Opinions Mon, 22 Oct 2012

President “Cash-and-Carry” Draws Blank on Healthcare

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

It was only a matter of time before Transitional-President John “Paradigm-Shift” Dramani Mahama began drawing blanks from his hip-shooting guns. Thus, rather than present a comprehensive national healthcare program, or agenda, to the good people of the Western Region, during what was sensationally billed as his five-day electioneering campaign tour of the home of the legendary African Show Boy, the Bole-Bamboi petty chieftain decided to pathetically hurl President John Agyekum-Kufuor’s savvy and comprehensive National Health Insurance Scheme (which, by the way the then-oppositional National Democratic Congress flatly rejected as unworkable) at Nana Akufo-Addo in a characteristically cheap attempt to supposedly “expose the hollowness” of the latter’s foresighted and complementary healthcare program (See “President Mahama Slams NPP Healthcare Promise” Ghana News Agency/Ghanaweb.com 10/21/12).

Maybe President Mahama was banking on the fat chance of the people of the Western Region having so soon forgotten the fact that it was, indeed, the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party government that established the current National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as well as the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), the progressive legal instrument that guarantees all Ghanaian children ages 18 years and below full access to the country’s public health system.

In other words, rather than smugly pretend as if the average Ghanaian voter is, somehow, unaware of the callous Darwinian healthcare regime established by the so-called National Democratic Congress under Mr. Rawlings, in whose government Mr. Mahama was a boisterous and loudmouthed Communications Minister and propagandist, what the Transitional-President ought to be telling the nation at large, is exactly how he intends to remarkably improve on the Kufuor-minted comprehensive healthcare scheme which so-called SOCIAL DEMOCRATS like Mr. Mahama have, literally, allowed to go down to the dogs.

At any rate, what is rather sad, to speak much less about the outright tragic and pathetic, is Mr. Mahama’s vacuous criticism of Nana Akufo-Addo’s all-too-savvy intention of making public healthcare widely accessible to all children from 18 years and under without regard to parental status. Indeed, Mr. Mahama’s rather facile and naïve presumption that all Ghanaian children have well-to-do and gainfully employed parents like he grew up with is what is gravely wrong with his leadership. And so maybe somebody ought to remind the President of the unacceptably low national employment rate, as well as the high percentage of children who have no parents or are virtually homeless, but for the customary generosity of relatives and friends.

You see, what continues to bother many of us about the accidental presidency of Mr. Mahama, is the office holder’s apparently woeful and total lack of touch with the reality of Ghanaian existence outside the glittery confines of Achimota and the six-car family mansion and compound in which “Little Dramani” grew up. We sincerely also do not know what he means when Mr. Mahama boasts, rather peevishly, that “the performance of the NDC during the past four years has overwhelmed our political opponents, compelling them to make unbelievable promises,” when his own former boss, the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, had to constantly fly overseas, mainly to the United States, in search of the most basic medical treatment.

In brief, rather than cheaply talk the diligent and respectable people of Wassa-Akropong, the hometown of my beloved late Uncle Benjamin Nstiful, into believing that he, Mr. Mahama, could so magically “open-sesame” connect sixty of their communities, villages and townships onto the national electrical grid, let “Little Dramani,” the “Naturalized Son of the Fante Nation and the Atta-Mills Clan” tell us more about the current state of the construction of his Chinese-sponsored Cape Coast Sports Stadium.

The fact of the matter is that President Mahama and his entire NDC campaign machine could be aptly likened to a Utong Bus without its engine and wheels. Simply put, President Mahama is no more credible than the tobacco-pipe puffing Mr. Kofi Wayo, the faux-Yankee good game-talking clown.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

Nassau Community College

Garden City, New York

October 21, 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame