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Opinions of Monday, 8 February 2016

Columnist: Asare Adei

5 Reasons Mahama won’t have a second term

At the inauguration of a Community Day Senior High School at Kwaobaah Nyanoa in the Eastern Region on Thursday February 4, 2016, President Mahama called on the people of Ghana to renew his mandate in the 2016 elections to allow him a second term in office, and trust that he would put money in everyone’s pocket then.

'We have spent these last four years investing in bringing the social infrastructure back to scratch and when I win the second term, then we will start putting money in your pocket,' the president indicated.

A critical analysis of the full speech of the President, though, leaves one wondering whether the President himself believes he has fared well in office or not. In one breath the President gives the impression he is on course and all is well; and then, in another breath, you get the sense that the President could tell that the masses are suffering under his leadership.

‘In everybody’s life, you make sacrifices for things that are important. Times come when we have to squeeze ourselves a bit to do the precious things that we need in life. We can’t have money in our pockets when the roads are not good.’ Here the President admitted that the populace is being squeezed.

And yet the President also had this for his critics: ‘What is the use of money when you are sick and can’t get a hospital to be cured? And so sometimes when we are squeezing ourselves, it is to do the things that are essential; to put in place the social and economic infrastructure after which you can begin to put money in your pocket. And so it’s good politics to say things are hard; but the money that we are raising, we are using for things that will benefit this country.’ Here is where you are not sure whether the President was saying, ‘I understand your suffering’ or ‘Just shut up!’

The President, however, was unequivocal with his appeal for a second term. And, similarly, members of the various opposition parties, as well as a good majority of the citizenry, also appear to be unequivocal that the President's mandate should not be renewed come Nov 7, 2016, when the nation goes to the polls. Indeed, the sentiments out there do not suggest Ghanaians are willing to take another gamble with President Mahama.

Five main reasons (based on views and sentiments expressed by politicians, members of civil society groups and ordinary citizens) why President Mahama is likely not to have a second bite at the cherry, which would be discussed in detail in subsequent publications, are as follows:

One, President Mahama's administration is seen to be the most corrupt administration this country has ever had. Many Ghanaians believe that the hardships we have had to endure have not arisen because the government has been building infrastructure but because government has misused and continue to misuse public funds.

Kwaku Baako, for instance, has consistently insisted that when you look at the corruption that has rocked this country under the current regime, you realise that but for that we did not need to go to IMF for a bailout.

Two, President Mahama's administration has destroyed the economy. Many Ghanaians wonder how a government that took over a buoyant middle-income economy with a fair Ghc9.2bn debt and has been unable to make life better for its citizenry could do so after saddling the country with a Ghc99bn debt. According to Atik Mohammed of the PNC, the Mahama government has 'disabled' the economy.

Three, the hardship in the country is just unbearable. It appears Ghanaians have been taxed up to the teeth by the Mahama government, and now cannot bear it anymore. Nii Armah Akomfra of the CPP has label the government as a ‘kakai’ government visiting untold hardships on its own people. Many have compared the situation in the country now to that of a frog that has contained the boiling water for too long and is considering jumping out before too late.

Four, lack of jobs due mainly to collapse of businesses, following the long period of ‘Dumsor’. For most part of three years, the country had to endure a cut in power supply for twenty-four hours after having power for twelve hours. In effect, in every three days, we had power for only one day.

This also means in every ten days; you have power for only three days, which works up to four months of power in one whole year! As to what this must have done to productivity, your guess is as good as mine. Nana Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to vote out ‘Ogu Adwuma’ Mahama.

Last but not least, number five, a liturgy of failed promises which have marked the current administration would also make it difficult for President Mahama to be given a second term. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is of the view that the President ‘made explicit promises’ and Ghanaians must hold him to account.

Stay tuned for the detailed analysis of each one of the reasons stated above.