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Opinions of Sunday, 16 October 2022

Columnist: E. G. Buckman

Ghana’s economy, election 2024: Is Dr. Bawumia a victim of his own words or a dirty job?

Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, is purported to have said at a meeting in Tamale and other places in the North that the party has used him to do a lot of dirty jobs over the years. Following that unfortunate statement, some political analysts have suggested that his dwindled reputation and credibility is as a result of the so-called dirty jobs.

Some political pundits have also suggested that the Vice President has decided to protect the little credibility he has left, hence his decision not to give any public lecture on the state of the economy as the head of the Economic Management Team, as such lectures tend to resurrect some of the things he said about the country’s economy prior to 2016 election.

Besides, according to sources close to the Vice President, he is seriously troubled by Google’s description of him as the biggest liar in Ghana, hence he has decided to be extremely careful with his choice of words anytime he is making a public statement. Is too little too late for him?

You see, apart from being a game of numbers and strategy, politics is also a game of words. It is often said that great politicians are those with mastery over words. They know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it to get their people behind them. They smartly speak less, listen carefully, and act more to please their people.

Words are powerful political tools. Words said in the past, words being said now, and words to be said in the future, can potentially build up or tear down one’s political fortune, credibility and reputation.

In addition, words and credibility are two sides of a coin. Whereas one’s credibility is largely determined by his words, the value of his words is also a function of his credibility. As a result, if you are a politician and people begin to doubt your credibility, your words mean nothing to them.

Furthermore, propaganda in politics is a powerful tool, which can be used to amplify an infinitesimal issue to appear as something huge. This is where the NDC is extremely dangerous. Thus, you can’t think of competing against the NDC without taking into consideration something an aspirant has said in the past or without being careful with your choice of words and promises.

Relative to the subject of words and their effect on politics, permit me to share with you something that happened when we were students in Legon. Paul Adom Okyere of Good Evening Ghana fame became a victim of his words and, consequently, lost NUGS presidential election he would have easily won but for his own words, in 1999.

Like the NDC would normally do, we simply amplified a harmless statement he had made at a town hall meeting and that was the end of him in that election. Much as he tried to explain and clarify the import of what he said, the harm remained irreparable because we held on to the tail of that propaganda.

In today’s politics, Paul’s “I am not an ordinary student” statement, can be likened to Dr. Bawumia’s “I will choose a Ghana Card over 1000 interchanges” statement. Albeit he himself and some of his spokespersons have tried to clarify the import of what he said, the harm remains irreparable.

You see, when what is drowning a person are his own words, the words of other people can’t save him. No amount of PR gimmicks would save such a person.

Talking about words and their effects on politics, Dr. Bawumia has unfortunately become a victim of his own words. He has personally made certain statements, and wild promises in the past, most of which are disputable and unfulfilled, that can really cost the NPP a great deal of political fortune in 2024.

Let it be said that regardless of who becomes the party’s candidate for 2024 if those videos of Dr. Bawumia are played as propaganda tools by the NDC, the party would inescapably suffer some degree of bruises. However, the damage would undoubtedly be colossal should the party mistakenly elect him as a candidate.

Any objective person who has seen some of the videos on social media would tell you that those videos are really politically damning. No serious political party that wants to win an election can pretend they aren’t big deal. Such things are a really big deal everywhere in the world relative to elections. Such things usually put a party’s political campaign in a defense mode.

For instance, how would Dr. Bawumia be able to convince the good people of Cape Coast and, for that matter, the Central Region to take his campaign promises seriously as a candidate, considering the Cape Coast harbor-airport debacle? Frankly speaking, those two videos are disturbingly damning.

Again, how would he, as the head of the Economic Management Team, be able to convince Ghanaians about his arrest of the dollar vis-a-vis the current behavior of the dollar?

I can go on and on to talk about the numerous damning videos and audio and how they have endangered his political career, but the bottom line is that majority of Ghanaians wouldn’t take him seriously again when he speaks about the economy. This is a fact. His words, like the cedi, have really depreciated in value. Interestingly, the government recognizes that.

That’s why when the IMF issue came and the political atmosphere became increasingly frazzled, they asked someone with impeccable credibility, the Trade and Industry Minister, Hon. Alan Kyerematen, to go and explain things to Ghanaians. And, when he did, we didn’t hear any rebuttal from the opposition’s economic team. That’s the value of credibility.

In conclusion, I dare to ask, what would favor Dr. Bawumia as a candidate against John Mahama? What advantage would he bring to the table? Truth be said, he would be highly disadvantaged against him. In actual fact, he would personally suffer a “Quadruple Whammy”, namely religious disadvantage, tribal disadvantage, words disadvantage, and economic disadvantage.

Lord have mercy!

Shalom shalom!