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Opinions Sun, 7 Jul 2019

Please, leave Rawlings alone, he had no hand in Mahama’s 2016 humiliating defeat

I have been listening in amazement to Mahama loyalists flimsy excuses that prior to the 2016 general elections, former President Rawlings persistently complained about the unobjectionable incompetence and wanton corruption in Mahama’s government, and deliberately endorsed Akufo-Addo’s widely acknowledged incorruptible descriptive tag.

Somehow, the Mahama loyalists have been holding on to the isolated thinker’s view that the septuagenarian Ex-President Rawlings’s candid pronouncements somehow went against Mahama, and favoured Akufo-Addo during the 2016 general elections.

In fact, the Mahama brassbound supporters argument appears extremely impugnable. It rather scandalises the intelligence of the voting public. After all, discerning Ghanaians have the ability to differentiate between good and bad.

Let us however be honest, former President Rawlings is a founder of NDC, so there is nothing wrong for him to speak against corrupt practices within the party whose constitution he is reported to have autographed with his blood.

More so Ex-President Rawlings did nothing wrong by frankly pointing out Akufo-Addo’s well-publicised moral uprightness on corruption.

To be quite honest, I am struggling to get my head around how and why anyone could aim accusing fingers at former President Rawlings for rightly voicing out his opinion.

So the Mahama loyalists would want us into believing that every single Ghanaian was oblivious to the happenings in the country prior to the 2016 general elections?

In as much as former President Rawlings commands respect among the NDC foot soldiers and a section of ordinary Ghanaians, there was no way he could have persuaded anyone to change their mind and vote Mahama, considering the rampant corruption and the irreversible incompetence.

The fact however remains that the diehard NDC supporters were living in a denial about the harsh economic conditions prior to the 2016 general elections.

Back then, the vast majority of Ghanaians struggled to make a living or eke out an income. The dreadful errors in decision-making, the incompetence and the unbridled corruption culminated in untold economic hardships.

But in spite of the apparent harsh socio-economic standards of living back then, former President Mahama and his teeming supporters kept trumpeting their vague rhetoric , political gimmicks and meaningless slogans: ‘Mahama Tuaso’; ‘We care for you’; ‘people matter, you matter’; ‘we are transforming lives’.

Meanwhile the good people of Ghana were struggling terribly to pay their utility bills and could not even afford their children school fees.

In fact, I do not want to believe for a moment that former President Rawlings could have convinced the aggrieved Ghanaians to forgive Mahama’s government over the dubious judgement debt payment of GH51.2 million to Woyome.

Indeed, Ex-President Rawlings could not have solicited votes from Ghanaians who were extremely unhappy when President Mahama metamorphosed into ‘Father Christmas’ and fecklessly doled out large portions of Ghana’s scarce resources to party apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) of two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done.

Verily, no one would have listened to Ex-President Rawlings when no meaningful efforts were put in place to retrieve the monies in the scandalous corruption cases such as GYEEDA, SADA, SUBA, Brazil World Cup, the infamous Bus Branding, the dubious GH51.2 million judgement debt to Woyome, $30 million to Waterville, $325,000 to Isofoton, amongst others.

The crucial question one may ask Mahama faithful is: how was former President Rawlings going to persuade the aggrieved Ghanaians to change their mind over the GH9.5 billion debt former President Kufuor left in 2009 and Mahama abysmally raised it to an incredible GH122.4 billion with a little to show for?

Trust me, there was little Ex-President Rawlings could have done to convince unhappy Ghanaians when former President Mahama wilfully shrunk Ghana’s GDP from $47 billion to $40 billion in five years.

How could Mahama supporters blame former President Rawlings for NDC’s humiliating election defeat when Ex-President Mahama abysmally dragged an economic growth of around 14 per cent in 2011 to a nauseating 3.4 per cent as of December 2016?

The Mahama loyalists must engage in deep introspection and accept the fact that discerning Ghanaians could not have forgotten the dreadful errors in judgement which culminated in massive economic hardships amid the unresolved business crippling ‘dumsor’.

