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Opinions of Sunday, 25 January 2015

Columnist: Alhassan, Mohammed

Is President Mahama cursed?

President John Dramani Mahama needs to come out fully and tell Ghanaians who has cursed him. At my young age, I simply do not understand why every facet of Ghanaian life is getting worse and worse by the day. To borrow the widely-used phrase, "Everything Mahama touches turns to dust."

I have been alive during the Presidency of J.J Rawlings, J.A Kufuor, the late Prof. Atta-Mills, and never have I seen Ghanaians complain bitterly about the hardships they face on a day-to-day basis than in the era of John Mahama. Everyone is complaining and you cannot begrudge them. Ghanaians cannot make ends meet amidst the rising cost of living. One would always have to put a few extra cedis in his or her pocket everyday when going to buy items at the market, because prices of goods keep going up on a daily basis. The accepted Ghanaian standard of 3-square meals a days has now become a mirage, with one good meal per citizen now becoming a luxury. Oh Ghana!!

'Dumsor Dumsor' has now spiralled out of control. The load shedding schedule has now been thrown out of the window. It is now an established norm that one gets 12 hours of power, albeit not continuous, followed by 24 hours of well-executed, continuous blackout. The President has given countless assurances about the amelioration of the "adumdum adumdum" situation, but still no signs of improvement. It is now clear that the President's "prayer request" at the Perez Chapel International on 31st night did not get make it to Heaven's gate. God no be 'alata man'!

On the macroeconomic front, Ghana, the poster-boy for the developed world as a symbol of a stable, prosperous and democratic sub-Saharan developing African country, is now running to the IMF for a bailout, all because the country is "broke." Barely 3 years ago, Ghana was the fastest growing economy with a GDP growth rate of 14.4%. What happened in the last three months of 2012, all in the quest to ensure Mahama won the election is the reason why "we are where we are" (apologies to Dr. Nduom). Even in the 2015 budget, the Finance Minister played 'chaskele' with our GDP figures quoting a growth rate of 6.8% whilst the truth of the matter is that Ghana's GDP for 2014 grew by only 4.9%, even though we are an oil producing country. When one needs a loan from the bank, the interest rates are now hovering around 30%. The much touted single digit inflation which was trumpeted by activists of the NDC government as the sole indicator of Ghana's prosperity is now around 17% - and rising.

A new-born baby now owes close to GH¢3,000 after the government has contracted loans to the tune of GH¢69 billion. And from what we are hearing, government in 2015 will borrow a whopping GH¢24.5 billion from the domestic market. Interest payments alone on the loans contracted by President Mahama amount to GH¢9.5 billion, five times the size of our oil revenues. How do we then progress as a nation? Did we go or did we come as a country? Even worse, where are the projects to show for which these loans were contracted? Sika no wo hene?

We go around with a golden cup begging for money, and when the Supreme Court orders the retrieval of judgement debts wrongfully paid out to some persons, the President refuses to comply with the Court's orders. GH¢51 million paid to Woyome, 38 million Euros paid to Waterville, amongst others are to be retrieved and we have failed to do that? Instead we expend the energies of the Attorney General's department is pursuing a rape case against KKD, when the lady at the centre of the saga has written to discontinue the case? Priorities, priorities, priorities!

When it was discovered that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) had paid $63,000 as two-year rent for an office at East Legon, the President just ordered investigations into that. The whole issue ended at 'it is being investigated.' This government has been fantastic at exhibiting a terrible sense of priority.

When Elvis Afriyie Ankrah came back with his 'chop chop' stained white shirt from Brazil, what did we see the President do? Goodluck Mahama only re-assigned him and then deferred the decision on what to do about the 2014 World Cup mess and an obviously corrupt Sports Ministry to a presidential Commission. Clearly, this was done to help many of those who have appeared before the Commission avoid prosecution. It means the only punishment the likes of Kojo Adu Asare and Elvis Afriyie Ankrah will get is being mocked for their fake tears.

His Excellency doesn't want to mar his "nice-guy" nickname, the ladies accord him with. But at this rate, Mahama will go down as one of the worst leaders Ghana has ever had. President Mahama has dithered on everything. He and his people are running this country like the woman on my street does her kiosk – they have no plan, decisions are made on the whim and they are always fire-fighting. This leads me to ask this all important question. Is President Mahama cursed? Or perhaps my Spiritual Father, the National Chief Imam, knew what he was talking about in 2013 when he said: "If you force yourself to power, your government will not be successful."

Be it as it may, Mr. President, we are suffering. I don't need Sam Geroge's elevation to know the depths of my pocket which currently has only GH¢1.50. After 30 minutes at the internet café writing and send this article to media houses, I pray publish this piece, I will be left with only GH¢0.50. Boys are suffering, Mr. President! Please do something!!!

Mohammed Alhassan

Builsa South Constituency