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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

The Presidency Is Not For Mediocre Apprentices

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 20, 2014

He vigorously campaigned for then-Interim President John Dramani Mahama, and even planted propagandistic stories seeking to damage the reputation and undermine the credibility of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party; and so it is rather amusing to hear Alhaji Bature Iddrisu make a 180-degree turn by claiming, almost apolegetically, that the now-President Mahama was, after all, not prepared to assume the presidency in the wake of the "mysterious" passing of President John Evans Atta-Mills (See "Mahama Was Not Prepared for the Presidency - Alhaji Bature" / 7/12/14).

The preceding sobering observation by the editor-publisher of the Al-Hajj newspaper has several implications, none of which puts both the late President Atta-Mills and his arch-lieutenant in a good light. For starters, if it is historically accurate that Mr. Mahama was being groomed over the protracted course of roughly a decade to take over the presidency from his now-deceased boss, then one has no other alternative but to conclude that Mr. Mahama's predecessor lacked good leadership skills and judgment.

In other words, a substantive president selects a running-mate on the basis of the immediate preparedness - or readiness - of the vice-president to promptly, comfortably and effectively assume the reins of governanace in case of an unforeseen emergency or a national crisis. What is more, the lackluster governance track-record of President Atta-Mills is widely known and readily available for all to see. And so in quite a logical sense, it ought not to come as any grand surprise or disappointment that during the two years that he has been at the helm of national affairs, Mr. Mahama has yet to remarkably demonstrate his equality to the task electorally entrusted into his care, assuming that, indeed, he actually won Election 2012, as publicly declared and gazetted by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana's Electoral Commissioner, and judicially certified by the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court of Ghana.

Alhaji Bature may just well be telling the truth, when he further observes that "Mahama was not prepared for the higher office but only became 'president by constitutional arrangement to finish with [sic] the unexpired term of the Mills administration." The problem here, though, is that the vigorous, and some say unprecedently desperate, manner in which the then-Vice-President Mahama campaigned for the country's most significant and powerful public office belies the argument of the Al-Hajj newspaper editor-publisher.

Couple the preceding with the mysterious circumstances under which President Atta-Mills lost his life, and matters could not be envisaged to be even more bizarre. At any rate, even if one accepts Alhaji Bature's argument that Mr. Mahama was being groomed for 2016 and beyond, the fact still remains that Mr. Mahama would not have been even half-prepared to take over from his predecessor, had President Atta-Mills not have expired at the moment that he did.

In short, the lesson that the Al-Hajj newspaper editor-publisher may be subtly, albeit reluctantly, telling Ghanaian voters is that the presidency is no job for slow-learning mediocre apprentices, no matter how such apprentices may presumptuously deem themselves to have been divinely, or providentially, cut out for the same. Making excuses, such as Mr. Mahama's finding it extremely difficult to strike a balance between the retention of Atta-Mills cabinet appointees and Mahama's own only serves to further aggravate Ghanaian citizens and voters. For such trend of ratiocination merely shifts the imperative leadership responsibility of prioritizing the well-being of the people to the back burner, as it were, while privileging the parochial and cynical desires of party hacks.

According to Alhaji Bature, the foregoing has been the preoccupation for the nearly two years that Mr. Mahama has been in office. Whether Ghanaians are prepared to endure another four years of the grossly and scandalously incompetent Mahama administration, remains to be seen.