Opinion: Mahama Did Not Respect the Media – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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John Dramani Mahama Politics Ghana
Ghana’s former President, John Dramani Mahama/Photo: The Impact Crew

He may have so soon forgotten that the then-Interim President John Dramani Mahama almost hermetically and exclusively campaigned for election as substantive President of the Democratic Republic of Ghana on the mantra of being the “Northern Star” and the best and only hope for northern-catching-up development and political equalization with the predominantly Akan South. He also claimed to be the only candidate who deserved to be massively voted for by northern-descended Ghanaian citizens. Indeed, so shamelessly and virulently ethnocentric and politically divisive that at one point during his 2012 electioneering campaign, the Gonja native even challenged the then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reverse ticket roles with the Mamprusi-born Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the then-Vice Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), if the then-main opposition party wanted any northerner to cast his/her ballot for the Akan-dominated NPP. It did not seem to matter to Interim-President Mahama that the then-ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was also predominated by Ghanaians of Akan descent.

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And then, deviously and ironically, Mr. Mahama jetted himself down south to Cape Coast in the wake of the mysterious passing of his former boss, President John Evans Atta-Mills, and hysterically shed some crocodile tears while pleading with the Paramount Chief of Cape Coast, Osabarima Kwesi Atta, and his sub-chiefs and elders to knight him as a bona fide Fante son of the soil. And then to top off this deft orchestration of his suave and tactical exploitation of Fante sentiments against the Akyem-descended Candidate Akufo-Addo, President Mahama would pick the Cape Coast-born Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, as his running-mate. Then, having effectively hoodwinked the evidently scandalously gullible Fante leadership, including both the traditional rulers of Cape Coast, the Central Regional Capital, and those among the vanguard ranks of the National Democratic Congress, Mr. Mahama would jet back to Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital, rudely thumb his nose at the Akan-Ghanaian majority and viciously and posthumously accuse his deceased benefactor and the man who made him the second most powerful politician in the land, as a pathologically disdainful man who had made him his “political spare tire.” He would volley the same accusation, rightly or wrongly, against former President John Agyekum-Kufuor, whom the former Rawlings Communication Minister would equally and rabidly accuse of having made the late Vice-President Aliu Mahama a presidential spare tire.

This accusation, of course reached far deeper than the mere indictment of only two Akan-descended politicians. Indeed, Little Dramani would viciously attempt to proscribe the entire Akan-speaking majority population of the country. “Don’t waste your precious ballot on any Kabonga candidate,” he would bawl from podiums in the so-called Three Northern Regions and be met with equally deafening screams and thunderous and seemingly endless rounds of applause. It goes without saying that Little Dramani’s rabidly anti-Akan chauvinism and raw-edged tribalism made the Nazi racism of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler pale in gravity and significance. It would slowly be only a matter of time before the Akan-speaking Ghanaian majority would come to a healthy realization that it was well-past time to seriously look towards their own collective self-interest.

Nearly every one of his major development projects, going by such invidious labels as SADA, SUBAH and GYEEDA had been geared towards the exclusive management of northern-descended Ghanaians and the development of the northern-half of the country. For good or bad, most of the capital resources of these projects would wind up in the private bank accounts and businesses owned by Mahama cronies like the Asongtaba Gang. On the critical question regarding the epic battle against the predatory and environmentally degrading activities of Galamsey, a problem that Mr. Alhassan Suhuyini, the freshman NDC-MP for Tamale-North, accuses the media of doing little to help Mr. Mahama resolve, the most logical and poignant answer that the former President had for concerned traditional rulers like the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panyin, II, was to thumb his nose and call Kyebi the Galamsey capital of Ghana. Did this sound like the language of a politician poised to solving the seemingly intractable problem of Galamsey?

And so wherein lies the media hypocrisy that Mr. Suhuyini would have his audiences and constituents believe is to blame for President Mahama’s abject failure to reverse the negative environmental impact of Galamsey? (See “The Media Is Hypocritical; Never Helped Mahama Fight Galamsey – Suhuyini” Ghanaweb.com 4/8/17). Indeed, when one of his so-called Presidential Staffers, Mr. Stanley Dogbe, savagely mauled a radio news reporter in the employ of the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), President Mahama pretended as if only the family dog had mistakenly had his tail stepped upon by one of the toddlers. And so the logical question to ask here is tersely as follows: Did President Mahama really care about the media, much less the Galamsey menace?

If today the nation’s media operatives, both of those in the public and private sectors, appear to have eagerly and unreservedly thrown their full-weight behind the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party in the fight against Galamsey, it is primarily because the Kyebi-descended Nana Akufo-Addo has genuinely and sincerely demonstrated that the negative impact of Galamsey is an existential threat of which, unlike his immediate predecessor, he is absolutely no stranger.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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