Feature Article of Friday, 16 November 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Ghanaians Need a Leader, Not a Father, Mr. Mahama!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Maybe somebody needs to inform President John Dramani Mahama that the era when presidents and commanders-in-chief talked down to the people in a paternalistic and patronizing tenor is long over and done with! (See “I Will Be Father For All – Mahama” Ghanaweb.com 11/14/12).

Needless to say, the late President John Evans Atta-Mills’ arch-lieutenant has spent the last four months tribalizing, ethnicizing and regionalizing his electioneering campaign so much such that he scarcely has any credibility left to talk about, let alone to imperiously pontificate about the imperative need for inter-ethnic harmony in the country.

Indeed, the greatest gift that peace-loving and well-meaning Ghanaians can afford themselves this Christmas is to massively vote out Mr. Mahama and his so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC), and ensure that the Rawlings-minted political machine stays on the gray margins of Ghanaian society for as long as humanly possible.

Anyway, precisely what did he mean when our Accidental President rather imperiously presumed to insult the intelligence of our traditionally invested rulers by asserting before an august conference of our National House of Chiefs that “I will be father for all [Ghanaians] before, during and after the elections”?

Is he hereby, for instance, implying that he intends to hang on to power by hook or crook? If so, and this clearly appears to be his intention, then Mr. Mahama had better watch out for something far bigger than the Mobutu’s Congo, Amin’s Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone “harmonized.” Also, his rather crude attempt to insult the intelligence of our chiefs and our cultures by “donating 12 Toyota Land Cruisers to the Regional and National House of Chiefs” will not wash come December 7, 2012.

Needless to say, Ghanaians and our leaders are hungry for something far more significant, materially and spiritually, than a dozen Land Cruisers cynically thrown at our indigenous rulers with barely a month to Election 2012, even as Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the New Patriotic Party chairman, poignantly reminded President Mahama. And just where did the money for these Trojan Horses come from? To be certain, this is the angle from which the reporters who covered this event ought to have focused their stories.

Indeed, Ghanaians are ravenously hungry for statesmanship and the kind of palpable quality-of-life improvement in the areas of education, health and agriculture that can be proudly passed on to our children and grandchildren. It is also certain that many of these chiefs have their own even more luxurious vehicles than the handful of Land Cruisers that Mr. Mahama so cavalierly presumed to throw at them like chickens on a poultry farm.

Likewise, it would be far more visionary and progressive if the ardent Kayayei Advocate could prevail on the management of the Japan-based Toyota Corporation to establish assembling plants in the country for the more meaningful training of the legion unemployed Ghanaian engineering graduates of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the various polytechnic institutes dotted across the country, so as to make these Land Cruisers more affordable for many of these chiefs to be able to purchase their own private models.
And then to think that a president who does not even believe in a fee-free elementary and secondary education would simply throw such expensive SUV’s, gratis, at our traditional rulers constitutes the insufferable height of arrogance.

You bet Mr. Mahama is dead-on-target in recognizing the stark fact of Ghanaians hailing from a remarkable diversity of cultural backgrounds. For, where I come from in the country, the Bole-Bamboi-born, Achimota-bragging Gonja tribal nationalist would have been promptly told off; he would have been sternly and vocally asked to take a hike in one of his election-season Land Cruiser kick backs and make way for a far better, mature, visionary and seasoned leader.

I also believe him when Mr. Mahama craftily observes as follows: “It is my aim to wed all Ghanaians into one big family[,] whilst still recognizing the diversity in culture and language that we have.” Actually, about the only thing that “Little Dramani” recognizes are our gaping cultural differences; and this is why in the northern-half of the country, the Gonja boy’s campaign rhetoric has been squarely focused on “regional tribalism.”

And this is also why the majority southern vote ought to be jealously protected against the evil machinations of vampire politicians like “Little Dramani.”

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Nov. 14, 2012