Why Mahama may qualify as the worst president in the history of Ghanaian politics

John Mahama, Ex Ghana President And Leader Of The NDC Former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama

Mon, 7 Mar 2022 Source: Kwaku Badu

We cannot ignore or deny the fact that former President Mahama is one of the luckiest politicians in contemporary Ghanaian politics.

It is an undeniable fact that former President John Dramani Mahama had held various roles in the political scene, first as an assemblyman, then as a parliamentarian, a deputy minister, a substantive minister, a vice president, a stand-in president (following the sudden and mysterious death of President Mills), as an elected president of Ghana, and as the 2016 and 2020 flagbearer of the opposition NDC.

The all-important question on the lips of every well-meaning Ghanaian is: what does Mahama want at the presidency again?

It is absolutely true that former President Mahama had more than four years to put Ghana on the world map. So, the crucial question is: did he really live up to the expectations?

If he didn’t, why does he want to come back? What can he do this time around? And, if he did what he promised, what does he want again after being voted out of power? Your guess is as good as mine.

In fact, it came as no surprise to some of us at all, when we heard the leader of the Labour Party of Ghana (LPG), Kofi Akpaloo, frankly emitting on Hello FM in Kumasi on Saturday 27th July 2019 that Ghanaians will live to regret in the unlikely event of voting Mahama back into power.

The fact however remains that the rot in the erstwhile NDC administration was as pervasive as the odour of garlic, which led to some diehard supporters emitting their displeasure and threatening to boycott the 2016 and 2020 general elections.

I remember vividly how my long-term friend who had witnessed enough of the unpardonable mess in his beloved NDC government decided to walk out of the party.

My pal contended somewhat passionately that he had been defending and promoting the party’s much-touted ethos of probity, transparency and accountability for well over twenty-three years, but lost the zeal to continue, as the incompetence and sleazes and corruption in President Mahama’s government reached immeasurable proportions.

My friend, however, maintained that the straw that broke the camel’s back was when President Mahama decided to behave as the benevolent Father Christmas and unjustifiably gave away large portions of Ghana’s scarce resources to apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (two four-wheel-drive cars and a luxury bungalow estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done.

My mate’s beef stemmed from the fact that he had worked his socks off all those years for the Party to enjoy power, meanwhile, he had nothing to show for his efforts.

My pal was, therefore, incensed that parasitic creatures like Madam Akua Donkor were needlessly being showered with all sorts of melodic gifts.

Unsurprisingly, though, my friend abandoned his role in the NDC prior to the 2016 election and confided in me that he did not even bother to travel to his polling station on the voting day.

In fact, my best mate did not see the urgent need to vote for NDC and President Mahama, given the crass incompetence and the unpardonable corruption.

My pal was, indeed, distraught about the way and manner Mahama was handling Ghana’s economy; dragged 14% economic growth in 2012 to 3.4%; reversed single-digit inflation to around 15.4%; Shrunk GH47 billion GDP to GH40 billion by December 2016; Took 7.5% agricultural growth in 2012 to a meagre 2.9% by December 2016.

You may believe it or not, in private discussions, my pal would seriously raise concerns about the bribery and corruption scandals such as the infamous Bus branding, the Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, NCA, MASLOC, the furtive Ford Expedition Vehicle, the Woyome’s 51.2 million dubious judgement debt, the Waterville’s $30 million wrongful payment, the Isofoton’s dubious payment of $325,000, among others.

My mate was, in fact, extremely worried about the GH200 million SADA funds spent on trees that were later burnt down and the guinea fowls that miraculously flew to nearby Burkina Faso without a trace.

In a fairly stable democracy such as ours, governments pop in and out, and, considering the political dynamics in Ghana, it is a trend we can expect to continue unabated.

But the all-important question we should be asking is: should we trust every leader to form a government with an excuse of steering the nation in the right direction?

Some of us, as a matter of fact, could not get our heads around as to how and why former President John Dramani Mahama would consider returning to the presidency given his abysmal performance during his tenure in office.

If we go down memory lane, the vast majority of unhappy Ghanaians, who regrettably found themselves in the doldrums of poverty, rightly voted against the NDC and ex-president Mahama in the 2016 general elections, largely due to the unresolved business crippling dumsor, the wanton corruption (four out of innumerable suspects have since been convicted and sentenced), and the unpardonable incompetence (moved economic growth from 14% in 2011 to a miserable 3.4% and single-digit inflation to 15.4% by December 2016).

