It Is Not How Much You Borrow but What You Do with What You Borrow

Feature Article It Is Not How Much You Borrow but What You Do with What You Borrow
JAN 29, 2023 LISTEN

If he had not already more than amply demonstrated his gross administrative incompetence and incorrigible fiscal indiscipline at the Presidency and was gunning for Jubilee House for the very first time around, Mr. John “European Airbus Payola” Dramani Mahama’s lecture at Chatham House, London, UK, recently, would have been heartily celebrated as one that was unarguably politically refreshing (See “If I Was [Were?] Still Ghana’s President[,] I Wouldn’t Have Borrowed Recklessly – Mahama Jabs Akufo-Addo” 1/27/23). The fact of the matter is that had he performed as well as he ought to have done from 2012 to 2017 and been immediately and consecutively reelected, our Chatham House’s Visiting Lecturer would have ended his constitutionally mandated tenure in office in 2021 and would still be Ghana’s former President as he presently is, by the way.

At any rate, in the lecture whose topic or theme was “Africa’s Strategic Priorities and Global Role,” the former President is widely reported to have caustically criticized his immediate successor for indulging in “reckless borrowing,” a gross managerial misdeed that, he claimed, had resulted in the effective bankrupting of Ghana’s economy. Now, I don’t what “strategic priorities” it was that Mr. Mahama, who roundly and disdainfully pooh-poohed the very idea of providing a Fee-Free access of the Senior High School System for all capable Ghanaian youths told his audience in London, where public elementary and high school education is tuition free, that he had in mind. But the unvarnished truth of the matter is that as President for the most unusual four-and-half-year term in Ghana’s Fourth Republic, the left-leaning and rhetorically abrasive and often uncouth Comrade Mahama was not absolutely in any way known for his discreet or frugal borrowing on behalf of the scandalously exploited Ghanaian taxpayer. To be certain, the diametrically opposite was more the reality.

Anyway, by the time that he was democratically ousted by the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian voters in 2016, the country was decidedly on life-support. You see, with President Mahama, the problem was his woeful inability to simply keep the lights on, literally speaking. Indeed, it was under his protracted four-and-half-year tenure that the word “Dumsor,” that is, the perennially erratic energy supply, entered the global lexicon as a household word of Ghanaian usage. What is more, for all four-and-half years that the Bole-Bamboi native, from the Akufo-Addo-created Savannah Region, was at the helm of his country’s managerial affairs, nearly half, perhaps even more, of all factories and industrial plants in the country had effectively ground to a screeching halt, with unemployment having skyrocketed to the high double digits and a level that was historically unprecedented. Under the complete and artificially induced state of stygian darkness that marked the entire tenure of the Moscow-trained Comrade Mahama, we even had something called the Association of Unemployed Graduates (AUG).

So, Dear Reader, you see, what we really need to be talking about right now is the general quality of life under the Dumsor-inflected Mahama regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) vis-à-vis the Sor-Sor tenure of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Now, Ghanaians have also not the least bit forgotten about the globally infamous STX Scandal in which, as Vice-President and the official right-hand man to the late President John Evans Atta “Woyome” Mills, Mr. Mahama led a bipartisan Parliamentary delegation to Seoul, South Korea, to sign the most historically horrific and scandalous agreement that was to cost Ghana about $2 billion (USD) for a nondescript privately owned Korean building-construction company to come to Ghana and build about 50,000 units of affordable housing for middle-income Ghanaian workers and civil servants, an existentially basic project that could be much better and more efficiently and wholly undertaken by Ghanaian architects, civil engineers and construction workers at just a fraction of the cost.

This ultimately aborted racket would, reportedly, end up costing Ghanaian taxpayers tens of millions of American dollars merely for the wise abrogation of the same. But, of course, this was only after deafening agitation by some key operatives and intellectually and professionally astute members of the then main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) had raised some high alarm bells and the consciousness of many an ordinary Ghanaian citizen, who promptly called for the kibosh to be immediately placed on this heinous act of criminality of apocalyptic proportions. The fact of the matter is that not only are the leaders, for want of the most appropriate terminology, of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress not savvy about meaningful and progressive contractual protocol and expertise, even much worse is the fact that these political machine human robots do not even know how and what to wisely borrow for and who to mutually beneficially partner with in order to make such humongous credit-solicited outlays of investment capital worthwhile for the significant improvement of the lives of hardworking ordinary Ghanaian citizens.

As well, when Okogufuo Kwame Gonja was given the prime and privileged opportunity to govern the country, in the wake of an election that was widely envisaged to have been “stolen” in December 2012, the then-Interim President Mahama bankrupted nearly every major and crucial social-intervention program and project that existed in the country and had been bequeathed to the succeeding Mills-Mahama regime by the erstwhile John Agyekum-Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party. The most depraved and morally inexcusable of all of Comrade Mahama’s acts of wanton criminality was the effective collapsing of the Agyekum-Kufuor-established National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). It would take a newly elected progressive and visionary President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to revive the low-premium National Health Insurance Scheme at the fiscally punitive cost of some $2 billion (USD).

Maybe it is this criminal shirking of his primary responsibility as a “social democratic” leader for which he would have Ghanaian citizens and voters singularly fault his immediate successor. Now, going into the 2024 Presidential Election, a Dynastic Candidate Mahama may also need to explain to the Ghanaian electorate precisely why the late President Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings consistently, persistently and incessantly described his former Communications Minister as the most thoroughgoing corrupt postcolonial Ghanaian leader, being that President Rawlings has been universally acclaimed as the indisputable Founding-Father of the National Democratic Congress and a leader and man with more intimate knowledge about his former minion and protégé than almost every other leading member of the latter party and political establishment.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
January 28, 2023
E-mail: [email protected]