John Mahama’s Wobbly Promises


…..Operation Sting, Primary Healthcare, 1 million jobs et al

‘The greatest danger in any argument is that real issues are often clouded by superficial ones, that momentary passions may obscure permanent realities.’ – Mary Ellen Chase

With a running mate, but without a Manifesto, John Dramani Mahama continued his sounding spree where he had last left off – from his doublespeak on matters related to the Free SHS Programme to pathological chiding of the Electoral Commissioner and her industrious commissioners over nothing. Thankfully, however, he has found a graceful and accomplished lady as running mate who we hope may add to the sacred excitement – that is, if he and the NDC would allow themselves to be dissuaded from singing their traditional discordant notes and piping their bawdy tunes.

Days into the announcement and inauguration, however, it is turning out that, while Jane may be trusted to stick to the rules of the game, John would get back, like a Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, into his political ‘hog-skin.’

 Ayekoo! Naa Adukwei

While I dissect JM’s late night romantic promises, pending the launch of the NDC Manifesto, I believe it is equally gracious on my part as a gender activist to commend the illustrious Jean Mensa, Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, for the excellent work so far. From consultations through planning to execution, she has fared sumptuously; and, not even the Devil can take that away from her.

As an official observer who visited some of the now peaceful indigenous Accra constituencies, we can also affirm that, not even the nonsense that the few constituencies and political rogues threw up can discredit the commission’s work up till this point. And, for those of us who were anxious about her chances of success as EC and the tight calendar and the knotty obstacles, including the perpetually feuding Inter-Party Advisory Committee which has so far failed to add value to the EC’s mission, Jean was simply calculated and marvelous. Those who by their acts tried in vain to mess up the lawful exercise have faces and names; addresses and political colours. We can go after them, not the EC. Once again, Ayekoo! Naa Adukwei.

Primary health

John Mahama’s promise of running a primary health initiative beyond what our state institutions of health delivery are delivering looks ordinary and simplistic, because of the vague terms associated with primary health. He failed to tell us whether it is going to be an enhancement and continuation of the CHIPS Compound concept or reliving the days when traditional birth attendants (TBAs) effectively supported our health delivery programme in vulnerable communities. (I’m sad that the health authorities did away with the TBA concept, instead of encouraging the idea through the institution of relevant training programmes).

Having worked with some of them on relief programmes initiated by the MOH at the Usher Clinic at Accra before it was phased off, I can attest to their practical understanding of managing basic medical issues at community level. And, if that is the idea, I would agree it is good and an addition. Indeed, I have seen the concept hugely impact health delivery in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania etc, where development partners designed a manual to fast-track delivery of basic health in dealing, particularly, with the gnawing African headache of poor doctor-to-patient ratio.

Interestingly, that manual titled ‘Where There Are No Doctors,’ has become handy in Nigeria and Ghana today for serious doctors, but also particularly, nurses who are working in remote areas of the typically African countryside.

Otherwise, as a former staff of JICA, I believe JDM may be just be looking at development theories, without analyzing the enhanced health delivery turf, including the massive transformation in our health sector typified in the strides that the National Health Insurance Scheme has made, the ambulance services and the 1D1H COVID-19 initiative announced by the President.

‘Operation Sting’ and ‘Sledge Hammer’

As for the fable about John Mahama fighting corruption, even running mate Jane knows it is ‘fu-k talk,’ as they say – and very unlike Mahama, with all the SADA, GYEEDA, SUBAH and Bus Branding scams afflicting his tenure and current ambition. That is also aside of the raging Airbus controversy in which his family is mired. And, it sounded a repeat of biblical King Saul returning from a mission with goats bleating and cows mooing, when Israel and God was expecting to see weeping prisoners of war, confiscated logistics and ammo from the enemies.

Little wonder, Saul couldn’t live out half his days as king in reverence and dignity as 2020 would reveal, in spite of the prognostications of the prophet Nigels and Mallam Sidis.

As we have seen in our national history, fighting corruption is about character and commitment; example and record; as well as governance style and structures. By that score, the odds tilt too heavily against JDM, whose only record of being stern is about killing flies with sledge hammer, rather than restraining his boys from their lawless, corrupt and rash tendencies.

He didn’t prove anything in that regard when the Supreme Court collared his loony communicators; or when Ibrahim’s excessive borrowings took Merchant Bank to the brink. That was not all…the last time I visited SADA Offices in Tamale on an official mission, I never saw anything that showed his SADA delivering transformation in agriculture – crop or livestock; value addition or investment except the nauseating sight of cronies coming in and going out; or chatting and gloating over nokofioo.

Worse still, with the Airbus scam hanging on his shoulders like an albatross, what are the moral guarantees that Old Testament King Saul can become New Testament Saul and Apostle Paul?

That would be the sixth miracle which only Jesus Christ, in world history, executed – the five being his walking on the water; the raising of decaying Lazarus from the dead; the walking on the sea; the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes and the turning of water into wine at a Cana wedding.

I recall as a young boy in my early teens a cousin who liked soccer more than his ability to play and play well. On the football pitch, during neighbourhood colts matches, you often heard him shout for a pass, regardless of this cousin’s location on the field or opponents marking him. And, if you made the mistake of being attracted to his noise, you found him dancing around the ball till it was scooped out of his legs by the opponent, leaving us hastily retreat to dispossess the opponent.

It was evident that my cousin’s satisfaction lay only in having his foot being glued momentarily to the ball. Nothing else…

JM to create one million jobs

Time and again, I have watched from the internet the Cassius Clay [Muhammad Ali] Vs Sonny Liston fights and that between the same Louisville Lip and George Foreman in Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire. Both fights tell a huge story about fate, life, destiny and tenacity which politicians should learn from.

I have also watched the lean giraffe kick the King of the Animals (lion) to his death and the buffalo maul the same Lion King into coma. Additionally, I have watched the crocodile get gored in his turf by the rhino and the zebra back-kick the lion again to death. And, that’s why I have great difficulty understanding why people struggle – at the peril of their lives – to wear crowns that do not belong to them.

Luck alone cannot save the below-average professional, parent, businessman or politician heckling to be on top. Preparation and season are the great catalysts. And, I thought Don Quixote died 400 years ago.

‘Maa so m3 hy3 bi’

When we think politics, the preoccupation is what sustains or truncates our ambition and aspirations. That’s why we can always separate the Clintons and Obamas; or Thatchers and Angela Merkels from the Mobutus and Kabillas; Taylors and Abachas…It is either greed firing us or love for God and Country. It can’t be both.

The NDC’s debacle is that, in the justifiable decision to transition to new faces as Kwesi Botchwey espoused days ago and which had culminated in a Professor Evans Atta Mills and John Mahama ticket, the party bred incompetence and opportunism. And, because we reap what we sow, the NDC must live with mediocrity till another dispensation in which the party will be rid of the Fat Cats and Barking Dogs.

Until that day, however, the ‘Hw3 So Ma Me’ and ‘Ma So M3 Hy3 Bi’ elements in the NDC will have a field day looking only in the direction of their bellies, rather than living out the diktats of probity and accountability as cornerstones and credo of the once ‘great NDC’.