The responses to the issues raised about President Mills in my article can’t be dismissed as a mere potshot. They are clearly the upshot of pent-up feelings, regardless of any deeper political meaning that anybody may want to read into them. They reflect what is doing the rounds and have dire implications; they need serious scrutiny to help us comprehend the future direction of Ghana politics under President Mills.
What possibilities or otherwise there are for him to be retained in office will, of course, not be determined from this small corpus of public comments concerning his performance; but the comments raise very disturbing aspects of governance under him that need appraisal.
Certainly, those making those comments are part of the body politic and will definitely interact with voters to influence their decision-making and thought processes. In that sense, their comments can be used as an inkling of what lies underneath. We can tell from the intensity of the disdain from them that it will be difficult at this stage for them to change their stance. Of course, they are free to hold opinions and exercise their democratic right of choice as they please.
Considering what happens in cyberspace (which allows for multiple identities and the opportunities that the Internet creates for multiple postings by one person under different monikers), it will be absurd to view such comments as the truth inviolate and, therefore, to base any valid conclusion on what I gathered. A respondent on PeacefmOnline even used my name in commenting on the article, which should tell us how cyberspace can lend itself to all forms of abuse and identity manipulation.
Although these comments can’t be upheld as the incontrovertible proof of an overwhelming voter anger or dislike for President Mills, they are representative enough of the barometer reading to suggest that President Mills’ performance isn’t satisfactory across the board. We don’t know the geographic distribution of the comments nor where the respondents reside.
If they are outside Ghana and will not directly vote on election day, their comments may be taken as mere verbiage and written off, although it is like such expressions of frustration and embitterment may be passed down to eligible electorate to influence them. If they are in Ghana and will vote, then, their comments indeed carry weight as the direct venting of pent-up feelings waiting for Election Day to be translated into votes against President Mills.
Of course, a problem with such data is that they can’t be trusted as the true reflection of reality. Even then, moods change, and we shouldn’t expect the respondents to remain fixated on their anti-Mills sentiments forever.
What will definitely shock them is if President Mills weathers the storm to win the upcoming elections. From the tone of their comments, one would be tempted to think that President Mills is swimming against the political current and won’t win the elections. If their wish turns out to be undermined, it will be the greatest shock to them.
This is what the loud mouthed “Greedy Bastards” at the Presidency (the Osu Castle, generally) should have been doing to alert the President to the danger ahead. If they did so, they would not fail to gather the appropriate intelligence for proper analysis to know the drift of public anger against the government. So informed, the President and all those sycophants busily wasting time and effort fighting over the spoils of politics in officialdom would be circumspect in predicting a favourable outcome of the general elections. They would not be bloated with self-satisfying but noisome optimism that President Mills will win the elections “hands-down.”
They would be guarded in their comments and be wary in how they conduct themselves so as not to worsen the government’s credibility problems. Or how not to widen the gulf between it and the very people whose mandate it seeks but who are not impressed by the government’s performance and will act appropriately on Election Day.
But since they have closed their minds to goings-on and will prefer to see and hear only what they revel in—and go ahead to mislead the Presidency with skewed briefs to create the impression that all is well—some of us will do the yeoman’s job for them.
The writing on the wall is clear and those who want to read it will do so, as is obvious from the responses of those who read whatever is disseminated about President Mills and his government’s performance or standing in the estimation of the electorate. Sometimes, it’s good to allow such characters to stew in their own self-created woes. Election Day will gradually dawn and we shall see those who will wail and gnash their teeth.
Then, it will be our collective duty to look for any of them who has tainted his hands with the public pottage to be punished.
Those appointees or government functionaries who are busily gobbling that pottage will not be spared. It will be our bounden duty to flush them all out of their hideouts to be punished. Then will we be setting the stage for proper accountability in our democracy.
For far too long, we’ve remained dormant and docile to allow these thieving politicians to get away with their nefarious acts. From what is happening (and based on the constant allegations of corruption against government functionaries), it is only fair and proper that we take appropriate steps to make them account for their stewardship. Let’s use the outcome of the 2012 elections to chart a new path of accountability. We must begin early enough. That’s why the electorate must not waver at all but use what they know about these politicians to make their electoral decisions.
Those lazy ones in the corridors of power who waste their energies and resources indulging in the asinine politics of insults won’t serve President Mills’ good purposes. They are doing more harm than good and will be better off if they re-direct their energies and resources toward reconnecting him and themselves with the people on the ground who hold the key to their retention in or exit from office.
Unfortunately, though, such people are too full of themselves and the perks of office as not to know the danger that awaits them. They will gloat over their loot until the inevitable happens to tear them into shreds. That is when events overtake them to consign them to opposition. Then, they seek refuge in stale allegations of “witch-hunting,” mounting roof-tops and howling for needless attention as victims of the new political order. Ghana will not make any progress with such characters at the helm of affairs.
For President Mills, particularly, the comments that I gathered and interpreted tell a frightening story that he may not wish to be told but will serve his purposes if he listens to it. It must be told “loud and clear” and heard in its entirety because it carries weight. It has enough meat to help him re-appraise his performance if he wants to make amends and claw back some good will or risk being doomed. It is a story of all stories!
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor