Known for his innate indecision when it comes to matters of real importance, the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President John Dramani Mahama, has, in a bizarre manner, made a strange U-turn about payment of allowances to students in nursing and teacher training institutions.
Mr Mahama, who cancelled the payment of the allowances in 2014 and vowed never to pay even if that would cost him the presidency, ahead of the 2016 general election, has, in a spineless turn-around, said he would now pay the allowances if he gets the chance to become the president of the country again.
The 360 U-turn of the former President has left many wondering if he is truly exhibiting his innate weakness in decision making, running away from his own words or playing on the minds of Ghanaians in his usual ‘Ghanaians have short memory’ fashion.
Presidency on the line
Speaking at a forum at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in September 2016, Mr Mahama stated that he remained resolute in his government’s decision to scrap the trainees’ allowance, saying he preferred losing the 2016 elections to restoring the allowance.
He descended heavily on then Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, now President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for promising to restore the allowances, saying he was peddling “falsehood”.
“For purposes of partisan politics, you have your political opponent come and say when ‘we come back, we will restore trainee allowances to Colleges of Education’. For me, it is better to lose the election on principle than to win it on falsehood,” Mr Mahama stated.
However, Mr Mahama, realising the mileage the restoration is giving the Akufo-Addo government, has turned around to promise maintenance of the allowance, if voted to power, in an obvious attempt to deceive unsuspecting Ghanaian students.
Speaking during one of his interactive digital conversations, dubbed “Let’s talk with JM”, on Sunday, June 7 2020, Mr Mahama said his next government would continue with the payment of the allowances.
“You know that it was a very critical issue in the run-up to the 2016 elections. What I had said was that we were not going to cancel the allowances. We were going to migrate the health trainees and educational trainees unto the Student Loan Scheme.
“Now what I have said, going up to the 2020 elections, is that we are going to let the status quo remain. It means that we are going to continue paying trainee allowances, but we are going to improve the student loan and adapt it so that it serves the same purpose as the allowances,” he said.
He added: “So for now, if I become the President on January 7, 2021, we are going to maintain the status quo. It means that, they will continue to receive the allowances and when we have improved the Student Loan Scheme and made it attractive enough for all students to go for it, then we will migrate everybody to it. So that’s my position on it as of now.”
Source: Daily Statesman