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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Are John Mahama and Akufo-Addo Speaking In A “Language” Ghanaians Understand?

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…With Our Publisher

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”- Eleanor Roosevelt


Where is Jojo Bruce Quansah? A cock has suddenly crowed in my mind, but it is not yet dawn, ha ha ha. This joke is for those of us who have been around since the days of President John Agyekum Kufuor, and maybe a little earlier, to the reign of Rawlings.

Time piles in on itself, in a constant, unstoppable flow, and certainly, everything will one day become a memory. Our great moments of joy and sadness, would almost certainly one day become a memory.

Where is Jojo Bruce Quansah, aka ‘Akoko Jojo’ aka ‘Chicken Jojo’? It is my hope that no matter where he is, life continues to be kind to the brother.

The name of Jojo Bruce Quansah rose unbidden to my mind when I heard that former President John Dramani Mahama has accused the media of failing to subject the Akufo-Addo administration to the same level of criticism that it gave his government.

Mr. Mahama is reported to have said, “You made so much noise, and now you’ve all gone quiet. You’ve all been cowed, you can’t talk. There were all kinds of propaganda against me. They said Lordina and I have stolen 100 million dollars into a Swiss Account. How would you get access to that kind of money?”

When I read this statement and others attributed to Mr. John Dramani Mahama, I recalled Joe Bruce Quansah. I also recalled newspapers like The Ghana Palaver, The Ghanaian Lens, Crystal Clear Lens, and others of that nature.

What happened to them? Of course, I do not have to wonder where they are; they are dead, as dead as the Dodo.

Before the advent of the National Democratic Congress led by the late (and unlamented) John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama, it was newspapers like The Ghana Palaver, The Ghanaian Lens, Crystal Clear Lens and others that carried the battle to the then Kufuor Administration. These newspapers carried out these tasks at a time when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in opposition. It meant that these newspapers had to operate under great financial strain. Times were lean, and if one were to meet the journalist staff of these newspapers, it would become quickly apparent that indeed, times were rough.

In 2009, of course, John Evans Atta Mills came to power on the back of the labours of these newspapers and journalists, and John Dramani Mahama (the same hustler speaking today) became Ghana’s Vice President, that is the second most powerful individual in Ghana. He was later to graduate to become the President (the most lucky President ever), with all that awesome power of a presidency at his beck and call.

After the eight years that Mr. Mahama occupied those very high offices in Ghana, institutions like The Ghana Palaver, The Ghanaian Lens, Crystal Clear Lens, demised. Some of them died whilst he was in office, and others demised soon after he left office. Obviously, these institutions failed to develop the necessary wherewithal to survive, once the NDC won political power.

It is all about capacity and capacity-building. Mr. Mahama was Vice President, and President. When he occupied that very high office, he should have realized that journalists served a need in Ghana, and therefore it was necessary that their capacity be built, so that they can continue to hold government to account. Mr. Lamenting Mahama should tell Ghanaians how much journalistic capacity he built when he had governmental power. He did not build the capacity of the newspapers that sacrificed to bring him to power, and he did not build the capacity of the media in Ghana generally. It seems to me to be problematic that he would turn around today to wonder that journalists are not doing their work. How can journalists ‘work’, when the institution is dead from lack of patronage? Every wise man knows to put his head near his bread, and if John Mahama knew that journalists can be of some use, he could have patronized them when he was in power, and he can patronize them, even now that he is out of power. Merely resorting to fatuous statements that journalists should attack the current government, is not enough. In any case, listening to Mr. Mahama, one gets the distinct impression that he wants someone to go and also accuse President Akufo-Addo and his wife Rebecca of also stashing hundreds of millions of dollars somewhere. And in the opinion of Mr. Mahama, that would be ‘good journalistic work’. So, what Mr. Mahama is really expecting, is for journalists to abuse their trade on his behalf and in the name of journalism, and not really to conduct themselves in a journalistic and professional manner.

Mr. John Mahama, who has been president of Ghana before, is supposed to be on tour. He is supposed to have made his statements against journalists at Cape Coast, the capital of the Central region, reputed to be one of the poorest regions in Ghana.

Central region has a large human population, largely unemployed. It has vast lands, and it has an unbroken shoreline from Kasoa to the Western region. It can boast of several verdant rivers and massive natural wealth. But the people are poor. And the economy is supposed to be poor.

