By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
I don’t know that having President John Dramani Mahama serve two consecutive terms of a year, each, as Chairman of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) has any relevance on the perception of the Ghanaian electorate vis-a-vis the leadership caliber of Mr. Mahama. Unlike a functionally potent and cohesive “political community,” ECOWAS is decidedly edentate or administratively toothless; and so it is not clear precisely what Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa means, when the Deputy Education Minister interprets President Mahama’s reelection to the ECOWAS chairmanship for a second term to presage the electoral shoo-in of his boss come Election 2016 (See “ECOWAS Leaders Begged Mahama to Accept 2nd Term Offer – Ablakwa” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/18/14).
Not coincidentally, in the lead-up to Election 2012, Mr. Mahama campaigned on the rather dogmatic assertion that the two consecutive presidential terms served by Messrs. Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum-Kufuor, respectively, clearly indicated that Ghanaians had, by and large, unreservedly accepted the premise of every presidential election victor/winner needing to serve two consecutive terms as a means of making a lasting and/or significant impact on the nation’s political landscape. The problem with this sort of argument is that it rudely denies Ghanaian voters the critical faculty of making judgments on the basis of logic and merit, rather than sheer dogma lamely predicated on scanty precedent.
I also don’t know that having corrupt and scandalously undemocratic chieftains like Presidents Yahya Jammeh, Faure Eyadema, Teodoro Obiang and the deviously scheming Yayi Bone endorse one’s chairmanship retention is necessarily a laudable gesture. What is amusingly clear here is that Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa appears to be unwisely hell-bent on setting up an inescapably dangerous agitprop scenario for the rigging of Election 2016 by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). It is dangerous because it is highly unlikely to be brooked, or tolerated, by an increasingly electorally savvy and alert Ghanaian citizenry.
While, of course, the very ideological concept and premise of ECOWAS may be decidedly remarkable, it is, nonetheless, none the least bit the defining frame of reference or paradigm for Ghana’s Fourth-Republican dispensation. In other words, Ghanaian voters have their own national character and perspective, as well as agenda, that are discrete and not interchangeable with the still inchoate aims, objectives and agenda of ECOWAS. And any mischievous attempt to stampede Ghanaian democracy with “ECOWAS Expediency” will be fiercely resisted. Far gone are the days when a largely unsuspecting Ghanaian electorate could be facilely used to further the grandiose ambitions of strongmen and dictators.