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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Columnist: Mohammed Hashir Issah

Open letter to President Mahama from Zongo Movement

Dear President Mahama,

Greetings of peace.

The Zongo Movement for Change (ZOMOC) has taken note of your recent call for the people of the Northern part of Ghana to vote for you on December 7 because, as you put it, you are one of us and our brother.

Your Excellency, we have also taken note of your comments which sought to portray the New Patriotic Party as a party which looks down on Northerners, and as such should not be voted for by Northerners, because former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama was not allowed to be Presidential candidate by the NPP, and in your view, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia will suffer same fate in the future.

Your Excellency, with all due respect, your comments are ethnocentric, divisive, distasteful and unpresidential. We are extremely disappointed that such comments, which divide the nation, is coming from you, having sworn to keep the nation together and to respect all manner of people regardless of one's social, religious and ethnic background.

Mr President, calling for Northerners to vote for you because you are a Northerner and calling on Northerners to reject the NPP because they are yet to elect a northern flagbearer, is not only a cheap way of campaigning, but also an unfortunate attempt to pitch Northerners against non Northerners.

Your Excellency, as you are renowned for constantly reminding us of your noble title of being the Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, may we also humbly remind you that this noble, privileged title, conferred on you by the good people of Ghana, comes with certain non-negotiable responsibilities towards Ghanaians. One of such responsibilities is to be a unifier. You should be the last person in Ghana to fan tribal, divisive sentiments.

Mr President, having attempted to pitch the NPP against Northerners for electing non-northern presidential candidates, how would you muster courage to go back to non Northerners and seek for their votes? It is not for nothing that the Presidential election of our country is one constituency; we are one people, one nation.

Your Excellency, the total number of Northern votes you got in the last election couldn't have been enough to make you President. You needed support and votes from other parts of the country to make you President of GHANA. In fact, you would have lost miserably had non Northerners been told not to vote for you because you are a Northerner and not one of them.

Mr President, we are one people as Ghanaians, and Northerners have peacefully co-existed with non-Northerners throughout the country so please don't let your quest for a third term for your party, the NDC as well as your re-election bid polarize our serene communities.

NORTHERNERS WILL VOTE ON ISSUES

Your Excellency, your call on Northerners to vote for you because you are one of us, is absurd and an insult to the intelligence of Northerners. Electing a president is a serious business which defines a country's life and we are surprised it is being reduced to such trivialities. To say Northerners should vote for you because you're a Northerner is to reduce the important exercise of choosing a competent leader for our country to a comic session.

Your Excellency, Ghanaians and Northerners in particular, will not just go and line up and vote for you because you are one of us. Yes you are one of us but we will subject your four and a half year reign as President, as well as the three and half years as Vice President to intense scrutiny.

Mr President, you may have succeeded in wooing many Northerners to vote for you in 2012 as "one of us", but this time, Northerners and Ghanaians will not gloss over the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy by your government which has brought about untold hardship to Ghanaians.

Your Excellency, Ghanaians, particularly Northerners, will not gloss over the massive corruption in your government, particularly the looting of SADA money meant for the development of the north by your assigns.


Your Excellency, Ghanaians, particularly Northerners will not gloss over how your government's failure to pay feeding grant to senior high schools in the North has regularly led to delays in reopening of schools as well as students being fed on maggot-infested food.

Your Excellency, Ghanaians, particularly Northerners will not gloss over how your government’s economic mismanagement has created massive unemployment to the youth of this country.

Sad SADA story

Your Excellency, since you are so proud to constantly refer to yourself as a Northern President, why have you chosen not to comment about SADA to Northerners and Ghanaians since you launched your campaign?

For a program which was elegantly commissioned by your party, the NDC and was supposed to aid the development of the north, we are shocked you and your party are completely silent about this so-called northern development blue print anytime you mount the campaign platform in the North.

Your Excellency, we can only guess why you are not comfortable to address the issue of SADA to your Northern audience considering how members of your government have used SADA to fleece the good people of the north in the most despicable manner.

Mr President, we guess you are avoiding SADA because the good people of the North are aware of how several millions of Cedis were created, looted and shared by members of your government in the name of SADA at the expense of the suffering people.

Mr President, SADA has become a taboo subject in the north because the mere mention of it triggers anger and serious resentment towards you, your assigns and your party, NDC.

Your Excellency, SADA is now synonymous with fraud, greed, exploitation and dishonesty, and no wonder you are completely avoiding it. Your failure to address it, Mr President, does not mean that the people have forgotten about this epic scandal. We don’t have short memories as you may want to believe.

Your Excellency, rather than go about fanning tribal sentiments against the NPP in the North, we humbly suggest that you should be apologizing to the good people of the north in particular, and Ghanaians in general over the fraudulent manner in which your government has used SADA to cruelly exploit the people of the north.

The debilitating poverty situation in the north which was used as a conduit to create SADA, makes the scandalous looting of the SADA money an unforgivable crime against Northerners and Ghanaians in general. This distasteful exploitation of the poor by the government you have superintended should be punished by a massive rejection of your re election bid, and we are already campaigning for that.

Your Excellency, any government that perpetuates such a shameful, gargantuan crime does not deserve to be re-elected into office. Exploited Northerners are aware of it and this is what will inform how many of us will vote; not which Presidential Candidate is our father, brother or son.

Mr President, we wish to humbly assure you that you are our brother and we love you, just as we love any citizen of this country. The future of Ghana is however, more important to us than extending niceties towards your individual ambition of another term of office. Ghana first and as such, we will vote on issues to vote out mismanagement, incompetence and corruption.

Finally Mr President, Ghanaians will vote on issues and hand over Ghana to a competent team which will make our country Ghana work again.

Ghana First! Long Live Ghana!

Sincerely.


SIGNED:

Mohammed Hashir Issah
(Director of Operations & Communication - 0243169615)

Khalid Abdul-Qadir Mainasara
(Secretary)