Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What is President Mahama that Akufo-Addo is not?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I have endorsed President John Dramani Mahama as my choice to lead the country for the next four years. It shouldn’t surprise or annoy anybody. I am just exercising my democratic right of choice. With this endorsement, I will henceforth ensure that I juxtapose both him and Akufo-Addo for scrutiny to justify my decision.
You too are free to do as you wish; but bear in mind that as for me and my household, Akufo-Addo’s name is not in our electoral dictionary. He is an anathema to us. We hate to have the Greeks coming to us with gifts at night, which is what Akufo-Addo’s extravagant and pungent promises entail. Hoodoo!!!

Here is an appropriate prelude. In response to Akufo-Addo’s admonition that Ghana needs a new dimension of leadership (I wonder what this verbiage means, anyway), a commentator on Ghanaweb today responded this way: “You are super old, corrupt, violent, no ideas, kyenkyema. Go sit somewhere.”
This comment was just one out of the numerous unfavourable ones about him. I haven’t yet read as much negative comments about him as I did in this news report alone; but I know why such scathing comments will be made about him as the electorate prepare for the polls on Friday.
It is clear that he is not selling himself well at all. Either because he lacks the stage craft or simply because he doesn’t have what it takes to reassure Ghanaians that he is “Presidential” enough to be accepted without question. It’s all about promises, promises, and promises. Can’t we see anything else about him apart from these fulsome promises? Who builds a country with/on promises?
Character does it; and that’s what Ghanaians will base their electoral decisions on.
As someone seeing himself as better leader than the incumbent and pestering the electorate for their nod, Akufo-Addo should have given a better account of himself than what we’ve seen of him so far. It’s all about promises and vain threats—and an elephantine fall in Kumasi to jolt him out of self-confidence!
Where is the mark of leadership that sets him poles apart from the incumbent? I don’t see it. In fact, knowing very well how Ghanaians assess their political office seekers (mostly based on such petty issues as ethnicity, looks, or personal character traits), I won’t hesitate to say that they see President Mahama as being far ahead of Akufo-Addo.
The late Madam Hawa Yakubu had said it before passing on that John Mahama was the real gem to look out for and put in office. He is there today. Why shouldn’t anybody support him to continue being there but go for an almost 70-year-old spent horse who  is spitting fire all over the place as if becoming Ghana’s President is what will pave the way for him to proceed to heaven unexamined?
Regardless of the vain attempts by his followers to tarnish President Mahama’s image as a womanizer and corrupt person, he still stands tall. Unproven allegations of corruption in the STX housing deal and purchase of aircraft from Brazil haven’t stuck on him because they lack substance. John Mahama exhibits better qualities than his main challenger.
What he is that Akufo-Addo is not can be seen clearly. John Mahama’s political career is sterling. In all the positions that Nature has placed him, we haven’t had any cause to worry that he would fail the country. He hasn’t been fingered in anything detrimental to the country or injurious to his own reputation. Can we say so of Akufo-Addo too?
Some claim he is a successful lawyer, which we don’t doubt because he has the gift of the garb to practice law. But when coopted into the Kufuor government to head the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Department, his performance fell flat. Kufuor got rid of him and packed the Supreme Court to serve his government’s interests all because Akufo-Addo couldn’t acquit himself competently.
Moved to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, it didn’t take long for him to prove how rapacious he could be. The so-called theft of diplomatic passports that he collected and kept in his custody only for fingers to be pointed at him for stealthily giving those very passports to cronies (including his in-law drug kingpin, Raymond Amankwaah) is a huge stain on his reputation.
No wonder he registered nothing concrete on the affairs of that Ministry and sped off to try his luck elsewhere, contesting the 2008 Presidential elections and losing as a matter of course. Ghanaians didn’t trust him.
All that while John Mahama stood his grounds as a reliable public official, serving his country in various capacities. That’s why when Akufo-Addo labelled him as corrupt, some of us wondered where he wanted to take his idleness to.
His supporters have been quick to add to that calumny, citing Mahama as a womanizer, brushing aside Akufo-Addo’s own escapades. But many Ghanaians know both at different levels.
Indeed, both Mahama and Akufo-Addo are known to have had children out of wedlock, (or before sticking to one woman till do them part) which is nothing strange to our Ghanaian psyche and socio-cultural norms. But we have had a more open and brazen bent toward perversion from Akufo-Addo. From his own unguarded comments, we’ve heard him say he is “virile” and that if anybody doubted it, he should ask the (Nima) women.
Again, he was out praising the backside of the late Theresah Tagoe. What’s more, the video clip of him touching a member of the GTV staff inappropriately hurt his public image.
John Mahama hasn’t had so much to worry about in this case. Even if we assume that he is lecherous, he’s been decent enough to keep it as a deed of darkness, which is all reasonable people do.
At other levels, John Mahama proves to have endeared himself to the hearts of millions of Ghanaians who regard him as well-composed and determined enough to move the country forward without necessarily presenting himself as a paragon of perfection. Nor is he threatening anybody to grab the Presidency as an entitlement.
That is why he is decent enough to state openly that he will accept the outcome of the elections without question. He has challenged all Ghanaians to do so and to see the elections as an opportunity to work collectively for the betterment of the country. Can we say so of Akufo-Addo too?
It’s all about character as an expensive commodity in national politics. Akufo-Addo shouldn’t use his fulsome promises as a smokescreen behind which to deceive the electorate. And he can’t hide the very character traits that don’t recommend him for the high office that he is hankering after.
I shall return…
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