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Opinions of Sunday, 11 April 2021

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

I hate no Mahama; even the NDC founder, the late Rawlings, didn’t sing his praises!

Former President John Dramani Mahama Former President John Dramani Mahama

I have been inundated with hate, or to put it euphemistically, unpalatable messages from the brassbound admirers of His Excellency Ex-President John Dramani Mahama for persistently and honestly highlighting his catastrophic errors in decision-making which regrettably sent Ghana to its knees. .

Of course, His Excellency former President John Dramani Mahama has many unrepentant critics. I, in particular, as a matter of principle, have been an impenitent critic of Ex-President Mahama over the years.

That being said, I am not the Lucifer in his flesh, far from it. The point of departure, though, has always been the political ideology. But in spite of our divergent views on political ideology, I cannot deny or ignore the fact that the former president contributed his bit towards the nation building.

There was absolutely nothing surprising when the vast majority of the NDC Delegates gleefully threw their unwavering support behind Ex-President John Dramani Mahama in the NDC’s 2019 flagbearership race.

We cannot also stand accused of harbouring inherent and risible proclivity for suggesting somewhat passionately that there are not many patriotic Ghanaians who will shrill and thrill over the return of Ex-President Mahama with the exception of the diehard supporters who probably laid hands on big chunks of the national cake, ostensibly, shared unequally by the former president.

It is quite obvious that the Mahama’s praise singing bandwagon never experienced the harsh socio-economic standards of living their ‘redeemer’ Mahama wilfully brought upon the nation. So what do you expect? They will definitely clamour for the return of the spoon that over fed them.

If you may recall, during the NDC’s 2019 flagbearership contest, the other potential presidential aspirants emitted vehemently and inexorably that former President Mahama was the main reason why NDC lost the 2016 election.

Unsurprisingly, however, a multitude of concerned supporters within the NDC were in solidarity with the other aspiring flagbearers.

The aggrieved supporters uncompromisingly ventilated their illimitable indignations over the comeback of former President Mahama.

Bizarrely, while the sceptics were insisting that Mahama was not up to the task during his tenure in office and must therefore be replaced with a much more capable flagbearer, the Mahama loyalists were moving heaven and earth to have him back as the party’s next presidential candidate.

To be quite honest, some of us were extremely surprised to get our heads around how and why anyone with reflective thinking prowess could aim accusing fingers at the critics for insisting that Mahama kept his eyes off the prize and therefore didn’t warrant another chance at the presidency.

In as much as former President Mahama commands some respect among the NDC foot soldiers and a section of ordinary Ghanaians, the sceptics were absolutely right in doubting Mahama’s 2020 electoral chances.

Thus, it came as no surprise to some of us at all when a group of organisers within the opposition NDC urged the National Executives of the party to allow Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin to go unopposed in the party’s 2019 flagbearership contest (See: Alban Bagbin must go unopposed – NDC organisers; ghananewsagency.org/ghanaweb.com, 12/03/2018).

“So many people in the party feel Hon. Bagbin is the best person to lead us into 2020 and the reasons are pretty clear: he is the exact contrast to former President John Mahama in the matter of marketability and yet retains the Northern extraction that will satisfy the need to have a Northerner complete an eight-year mandate.”

Back then, the spokesperson for the group insisted forcefully that since corruption was going to be a key campaign theme in 2020, and the fact that former President Mahama administration had issues with corruption, Ghanaian voters would be forced to reject him if he was to be elected as the next flagbearer.

In fact, it was not only the aggrieved NDC organisers who expressed concerns about the corruption in the erstwhile Mahama administration.

The NDC founder and the former president of Ghana, J. J. Rawlings of blessed memory audaciously came out and disclosed that the corruption in the Mahama administration was so pervasive to the extent that a former NDC minister licentiously bought two luxurious mansions worth at a staggering $3 million from an estate agent in Accra shortly after the Mahama’s government exited power (see: ‘NDC minister grabs two mansions’; dailyguidenetwork.com, 12/06/2018).

The late President Rawlings further disclosed that Akufo-Addo, unfortunately, inherited national corruption at its worst from the erstwhile National Democratic Congress administration, led by former President John Dramani Mahama (see: Akufo-Addo inherited ‘corruption at its worst’-Rawlings; ghanaweb.com, 2/11/2017).

Besides, prior to the NDC’s 2019 flagbearership contest, the Speaker of Parliament, Bagbin, the former MP for Nadoli Kaleo and contestant of the NDC’s presidential race, attributed the humiliating defeat of Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 general elections to bad governance amid gargantuan corruption (See: ‘Mahama's boys bought V8, built mansions in 4 years – Bagbin; myjoyonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 19/08/2018).

Mr Bagbin was reported to have quizzed somewhat dejectedly: “Don’t tell me that the boys that suddenly came closer to the president within four years can build mansions and buy land cruisers and you say there are no resources, where are they getting the money, their salaries?”

To be quite honest, some of us struggled endlessly to get our heads around as to how and why any real patriot would seek the return of someone who disastrously collapsed the country’s economy to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians.

Why did the Mahama loyalists think that every single Ghanaian was oblivious to the happenings in the country prior to the 2016 general elections?

The fact of the matter is that the diehard NDC supporters were living in a denial about the harsh economic conditions prior to the 2016 general elections.

Back then, the vast majority of Ghanaians struggled to make a living or eke out an income. The dreadful errors in decision-making, the incompetence and the unbridled corruption culminated in untold economic hardships.

In fact, one cannot help but to agree with those who insist that former President Mahama lacks effective leadership skills.

The sceptics would argue that it was due to former President Mahama’s poor leadership qualities that a GH9.5 billion debt in 2009 rocketed to an incredible GH122.4 billion in just eight years.

Besides, the critics have been maintaining that former President Mahama’s dreadful errors in decision-making accounted for Ghana’s economic downslide.

Take, for example, Ghana’s GDP shrunk from $47 billion to $40 billion in just five years.

Somehow, Ex-President Mahama’s decision-making came under sharp scrutiny when he abysmally dragged an economic growth of around 14% in 2011 to a nauseating 3.4% as of December 2016.

It is also true that Mills/Mahama administrations moved a gallon of petrol from GH3.69 in 2009 (Ghanabusinessnews.com/energypedia.info, 06/01/2009) to around GH18.00 in January 2017(See: Fuel prices increase by about 11%; cityfmonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 05/01/2017).

If you may remember, former President Kufuor left the currency exchange rate at around GH1.20 to 1 U.S Dollar in 2009 and the Mahama administration dragged it to GH4.20 to 1 U.S Dollar by December 2016.

The critics would thus argue forcefully that former President Mahama and his government’s woeful errors of judgement and alleged corrupt practices resulted in excessive public spending, less efficient tax system , needless high public deficit and destabilization of national budgets, heightened capital flight and the creation of perverse incentives that stimulated income-seeking rather than productive activities.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com

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