Former President John Mahama
“We expect to tackle some of the challenges that have defied successive governments over the past decade, be they NDC or NPP. Every government, for example, has succeeded to various degrees in attaining macroeconomic stability but as of now, none has been successful in finding a way to sustain it. Indeed, almost every government leaves office with a less-than-desirable macroeconomic situation, and the government that will succeed it…spends the next 1 to 2 years bringing the economy back from the brink. It is a vicious cycle that we must be broken” (May 13, 2014; Daily Graphic).
The words above are direct quote from the opening remarks by former President John Dramani Mahama in 2014 during National Economic Forum held at Senchi in Akosombo. Based on the speech, it is clear the ex-president and the current flagbearer of NDC Mr. John Mahama understands, then and now, that no government past or present in Ghana had been able to soundly transform the nation’s economy within one to two-year timeframe.
From Mr. Mahama’s own admission, often, successive Ghana governments over the years have been leaving behind office myriads of socioeconomic problems which demand considerable length of time on the part of the government of the day to bring under manageable level. Following the preceding logic by the NDC presidential candidate, we can safely conclude that the relatively young NPP government led by Nana Akufo-Addo also deserves more time to be able to bring the dysfunctional economy handed down by the previous JDM’s regime to an appreciable level.
As stated in a previous write-up, the former president-turned-presidential-contestant is super desperate to become president again so much so that whenever he speaks about issues, the fair conclusion one may be tempted to draw is that Mr. Mahama and his hardcore cheerleaders are living in alternate reality world, where cold facts do not count that much.
The current Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumiah, in his recent Economic Town Hall Meeting drew Ghanaians’ attention to and eloquently described one of the centerpieces of JDM-controlled NDC’s campaign strategies: Saying that something is red when that thing is actually green, or the fact that Mr. Mahama and his “Adongo school of economic thought” adherents are helplessly “allergic to facts” or socioeconomic realities of the time.
We all know Mr. Mahama used to be the head of economic team of his government, vice-president, and president of this country; so, many of us expect that he will always be circumspect with truth, display matchless statesmanship, and be guarded in his incessant critiques of his successor but the contrary is often the case. Not only does the former president consistently offer incoherent policy alternatives but also his behaviours out of office and on campaign trails portray individual bitterly internalizing aftershocks of electoral loss and a sense of betrayal on the part of some people expected to help him retain power nearly two years ago.
For the most part, the foregoing electoral sea change in December 2016 subtly underpins or informs the essences of ex-president Mahama’s reactions/attitudes toward President Akufo-Addo’s government policies. The Akans have wise saying loosely translates in English that whenever one becomes so angry at the non-threatening housefly hovering over a wound, one usually ends up unintentionally tearing open the already bad wound one is nursing.
Thus, it could be a well-known policy or a programme such as the Free SHS, the fight against galamsey that JDM and his flatterers when in power used to like and support but once they found themselves in opposition they begin to spread lies and demonize the very policies or social programmes they were so much in favour before they’re against now. In their raw state of political distress, the present NDC leadership under the guidance of Mr. Mahama and his stooges in a coordinated effort will try to throw every conceivable trick on the wall of Ghanaian public opinion to see which one sticks the most.
It is one of the main reasons Mr. Mahama and his “Adongo concoction jugglers” hurriedly organized a press conference, mini town hall meeting, or economic forum to attempt to provide alternative view point to the well-organized, apparently intellectual economic town hall meeting held the day before by the vice president of the ruling NPP government.
Juxtaposing the two economic meetings—Vice President Dr. Bawumiah’s and Mr. Mahama’s—one’s honest takeaway is definitely consistent with the majority of Ghanaians’ decision that totally rejected Mr. Mahama’s brand of economic policies in 2016, and rather embraced Akufo-Addo-Bawumiah socioeconomic concepts. Mr. Mahama’s 2020 campaign suffers from advanced form of “facts allergy syndrome” as the veep alluded to during his data-rich presentations.
The Mahama’s hastily organized economic forum, in response to the earlier one by the ruling NPP’s economic management team, was disjointed in terms of their cynical and narrow operationalization of the major props of the so-called economic fundamentals. Surely, the performance of a country’s local currency against the major global ones is very significant; but, it is not the “centre of the universe” without which a whole country’s economic edifice will crumble from within.
Yet, listening attentively to Mr. Mahama’s “Keynesian economist from Bolgatanga,” it seems the Cedi’s depreciation/appreciation side-by-side with the dollar in the international market was the main attraction over the notable fundamentals such as stellar saving culture, nation’s incomes vs. expenditures, healthy GDP, efficient debt management, reserve ratios, educated population, citizens’ confidence and optimism in the system, rule of law, political stability, infrastructural development, accountability and transparency, and the like.
Obviously, Mr. Mahama and his followers will not wholeheartedly focus on or dwell on these most important but not-too-popular among Ghanaians like the cedi-dollar does. For instance, why should a political party that parades many top leaders who believe in the politics of “boot for boot,” societal anarchy, or intend to kidnap some of our fellow citizens to make the ruling government looks bad to ward off foreign investors from coming in to invest, speak forcefully on political stability, rule of law, or educated workforce as crucial element of economic fundamentals? Certainly, Mr. Mahama and his half-baked economists believe they can mislead the “forgetful” Ghanaians and emerge from their alternate reality universe as winners come 2020. By the way, where was NDC’s Dr. Kwesi Botchwey? He probably could have produced better, realistic contexts than the MP Adongo the “Milton Keynes from Bolgatanga.”
Bernard Asubonteng is US-based writer