By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
This is not the very first time that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the former Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana and three-time Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), has given a lecture on the dismal state of the country’s economy under the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and so it is not clear just what the man who was accidentally chosen to succeed the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, his fellow Fante tribesman, means when he impugns the credibility of the Oxbridge-schooled Dr. Bawumia on the extent to which the country’s economy has been grossly mismanaged by the Moscow-trained President John Dramani Mahama.
For most of the nearly four years that he has been Vice-President of Ghana, Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has had to fight widespread allegations concerning his sexuality. He has been married for over three decades to his wife Matilda, but still he has been reported to be an active member of a gay men’s group in the country whose meetings he is alleged to have been in regular attendance for some years now.
Questioned about this aspect of his lifestyle, the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana claimed that any such allegation about his private life was planted in the media mainstream by an old schoolmate who had fallen on hard times and had attempted to blackmail him about the time when he was named Bank of Ghana Governor by the late President Mills.
His wife, Matilda, a professional librarian, has also parried questions from reporters regarding the sexual orientation of her husband by claiming that the Vice-President was passionately heterosexual. Inside the Mahama government, Mr. Amissah-Arthur is not well-known to be on very friendly and/or cordial terms with the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House. The relationship between the two men has been widely rumored to be tangentially polite.
On several occasions in the recent past, Mr. Amissah-Arthur was rumored to be facing his boss’ axe, largely over questions alleged to verge on administrative lethargy and downright incompetence. In his stead had been suggested the possibility of Mr. Mahama’s naming Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh, also a half-Fante and half-Hungarian, to pair with him as his running-mate for a second presidential term. Ms. Tetteh has at various times come public to say that she was not interested in becoming Vice-Presidential Candidate.
At other times, however, Ms. Tetteh has been alleged to be gunning for the Vice-Presidency. Either way, what bears highlighting is the stark fact of Mr. Amissah-Arthur’s not being envisaged to be a heavy lifter among the members of the Mahama cabinet.
It is also widely known that the former lecturer at several Nigerian universities was primarily selected to match up with the selection of Dr. Bawumia as Nana Akufo-Addo’s running-mate on the ticket of the main opposition New Patriotic Party. Psychologically, this copycat tack seems to have worked.
Practically speaking, though, Dr. Bawumia continues to demonstrate beyond the proverbial iota of doubt that he absolutely has no peer, or co-equal, among the ranks of the NDC’s also-run economists.
This is clearly evidenced by the fact that whenever an imminent lecture presentation on the state of the nation’s economy is announced and advertised in the media, the NDC’s movers and shakers are reported to slump into a funk. They are also said to throw tantrums, which invariably finds expression in desperate attempts to scuttle the scheduled venues for these lectures.
The venue for Dr. Bawumia’s most recent lecture, for example, had to be moved several times and finally had to be scheduled for the National Theater, after crusading elements in the media played up efforts to abort the lecture to the great embarrassment of the Mahama political machinists.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur says that it is professionally ignorant on the part of the Oxbridge-educated Dr. Bawumia to assert that when a government finds itself servicing the interest rates on its debts or loans at a far higher rate than its periodic repayments on the principal, then the national economy is in serious trouble.
Well, I am not an economist. Not by any measure. But I am also not too dumb to recognize the stark reality of gross economic mismanagement when I see one.