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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Columnist: thechronicle.com.gh

Why the people have to show Mahama the red card

Watching President John Dramani Mahama on television on the campaign trail, the Head of State cut a forlorn picture of a man at his wits end. He appears to be out of touch with the reality on the ground, and making promises, which he knows too well that the people he has been addressing do not buy into.

Yesterday, The Chronicle pointed out in an editorial that at the time he was promising more jobs after his re-election, his Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Terkper, and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Abdul Nasiru Isahaku, had appended their signatures to a document fully swallowing the IMF prescription of total job freeze next year.

One does not need any ghost to pontificate on who is telling the truth. Yesterday, a number of newspapers and the electronic media captured President Mahama addressing a crowd in the Atiwa East Constituency in the Eastern Region, President Mahama is reported to have intimated that all the tough decisions on the economy that needed to be taken, had already been dealt with, and that Ghanaians would enjoy an economic windfall, when voted to retain power at the December 7, pools.

At the same time that the Head of State was promising the moon, his Deputy Minister of Power, John Jinapor, was telling Accra-based Joy FM that the government was so broke that it is unable to fix the Dum-so debacle.

Read the Deputy Minister’s lips: “Let me be very frank, money has been one of the challenges. We just have to frank, open and transparent with the people of Ghana, and limit a bit of the politicking.”

We are told that currently, the government is importing some 600,000 barrels of crude oil, at a price of US$30 million, to power the nation’s thermal plants. This lasts for only 14 days.

Ironically, at a time this nation is facing this economic freeze, most electricity consumers in the rural areas are enjoying virtually free electricity. We are told that meter readers only read the various bills and submit them to consumers, who are never asked to pay.

In the usual scheme of politicking in the country, the bills would be collected only after the next election. By then, the rural folks would have been conned into voting for Mr. John Dramani Mahama.

Electricity has been added to the President’s give-away, in a desperate bid to con the people to give Mahama the vote. Unfortunately for the Head of State, not many people are being hook-winked in this gargantuan gerrymandering exercise. Mr. Mahama is a frustrated character, aiming wild blows at imaginary enemies.

The other day, he blamed non-compromising newsmen for his plight, instead of patting the back of these over-worked and underpaid staff of the private media, especially, for exposing ills in society.

At Atiwa East the tone changed. Now, these so-called enemies of the President are behaving like arm-chair fans, who, apparently, see more on the field than the major players.

If the President is so adapt at football tactics, why has he not taken up the job of coaching the Black Stars, and is allowing the State of Ghana to fork out US$50,000 a month to hire the services of Mr. Avram Grant?

The President appears to be a frustrated person. If he sits down and does a swat analysis of his Presidency, he would have a fair idea about why and when he lost touch with the people.

The Chronicle has a fair idea about when it all began to go wrong. When, as Vice President, Mr. Mahama led a delegation to Brazil and purchased a plane at a ridiculous high price, Dramani started digging his own political grave.

When President John Evans Atta Mills died under those bizarre circumstances and the government he inherited failed to present an accurate picture of the circumstances, Mr. Mahama failed the test required of the highest office of the land.

When in his quiet moments, the President reflects on the many shady deals that dogged his Presidency – the failure to get Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome to account for his loot of GH¢51.2 million for no work done, for instance – Mahama was on his way out.

Add the judgment debts saga to the bribery allegation involving the Head of State and a certain Burkinabe contractor, the dire is cast. Mahama needs to lose the election for a semblance of normality to envelope national politics.

The Chronicle would not shed a tear if, as expected, the long-suffering people of Ghana show Mr. John Dramani Mahama the red card on December 7, 2016.