As a former President looking for another chance, a second chance to become the President of Ghana, Mr. Mahama is uniquely positioned to tell the people of the Central region what he can do, given a second chance, to improve their lot. Instead of doing that, he goes to the Central Region with fatuous lamentations based on false statements on alleged publications made against him and his wife. Because Mr. Mahama’s claims that some newspapers published that he and his wife had multi-million cedi accounts, is a lie. His message is not what the people of the Central region want to hear.

Mr. Mahama’s conduct, is symptomatic of the clear disconnect between the people of Ghana, and the people who would seek to govern the people of Ghana.

It would seem that when it comes to the connectivity between the people who govern, and the people who are governed, there is a disconnect. As we say in local Ghanaian parlance, the people of Ghana are ‘walking their somewhere’, and these leaders too are ‘passing their somewhere’. Everybody is ‘walking their own road inside’, and it is highly unlikely that there would be a meeting among the parties. ‘Everybody is beating their own tune on their own drums and dancing their own dance’. There is a ‘difference what is important to the people of Ghana’, and ‘difference what is important to John Mahama’. And maybe, ‘difference what is important to President Akufo-Addo’.

While John Mahama is on tour, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo too is on tour. And he is definitely not to be outdone. He says the policies and programmes initiated by his government, since taking office in January 2017, are bearing fruit and have impacted the lives of all Ghanaians. Speaking at the centenary celebration of the Ash Town Seventh Day Adventist Church, on Saturday, 16th October 2021, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that he came into office with the goal of improving the living standards of the Ghanaian people.

“After my first term in office, our achievements were visible for all to see, and that is why the Ghanaian people were good enough to repose their confidence in me again and gave me four more years to do more for them,” he said.

Whilst acknowledging that life is still not easy as it should be, the President noted that there are solid reasons for all Ghanaians to hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Recounting the passage in Jeremiah 12:2, which says “You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit”, he told congregants at the Church that “likewise, the policies and programmes being implemented by my government have taken root, they are growing, and they are bearing fruit”.

President Akufo-Addo continued, “In this Church, at least, I am sure we have parents here whose wards are beneficiaries of the Free Senior High School policy. We have achieved a number of noteworthy successes, and even though the pandemic of COVID-19 has derailed temporarily our progress, we remain on course, and will build back Mother Ghana much strongly.”

Reiterating his vision for the progress and prosperity of Ghana, the President stated that his vision to build a Ghana Beyond Aid remains constant, adding that “with the help of the Church, I am confident that we can realize this vision”.

The President may have a point with the Free Senior High School Policy. Millions of Ghanaian homes have benefited from the policy. That is a fact. However, it is doubtful whether Ghanaians have ‘seen’ and the good policies (or so-called?) good policies. Indeed, the cumulative effect of all ‘good’ policies, is that the ruling government almost lost its majority in parliament, and is holding onto the majority by the most tenuous of leads, through the instrumentality and magnanimity of the gift of an independent MP the party almost killed.

If election 2020 was the test for the acceptance of the policies of the President, then I believe that these policies need a level of re-examination, because election 2020 was too close for comfort. The New Patriotic Party (NPP), the vehicle that carried President Akufo-Addo to power, cannot go to sleep on the comfort of election 2020 and sleep, restful in the knowledge that election 2024 is a done deal.

Indeed, the party cannot go to sleep on the comfort of the success of the policies of the government. 2020 was too rude an awakening. The people of Ghana clearly were not as comfortable with those policies, as we would choose to believe.

President Akufo-Addo says that his policies are bearing fruit. I believe that he would do well, to conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis of those policies, and also conduct a linkage study on how those policies affect the Ghanaian, who should be the target of every policy, to find out if these policies are bringing the necessary benefits, or are likely to bring the necessary benefits, to the people they are intended to benefit.

Otherwise, he may be talking over the rooftops, with the message missing the intended recipients inside the homes and houses.

In that case, Ghanaians would say that they are ‘going their somewhere’ and the government’s response would be that it is also ‘going its somewhere’.

(You can follow stories in the Daily Searchlight on www.thedailysearchlight.com or Daily Searchlight on our Facebook home page. Write to us on searchlightnews@yahoo.co.uk).


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