Analysis: Why will President Mahama be Ghana’s loneliest President? Part I – Asks Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

When I read the news report quoting Kwesi Pratt as saying sometime last week that President Mahama risked becoming the loneliest President that Ghana would ever have had, I dismissed it as the product of a fetid imagination. I haven’t changed that impression.

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I didn’t immediately respond to that claim by way of any formal writing, but having thought issues over to date, I have found it proper to react to that claim.

There is no justification for such a claim; and I state categorically that President Mahama entered the Presidency a happy man, is happily and assiduously performing his constitutionally mandated functions, and will end his term a happy and contented hero.

He has a natural element of happiness, which every observer can see reflected in his mien wherever he is. More than that, he is naturally affable, and attractive. He is no repellent. He will remain a happy and fulfilled person. No need for anybody to press any panic button to create any misleading impression.

Every condition exists for him to celebrate his ascension to power through constitutionally determined parameters, being the youngest in the country’s history to have become the Vice President and being elevated to become the President (in an acting capacity when the substantive Atta Mills passed on) and being confirmed as the fount of authority at Election 2012. He just turned 55. Belated congratulations!!

Of course, Kwesi Pratt is entitled to his own opinions just as anybody else is. Opinions are nothing but opinions and will be treated as such; but when they are raised to the point of being turned into the truth intoto, they deserve scrutiny of the sort that I want to do.

Right from the scratch, let me say that what constitutes “loneliness” to one person doesn’t necessarily mean the same to another. And for Pratt to claim that President Mahama’s loneliness will be based on his being deserted by those surrounding him (for whatever reason I don’t know) or that his government’s failures might end up shoving him to the backwoods as such is worth interrogating.

One man’s loneliness is another man’s occasion for gregariousness and happiness. How about that?

We begin with simple questions: Why will President Mahama be lonely? And why should anybody bother his head over his being lonely? Should he even fear becoming lonely, anyway? How can he even be lonely when he is surrounded by all manner of people at all times, even when enjoying the privacy of his life at home?

Of course, loneliness could be viewed from many angles—physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc. Which aspect particularly does Pratt think President Mahama will suffer from?

As I understand Pratt’s opinion to mean a “physical loneliness”, I will react accordingly with one definitive statement that President Mahama will not be lonely nor should he even lose any sleep if anybody perceives him as lonely or being “isolated”, so to speak.

Let Pratt tell us any of the Ghanaian Heads of State who had company till the end of his life or who could openly walk the streets in some contented happiness after leaving office! None whatsoever!!

Until this 4th Republic, none (except Afrifa) left office as scheduled (Even then, he was hauled before the firing squad many years thereafter and shown the exit out of this mundane life in disgrace!). It was either a violent end to their reign or something else to show them where naked power lay.

Ghanaian politics is full of much wiliness and nonsense such that those who don’t have the stomach for it shouldn’t venture into it. President Mahama has the stomach for it and has survived thus far.

In the past, some thought that they had stomachs for it only to end up suffering immense trauma when reality dawned. Take the Great Osagyefo, for instance, who did all he could, denying himself everything and serving Ghana and the Pan-African world to the best of his ability. In Ghana, his socialist-oriented policies sought to level the playing field to give Ghanaians all they needed to realize their unique “African Personality” and to hold positions and enjoy the benefits that his indigenization policy entailed.

Infrastructural development topped his agenda, and he instilled so much confidence in the Ghanaian that one might think that there was nothing amiss. All in spite of the machinations of his bitter political foes.

Unfortunately, the Ghanaian couldn’t be satisfied, as would be stated by Gen. Albert Kwesi Ocran, one of the dastardly military officers who overthrew Nkrumah. In his Politics of the Sword, Gen. Ocran accused Nkrumah of wanting Ghana to fly without knowing that Ghana hadn’t developed wings at the time. Then, the mass of Ghanaians who supported the cowards constituting the National Liberation Council, poured out their hatred for Nkrumah, saying that he had made it difficult for them to get essential commodities, including milk. Or to live their lives in peace.

When told, Nkrumah cried his heart out: “If I had known that it was milk that Ghanaians wanted, I would have made the gutters of Accra flow with it”. But, alas, it was too late to repair the harm done to his political kingdom. Woe-begone!! He ended up in Guinea to end it all in Bucharest, Romania. Even his body won’t be accepted back in Ghana for burial. But Nkrumah “never dies”!!

Any talk of others? When Kutu Acheampong kicked Dr. Busia and his Progress Party out of office on January 13, 1972, he thought he was on a redemption spree with his National Redemption Council. Unfortunately, his mission collapsed and his own inner-circle colleagues turned him into a laughing stock, stripping him of his military honours and reducing him to the ordinary status of a “Mr.”

Pained beyond belief, Acheampong made his proverbial utterance: Ghanaians are difficult people”!

Yes, indeed, such are Ghanaians. They are the “hail him… hail him” today and the “Crucify him… crucify him” tomorrow type. The loneliness suffered by a Ghanaian leader is thrust upon him by Ghanaians. The fault is in us, not necessarily in our leaders. We push them to the brink when we sabotage their efforts and fail to lend the support they need to successfully implement their agenda for national development. That is the source of any perceived state of loneliness.

I shall return…

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