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17.09.2019 Feature Article

Persuasion or no persuasion: Didn’t Mahama claim the 2016 election was rigged?

Erstwhile Chief of Staff, Mr Julius DebrahErstwhile Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah

I listened attentively, albeit with an intense interest, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei TuTu II’s euphonious and purposeful speech at the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Forum on Culture and Peace on September 13 2019, where he earnestly revealed that, in the interest of peace and security, he held several meetings with the 2016 presidential candidates, before, during and after the general elections, and persuaded the losing candidate to concede defeat.

Disappointingly, however, following the Asantehene’s chilling revelation at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the erstwhile Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah, on behalf of the Office of the former president, John Dramani Mahama, swiftly came out and denied the forward-thinking Asante King’s seemingly credible exposition to the utter dismay of the well-meaning Ghanaians.

Some of us, in fact, are not least dumbfounded to hear that the Asantehene had to persuade Ex-President Mahama to accept defeat in the 2016 general elections, in the sense that the former president had allegedly claimed earlier this year during his presentation at the Oxford University Business School Distinguished Speaker Seminar that the 2016 election was rigged (see: 2016 election rigged-Mahama; dailyguidenetwork.com/ghanaweb.com, 13/05/2019).

If that was to be the case, wouldn’t conventional wisdom then tell us that someone who seriously believed that the election had been rigged in favour of his opponent would hesitate to accept defeat?

More so why did the then Electoral Commissioner, Mrs Charlotte Osei, only find it somewhat convenient to announce the election results after the former president had conceded and congratulated his opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo?

Strangely, though, former President Mahama and some other members of the opposition NDC have been blaming their humiliating 2016 election defeat on a technical hitch to both the Electoral Commission and the NDC’s results collation systems.

The former president has been lamenting previously: “As I speak, I am not aware that the Electoral Commission has carried out any investigation into what compromised their IT system,” he complained, adding that political parties, as stakeholders, have not been briefed about what really corrupted the IT system of the EC.”

Ex-President Mahama continued: “Ghanaians, in the interest of transparency, want know what really happened during the last polls before the next election in 2020.”

When I was perusing through the weird story, I thought I was dreaming. But I was not, I was alive and kicking. The story was so bizarre, so to speak.

We cannot, therefore, deny or hide the fact that Mahama and his teeming supporters are struggling to heal the wounds of their 2016 humiliating election defeat.

In fact, former President Mahama has blamed everyone and everything else for his historic 2016 election defeat except himself.

Not long ago, Ex-President Mahama was at his finger pointing best when he bizarrely accused the NDC Executives of diverting 2016 electioneering campaign funds which culminated in his humiliating defeat.

The former president lividly poured his heart out when addressing NDC Executives in the Awutu Senya Constituency in the Central Region on Wednesday 26th September 2018 (See: We won’t allow campaign funds, logistics to be diverted – Mahama;citinewsroom.com/ghanaweb.com, 27/09/2018).

Ex-President Mahama is reported to have lamented: “I have noted all our mistakes. We realized campaign funds were diverted, but we have learnt our lessons. We will ensure campaign funds go through the right channel to get the campaign done. In 2020, we must rise up and be vigilant.”

Whether the NDC Executives diverted electioneering campaign funds or not, based on the NDC government’s dreadful economic management, it would have been devilishly suicidal if Ghanaians had voted one more time for the NDC in the 2016 general elections.

If you may recall, following the NDC’s 2016 humiliating election defeat, the party leadership set up a 13-member committee, presided by former Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Professor Kwesi Botchwey with the sole mandate of travelling to the length and breadth of the country to interact with the grassroot supporters and investigate the causes of the historic defeat and put forward recommendations accordingly.

Credible sources have it that the Botchwey Committee’s report indicted former President Mahama, the NDC’s 2016 flagbearer as the main cause of NDC’s humiliating defeat.

The report is alleged to have put the blame squarely at the doorsteps of former President Mahama for blatantly ignoring party structures and happily mingling with the likes of Madam Akua Donkor during the 2016 electioneering campaign.

The Kwesi Botchwey Committee’s report is alleged to have suggested that any future flagbearer of the party must, as a matter of principle, work collaboratively with the party structures by bringing on board the national and regional executives, polling agents and those at the grassroots to assist in electioneering campaign.

The report is said to have alluded to the fact that the blatant snubbing of the grassroots, including some prominent members of the party during President Dramani Mahama’s reign largely contributed to the NDC’s election loss and not any vote rigging.

On the issue of corruption, the Botchwey Committee’s report is quoted to have stressed that the then flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, who is the incumbent President, took advantage of his well-received incorruptible descriptive label to the disadvantage of NDC’s flagbearer, former President Mahama, who was perceived to have endorsed corruption in his government.”

Interestingly, however, some aggrieved party supporters have been insisting vehemently that former President Mahama flagrantly turned a blind eye to their concerns over his needless association with ‘electioneering campaign money grabbers’.

The concerned party loyalists have since been decrying the actions and inactions of the numerous fan clubs for Mahama 2016.

As a matter of fact, there were numerous fan clubs for Mahama, among others, ‘Artists for Mahama, ‘Barbers for Mahama, Akua Donkor Ladies for Mahama, Bricklayers for Mahama, Butchers for Mahama, Mahama Ladies, Akpeteshie Sellers for Mahama, Drunkards for Mahama, Macho Men for Mahama, etc.

