There is an element of truth in the notion that desperate times call for desperate measures, utterances, or behaviours at some point in human affairs. Here, former President JD Mahama's unguarded pronouncements, and public demeanours underpin his true state of socio-political distress, nervousness, and insecurities.
Many of us have been stressing all along that Ghanaians don't need analytical knowledge or mental adroitness of a top-notch neurosurgeon to know and understand that Mr. JD Mahama, from all accounts, is a desperate ex-president turned presidential candidate trying hard to prank his way back to power.
In all seriousness, if one were to write a thought-provoking book or conduct research on the influx or the climax of 'sakawa boys' phenomenon in Ghanaian body politic today, the Mahama administration would be the most significant case study. Indeed, there are epic trail of evidence and verifiable narratives regarding the politics of 'sakawa' entrenched in 'create, loot, and share' of the nation's meagre resources that became buzz phrase under Mr. Mahama's presidency.
No doubt the Ghanaian society has undergone dramatic transformation; and some of these changes can be attributed to the omnipresence of the social media revolution. On the heels of this huge societal evolution are the incorporation or adoption of local slangs or locally coined words such as '419, 'sakawa', galamsey, format and many others that one can't recall at this juncture.
One of the most popular among the 'street words' in the country today is 'sakawa.' In fact, many of the foregoing local slangs were not in vogue when some of us were growing up or living in Ghana—Kumasi to be precise. So, upon inquiries from some friends and family members back home, it became clear the term 'sakawa' conveys a derogatory meaning, among others, fraudulent practices or groups or an individual given to shady, dishonest, mischievous scamming with corrupt intent.
Based on the above definition of 'sakawa', it's quite laughable but not surprising that the 'incompetent one' and the most corrupt regime of the recent memory, led by Mr. JD Mahama, could have the temerity to mock or describe President Akufo-Addo, including part of his extended family/relatives in Eastern Region as 'Akyem mafia, sakawa' people.Where does this tribal dog whistle come from, JD Mahama?
At any rate, Mr. Mahama's public utterances/behaviours and campaign strategy shouldn't surprise fair-minded observers who also have some basic insights with regard to a person in psychological distress born out of frustration and the looming fear of failure. Going by his abysmal and 'sakawa' inclined presidency, the current NDC flagbearer knows his chances of coming back to power is bleak. This impending political doom and infamy are giving him night sweats and insomnia.
We know reverse psychology 101 will explain Ghana's 'most entitled' presidential contestant JD Mahama as enabling—under the radar—behaviour that tends to patronize the exact opposite of such behaviour he harbours. In simple terms, people who are thieves behind closed doors are often the loudest or meanest in demonizing someone caught in thievery; just to shift attention elsewhere. Certainly, if the 'sakawa boys' phenomenon were to be a game of football, Mahama would surely rub elbows with the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Eto'o, Drogba, and other nimble global soccer superstars.
Metaphorically, these footballers are skilful and exceptionally good at the game of soccer much the same that was peerlessly 'superb' in presiding over 'sakawa' administration in this country's relatively brief political history. It is why one cannot stop laughing to hear him christened his political nemesis the very name or behaviour he (Mahama) fittingly deserves. Ex-President Mahama's incompetent leadership is offset by his corrupt presidency, in a wrong way.
In all honesty, Mr. JD Mahama had no clue regarding what to do with the micro, mezzo, and macroeconomic trajectories of this beloved nation of Ghana, except his government's infamous 'create, loot, and share' practices that in many ways led to the popularization of the so-called 'slay queen' subculture. Today, there are residues of 'slay queens' in this country but not as widespread and in-your-face manner as it was enabled by the 'sakawa' regime of Mr. Mahama.
More so, many Ghanaians didn't pay much attention, but at Manhyia Palace to introduce his running to the Asantehene, the NDC flagbearer attempted to pull one of his 'sakawa' mind games. Mr. Mahama was reported to have lamented to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II that the Akufo-Addo administration has cut off most of the 'legitimate mining concessions' and so if the 'memory loss' Ghanaians elect him back to power, he will quickly restore all those mining activities the current president has put moratorium on them.
As 'sakawa kingpin', the subtle point ex-President Mahama was driving home to Ghanaians was that if the citizens make that mistake and vote for him to become president again, his first line of action is to renegotiate the Nyinahin bauxite concession with the Chinese. At that point, the former president's younger brother will be the sole winner, once more. This is what bloodline 'sakawa' truly means!
The writer is based in the United States of America (USA). He is also political science lecturer
By Bernard Asubonteng