By Dr Michael J Bokor
Folks, what makes ex-President John Dramani Mahama the most affable, self-controlled, peace-loving, and stable ruler that Ghana has so far had is very much on display. In this post-Presidency period when much is being said and done by his “enemies” to sink him, he has kept his composure and proved that in his natural element, he isn’t the kind to be swayed negatively to slip into the gutter.
I like it that he has remained cool, calm, and collected’ that despite all the mudslinging still going on against him (from elements in his own political party and those in the NPP, especially), he has chosen not to bite the bait to be ensnared for further vilification. In truth, then, he has chosen the right approach of being self-effacing to allow circumstances in the country to speak volumes.
We congratulate him for being resolute in retreating to the background, even as his opponents (call them “enemies” if you so wish) tempt him with their provocative utterances and conduct. It is a trap that he has cleverly side-stepped. Refusing to be drawn into their game makes him all the more admirable.
We already have evidence from the stance of former Presidents in our 4th republic who have taken it upon themselves to weigh into everything happening in the era of their successors, tearing into all and creating the negative impression that Ghana couldn’t do well in their hands.
Foremost is Flt.-Lt. (rtd.) Jerry John Rawlings who is still full of useless energy to attack Kufuor, Atta Mills, and John Mahama over what he cannot see as part of the problems that he had caused when he was in power. If it were easy to solve Ghana’s problems at the time he took over, why didn’t he do so to make it difficult for the (P)NDC’s opponents to defeat it at the polls?
His hot-headed public utterances substantiate our claim, even as they speak volumes about him; and we will not bother to itemize them. If you care, just consider all that he had said about Kufuor to undercut him and why to date, both cannot see eye-to-eye. Two old men who should have known better not to set such bad examples but are sworn not to see anything good in each other to commend?
Refer to the damaging utterances made by Rawlings against the late Atta Mills to know that Rawlings’ lack of self-control in his post-Presidency era doesn’t set any good example to be proud of. Even in death, Atta Mills isn’t free of his tantrums and biting insinuations. Too bad.
Cast the light on Rawlings all the more in the context of his attitude toward John Mahama. Nothing really worth commending, which explains why his own wife would go the way she has done after losing traction in the NDC because of murderous political ambitions. Joining hands with the NDC’s arch rival under Akufo-Addo seems to be the new super-highway that the Rawlingses have chosen to give vent to their pent-up and frustrated emotions and selves. They are on a journey of no return. Good-bye.
Bring in John Agyekum Kufuor too. Although characterize4d as the “Gentle Giant”, he could go out of his way to say and do the unusual. His personal attacks on Rawlings (especially, labelling him as “patapaa”) and many schemes to blacken Rawlings when he succeeded Rawlings attest to the vein of rancour and acrimony that would inform all that he did in office. Whatever his government did to vilify Rawlings is known to Ghanaians. Some kind of misplaced tit-for-tat child’s “Lego game” for political mischief on display!!
And Kufuor’s persistent condemnation of the Mahama-led administration for Ghana’s problems annoys me all the more. If it were easy to solve Ghana’s problems at the time he took over from Rawlings, why didn’t he do so to make it difficult for the NPP and its Akufo-Addo to be defeated at Elections 2012 and 2016?
An interlude of nerve-wracking temperance pops up. When Atta Mills stepped in, he let everything go and called for bridge-building, even as some in his administration (described by Rawlings as “babies with sharp teeth”) went out of their way to have their revenge against Kufuor and his administration.
They were all over the place, verbally tearing into shreds all those they considered as “enemies” to the NDC’s cause. Atta Mills couldn’t stop them; neither could John Mahama (then, Vice president). In power, Mahama cleaned the stables, even though glimpses of the “babies with sharp teeth” were still visible in the public sphere.
The verbal turmoil that characterized the electioneering campaign toward Election 2016 virtually put Mahama at the receiving end as Akufo-Addo led the NPP team to slash him verbally at will. Whatever their slashing meant proved its worth at the polls. Mahama lost the bid, but he hasn’t been let alone to date.
Much blackening is still going on to create the negative impression that the Akufo-Addo government isn’t quickly solving Ghana’s problems or isn’t able to fulfill its electioneering campaign promises because Mahama had led the NDC to destroy everything passaaaaaaaaa!!
Be that as it may, the campaign of calumny has assumed frightening dimensions to the extent that the Akufo-Addo government is provocatively isolating Mahama’s younger brother (Ibrahim) for whatever scheme it has up its sleeves. He has been dragged to EOCO on trumped-up-charges of duping SSNIT or just anything, only to be exonerated. Now, it is the turn of his bauxite mining concession in Nyinahin.
Folks, the grand scheme to provoke the Mahama’s into falling out of step to be ensnared is in high gear. Akufo-Addo’s talk of establishing the Office of Special Prosecutor in October to prosecute ex-government officials of the Mahama administration is part of that grand scheme. Many other schemes are lined up.
The objective? To get at ex-President Mahama himself so that if he decides to contest Election 2020, they will depend on whatever their dossier of him has to do him in politically. Immature political misfits at work here.
John Mahama knows better than they do and will not fall for their bait. And he does so too as far as provocations from elements in his own NDC regarding speculations of his bouncing back for Election 2020 are concerned. They have been actively putting out comments to lure him into their trap, which he has avoided.
So far, he has trodden cautiously, keeping himself out of the controversies cooked up just to ensnare him and ensuring that he maintains his composure and self-discipline in this period of his life (personally and politically). I admire him for being so positioned not to play himself into the hands of his detractors.
Whether he wants to contest the Presidential Elections on the ticket of the NDC in 2020 is a decision that he will make later, not at this time when there is no pressing need for such a declaration of intent and purpose. He knows that for now, the NDC needs to put its house in order, not to overburden itself with the search for a flagbearer.
Once the party’s structures are still in place to ensure its growth, nothing must be done to disturb the waters. The structures existing at the local, constituency, regional, national, and international levels should be allowed to function. When the time comes, those wishing to lead the party will emerge and the National Congress to elect the flagbearer will determine who does so. Why should it be difficult to see things clearly at this point?
Let’s be blunt here to say that inasmuch as John Dramani Mahama isn’t embroiling himself in the useless hot-headed and wrong-headed political muscle-flexing as is being done by his predecessors (Rawlings and Kufuor), he stands tall above them. This is where he wins my heart!!
Once out of office, the ex-President is expected to re-engineer himself and behave properly, not to stoke the very fire that he might have lit with all the numerous pre-election agitations and promises, not to talk about the happenings under his watch while in office that either compounded problems or failed to solve them. John Dramani Mahama has chosen to lie low, not to head-butt, which stands him in good stead to me. So far, so good for him.
Turn-around? It is clear that what will win public good will for the NDC toward Election 2020 won’t come from how much vitriol it issues forth against Akufo-Addo and his administration. It will be a matter of course as the government fails to do what it promised to win Election 2016. In just 8 months, the signs have emerged that it is no better than its predecessors. It doesn’t have to take John Mahama’s stentorian condemnation to tilt the scale. Everything will come from what happens under Akufo-Addo. Why, then, shouldn’t John Dramani Mahama take it cool for the chips to fall in place?