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Opinions of Thursday, 10 January 2013

Columnist: Agobre, Justin

President Mahama Was A Class Act.

They came, they saw, they cried, they laughed and they marveled. A day and a crowd like no other. Historic, monumental, stirring and peaceful. Over 50 million and not a single disturbance, not a single arrest, just goodwill and good feelings. It was spine-tingling, it was euphoric, it was unbelievable and yet it did happen.

President Mahama was a class act. He treated Rawlings and Kuffour with respect. He hugged Rawlings despite the later apathy in his campaign and reelection bid. It was the decent thing to do. He is above pettiness. He has established cordiality/civility instead of peevishness. This will serve him well and it sent a strong and clear message that in his presidency, decency and not nastiness will prevail. President Mahama’s action came naturally and it was witnessed by the media talking heads, watching every little move waiting for something to go wrong so they can fill the airwaves with their vitriol. They were dumb-struck. This is what president Mahama will be up against. He can talk all he wants about his “Better Ghana Agenda” and “edey be keke”, but any change will be as a result of compromises with parliament and its power brokers and they have their interest to represent. He can try to use the bully pulpit and appeal directly to the public, and this will work at the beginning, but eventually, he will be worn down and will have to make deals. This is the nature of African politics and for that matter Ghana’s. The window of opportunity is very small and that is why the first 100 days will be crucial for the success of his plans. This is where Kuffour and most of all the hard as nail Rawlings will be most needed. He will need to pick their brains on governing challenges as far as sycophancy issues are concerned.

The most effective weapons in Mahama’s armory however are the millions of foot soldiers who financed and won him the election and who have not been disbanded. They form a strong and cohesive force to be used to rally support at the grassroots level, using phones, letters and especially the internet. Key strategist like John Jinapor and Ghana’s prolific Journalist Sidney Abugri and many “strong” diehard party stalwarts should be brought to the fore. They are a potent force, so long as they remain faithful and dedicated. Should they become disenchanted, all will be lost. They have to be kept engaged, informed and involved.

President John Mahama is leading the way, up the mountain and it is a very difficult and demanding climb. How his cabinet, ministers and parliamentarians respond and how it is perceived will go a far way in determining the perception of his leadership and governance. First impressions are very important. There is a lot of goodwill towards Mahama, but it can disappear very quickly. It began with his indenture speech.

Ghanaians are proud to be Ghanaians, never ashamed and despairing. The world looks on in anticipation, with fingers crossed and prayers on their lips. Good luck and God bless Ghana.

Submitted by: Justin Agobre.