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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Honourable members, only a few Ghanaians will jump for joy over Mahama’s comeback!

It was nothing out of ordinary when the vineyard news spiralled through that about 94 NDC Members of Parliament have convivially thrown their unwavering support behind Ex-president Mahama in the forthcoming flagbearership race.

The fact of the matter is that there are not many patriotic Ghanaians who will shrill and thrill over the return of Ex-President Mahama, with the exception of a few NDC Party apparatchiks who probably laid hands on big chunks of the national cake.

Obviously, the Mahama’s praise singing bandwagon never experienced the harsh socio-economic standards of living their Messiah 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.

Interestingly, the other potential presidential aspirants of the NDC’s 2020 flagbearership race have been emitting consistently that former President Mahama was the main reason why NDC lost the 2016 election.

Unsurprisingly, however, multitude of concerned supporters within the NDC is in solidarity with the aspiring flagbearers. They have been ventilating their illimitable indignation over the anticipated comeback of former President Mahama.

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

To be quite honest, I am struggling to get my head 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 does not warrant another chance at the presidency.

Let us be honest, in as much as former President Mahama commands some respect among the NDC foot soldiers and a section of ordinary Ghanaians, the sceptics could not be far from right for being doubtful over Mahama’s 2020 electoral chances.

Indeed, it came as no surprise at all when a group of organisers within the opposition NDC beseeched the National Executives of the party to allow Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin to go unopposed in the party’s forthcoming 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.”

The spokesperson for the group however insisted that since corruption would 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.

And the last time I checked, the vineyard news was that Professor Kwesi Botchwey wisely directed the disintegrated lots to embark on a series of unity health walk.

And, if that was the case, how is the infamous decision of NDC Members of Parliament to declare their support for a single candidate going to help to achieve the elusive unity?

The crucial question however is: is former President Mahama the only capable leader in the NDC Party?

I would, however, like to believe that the weird action taken by the Members of Parliament will only deepen the existential cleavage in the party.

In fact, I will not be surprised a bit, if the teeming supporters of the other potential presidential aspirants revolt against their Members of Parliament somewhat controversial declaration.

To be quite honest, I am struggling to get my head around how and why any real patriot would seek the return of someone who disastrously collapsed the country’s economy to the detriment of the impoverished Ghanaians.

So the Mahama loyalists would want us to believe 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 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 rightly maintain that former President Mahama’s irrevocable errors in decision-making accounted for Ghana’s economic downslide. For example, Ghana’s GDP shrunk from $47 billion to $37 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 per cent in 2011 to a nauseating 3.6 per cent as of December 2016.

Moreover, the critics have been arguing forcefully that former President Mahama and his government’s woeful errors in 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 stimulate income-seeking rather than productive activities.

On the whole, the critics rightly contend that former President Mahama’s government remains the worst ever in the history of Ghana politics.

However, the loyalists of former President Mahama, such as the NDC Members of Parliament, are ridiculously holding on to a phantom hope that they could bring Ex-President Mahama to recapture power in 2020.

Well, I am not in a position to offer any advice to NDC Regional Chairmen on their choice of a suitable flagbearer. But all that I could venture to state is that, judging from the harsh economic conditions Ghanaians experienced during Mahama’s maladaptive administration, it will take a miracle for discerning Ghanaians to easily forgive and vote Ex-President Mahama in 2020.