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Opinions of Sunday, 13 October 2013

Columnist: Dailypost

7 Reasons JM Is Likely To Succeed

On January 7, 2013, a former Member of Parliament,

once a former Deputy Minister who was also once a Cabinet Minister and later became

a Vice-President of Ghana was sworn in as the 6th President of a

democratic Ghana and the 4th of the 4th Republic of Ghana. John Mahama(JM)

is currently ten months inside his first four-year term.

Arguably, there is no President in the history of

Ghana who has had to face the kind of challenges JM has faced in the embryonic

stage of his Presidency. He is the first President, for example, whose

legitimacy as the democratically elected President of Ghana has been challenged

in court. Going about one’s Presidential duties while waiting for the verdict

of the Supreme Court is like having Damocles’ Sword dangling over one’s neck. Then

there were the doctor’s strike, pharmacists strike, teachers strike and other

strikes that he had to contend with. As if that was not enough, the mysterious

market fires became the order of the day. The energy crises, a.k.a. ‘dum sor’ ‘dum

sor’ was going on

unabated. Many well-wishers of JM

rightly feared that in the face of all these challenges, he is bound to fail.

But, ten months on, it can be said that he succeeded in riding the storm. The

reasons why he succeeded and other factors are the reasons why he is very

likely to succeed as President of Ghana. Below, we discuss seven of the




The NPP is undoubtedly the biggest opposition party.

It is also the party with the oldest tradition in Ghana politics. Conservatives

and often ethnocentric, their style of opposition has not changed since the

pre-independent era. They believe that it is their divine right to rule. If

they are not in power, then everything that the ruling government does is

wrong. They have the knack for instigating labour, the businesses and traders,

the academia, students and other identifiable groups against any ruling


Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, writing about them in

his book “Dark Days In Ghana” described them as “unpatriotic selfish men” who have

“a long record of go-slow policies, of subversive activities”. Nkrumah adds that

that they were people

who regarded themselves as “respectable,

the professional and intellectual elite, as having nothing to do with the

toiling masses whom they regarded with a mixture of fear and scorn.”

This description of the Busia-Danquah tradition is

still apt of adherents of the tradition today represented by the NPP. Intellectual

arrogance as well as tribal

bigotry and this opposition party are bedfellows. As a result, they do not have

a mass appeal. They hold sway during elections in only Akan areas, many of who

have begun to reject them. In non-Akan areas, they are rejected without a

second thought. Their ability to turn identifiable groups against ruling

governments was manifested during the reign of Jerry Rawlings and Prof. Mills

and is now being witnessed under President Mahama. While they were in power,

the Trade Union Congress (TUC) became a toothless bull-dog. Never did Ghanaians

hear that the TUC was embarking on a demonstration against the NPP government;

not when the price of petrol was increased by over 300% and utility tariffs

went up over 100%. When the same TUC is ready to go on strike over an 80%

increase in tariffs, one can see the NPP at work. The number of doctors and

teachers strike, as well as strikes by CLOSSAG and other identifiable bodies

that have rocked Ghana from since the NDC came into government in 2008 are

clear manifestations of how the NPP is able to manipulate these bodies against

the government of the day. However, the ordinary man has long ago wised up to

this anachronistic tactics. They know what the opposition NPP really want when

they shout themselves hoarse that they are fighting for the ordinary man. That


opposition is still resorting to such inferior tactics which no longer jells

with the ordinary man is going to help JM to succeed.



In an era when the world has become a global

village, the International Community plays a role in local politics.

President Mahama undoubtedly has a lot of goodwill

in the international arena which he can count on to shape local politics. For

instance, while the opposition were challenging his legitimacy in court,

England, France and Japan, extended invitations to him to pay official visits

to their respective countries. Obviously, this move by these powerful countries

was to send signals to the international business community that they back him

and his government. U.S President Barack Obama was on record as being one of

the first Presidents to congratulate JM after he won the Presidential elections

in December last year. The high esteem his colleagues on the West Coast of

Africa hold him in has been demonstrated severally. JM has a lot going for him

internationally and this would help him succeed as President.



To say most Ghanaians like JM is an understatement.

Even as a Minister of state, he was voted the most loved politician by opinion

polls conducted by some media houses. His high likeability rate helped Prof.