It was, therefore, quite ironic to keep reading and listening to the NDC faithful’s flimsy and uninspiring excuses that the loyalists of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) maliciously lied about NDC’s incompetence and corrupt practices and deceptively pledged juicy, albeit unachievable Manifesto promises which led to their 2016 and 2020 victories.

Let us be honest, the teeming supporters of NDC should engage in a carefully considered reflection and accept the painful truth that their dreadful errors in decision-making which unfortunately sent Ghana’s economy deeper and deeper into the mire, to some large extent, cost them the power in 2016 and 2020 general elections and not the supposedly ‘wicked’ lies put out by their opponents.

It is absolutely true that individuals have different reasons for going into politics. Some people enter into politics for their unconditional love for their nation. Others just view power as an excellent opportunity to amass wealth and enjoy other trappings that come with the job.

It would, however, appear that some politicians do not care about the plight of the masses; they only scramble for power in order to pursue their parochial interests.

If that was not the case, what else would make a leader dole out large portions of our scarce resources to inveterate apologists like the founder of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Madam Akua Donkor, who in all honesty, contributed nothing meaningful towards Ghana’s wellbeing, and yet received a melodious gift of two four-wheel drive vehicles and a luxurious bungalow purported to cost a staggering $475,000.

In his time in office, the previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically.

The GH9.5 billion debt former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 ballooned miraculously to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016 with nothing or little to show for.

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

Moreover, President Mahama’s government nauseatingly dragged the economic growth from around 14%in 2011 to around 3.4% as of December 2016.

In addition, the high inflation rate remain 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 15.4%as of October 2016).

Unsurprisingly, therefore, during the epoch of Mahama’s coarse governance, some concerned patriots like 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.”

Ex-President Mahama, as a matter of fact, did not work his socks off to improve on the socio-economic living standards of Ghanaians.

Take, for example, former President Kufuor worked strenuously and quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering GH28 billion in 2008, and the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to GH47 billion by 2011.

However, President Mahama disappointingly dragged the GDP to an incredible GH40billion as of December 2016.

But despite the huge economic mess created by the Mahama administration amid stunted economic growth, the Akufo-Addo government, before the deadly coronavirus, efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.4 % as of December 2016 to a favourable 8.6 % within a short space of time.

Again, the NPP administration commendably reversed the inflation rate to a single digit-around 7.5%from a little over 15 %as of December 2016.

Evidently, Ghana’s economy under former President Mahama was not so good. In brief, he wilfully imposed untold economic hardships on Ghanaians.

Indeed, I shiver and sweat profusely over the GH9.5 billion debt former President Kufuor left in 2009 which rocketed to an incredible GH122.4 billion in just five years under Mahama.

To be quite honest, I am not convinced of former President Mahama’s capability to lead Ghana again when he woefully shrunk Ghana’s GDP from $47 billion to $40 billion in five years.

In fact, there is nothing absolutely wrong for any patriotic Ghanaian to raise concerns about Mahama’s leadership qualities when he abysmally dragged an economic growth of around 14 % in 2011 to a squeamish 3.4 % as of December 2016.

Truth be told, Mahama could not have been an economic Messiah when single-digit inflation in 2012 was reversed to double figures by 2016(15.8%) under his leadership.

Believe it or not, of all the numerous scandals that occurred during Mahama’s administration, the most telling was the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power.

We cannot also deny or ignore the fact that for well over four years, dumsor, unfortunately, crippled businesses as a result of the mismanagement of the economy by the erstwhile Mahama administration.

The dumsor was so irritating to the extent that my uneducated, albeit reflective thinking mum, who had a soft spot for NDC, underwent a carefully considered reflection and graciously detached herself from the Umbrella fraternity.

But despite Mahama’s coarse leadership, the NDC faithful would never agree with some of us for persistently criticising their beloved leader.

The truth is, His Excellency former President John Dramani Mahama cannot steer Ghana to the ‘promised land’.

The good people of Ghana, therefore, made the right decision by retiring His Excellency John Dramani Mahama during the 2020 general elections.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu