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Opinions Mon, 25 Jul 2016

Mahama has disappointed Ghanaians

This article seeks to deconstruct how President Mahama blatantly dishonoured social contract he entered with Ghanaians prior to 2012 general elections.

In retrospect, President Mahama gave a slew of promises, including ‘making dumsor a thing of the past, putting money in Ghanaians pocket, creating more jobs for the jobless, stabilising the economy, protecting Ghanaians from the menaces of galamsey and Fulani herdsmen, bringing an end to dubious judgement debt payments, fighting the rampant sleaze and corruption, working with ‘lean’ government etc.

In my humble opinion, President Mahama has reneged on his promises. I will however beseech my dearest readers to make their own conclusions as to whether President Mahama has honoured the aforementioned election promises.

It is worth mentioning that social contract theory emerged during the era of enlightenment. There was a time that human beings lived without rules or laws. In fact, human beings neither had government nor laws to regulate the activities of mankind.

Consequently, there were rampant hardships and oppression, and in order to remedy the hardships, human beings entered into social contract.

In hindsight, citizens came together and pledged to obey an authority and surrendered the whole or part of their freedom and rights to an authority. The authority, in turn, guaranteed everyone protection of life, property and to a certain extent liberty.

Thus, citizens agreed to establish society by collectively and mutually abdicating the rights they had against one another in the State of Nature and they vested authority in someone or assembly of persons to enforce the initial contract.

In a way, human beings agreed to live together under common laws and then created an enforcement mechanism for the social contract and the laws that constitute it.

Thus, our contemporary authority or government came into being as a result of the emergence of the social contract. It is against this backdrop that President Mahama entered into agreement with Ghanaians prior to the 2012 general elections.

President Mahama besought the electorates to give him the mandate and in return, President Mahama guaranteed everyone protection of life, property, provision of social amenities, better socio-economic standards of living and to a certain extent liberty.

According to Thomas Hobbes, “man has a natural desire for security and order”. “In order to secure self-protection and self-preservation, and to avoid misery and pain, man entered into a contract”. “This idea of self-preservation and self-protection are inherent in man’s nature and in order to achieve this, they voluntarily surrendered their rights and freedoms to some authority by this contract, who must command obedience”. “As a result of this contract, the mightiest authority is to protect and preserve their lives and property”.

Hobbes deduces from his mechanistic theory of human nature that humans are essentially and entirely self-interested. Hobbes asserts that all human beings run after only what they perceive to be in their own best interests –human beings react mechanistically by being attracted to things which they desire, and are ward-off by that to which they dislike.

Hobbes observes that this is a general concept: it is meant to cover all human actions under all conditions– in society or out of it, with regard to strangers and friends alike, vis-à-vis small ends and the most generalized of human desires, such as the desire for power and status.

Hobbes insists that all our undertakings are motivated mainly by the consuming desire to improve our own situations, and satisfy as many of our own considered desires as possible.

How accurate is Hobbes observation in relation to our current political landscape? Apparently, Hobbes analysis is in line with our current crop of politicians shenanigans.

Actually, they would rather prefer to scramble for wealth than to keep the numerous promises they made to the electorates prior to the elections.

Ironically, with all his promises, President Mahama has failed to end the dumsor, jobs aren’t readily available for the jobless, the economy is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire, he has reneged on his promise to keep ‘lean’ government, Ghanaians are becoming poorer and poorer, sleaze and corruption have escalated to immeasurable proportions, endless borrowings etc.

With all the broken promises, how would you then expect the electorates to take you seriously when you come round next time with myriad of promises?

References and further reading:

Hampton, Jean. (1986). Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hobbes, Thomas. (1651a). Leviathan. C.B Macpherson (Editor). London: Penguin Books (1985)

Columnist: Badu, K