The President Who Continues To Drink From A Fire Hose
Now that Ghana is in meltdown mode, it seems everybody is looking up to the NPP for salvation. And where does the President turn for advice, for reassurance, for the courage of his convictions and just the courage to make a decision? Nowhere.
One thing about the President is that when the going gets tough he decides to take a countrywide tour to give more promises, knowing very well that those promises will never be kept like the previous ones that he gave.
The last time he was at Kyebi to commission a water project after Dr. Bawumia had delivered his thought-provoking lecture on the state of the economy, he seized the opportunity to tell Ghanaians that he will continue to borrow more since the monies he borrowed were not used to buy drinks for his personal enjoyment, as if past presidents borrowed to buy drinks for their personal enjoyment.
President Mahama has plenty of reasons to feel pushed to the wall. He came to power on the wings of a Better Ghana Agenda and now reeling over corruption charges against his government. He asked Northerners to vote for him because he was their son and that when you have your mother's son sitting on top of the mango tree, he will not plug an unripe mango for you. By that he meant when he came to power the people from the North will enjoy more than those from the South.
To him Northerners have been playing the second fiddle in the affairs of this nation, hence the underdevelopment and poverty in the North.
Then he stole Kufour's Northern Development Fund and turned it into the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and put Northerners in charge.
At the end of the day those Northerners who were mandated to manage the SADA ended up stealing what belonged to the people from the North. Gilbert Iddi planted mango trees during the dry season and drove all the few reared guinea fowls to Burkina Faso, leaving the people from the North to wallow in poverty as before. The man was so pitiless and reckless that he cut down economic trees like shea nut trees and planted mahogany which did not geminate, anyway. I have learnt he has suddenly grown epicurean and living like a prince from Brunei.
The Cedi has refused to respond to any remedy that would make it strong against other currencies and inflation is climbing up the ladder like the way a Malaysian monkey climbs a coconut tree. In desperation, the Finance Minister and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana have put a lid on increase in salaries and have also refused to pay outstanding salaries of workers who have sweated under the scorching sun, hoping to get what is due them at the appropriate time.
Allowances of teacher trainees and student nurses have been cancelled but the per diem of Emperor John and his retinue have been increased. In John Mahama's Ghana, apart from soldiers, policemen and farmers, almost all groups of workers have gone on strike. Called it a country of striking workers and you will not be far from right.
John Mahama's government is still searching for solution to the financial crisis that is lingering like a wasting disease, always on the verge of relapse. Add the recent scandal of a privately-owned Tomahawk plane which landed in Iran with the President's brother, ever controversial Ibrahim Mahama on board and a high-powered government delegation and you will understand why I am saying the President is drinking from a fire hose.
Remember when the former President of Iran, Mahmuud Ahmadinijad, visited Ghana somewhere in 2012, I wrote in this column that something fishy was on the way. Mr. Ahmadinijad visited Ghana when sanctions were slapped on the Iranian government.
He needed gold badly to salvage the economy of Iran and when he looked down the globe he saw Ghana, the land of gold as the place to visit and negotiate. The end result was what was reported by the New York Times when Ibrahim Mahama defied the sanctions and landed his Tomahawk in Iran with suspected boxes full of Ghana's gold. John Mahama and his brothers! Aah, yoo!!
You see, my dear reader, this president is plagued by a nightmare and he might have dreamt that he was in the middle of a stampede of cattle and he was paralyzed and couldn't move, but nearby he could hear ex-president Rawlings dividing up his presidential powers.
The man is simply in simultaneous crisis with no end to his woes. Presidents all over the world can seek support from a whole pyramid of advisers, bureaucrats, and agencies but at the top you've got a very few number of people, and at the tippy top you've got one person and that person is the President himself.
Very unfortunately, President Mahama is not decisive enough because he fears to step on the toes of certain persons in government who pull the ropes. If you are a president of a nation and you are barraged with difficulties with the kitchen becoming hotter and hotter every day, you visit the library and pull out the history of one predecessor or the other. You can then learn how they were able to surmount one problem or the other when they were faced with crisis similar to the one you are facing (And do we have presidential library at the Flagstaff House?).
Take ex-President Rawlings for example. When Ghana nearly went down her knees following the severe draught in 1983, Rawlings kept his cool while trying desperately to find solution to the problem. He marshalled all forces in the face of scarce resources and urged the populace to put the famine behind them and work hard to bring the country back on her good foot.
Farmers were encouraged to make the best out of the worse situation. Cocoa famers who lost their farms to bushfires were encouraged to plant highbred cocoa seedlings and those who could not cultivate their cocoa farms were encouraged to plant other crops. In less than four years the people started smiling again because food became abundant and life was fine.
Similarly, when the Volta River nearly dried up and the Akossombo Dam could not function well, causing power outages, ex-President Kufuor did not rest on his oars. He charged his Minister of Energy in the person of Mr. Kofi Adda to get to work. In less than a year, the Kufuor administration was able to import enough generators to support the Akossombo Dam which brought smiles on the faces of Ghanaians.
In the run-up to the 2000 general elections, then candidate Kufuor and the NPP told Ghanaians that the prices of petroleum products were too high and that when voted into power the party will make sure prices of petroleum products were reduced. When the NPP came to power they realized that they misinformed the people because when you compare the prices of petroleum products in neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo etc, ours were just too cheap.
President Kufuor, in his wisdom honestly told Ghanaians that what he told the people during the electioneering campaign was not realistic and that there was the need for Ghanaians to bite the bullet if we wanted the country to move forward. The government then increased the price of petrol from ¢6,500 to ¢10, 500.
Because Kufuor was honest to the people, not an eye was blinked nor an eyebrow raised. We believed in our president and moved in sympathy with him.
The reason why people do not sympathize with John Mahama and the NDC is that they have refused to accept that what they told us in their manifesto and campaign platforms were nothing but lies. They told us that when voted into power they will make sure the NHIS premium would be paid once in our lifetime and that no new taxes will be introduced.
They said they will reduce the prices of petroleum products drastically and that the issue of cocaine, armed robbery, contract killing etc would be a thing of the past. They even foolishly promised that when voted to power they will use only 100 days to clear all the filth in the capital city. Today what are we seeing?
Total anarchy at all fronts!! Some people are bad oo! They have advised my wife to throw away a whole box full of my favourite Havana Cigar, and she did that. Okay, I will go for Tusker for Men while I wait for new consignment of the stuff from Raul Castro's Cuba
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Eric Bawah and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.