Mahama must earn the respect he yearns for

Respect Mahama John Mahama

Tue, 7 Jun 2016 Source: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

We live in a society in which children are supposed to be seen and not heard. Our cultural values dictate that elders and authority must be respected even when they behave like pigs in a sty.

For good or bad, this arcane culture has a lot of adherents around the globe. Even the bible stresses the respect of our parents to the extent that it was included in the Decalogue.

Strangely enough, it is the only commandment that comes with perks. I don’t think I will veer too far from the tangent of truth if I should argue that this cultural trait flourished at a time when families lived in communal compounds with strong family ties.

In such a milieu, respect is taken for granted, because it is given. However, that sacred ethos is being wrestled away and appropriated erroneously by our current crop of leaders who lack a sense of responsibility to their fellow countrymen. Leaders who look the other way while the economy crumples under the weight of debt, corruption, incompetence and sheer pettiness.

Quite recently, I wrote a piece in which I suggested that President Mahama must be on drugs to insult his fellow countrymen when on a trip to London.

As expected, his supporters did not take it lightly, and they hit back with comments that cannot be repeated in respectable company. I don’t mind when his stoned followers come to his rescue, however, for those who have got brains and can make sense of what is going on in the country to demand respect for this man is beneath intellectual discourse and affront to human reason.

Inflation is destroying every economic stride we have made since Ghana started producing oil in the first quarter of 2011. Contrary to the fallacy being preached by political quack economists, productivity is what backs the strength of a country’s currency. It’s not the metals we have in our vaults.

You cannot eat gold, neither can you use gold to construct a skyscraper, but steel. Hence, increase in the production of steel, food, cocoa etc. is what guarantees the security; that is the strength of the cedi.

Since the sudden pulverisation of our economy in 1973, during the oil shock after the Yom Kippur War, inflation became an acceptable part of our national economic life. Luckily for us, out of the blue in 2007 we discovered oil and we started producing in commercial quantities in 2011.

We added 18% from nowhere to our export earnings, displacing cocoa. This should have stabilised our cedi to encourage productivity in non-traditional areas like poultry farming, which will create direct employment, but instead we went on a spending spree increasing the number of parliamentary seats, district councils and jacking up the wages of the civil servants rather than retrenching, which still kept inflation at a median figure of 15%.

Currently, it is in the region of 19%. Now, tell me, how do you expect any serious economic gains to be made under such stifling inflationary pressure, especially when expectations have been hyped to dizzying heights.

Regardless of this lost opportunity, people could have carried on with their life without complaining, nonetheless, they dip their hands into the national kitty like their private bank accounts. And the president claims that he is fighting corruption than any of our past leaders, which is even an indictment of the founder of his party.

This is a man who had all the opportunity under God’s universe to prove his revulsion to corruption when the nasty and noticeably putrefying Smarttys saga broke. Nevertheless, this woman is breathing fresh air and stoking up tribal tension.

We have a leader who has reversed the constitutional duties of his office to the nation rather to the interest of his party. If you are investing a huge sum like $250 million, won’t you hedge your bet by investing it in at least two banks, because anything is possible. Does anybody remember the Barings bank; more than two centuries old bank collapsing overnight? Yet, they invested all the $250 million into this one private bank.

This is what I will suggest to you for their lack of prudence: the reason is that they didn’t want too many paper trails around in order to keep their suspicious transactions closely monitored, especially the brown envelops part of the deal.

It was president Truman who said the buck stops here. Energy is an indispensable commodity in every vibrant modern economy. We have been experiencing the dumsor phenomenon for the past four years, and it has blighted the hopes and aspirations of ordinary entrepreneurs like head dressers, barbers, small scale poultry farmers etc. and he has the incredible arrogance to say that they insult him on radio when they have marital problems.

Now, as I set the records straight, people who are probably benefitting from his unmitigated incompetence have the right to jump to his defence, but not the so called smart ‘sustainability’ preachers who demand respect where it is not due.

To those who were offended by my last piece, respect is earned and not a right. Respect is a commodity you pay for with your behaviour, attitude and the way you speak.

Would you respect a father who just gave sperm, or a father who sleeps with your wife, or rapes her? Would you lift your hat for leaders who would even pick the pocket of a corpse? We make a mockery of the word excellent, when we call him your excellency. My point is, which human being is excellent? And what kind of excellent person will speak like the way President Mahama spoke in London, which sparked off this controversy.

The Akans have a fine adage, which says that you don’t come out of the bathroom and run after the madman when he bolts away with your cloth. If Ghanaians are insulting you, as the president, you don’t come out of the bathroom to go after the madman. The implication is obvious; I don’t have to spell it out.

Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr



Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina