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Critical under Mahama, missing in Akufo-Addo's time: The four lost voices

Some critical voices under John Mahama have seemingly been missing under the Akufo-Addo era

Tue, 17 May 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

GhanaWeb Feature

Before the current government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former President John Dramani Mahama was Ghana's leader between 2012 and 2016.

Under Ghana's democratic practice, political leaders are subjects of hard-hitting criticisms from citizens and institutions who seek to practice their right to free speech in pursuit of national development.

With time, some individuals and institutions become known for being the critical voices who keep the government of the day on its toes and, in turn, become the 'voice of the voiceless' in society.

Under the John Mahama administration, some individuals who carved a niche for themselves as the critical voices of the time have today lost their desire to comment on national issues which hitherto would not miss their attention during the erstwhile administration.

Ace Ankomah

Talk of the critics of the John Mahama administration and you will not miss out on lawyer Ace Ankomah.

His likes and other members of Ghana's middle class who tagged themselves as critical voices were all over the place in the name of Occupy Ghana, a civil society group during the administration of John Mahama.

From issuing press releases, holding demonstrations, and filing civil suits against the government of the day, Ace Ankomah and Occupy Ghana gave the previous administration little to no breathing space.

Their activities largely kept the administration on its toes on matters of corruption, economic development, and growth and were touted as the neutrals holding the government to account.

Some five years down the line, after a new administration took over, Ace Ankomah and his occupy Ghana have largely been missing in Ghana's arena of political debates.

He is no longer seen in his usual media appearances, and his social media page, which was a major tool against the previous government, has since become dry of the lengthy and critical posts which usually awakened the Ghanaian masses to hold its government to account.

In the same vein, the last time Occupy Ghana and its members led or participated in a demonstration against a government most likely falls under the previous government.

In 2018, however, Ace Ankomah launched a defence for Occupy Ghana and its members, stressing that the group had not become dormant under the current administration.

According to him, the civil group cannot be said to be obliged to comment on all social and political matters in the country.

According to him, the group has a staff strength of only 15 members and hence is not fully resourced to address all pressing issues in the country.

"We were one of the first people to comment about the size of the government. We said the elephant-sized government would breed corruption. We were right there in the [Government's] face. We were one of the first people to comment on the BOST issue. We sided with the investigations.

"When the investigations were over, and no Ghanaian heard about it, we have sent a letter back and asked 19 questions, and we still haven't received one answer. If we don't receive an answer, we will go to court". He defended on Citi TV, monitored by MyNewsGh.com at the time.

Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante

A former Chairman of the National Peace Council, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, was recently captured in a heated confrontation with an activist of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Appiah Stadium.

In the video which saw the man of God exchange words with the activist, Appiah Stadium accused Rev. Asante of being a hypocrite over his posture on happenings in the country.

According to him, he could not fathom why a body that used to be vocal under the erstwhile Mahama administration had gone silent under the Akufo-Addo-led government.

However, in a statement to justify his position, Rev Asante, in February this year, argued that he no longer wields the locus as Chairman of the National Peace Council.

He noted that his comments under the erstwhile administration were not in his individual capacity but as then chairman of the NPC.

"I wasn't speaking in my capacity as a Ghanaian then [during the Mahama administration]", he told popular NDC serial caller Appiah Stadium, who recently confronted the man God at a funeral ground and accused him of hypocrisy, owing to his silence on national issues under the Akufo-Addo administration.


Sydney Casely-Hayford

Another member of Occupy Ghana, Sydney Casely-Hayford, going into the 2016 presidential election, said he would be very disappointed to see former President John Dramani Mahama re-elected President of Ghana.

This was on the back of over four years of fervent criticisms of the John Mahama administration through his activities as a member of the civil society group.

The financial analyst actively, as a member of Occupy Ghana on various platforms, chided the government of John Dramani Mahama on various pertinent issues, including corruption and economic policies.

"The president has demonstrated by his actions that they are not willing to take our money back, so it is time he and his ministers leave office; the electorates must vote against them", he stated on the back of a decision by the Attorney General's Office to discontinue its oral examination in the prosecution of businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

Seemingly, the voice of Mr. Hayford has been missing under the current administration.

There is little to no reference to him on matters surrounding the current administration.

Pastor Mensah Otabil

Politics sometimes gets murky, especially for persons leading the religious front. They are usually expected to be neutral, and that sometimes makes it difficult for such a leader to veer into political matters.

Despite this, the founder of the International Central Gospel Church, Bishop Mensah Otabil, became one of the few religious leaders whose voice was heard on the political front under the John Mahama administration.

He was one of the few 'neutrals' in Ghana who criticised the erstwhile government and appealed to the conscience of the country on various matters of national development.

However, the church leader in 2018 became the subject of criticism from the camp of the now opposition NDC over his comment of having developed disinterest in matters concerning Ghana because of politicisation by the media.

"I will watch animals. I will watch cheetah; I will watch lion; I will watch antelope," Pastor Otabil pointed out when he delivered a special sermon during the church's 34th-anniversary service recently.

"Oh yeah! I'll watch antelope anytime. I'll watch cheetah anytime, I'll watch giraffes anytime because at least they will tell me how to hunt," he said, adding, "At least, I'll learn how to get your goal, how to avoid being eaten. I'll learn that from the antelope. At least I'll come back inspired and say nobody will eat me."

The popular preacher went on to say, "Are we serious? We eat and drink politics. Turn on the radio. Here there is no political vacation. From the time a vote is cast to the time the next vote is cast, we argue politics morning, afternoon, and evening. Check all your radio talk shows, all the top talk shows, take politics out; they have nothing to talk about again."

The renowned motivational preacher stressed, "I won't even say take politics out; take NPP and NDC out. Just say, this morning, no NPP, no NDC. There'll be no conversation because we can't even think beyond two parties. We can't think of any ideas. We can't think of solutions, and we are driving ourselves into this abyss of hopelessness."

However, in what looked like a response to the preacher, former President John Mahama sought to suggest that Rev. Otabil has rather lost his voice under the current administration.

"Suddenly, everything is fine. Some say they don't watch TV again, they watch animals. In our time, they were not watching animals. They were listening to the political discussion. Now in their time, there is too much politics. You will be tired because your darling [government] is super incompetent, so they are tired of hearing the analysis. That is the hypocrisy we face," Mr. Mahama told NDC supporters in London, United Kingdom, during a visit.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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