John Dramani Mahama is not a greedy politician?

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 Source: Emmanuel Owusu-Acheampong

Ghanaians are faced with a very tricky situation of having to choose from two leading candidates; both of whom have served the country for at least one term to lead them once more into the next four years. It is indeed a unique situation which has not presented itself before since the inception of democracy in Ghana in 1992.

The former President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) ruled from 2013 -2017 after winning the 2012 presidential election and per the constitution, he can still contest the 2020 elections because he was eligible for two terms of office but had one.

The current sitting president, H.E Nana Akuffo Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will also have his first term expired this year because new elections will take place. Judging from the 1992 constitution of Ghana, can anyone explicitly say that any of the two leading candidates for the presidential slot is greedy?

Whenever you are leading a group of people, they measure or weigh you by some decisions or actions you take when difficult situations present themselves, your humility, way of communication, records of achievement, tolerance and intolerance, policies, management of the national coffers and how you govern them etc.

Many people may not like a leader because they probably do not trust in his or her ideologies and way of governing; but when you are out of power and a new leader emerges, comparisons are drawn to ascertain who is the better of the two.

The current President of Turkey, Recep Tayipp Erdogan served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as Mayor for Istanbul from 1994 – 1998. Vladimir Putin (the current president of Russia) served as Prime Minister in 1999 and became president from 2000 – 2008 before Dmitry Medvedev won election to become president. Putin was quickly confirmed as Prime Minister again by Medvedev to serve from 2008 – 2012.

Putin once again contested and won the presidency again in 2012 and 2018 respectively and is now serving his people till 2024. This doesn’t mean that he is the most knowledgeable person in Russia nor make him greedy either; the people may like him because of the qualities he exudes whenever he takes up leadership roles. It may also be about security and the protection of the country’s strategic interests in the region and the world at large.

In fact, this scenario has repeated itself in several parts of the world; after all, leadership is service to the people who elect you. Can anybody answer why some Brazilian citizens are clamouring for their former President, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva to come back to power? That is leadership for you when people come to terms and appreciate good work done while in office. This means they have weighed him against the leaders who have come after him and therefore deem it fit to recall him to contest for power; though he may refuse due to age constraints.

Fortunately for H. E John Mahama, he has chalked some successes and achieved an enviable feat in our democracy that would be very difficult for anyone to overturn or equalize. He has virtually tasted all the leadership positions in this country with enormous expertise and would make an unforgettable history in the country if he wins this year’s presidential election.

This is the reason the NPP is always tagging him as a covetous or greedy politician; sometimes even members of his own party who should know better and appreciate their own say the same. H.E. J. J. Rawlings and H.E. John Agyekum Kuffuor would have loved to come back to contest for power in order to continue with their achievements, but for the 1992 constitution which does not permit them to do so. It should be an accepted fact that certain personalities are just privileged in life and that is natural; it is not their fault that people like them and nothing can be done about that.

The Former President, H.E. John Dramani Mahama did not become the flagbearer of the NDC by pointing guns at anyone. Some members of the NDC party saw something good in him while he was president and probably were in love with his work and so decided to bring him back to contest for the presidency again.

Though, no one person is the custodian of all knowledge; it is no fault of his that he got overwhelmingly elected to represent the NDC in the upcoming Presidential Election slated for December this year. Perhaps, he won the sympathy of some party folks who thought he could have done more for the country and continued with his unfinished projects if he had won power in 2016 and hence deem it fit to give him another chance. Does this sincerely make him greed or covetous?

The current President contested former President J.A. Kufuor for the NPP flag-bearership slot in 1998, when he blamed Kufuor for failing to win power for the NPP in the 1996 Presidential Election after contesting H.E Jerry John Rawlings of the NDC.

Despite his rejection by the delegates, Nana Akuffo Addo’s quest to lead the NPP continued unabated. This made him contest and beat the late Vice President Aliu Mahama and fifteen (15) others in the 2007 NPP primaries held at Legon, Accra regardless of his 8-year experience as Vice President of the Republic of Ghana; but unfortunate as it may seem, he lost to Prof. John Evans Atta Mills of the NDC in the 2008 Presidential Election. He contested Allan Kyeremateng and few others to win the flagbearer-ship position to contest the 2012 presidential elections in which he also lost to H.E. John Dramani Mahama of the NDC.

This man, irrespective of his age continued to push to lead the NPP again in 2016 and this time he won the power to become president. I can bet you that he would have continually contested for the flagbearer-ship position if he had not won power 2016. Is he also not greedy? Why did he see himself then as the only person who could successfully lead the NPP to victory by contesting for the flagbearer-ship position many times?

H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo has been a Member of Parliament before (1992-2007), served as Ghana’s Attorney General until 2007 when he resigned to contest for the flagbearer-ship position of his party. He is now 76 years of age and in the final year of his first term of office as president, but still wants four (4) more years to govern this country.

In the unlikely event that he wins power, he will rule until he is 80. I can bet you that the old man would have stood-down, but for his party folks who see certain qualities in him and also want to campaign on his legacies as president. Same applies to H.E. John Mahama of the NDC who took leave from politics for a while until the NDC decided to reward him again with the flagbearer-ship slot.

If H.E. John Dramani Mahama should have bowed out of politics and taken a rest, why can’t H.E. Nana Akuffo Addo also consider his age and bow honourably after tasting the presidency for almost (4) years and allowing a different person to lead the party into the December elections?

As the saying goes “what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander”; the NPP who do not see anything good about the NDC leader and flagbearer has started lampooning and lambasting him left-right-centre just to cause disaffection by calling him all sort of names; tagging him as agreed and all that; but compare the ages of the two leaders, achievements, corruption, tolerance and intolerance, protection of the national coffers, national debt, massive borrowing, integrity, press freedom etc. and judge for yourself which of the two should quit contesting the 2020 presidential election.

We cannot be singing or heaping praises on one leader from one side of our mouth and condemning the other from the other side. The fact is that both leaders have served in different positions under previous governments; the 1992 constitution grants them equal opportunities and patent rights to contest for the presidency again for four more years. Let us leave it to the citizenry to decide; because the presidency is not the birthright of any single Ghanaian.

Columnist: Emmanuel Owusu-Acheampong
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