Ghana’s immediate past President, John Dramani Mahama, has yet given the strongest indication he may not be a candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress for the next presidential polls.
Since his recent advice to members of the NDC to stop arguing over whether he will make a comeback and rather, focus on reorganizing the party; it seem its now obvious, the ex-president may have reasoned with his immediate family and the advice of his late father, Mr Emmanuel Adamah Mahama, to quit “when the applause is loudest”
Short of confirming he firmed up on decision not to make a comeback in 2020, Mr Mahama last week in faraway Kenya told a Nairobi audience, his decision was reinforced when he attended the inauguration of his successor, President Akufo-Addo, on January 7 this year. “Last month, I attended the inauguration of president Akufo-Addo. When I exited my vehicle and my arrival was publicly announced at the Black Star Square, there was a loud round of applause… again; I thought of my father and those words – ‘leave when the applause is loudest’.
The Ghanaian ex-president made this profound revelation when he delivered a lecture on democracy and rule of law in Africa in Kenya as guest speaker of the “Mindspeak” series.
An astute political pundit who wants to remain anonymous, interpreting Mr. Mahama’s reference to his father’s allegory; “leave when the applause is loudest”, told this paper that, the ex-Ghanaian leader was signaling his disinterest in leading the NDC into the next presidential election. He added that, “I wouldn’t be surprise to hear former President Mahama formally announce his retirement from active politics any time soon”.
Mr Mahama narrated how he has drawn useful lessons from his father’s “leave when the applause is loudest” advice which, he said, was contained in a letter his late father, Mr E.A Mahama, who was also a former Commissioner in the Nkrumah regime, wrote to then Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong to pat him on the shoulder for some radical decisions he took during his reign as Head of State.
“Despite the fact that Col. Acheampong had come to power by way of coup d’état, my father was hopeful that unlike a typical coup maker, he might have Ghana’s interest at heart instead of his own. In fact my father was so hopeful that he sat down and wrote Col Acheampong a letter, telling him exactly that. In that letter, my father also decided to dispense a little bit of political wisdom. He advised Col Acheampong to remember to leave when the applause is loudest,” Mr Mahama narrated.
General I.K Acheampong was later disgraced when he was deposed in a palace coup, stripped of his military title, and eventually; executed following the coup by the Armed Forces Revolutionary council led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.
After failing to secure a second term bid in last year’s election despite posting positive and unmatched infrastructural projects, there have been calls on Mr Mahama to make a comeback in 2020. National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams; MP for Odododiodoo, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuije and others have all vowed to prevail on him to contest the 2020 elections.
But the Mahama family has been reported to have advised the ex-president not to make a comeback in 2020. A younger brother of the ex-president and CEO of Engineers and Planners, Mr Ibrahim Mahama told The aL-hAJJ “John has given his all in politics to NDC and Ghana and we think it is just fair that we allow him to rest. We were very supportive and instrumental in convincing him to partner late Prof Mills, and when the time came for him to contest for President; we supported him and advised him to go for it…now we have again advised him not to make a comeback in 2020”.
The former president himself until recently has remained tightlipped on his future political life except to implore National Executives of the party, NDC MPs and the rank and file of the party to channel their energies into restructuring the party instead of discussing whether he will make a comeback in 2020.
With discussions on whether he will lead the NDC into the 2020 elections still raging in the media and party meetings, Mr John Mahama said the advice his late father gave Col Acheampong to “leave when the applause is loudest” and “the subsequent lesson that taught me about democracy was especially relevant now. And I wish to explain why… Last December, elections were held in Ghana. I had served for four years as president. I was seeking reelection…during the course of the campaign that led up to the election; there was one question that I was asked a number of times that bristled me. And the question was- If you do not win, would you concede. Obviously, each time my answer was yes. But I was always perplexed because what other answer was there to give?”
The former President shared fond memories of how during his inauguration as president in 2012 at the Black Star square he “sat and listened to the applause. It made me remember those faithful words my father had written in his letter – ‘leave when the applause is loudest’. Throughout the course of my presidency, I had both been applauded and criticized, I was revered and reviled.”
Signaling how difficult it is to determine when “the applause is loudest”, the ex-president added that “when you find yourself standing at the center of all the sound and wrath, it is difficult to determine when it is indeed the loudest.”