Former President John Dramani Mahama has identified the austerity measures implemented by his government under the IMF programme and the inability of the NDC to take advantage of social media as the two main reasons for his electoral defeat in the 2016 elections.According to Mr Mahama, his government was not as incompetent as Ghanaians were made to believe.
Speaking to the BBC pidgin ahead of the December 7 polls, Mr Mahama who is seeking reelection noted that his government underestimated the power of social media in 2016 while is opponents capitalised on that to spread fake news about him.
He said: “The first one was the IMF programme and we had to implement an austerity programme where we had to reduce expenditure. So for instance in the public service, there was a net freeze under public sector employment meaning we could employ only the number of people that retired in a year.
“So if 30,000 people retired in a year, we could only employ 30,000 people. But every year, people graduate and are looking for jobs so this IMF programme and the austerity was part of the reason we lost.
“Also, we did not take advantage of social media. We didn’t recognise the potential of social media at that time but our opponents recognised it and took advantage of it.
They set up troll factories, fake news, threw mud at us with unsubstantiated rumours. They said I had Hotels in Dubai, ships in Tokyo and at that time we thought Ghanaians will know it’s fake, it’s not true but it was actually sinking into people’s minds and so it created a certain perception that the government was corrupt it was after we had lost elections that people realised all those stories were lies.
“I challenged the government to go sell my Hotels in Dubai if I have any and bring the money into the economy, they didn’t even respond. So these two led to our defeat…”
Mr Mahama says now he stands vindicated because no political appointee of his has been convicted for corruption despite all the lies his opponent told about him and his government.