I have this theory that former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor have forgotten their “Akoras” & “Amanfoo” tutelage in Bard Shakespeare elegant words or they did not watch as many 12.15 last shows of Western films at “Ocansil cinema Bompata, Kumasi, as I did.
For if they, and the assorted politicians who have long passed their sell-by dates, had done so, we would have been spared the unedifying spectacle of the power struggle and back biting that is diverting the attention of, or is it giving more excuse to, President John Dramani Mahama from focusing on what we elected him to do, namely: to alleviate the collective poverty of the people of Ghana and putting a stop to the insatiable greed of a few.
In Ghana, the media gives as much attention to the inconsequential foreign forays and incessant domestic interventions of our former Presidents as they give to the incumbent President whose actions or inactions may impact positively or usually negatively on our economic and social fortunes. Not just that, the “have-beens” accentuate the promotion of their perpetual irrelevance by appointing press secretaries to ensure that their mugs and their doings are shoved in our faces at every possible opportunity.
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Right on cue, the actions of the past rulers are cottoned onto, and sometimes exceeded, by the acolytes and hangers-on who served them during their heady days of absolute power; As is our want, the hangers-on very often want to be treated as if they were still relevant to the current exercise of Executive Authority, and if they do not get their way, go off and play the spoilt children to the hilt.
In case anybody has forgotten, John Dramani Mahama is the current President of Ghana. Yes, he stood for election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and was assisted greatly by the NDC in the battle supreme of the pink sheets. Thus, there is no question that President Mahama cannot ignore the party that put him on the pedestal.
But this is far from suggesting that the Genesis Generation of the NDC (the ones who dropped the P, as in Provisional, after 19 years) from cannot demand, nay insist that “Small Boy” Mahama should send every draft of his every intent to them to scrutinize and approve before taking actions that may be in the collective interest and wellbeing of every Ghanaian living everywhere.
The PNDC came into power on 31 December 1982. That is more than 30 years ago. Many of those who were in at the start of the Revolution that palpably failed to stop the decay, are still around. Quite a lot of them are continuing to benefit from the exercise of President Mahama’s enormous powers of patronage. PV and my boss, two of the pioneers are still much valued and effective members if the Mahama presidency, as indeed are many others who are serving in very important and useful roles in the governance of our nation.
As important as it is to retain and benefit from experience of old hands, it is ridiculous for every member of the pioneer class to expect, nay shout aloud from the rafters, that whatever influence they had or position they held in the past, must be retained with all privileges even as they have been put out to dry and raconteur their glory days.
Following the tragic death of Professor Fiifi Atta-Mills, John Mahama had to serve out the remaining tenure of Asomdwehene presidency. Apart from the consequential changes forced by Paa Kwesi’s elevation, John Mahama had little choice but to continue with the cast that was already in place, including those who had made life hell and treated him like the door mat as if he was indeed the Deputy Dog. However, as soon as the Chief Justice swore him into office on January 07, 2013, the positions and importance of all the members of President Mills’ Presidential Office, came to an end, period.
It is a pity that in keeping with his character, President Mahama has shown a lot of respect and sensitivity to how he is easing out the old guard so he can inject fresh blood and vigour into the prosecution of our nation’s affairs. After all, he is the first truly Ghanaian President of Ghana, having been born in Ghana not the Gold Coast.
But “Old Man” Mahama’s gentle demeanour and respect for his elders are being abused and used to beat up on him by those who think they own the NDC and demand and insist on access to bark: “You koraa, where were you during the revolution and why are you not showing respect to your elders. You should show respect, or better still, take instructions from us, who failed when given the chance, about how to do things now.
I am not an apologist for President John Mahama. I have known him one on one since 1989. I berate him both publicly and privately (naturally with decorum and respect) about his stewardship of our country’s affairs. I am unhappy about the feebleness with which the battle against corruption is being waged. I express my fury about careless and unavoidable, waiting to happen, indiscretions as has befallen us now. I am exasperated by incidents such as leading a 50 vehicle convoy to inspect a piece of land and then waxing lyrically about reducing fuel use in the public service.
But all of my anger and exasperation pales into insignificance when I find that the person we have entrusted to make our lives better, at least till 2016, is spending all of his time and our resources fighting to avoid the collateral damage being inflicted from within his own ranks.
NO, I won’t mind my business and stay out of the NDC’s internal matter for the simple reason that all that it is doing is dissipating our dwindling national purse on blackmailing and browbeating the President of all Ghanaians into putting the parochial interests of the NDC, especially of the immodest old school, ahead of the collective needs of the entirety of all of the people of Ghana.
“All the world is a stage. And, all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances” (Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT). In the classic westerns, Jack, the cowboy, rides off into the sunset when he has driven all the baddies out of tombstone.
One of my favourite stories is to tell everybody that I finished my PHD before Obama completed O level. Today, he is the most powerful man in the world and I am nothing. That is the way of the world. “Mba Bie 3ky3” (I was here before you) is irrelevant to the art of statecraft.
John Dramani Mahama is the current player on Oman Ghana’s stage. He is also the Jack fighting Wyatt Earp and his band of crotchety NDC retired cowboys. He may be driven out of town in 2016 or choose to ride into the sunset himself and abandon the saloon Ghana brawl. For now, just let leave him to trail his bullets on killing off the economic ills of Ghana.
My advice to the two ex-Johns is to take a ride into the sunset of foundations which draw on their connections and gravitas to promote global good causes. This way, they can have their posse of aging cowboys in tow; listening to BB King rendering a classic Blues number on his legendary guitar “Lucille”.