By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Monday, Oct. 3, 2016
Folks, you must have read the news report quoting the NPP’s Akufo-Addo as saying that “the continued stay in office of President Mahama poses the biggest threat to the future of Ghanaians present, and the generations unborn” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Mahama-is-the-biggest-threat-to-Ghana-s-future-Akufo-Addo-474214).
What an oxymoron? What an idiotic utterance of the highest order? President Mahama isn’t that threat; Akufo-Addo is. Putting him in office spells more doom than needed by the country and its people. I take issues with Akufo-Addo and will poke him where it hurts most—his exposed and vulnerable underbelly. Ghanaian voters rejected him on two occasions and haven’t seen anything positively new about him to put him in power at Election 2016.
The factors that worked against him at Elections 2008 and 2012 still dominate his politicking, even as others have emerged to portray him in a worse negative light. His labelling President Mahama as the greatest threat to Ghana’s future won’t win any vote for him. The voters know that he is the worst of all the aspirants, one whose unbridled ambition for power endangers the country. Does he not know that the people know the mechanisms that he has put in place to cause mayhem if voted against again? Shifting his own liabilities to President Mahama won’t save him from the electoral doom awaiting him.
Abundant evidence exists to prove that President Mahama is the most tolerant and big-hearted President in the Ghanaian political dispensation. No day passes by without his being insulted openly by his political opponents, especially those in the NPP. Labelling him as a thief is just the tip of their iceberg of calumny. They have coined tags that they hang on him for purposes of soiling his public image to suit their rogue politics. All kinds of invective have been poured on him and the impression created that he is unfit for the Presidency.
Yet, he has remained unfazed. He goes about his activities and preaches peace. He has made it clear that violence won’t serve Ghana’s purposes and urged Ghanaians to work together for Election 2016 to be held in a peaceful atmosphere. His latest reassurance came from the statement he made at the Royal House Chapel International in Accra on Sunday, 2 October: “We have a constitution, we have operated it, if we have an election dispute, we know how it must be handled. Definitely, violence is not an option.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Violence-not-an-option-Mahama-474345).
How can such a peace-loving leader be branded as the greatest threat to Ghana? Even as the NPP machine intensifies its campaign of vilification against him, hasn’t lost his head to engage anybody in any wordy warfare. Even when tagged as “incompetent”, he has laughed out loud and proved that he knows what he was voted into office to do, which he continues to do to the best of his ability.
Even when the NPP vowed to make the country ungovernable for him after its Akufo-Addo had lost the useless petition hearing, he reached out to the NPP camp to ensure that party interests didn’t ruin the national ones. He has sought the country’s well-0being by preserving peace and stability in the face of provocations and direct antagonism from the NPP camp.
Even as his political opponents tempt him to jump into the gutter with them, he remains affable, cool, calm, and collected. He knows full well that politics isn’t a do-and-die affair. It is a game to played fairly and won or lost, depending on the will of the electorate, which explains why he is focused on reaching to the voters on the basis of his accomplishments and not scaremongering, flexing of muscles, or threatening hellfire and brimstone. To him, winning or losing power depends more on the candidate’s track record in public office and ability to “sell” himself to voters with messages that appeal to them. That explains why he is strenuously interacting with the voters in the country, selling himself to be retained in office.
Given all the powers he has at his disposal, he could have done a lot to put his critics where they belong; but he hasn’t chosen that approach because he is naturally peace-loving. Just imagine what some of Ghana’s leaders used such enormous powers to do to their opponents! To his credit, President Mahama has avoided that path. Probably, that is his greatest mistake.
One truth that shouldn’t escape us is that he didn’t enter politics out of desperation nor is he seeking a renewal of his mandate as such. Simply put, we will place him in the context created by Shakespeare: “Some are born great; others achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them”! From his track record, we can tell how he rose from the lowest rung of the political ladder to become Ghana’s President. And he has done enough to assuage all doubts that he is well-cut-out for the position.
Let’s flip the political coin to see the other side featuring Akufo-Addo. There is a lot about him already in the public domain that needs no reiteration here. And that lot isn’t beneficial to his public image, which explains why he cannot win the Presidential elections on his own merit. That is why he has chosen “takashi” (rough-house tactics) as his most favoured weapon to fight President Mahama. He lost Election 2008 to the late Atta Mills after narrowing winning the first round because he wasn’t favoured by the voters.
He lost Election 2012 to the Lion of Gonja on that same score, even as many more negative traits emerged for the voters to see him as unfit for the Presidency. His own public posturing and utterances portrayed him as too desperate, which scared the voters. He hasn’t learnt any useful lesson from that sound defeat and is treading the same negative path for Election 2016.
All that he did after losing Election 2012 portrayed him negatively. His going to court for the results to be cancelled or for him to be declared the winner further dented his image. His scare-mongering tactics and threats have really done him no good. As such, he comes across as really despicable to his political opponents and will find it difficult to erase that poor opinion.
Added to everything is his poor leadership skills, which has torn the NPP apart and made it difficult for him to approach Election 2016 as strongly as he had done for Elections 2008 and 2012. Even within his own camp, he is perceived as intolerant, violent, arrogant, vindictive, and whatever else negative!
Generally speaking, then, Akufo-Addo is carrying a huge baggage of negatives, which is threatening to weigh him down. At 72 years, he is a spent force but still insists on doing rogue politics. What does he hope to gain from labelling President Mahama as Ghana’s greatest threat when everybody can tell who really is that threat (Akufo-Addo)? Juxtaposed with President Mahama, his inadequacies easily separate him from the good-natured President. I wonder what motivated him to attempt blackening President Mahama this way. Extreme desperation? Waywardness? Or what?
It is clear that he is bereft of any convincing campaign message with which to woo voters. The only weapon left for him is to bad-mouth his nemesis and hope that the gullible ones will bite that bait. Unfortunately for him, the voters can separate the grain (President Mahama) from the chaff (Akufo-Addo). Having failed to sell himself on the basis of any accomplishment in public office, he has nothing to recommend him. All the “huhudious” promises coming from him only cast him in the “Concert Party” mode. Thank God that Agya Koo has now joined his team to heighten the comedy.
Putting everything together, it must be clear that Akufo-Addo’s characterization of President Mahama as a threat to Ghana fits him (Akufo-Addo) more than it does the President. Do I hear that in filling the Presidential nomination form, he wrote “BSc Economics” as his highest level of education and his profession as a “legal practitioner”? Where does he place the Inns Court of the Middle Temple that he claimed to have attended? More anomalies, folks!!
I shall return…
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