I stand by idiomatic 'do or die' election comment - Mahama

BY: Graphic.com.gh
Mr John Dramani Mahama
Mr John Dramani Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama says he stands by his "do or die" election comment explaining that it was an idiomatic expression.

Explaining, Mr Mahama said many people do not understand idiomatic expressions because they left school at an early age.

"...You don't understand do or die... Do or die means a critical assignment you have, and you must do the needful or perish," he said.

Speaking in a radio interview in Techiman in the Bono East Region on Tuesday (September 7, 2021), Mr Mahama said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has learnt its lessons from the 2020 elections and will therefore be very vigilant at the polling stations during the next general elections in 2024.

He was in Techiman as part of his "Thank You Tour."

Related: John Mahama's 'Thank You Tour' heads to middle belt of Ghana

Speaking in the Twi language, Mr Mahama stated that the 2020 elections taught the NDC that elections can only be won at the polling stations, thus they will not let their guards down.

He said the elections "will be won or lost at the polling station.

At the polling station. "it will be do or die". Clarifying that he was not referring to "All die be die", he reiterated that it will be "do or die. The right thing must be done."

He said the NDC will not wait till the collation stage or wait for court process, "at the polling station and collation center, we will do everything to make sure the election is free, fair and transparent."

He said the NDC will not want to cheat the NPP and will not equally allow the NDC to be cheated, rather they will want transparency so that the will of the people will be done.

Related: 2024 elections will be ‘do or die' affair at polling stations’ – Mahama

Public discussion

Following the comment , some public discussions have indicated that there was no difference between "do or die" and a similar "All die be die" comment made by President Akufo-Addo in the past in relation to elections, which was also condemned by some people.

Mr Mahama in his comment indicated his "do or die" is different from Akufo-Addo's "All die be die."

But some people in the public discussions on radio and television have said there was no difference between the two expressions.

Some have called on Mr Mahama to retract the comment.

A political science lecturer at the University of Ghana and an analyst, Dr Richard Kwame Asah Asante for instance has said Mr Mahama's comment was inappropriate.

He expressed the hope that there will be an independent body to check on inflammatory political comments.

"Election is not a do or die affair, it is a contest of ideas or a referendum on our work. But if you look at the statement, is it different from all be die? The two statement s are absolutely not correct and it tells you that there is something wrong with political communication as far as these statements are concerned."

Dr Asante proposed the establishment of a neutral body that will ensure that the political environment is devoid of volatile statements and sanctions applied to culprits.

Mahama's rebuttal

Reacting to the public discussions Wednesday in another radio interview in Sunyani on Moonlight FM monitored by Graphic Online, Mr Mahama insisted he simply used an idiomatic expression and therefore he will not retract the comment.

He reiterated that the opposition NDC will not wait to go the Supreme Court with their electoral grievances and will ensure that the right thing was done at the polling station.

He said the NDC plans to ensure that all its party executives are at the polling and collation centres to ensure that the right thing is done.

"Don't abdicate your responsibility at that level and expect that after somebody has stolen the election, you'll go the Supreme Court to see if they will turn the election for you, they won't do it," he added.