Mills a lot to clinch victory in the 2008 elections after his partnership with

Martin Amidu and Mohammed Mumuni failed to get him the Presidency in 2000 and

2004. In the 2012 elections, the love Ghanaians have for John was demonstrated

by the fact that he managed to overcome Akufo Addo’s populists offer of Free

SHS to the electorate to win at the polls. Akufo Addo, with JM’s high

likability rate, must be flattered that he lost by about 360,000 votes only.

JM’s high likeability rate among Ghanaians will

definitely help to succeed as many are likely to exercise patience with him

till his policies begin to bear fruit. With a high likability rate among

Americans, in spite of the economic difficulties, President Barak Obama went

ahead to win the 2012 elections.



There is no doubt that one area where JM has to

succeed is in the area of job creation. There are thousands of Ghanaians who

are unemployed and desperately seeking for jobs. Job creation should therefore

be among JM’s main areas of concern.

One of the vehicles through which he can create jobs

is the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). The Centre is tasked with

wooing foreign and local investors into the Ghanaian economy. Investors create

jobs. A GIPC that is active will therefore create jobs. Under Mawuenam Trebarh’s

leadership, the GIPC has shown the will to woo investors into the Ghanaian

economy. Already, Singapore has taken the lead to establish an office in Accra

to direct Asian businesses to Ghana, thanks to GIPC effort. If theis trend

continues, and jobs are created, JM will be on course to telling its own

success stories.



When President Mahama’s campaign Team unveiled one

of his adverts in the run-up to the 2012 elections with the slogan “working for

you”, many did not understand the idea

behind it. However, ten months into his Presidency, JM has shown that his

intention of becoming President is to use hard work to better the lot of

Ghanaians. Seeing him go about his duties, especially at the height of the

energy crises, market fires and doctor’s strike was just a marvel. No wonder,

he has been able to overcome these major monsters in a short time and at a time

his legitimacy was being challenged.

Hard work will definitely reap JM success.



JM has shown that he is not ruffled by any challenge,

within and without his party and government. Many a President would have

flipped if they were in his shoes at the time his legitimacy as President was

being challenged in court, doctors and other professional bodies were on

strike, the energy crises was at its peak and the market fires were on. But JM

never flipped. He never showed any emotion. He remained calm, pensive sometimes

but generally with a smile on his face. This is an attribute of a good leader.

His demeanor calms the nerves of his people. He is able to keep the ship of

state calm in the midst of turbulent waters. Such leadership qualities are

lacking in many leaders. At the height of crises, they flip and take populist

decisions or go after opponents. JM is cool. A leader with such nerve is able

to think properly and take correct decisions.



Generally, the media in Ghana are anti-NDC. This anti-NDC

stance has naturally seen JM being demonized, especially on radio. The new

craze is the concoction of stories about him in the social media by NPP

activists. The anti-NDC stance which now seeks to create a devil out of JM as

it sought to create out of Jerry Rawlings and Prof. Mills often lures the NPP

into a false sense of victory because

they think people believe what these anti-NDC media houses opine. But ordinary

folks long ago stopped trusting these media houses. They recognize that all the

noise they make is just to score cheap political points for the NPP. It accounted

for the NPP’s loss in 2008 and 2012 even though they had about eighty per cent

of the press backing them with presenters especially in the twi language

shouting themselves hoarse, deceiving themselves that they are impressing the

people. With a noisy press that has long ceased to be trusted, JM is bound to

succeed because the wild allegations against him will just be the opposition

press tickling themselves and laughing.


Obviously, President Mahama’s psychological make-up

and other factors are going to help him to succeed. But it is not going to be

smooth sailing for obvious reasons.

Firstly, the President has got to find a way of

ensuring that the men and women around him do not short change him. It is

natural to have one or two not being up to scratch. Even some among the 12

Jesus Christ appointed as his apostles were found wanting. But in the main, the

majority must share in the President’s vision, eschew arrogance and

ostentatious lifestyles and help him achieve his goals.

Another challenge JM may face is from within the NDC.

The NDC has a way of pressing the self-destruct button. But, it is important

for NDC supporters to always remember ex-President Kufuor’s admonishment that

“being a messenger in government is better than being a General Secretary in


The President’s ability to confront corruption, no

matter who is involved, will also be key in determining his success.

In the main, JM has all it takes to succeed. He has

already demonstrated it. With all shoulders to the wheel, he will make it easy

for the NDC to clinch more victories after he steps down in 2020!