The aggrieved diehard NDC supporters beef stemmed from the fact that although the vast majority of the Mahama fan clubs members were novices in electioneering campaign, they were entrusted with such a responsibility regardless.

Apparently, former President Mahama’s association with the novices and the poor economic management incensed the vast majority of party faithful, who even threatened to boycott the 2016 general elections.

The NDC faithful, however, maintained that the straw that broke the camel’s back was when President Mahama strangely metamorphosed into ‘Father Christmas’ and unjustifiably gave away large portions of Ghana’s scarce resources to party apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), who received two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done.

As a consequence, prior to the 2016 general elections, there were numerous disturbing publications on the rebellious NDC supporters.

“NDC Supporters Threaten To Leave Party Over Preferential Treatment Given To John Dumelo, Mr Beautiful, Tracey Boakye and co” (ghanakasa.com).

Somehow, former President Mahama is refusing to acknowledge the fact that his calamitous errors in judgement amid rampant corruption, untold economic hardships and business crippling dumsor largely contributed to his 2016 humiliating election defeat and not electoral fraud by his opponent.

Despite their much touted ethos of transparency, probity and accountability, we witnessed so much scheming guiles, sleazes and corruption in the NDC administration led by former President Mahama.

As a matter of fact, the sleazes and corruption permeated every facet of the erstwhile Mahama administration, hence earning the famous appellation ‘create loot and share’.

Believe it or not, many discerning Ghanaians voted against the infamous bus branding, the Brazil World Cup, the Woyome’s GH51.2M, the $300M STS largesse, the millions of Ghana Cedis embezzled through SUBA, GYEEDA, SADA and all the dubious judgement debt payments amounting to over GH800M.

Many observers thus believe that Ghana’s current economic downslide resulted from the unbridled sleazes and gargantuan corruption which were perpetrated by the outgone NDC administration.

Take, for example, despite the scarcity of resources, the Mahama administration spent over and above its means during the 2012 electioneering campaign, hence Ghana’s budget deficit and the total debt took an astonishing flight.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, three civil society organizations (the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) accused the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of using state resources for campaigning ahead of the general elections, arguing that it was a violation of Article 284 of the Constitution, which provides that "A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office" (GII, CDD-Ghana and GACC 2012, 1, 3).

Their report said: “In the first two months of monitoring, the coalition presents in this first report various incidents of abuse of incumbency and electoral corruption.

“These incidents fall under three categories, the use of official public/state-supported or state-organized events for campaigning by the incumbent party, promoting the incumbent party by state officials in their official capacity and vote buying”.

Astonishingly, whenever the suffering Ghanaians complained about the economic hardships, former President Mahama and his appointees would ungraciously chastise the same people who gave them the electoral mandate.

Believe it or not, the NDC’s ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ (as former President Rawlings would describe the NDC apologists) would insult every Ghanaian who would dare complain about their laissez faire style of leadership.

The discourteous NDC brats did not even spare their party founder, Rawlings, for voicing his opinion over the rampant sleazes and corruption in the NDC administration.

Yes, the NDC’s ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ kept castigating their founder, Rawlings, for expressing his arousing disgust over the rot in his party.

It would also be recalled that the NDC’s ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ disgustingly abused the then flagbearer of the NPP and the current president, Nana Akufo-Addo, day in and day out.

The boisterous brats spewed all sort of lies about the eminent lawyer. The good people of Ghana somehow became fed-up with the needless abuse the NDC apologists were directing towards the unwearied Nana Akufo-Addo.

Ironically, back then, President Mahama claimed to be a humble leader, a very patient leader, a tolerant leader. And yet it was the same President Mahama who lividly told Dr Bawumia, the NPP’s presidential running mate for 2016 general election and now the vice president of Ghana to shut up and cease criticising him (Mahama) because he (Bawumia) had not been a president before.

Strangely, however, the much touted humble, patient and tolerant President Mahama was reported to have told the people of Ashanti Region that they are ungrateful and would never be appreciative even if all their roads are constructed with gold.

Unsurprisingly, the people of Ashanti Region ineffaceably stencilled such unnecessary comment at the back of their minds and waited for an appropriate time to express their arousing disgust. Indeed, the right time was 7th December 2016.

On 7th December 2016, the good people of Ghana remembered the day when the humble, patient and tolerant President Mahama told them to cease their useless discussions over the suitable burial place of our departed former President Mills.

And what is more, whenever the good people of Ghana express their doubts over the much touted numerous infrastructural projects, the humble, patient and tolerant President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would reply: “It is only those that are blind that do not see the good work of the NDC government.”

As a matter of fact, the good people of Ghana stencilled the needless attacks on their mental sheets and waited for an opportune time to teach the vociferous NDC ‘Babies with sharp teeth’ a great lesson.

And, who said that 7th December 2016 was not the right time for the good people of Ghana to vent their spleen on the corrupt, incompetent and the disrespectful lots?

More power to your elbow, Your Majesty, the Asantehene Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, for your great sense of direction, solicitude and selfless commitment towards the peace and security of Ghana

K. Badu, UK.

[email protected]

Kwaku Badu
Kwaku Badu, © 2019

The author has 871 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KwakuBadu

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