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I had the rare privilege of meeting the President one-on–one for the first time in my life and my heavenly prayer was for a moment of composure, and not to expose myself by showing any emotion.
I had heard beautiful stories of the man Mahama, his humility, his charm and his love for people, but his firmness in taking tough decisions, I could not vouch for. This was my turn to experience him. But I dreaded this opportunity, coming at a time he had lost an election; What was I to say to him?
I waited anxiously to be introduced to him. In his usual dark shades and khaki trouser, and a short sleeve shirt, he offered a handshake.
All I could say is Mr President, I am happy to meet you for the first time. I asked him how he felt about the election result. He said he was disappointed but life goes on. “I did everything I could by laying a firm foundation for take-off, but the people of Ghana thought otherwise”. In him, I saw a dispirited 59 year old who felt let down by the people of Ghana, but a soul that was willing to move on. He said and I quote “I wish the new government well”.
The 4th John of the Republic of Ghana, as if he had been stripped off his powers, went to town without police, bodyguards and no Stan Dogbe, but his aura and affable personality remained. The man who had lost an election just a little over a week ago was driving himself. As President, he was seen driving a motorbike, but not without security presence. This time around he is back to the steering wheel, chauffeuring his personal driver instead.
I am sorry I’ve had to write this without your persmission, Mr President, but as a journalist my hand itches
So I asked him why he was driving and all he said was “I haven’t driven in a while”. I was marvelled at his response and struck by his sheer meekness. As a journalist, I have had issues with his style of governance. There were times I expected him to be firmer and tougher but after meeting him, I understood. John the driver is not different from John the President”. Hard as he tried, he could not divorce himself.
He didn’t appear to me as one who could hurt a fly, let alone threaten to crush Ken Agyepong with a bull-dozer.
For my money John Mahama will make a perfect UN Secretary General, brokering peace on the continent and oh don’t be surprised seeing him on the international stage.
The author is a broadcast journalist with TV3
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