The tall tales of ex-President Mahama’s 2020 presidential campaign


By Bernard Asubonteng

Former President John Dramani Mahama is crisscrossing all over the place, from cities to towns, to villages, to churches, to mosques, to palaces, and, of course, to some media houses and anywhere he and his NDC’s 2020 campaign machine decide to go to enable him let loose one of his “deadly” political weapons: pretence!

For all Ghanaians who genuinely know and understand what effective governance and people-centered leadership entail, it is long settled that ex-President Mahama doesn’t belong in that league. Indeed, millions of Ghanaians have no question about the fact that the current National Democratic Congress presidential candidate’s inept and venal leadership as the nation’s president in the time past is beyond comparison.


Bole Bamboi ‘Bruce Lee’

At the same time, too, many Ghanaians seem to be fully aware of former President John Mahama’s “unique skills” in playacting, coupled with his nimble ability to often spice up his pretentious political acts with smooth talking.

The Bole Bamboi area “Bruce Lee” is such smooth talker that if one isn’t fast enough or quick on his/her  feet, in terms of focusing more on the subtext of JDM’s political and socioeconomic pronouncements or positions, most likely the listeners will get caught up in the ex-president’s pranks.

The point is, why are some Ghanaians entertaining the thought of Mahama’s return to power? If it’s not aristocratic pretentions repackaged as contrition, sweet talks of “I-feel-your-socioeconomic-pains”, and misrepresentation of the true facts on the grounds, what else could it have been?

Here is a former president who turned his country’s economy upside down in a miserable condition. Now he is presumptuously running around the country again, claiming he has all the right answers to the mess he created.


The sad reality of Mahama’s campaign theatrics is that there are unbelievable number of people incapable of figuring out that he is telling tall tales as part of his grand campaign strategies to manipulate his way back into power to put finality to his “unfinished business.”

Our honest hypothesis here is that if at this point in Ghana’s checkered history someone seriously buys into Mr Mahama’s feigned remorsefulness and sometimes patronising stories of “I told you President Akufo-Addo can’t do it, but give me, Mahama, another chance to do it better this time”, then whoever believes this tale is one of the reasons this nation is still orbiting around mediocrity.

Social media robots

Oftentimes, some of us have reason to ask why, and accordingly, try to make sense of our thought processes as proud people of Ghanaian descent, irrespective of where each of us lives. Admittedly, owing to the introduction of the information superhighway or the social media revolution, Ghanaians have experienced some forms of cultural shift in the sense that a lot of us think and behave almost the same way as the social media operates.

That is to say, millions of Ghanaians today use every information they are fed with and run away with it without paying attention to the source, context or the subtext of the message. If many of us are not forgetful and truly appreciate the significance of a story’s context and its subtext, Ghanaians will find out there are pretty lot of things the NDC’s flag bearer is telling Ghanaians that do not square with the truth. One classic example is that Mr Mahama presided over a government that was booted out of power while it was still hiding under the dictatorial wings of the IMF’s highly indebted poor countries (HIPC) programme. The HIPC programme is a distress call.

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In other words, the subtext of the preceding latter point is that ex-President Mahama mismanaged Ghana into swallowing debt and economic misery. This means there is no whisper of credibility in the story parleyed by the proverbial “naked individual” promising he has the sole means to provide cloth for someone else.

Economy in disarray

Let any Ghanaian of good conscience deny that Ghana was not in solid shape, economically, when the Akufo-Addo-led administration assumed the reign of power in January 2017. Certainly, none of us, including ex-President Mahama himself, can say with the straight face that the country was well managed few years prior to 2017. All the standard economic metrics at the time indicated that the JDM-led administration was a flop, yet his then government was in denial.

As one of his trademark capers, former President Mahama and his core followers hardly accept responsibility for anything that happened under their leadership, both in and outside power.

The tale of the Airbus bribery saga is a typical example, here. To understand how “smooth” Mr Mahama can be, although he cannot morally look into his inner soul and disclaim tacit knowledge/approval of the plethora of mob actions which have become shameful part of the NDC culture, for some obvious reasons it is often difficult to pinpoint the ex-president’s fingerprints of his party’s escapades.

Obviously, a bulky number of Ghanaians are not really good at peeling off the layers of the onions to reach the part useful for the preparation of the main course meal. Context matters in every human story or eventful situations. They say those who look down on history are most likely bound to repeat the errors of the past. Former President Mahama had is chance at the presidency and blew it up; he has no business trying to sweet talk and seek comeback to do some more damage.

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Social contract

In any event, the disappointing aspect of this so-called ex-President Mahama’s fairy-tale 2020 election comeback is the extent to which many Ghanaians, including the well-educated class, as well as some media practitioners who are supposed to understand the solemnity of “social contract” (presumably) appear to be behind him.

The social contract as envisaged by Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and others assume that every good government derives its sole powers from the consent of the governed in that the popular sovereignty or the ultimate power resides with the people. John Locke even goes further to say that if at any point in time the government becomes tyrannical or fails to meet the needs of its citizens, these same people have every right to get rid of that government.

Mr John Mahama, as then president, unquestionably broke his (social) contract with Ghanaians on December 2016 when he was massively voted out of office for not meeting his part of the contract. Why then go back to bring a person who can’t execute the terms of his contract? Wake up, Ghana, and stop sucking up to former President Mahama’s tall tales of the century. Mahama will still be Mahama but this time with vengeance!

Bernard Asubonteng is a US-based writer and a political science lecturer



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