The Mahama faithful should get a grip and acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of unhappy Ghanaians voted against the NDC in the 2016 election due to the incompetence, the unbridle corruption and the unresolved dumsor which brought about harsh economic conditions.

Understandably, to constantly squall, censure, speak and write about the abhorrent state of Ghana’s economy during the erstwhile Mahama’s administration, which the party faithful blissfully perceive as innocuous or inconsequential issue, is to be regarded as a political fanatic, or even as a notorious conservative, mischievously seeking to discredit their beloved party.

But whatever the case, I, for one, won’t abandon my duty as a bona fide Ghanaian, far from it. But I will rather stick to my guns, be true to the faith and keep upholding and defending the good name of our beloved Ghana.

It is, indeed, extremely heartrending to keep hearing such ridiculous misconceptions from the NDC apologists, many of whom only follow narrow party colouration, devoid of patriotism and solicitude.

But then again, one has to contain his/her emotional intelligence, show unconditional deference and composure, for, after all, aren’t sycophancy, partisanship and lack of patriotism been our greatest nemesis?

Well, given the circumstances, we can logically conclude that vague understanding of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who prefer hero worshipping to defending the national interests.

Thus, some of our leaders, having first-hand knowledge of our hero-worshipping gimmicks, tend to take us for granted and continue to provide us with mediocre leadership and services.

The good people of Ghana witnessed so much duplicities, corruption, incompetence, nepotism, cronyism and frequent abuse of power, and hence the vast majority of Ghanaians have permanently lost trust in Ex-President Mahama and the NDC.

A Brief Annotation of Ex-President Mahama’s Performance

After failing to improve upon Ghana’s economy, President Mahama and his vociferous apparatchiks cunningly took refuge in their much-touted infrastructural projects.

Paradoxically, though, it was the same President Mahama who blissfully pontificated somewhere in 2008 that every government undertakes infrastructural projects and therefore it would be an exercise in mediocrity for any government to hide behind infrastructural projects in the face of economic collapse.

Unfortunately, the manipulating politicians have succeeded in brainwashing the unsuspecting voters into believing that all that an elected government has to do for its citizens is to provide social infrastructures and amenities.

Obviously, such a notion is specious. For good governance indeed goes beyond the provision of infrastructural projects.

To be quite honest, good governance also involves the implementation of expedient policies with a view to stabilising the socio-economic standards of living.

The provision of infrastructural projects is an important aspect in the nation building. However, any serious and a committed government would not only focus on putting up more meaningful and meaningless projects but would rather focus on both infrastructural projects and the implementation of pragmatic policies that will propel the economy.

Ghana’s massive economic downslide took unexpected flight after the sudden and unfortunate death of President Mills.

Unbelievably, during the 2012 electioneering campaign, the late Mills successor, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went haywire in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.

The previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. The GH9.5 billion debt which former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.

Ghana’s economic growth regrettably slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing, high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).

In addition, the high inflation rate remains elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).

Unsurprisingly, therefore, during the epoch of Mahama’s maladministration, some concerned patriots like the late Jake Obetsebi Lamptey of blessed memory, lamented: “Ghanaians are worried because the economy is being handled in a manner reminiscent of the NDC’s mishandling of the economy in 2000. “We do not need to return to HIPC status.”

Former President John Dramani Mahama’s government failed terribly to initiate expedient policies to overturn the failed policies of agriculture, poverty reduction and resource allocation in the areas of healthcare, education, finance, supply chain management and security sector planning, amongst others.

If my memory serves me right, it was Ex-President Mahama who once bizarrely claimed that they, (NDC government) had licentiously consumed all the meat on the bone. That was weird and uncharacteristic of a supposedly serious, a committed and a forward-thinking government.

Apparently, former President Mahama was explaining Ghana’s unprecedented economic collapse as a result of mismanagement and rampant corruption under his watch.

It is, therefore, extremely baffling to keep hearing and reading from the same people who wilfully collapsed the once thriving economy up in arms and shouting from the rooftop about the supposedly slow pace of development barely 30 months of the NPP government assuming power.

Given the unpardonable errors in decision-making which resulted in massive economic collapse, some of us must not and cannot stand accused of persistently upbraiding President Mahama and his NDC government.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu
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