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Opinions of Thursday, 9 January 2014

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

President Mahama, Stop Insulting Our Intelligence

President Mahama as the first Employee of Ghana deserves a vacation like any other Employee and as the President and first gentleman of the country, also should be accorded special benefits not available to ordinary workers which the citizens of Ghana have made available to him. Such special benefits include his own plane at his disposal 24/7/365, free housing, servants, food, and not paying taxes on his salary as the President. With these benefits come special responsibilities to the citizens of Ghana and we as citizens provide him a retinue of Advisors to make it easier for him to govern the country and he has filled these positions with YES men who are afraid to tell him when he comes up with decisions that are wrong.

President Mahama after coming to power on his own after winning the 2012 election decided to appoint friends and tribesmen as his Advisors whether they are qualified or not and this mistake has led to the President making elementary mistakes a seasoned Politician like him shouldn't have made. First, standing infront of the CNN logo in Atlanta alone and grinning from ear to ear like a schoolboy on excursion to an amusement park was not Presidential at all.

Ghanaians voiced their disapproval of such a mistake and when you thought the President has learned a valuable lesson from that episode, he high tailed it to Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 23rd December 2013 with his family, Advisors and security Personnel and dubbed it as being on vacation. Vacation to a Moslem country during a Christian holidays? Who is advising this President? This vacation to Dubai, UAE was INSENSITIVE and DUMB.

First, let's deal with the INSENSITIVE issue. Do you think the Emir of UAE will take a vacation to Rome or Jerusalem during the Moslem holidays that come after their fasting and prayers festivities or do you think the King of Saudi Arabia will take a vacation in Jerusalem or Rome during the Hajj? This is an insult to Christians. Is Dubai the only city this President could have taken his vacation? Why should the father of the nation take a vacation outside the country during the christmas holidays? Couldn't he have taken his vacation to Bole and expose his children to harsh realities of life about how majority of Ghanaians live instead of taken them to Dubai like the rest of Ghanaians live like that.

Secondly, Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in or take vacation to when some of their hotel rooms cost as much as $6000 a room per night and a plate of dinner can cost as much as $495.00 a plate. How many rooms did Mahama and his entourage book for the twelve days he spent in UAE? If he and his entourage took ten rooms at an average cost of 2000 dollars per room per night, that is $240,000 just on hotel room alone without counting the food. This is really insensitive at a time some Ghanaians couldn't even afford a traditional chicken for christmas whilst the President and his family were living it up in Dubai, feasting on lambs and chickens ensconced in a cozy Dubai hotel. How much did President Mahama vacation in Dubai cost Ghanaian taxpayers or he is paying these expenses from his own pocket like the rest of us JOE BLOWS do when we go on vacation? This vacation I bet will cost Ghanaian taxpayers between $750,000 to one million dollars.

President Mahama heard about Ghanaians complaining about this insensitivity so he hurriedly arranged or forced an invitation on the Deputy Prime Miniter of UAE who reluctantly received him on his balcony, gave him a bottled water and immediately sent him away like a child on halloween 'trick or treat'. The President returned to Ghana and used the one year annivesary to explain why he took his vacation in Dubai with this reason;

"Mr Mahama insisted that the UAE was strategically chosen as it offered him the opportunity to interact with technical groups and potential investors.During my stay at the Arab Emirates, I met lots of potential investors and some technical groups who promised to send their representatives."

To me, this explanation was not thought through despite the fact that the President knew such a question was going to be asked. This is where the dumbness comes in.

If my memory serves me right, this is the same reason given by the late President Mills when he took a hurriedly arranged medical trip to USA during the christmas of 2011 and when Ghanaians complained about it, said he met businessmen on December 26th. We have come to know that, President Mills and his NDC factotums lied about that trip. President Mills was rushed to USA during that time for medical care and not to meet any businessmen.

Who are these Technical groups? Are they from planet space and come to Dubai during the christmas holidays only? Potential Investors doing business in Dubai during christmas holidays when even business transactions in Arab and Moslem countries are slow?

Maybe President Mahama take all Ghanaians as fools who he can flummox with these elementary excuses but not all of us think like his Ndc denizens who will accept any explanation from him. The President should respect us by at least standing on his grounds and tell us, he can take his vacation, anytime to any country of his heart desire without explaining himself like he said about it being his prerogative to dismiss any Minister without having to explain it to Ghanaians, we will respect him on that instead of this insult on our intelligence excuses.

Justice Sarpong