little as the days and weeks wore on, he revealed more of his true nature."
Now a critical analysis why we are of the view President Mahama is a bigot, disrespects farmers and majority of the Ghanaian public and therefore do not deserve to be voted as president of the Republic.
1. “I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that his father was a farmer…” To young John Mahama at seven and now at fifty-three, he held and still holds low estimation of farmers that he was not surprised of the behaviour of his dormitory mate. Was president Mahama showing sympathy or disdain to children of farmers?
2. On a serious note John Mahama had and has the lowest estimation of livestock farmers as he continued “…though I would have guessed that it was an animal farm and not a cocoa farm, because Ezra looked as though he had been born, raised, and fed in much the same way as livestock”. Let Ghanaians ask President Mahama if indeed, livestock farmers raise and feed their children in much the same way as their livestock?
3. So worryingly and unfortunately, president Mahama at this age still believes farmers should not make more money and there should be separate schools for wards of the uneducated, lawyers, doctors and politicians when he writes “His father, though uneducated, had made a lot of money for himself. He wanted his son to attend Achimota, the school where the doctors, lawyers, politicians, and other members of the upper echelon sent their kids.”
4. To president Mahama children of farmers and children of parents from lower economic backgrounds are uncouth with justification when he writes “With good reason: Ezra was a bush boy; he was tactless and uncouth. Little by little as the days and weeks wore on, he revealed more of his true nature." President Mahama equates being uncouth and tactless to being the ward of a farmer.
5. President Mahama’s disgust and disregard of the ordinary Ghanaian is exposed when he equates the skin of his dormitory mate to that of the hard working men and women who face the hard realities of life every day in order to earn a living for their families. To president Mahama his dormitory mate looked like “one of the men we sometimes saw on the campus grounds clearing the under bush with long, slightly curved cutlass. Their skin, which was blacker even than a starless sky at midnight, would be glistening with sweat.” Do we have people in Ghana whose skin is blacker even than starless sky?
We refute president Mahama’s view in no uncertain terms. Evidence abounds to the contrary. We quote a section of his own book to expose him. President Mahama refutes his argument or view of farmers and shoots himself in the foot as quoted from his book "As soon as Dad organized the house and got the farm up and running, he moved all of us kids from Accra to Tamale to live with him”. How does President Mahama reconcile his father’s engagement in farming and his disdain for farmers in general as captured on his earlier view? Did president Mahama and sibings turn “bush boys, uncouth or tactless” by their dad’s venture into farming? Obviously, the answer is negative. This alone explains how misrepresented president Mahama’s view is as there’s no relationship between being uncouth and tactless to farming. In fact, farmers nation-wide have raised their children to be great and civilized men and women who are contributing in no small measure to the development of Ghana.
President Mahama’s view on farmers is not only ignorant but arrogant and unacceptable at the highest office of the land. We believe President Mahama should rather have commended the effort of our uneducated farmers who seek to give their children opportunity that they did not obtain instead of a scorn. No wonder president Mahama, a beneficiary of free education rather opposes it for every Ghanaian. To him qualification to attend an elite school or the Achimota’s should be based on whether your parent is rich, educated, a doctor, a lawyer, or a politician as against being the kid of a poor man, uneducated, farmer or being intelligent. To him attending an elite school should not be on merit which obviously a free education policy would encourage.
In conclusion, all Ghanaians should seriously analyse president Mahama’s view, take exception and condemn him in no uncertain terms. Indeed, it is unacceptable for any Ghanaian to hold such view, especially people in public office whose decisions affect public policy. In fact, farming is so important in Ghana’s economy to the extent that it remains one of the highest contributors to our GDP and every family in Ghana can boast of having a farm. Indeed at one stage in our political development there was a national consciousness for everyone to have a farm under the Operation Feed Yourself.
Indeed, president Mahama made false comparison of his dormitory mate’s behaviour and the fact that his parents were farmers, leading him to a hasty generalisation that children of farmers are “With good reason ….tactless and uncouth.”
We believe Ghanaians should demand unqualified apology from president Mahama and ask him to do what is noble by recalling his book from the public domain as it is very disgusting, insulting and disparaging of the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian. We are therefore embarking on a nation-wide signature and thumb print collection to register our disapproval of his views. We call on all individuals and civil society groups to support our campaign. Long live our hardworking farmers whose daily struggles put food on the table.
God Bless you. Thank you
Yaw Awuah Boadu Ayeboafo, firstname.lastname@example.org Tepa-Ashanti