Former President John Dramani Mahama has described the 2020 general elections as a final match between him and familiar political rival, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Referring to the 2012 polls as “a title fight” and the 2016 elections as “a rematch”, Mahama called the 2020 polls “a decider” and predicted the tiebreaker would return him to the helm of government.
Mahama won in 2012 as a first-timer on the ticket of then governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), securing a 5,574,761 votes that represented 50.7%. Akufo-Addo, Ghana’s main opposition leader at the time and presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), got 5,248,898, representing 47.7%.
In 2016, Mahama fell deep from the coveted seat of power with an incredible 4,713,277 votes (44.4%) to Akufo-Addo who polled a widely unanticipated 5,716,026, representing a record 53.9% since the Kufuor era.
“They say, ‘Why are you bringing your former president? NDC, don’t you have people?’ And we say you, too, didn’t you have people? In 2008, you brought somebody. Professor Mills defeated him. You should have brought a fresh face".
“You brought him again in 2012. John Mahama defeated him. You should also have brought a fresh face. And you brought him again in 2016 and it’s only at that time he won. So, fine. He was defeated several times; you still brought him. And this is what you call a title fight,” Mahama told NDC delegates and supporters in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency during his just-ended tour of the Upper East region.
He continued: “So, two boxers fight and one wins. Then, the one who loses asks for a rematch. So, the second fight is called a rematch. And so, they fight the second one and the other boxer, who lost the first time, won. So, he asks for another match. That match is called the decider. So, 2020 is going to be the decider.”
The packed hall of the Sacred Heart Catholic Social Centre went so frenzy at the conclusion of the scenario that the former President had to pause his address, knowing if he did not do so the deafening noise from the high-spirited crowd would drown out his voice.
“We can win this if we work hard and we are united,” he added when he resumed. “And when I see your faces, those who are branch executives, our constituency executives, our regional executives, then, I have confidence in my heart that in 2020 we shall defeat the NPP. And I beg you, take the ballot box as your own. Guard it jealously,” he stressed as the massively NDC-branded venue shook with ovation.
Mahama also slammed the Akufo-Addo Government, saying the NPP was loud with a lot of “sweet promises” before the 2016 general elections but had been shifty in fulfilling them after sealing power.
“We all saw in 2016 one of the major reasons we lost the election was that our opponents were reckless in terms of their promises. Anybody goes and speaks and wakes up and says we can build one factory in every district and goes and tells Nana Akufo-Addo, ‘One district; one factory’. Then, the next day he climbs the platform: ‘One district, one factory.’ Then, another person goes and tells Akufo-Addo, ‘One dam, one village.’ The next time on the platform: One village, one dam’.
“Not only that. Go and sleep again, wake up. He says you know, we can give every constituency one million dollars every year. The next day, political platform: ‘One million dollars, one constituency.’ Not only that. ‘One million dollars, one constituency, every year’. Per year o. The MTN boy— ‘Na sika no wohen?’ They say the money has expired. They called the minister to Parliament. They asked him, ‘Where is the one million dollars?’ And, then he says, ‘Oh, 2017 has passed. So, that one is expired.’ Until NPP came, I never knew that money had expiry date. 2018, too, will expire,” he said as the teeming supporters laughed derisively at the NPP and cheered him on.
He added: “There is a saying and I’m sure some of you would have heard it. They said if there is a political power, and you have to sell your mother, sell you mother to gain the political power and when you get the power, go and buy her back. And I say we in NDC are principled. We will never sell our mother for political power. We will always serve and say the truth. We would say what we can do for them. And when we promise, we will deliver.”
At Talensi, where he began the tour, Mahama also jabbed Akufo-Addo, describing the new district assemblies the NPP government created in 2017 as “assemblies under trees” because there were no ready office blocks for them.
“They made many absurd promises to Ghanaians and they are finding it difficult to fulfill them today. There is a saying that it is when a frog dies you see its full length. Akufo-Addo’s frog is dying and we are beginning to see its full length,” he concluded.