“The former president’s battle cry to his foot soldiers is not just an idiomatic expression meant to provoke the ire of his base. It is a clear evidence of frustration and hopelessness to right a perceived electoral wrong against his party using the courts.”
The rallying cry by former President John Dramani Mahama to his foot soldiers to prepare for a “do or die” elections in 2024 is shocking, but not totally unexpected.
The former president is obviously crestfallen at his party’s frustrations with the interpretation of the law by the Supreme Court, where the learned justices denied him the opportunity to cross- examine the powerful Electoral Commissioner, whose electoral misdemeanors the party blamed for its defeat in the 2020 elections.
But is the former president justified in showing a lack of faith in the Supreme Court? The same court dismissed an appeal by the NPP to annul the former president’s narrow victory in the 2012 elections. The court declared John Mahama to have been validly elected after obtaining 50.7% of the votes against 47.7% for the NPP.
Beyond being president, he has served Ghana in eminent roles abroad. He was Head of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia in 2017 and the African Union’s special envoy to Somalia. If anyone should understand the implications of making bellicose, adversarial, highly inflammable electoral remarks in a polarized electoral landscape like ours, it is the former president.
Thus, the battle cry to his foot soldiers is not just an idiomatic expression meant to provoke the ire of his base. It is a clear evidence of frustration and hopelessness to right a perceived electoral wrong against his party using the courts.
As a communication professional, the former president knows that even seemingly harmless idiomatic expressions would be interpreted within local contexts and circumstances, and that these expressions could lose their original meaning in the heat of the environment!
Indeed, John Mahama should be the last person in Ghana to be surprised by the interpretations being rendered to his “idiomatic expression.” Coming out of a presidential election in which he lost, and having been legally demolished by the NPP at the Supreme Court, the idiom only succeeded in exposing his anger at overturning the elections using the law.
When then candidate Nana Addo misspoke during his infamous “All die be die “declaration, he was roundly condemned and soundly bashed for stoking the fires of electoral violence. In the same vein, John Mahama cannot be absolved from blame for using such unpresidential language to call his base into resistance at the risk of their lives rather than finding redress in the law of peace.
The NDC’s election watchers left their post to drink hot tea without biscuits at Jean Adukwei Mensah’s Secretariat, and drove all the way to their flag bearer’s residence to file a report, leaving the Strong Room in the hands of the enemy.
The Supreme Court is a critical part of our democracy and we must even pretend to trust it, even if we don’t agree with some of its behaviors!