Ghana: Western Development Fund? Just Look at SADA – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

It is quite obvious that President John Dramani Mahama and his 2016 campaign team are running scared stiff, as they ought to. For the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has done a diddly little that is worth discussing on any prime-time news program. In such vital national development areas as Education, Health, the Economy, Transport and Communication, and Agriculture, the Mahama government is found woefully wanting. And so it scarcely comes as any surprise that the President decided to launch his presidential campaign tour in the Western Region, barely a couple of days after the Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, ended his five-day campaign tour of the same region (See “ Mahama Not in Western Region Because of Nana Addo’ – Kofi Adams” / 8/16/16).

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This, of course, is not the very first time that the most ideologically parochial and ethnocentric postcolonial Ghanaian politician has decided to copycat Nana Akufo-Addo. Not very long ago, Mr. Mahama did a circus act in the Volta Region shortly after Nana Akufo-Addo had toured the so-called NDC electoral World Bank region. When he campaigns in his native Northern Region and the two adjoining Upper regions, his campaign message has almost invariably and exclusively been predicated on tribalism. “Vote for me because I am one of your own. I speak your native tongue and wear the same Batakari as the rest of you. I am your only and last hope for the massive catch-up development of the North,” the Gonja petty chieftain was once reported to have told a captive audience in the Northern regional capital of Tamale.

For that matter, Mr. Mahama and Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the founding-proprietor of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), may aptly be called ideological clones. But, of course, as an entrepreneur, Dr. Nduom has more that is palpable and substantive to show for his yeomanly efforts towards the development of the country at large, although like Mr. Donald J. Trump, merely being a successful businessman does not necessarily translate into imaginative or creative political leadership. Among the Akan, there is a maxim that says that “If Mr. Naked promises you a bolt of cloth, you just listen to his name.” Mr. Mahama claims to be poised towards establishing a so-called Western Development Fund (WDF). It surely sounds like a good policy agenda for the people of the oil-rich Western Region. But on the latter score, perhaps the most relevant question to ask is as follows: “Why has it taken Mr. Mahama so long to come up with a Western Development Fund?” Especially, when every indicator points to the fact of the Western Region’s being far more resourceful and economically productive than the so-called Three Northern Regions combined? The tribal thing, of course!

The other day, one northern-descended columnist and media commentator accused Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the renowned entrepreneur and former Kufuor cabinet member, of being an Akan supremacist who needed to watch the movie “Hotel Rwanda.” Well, my one terse response to that critic is that, indeed, Mr. Osafo-Maafo may be guilty of the reckless rhetoric of Akan supremacy. But, of course, it is President Mahama who has transformed the practice of Northern Tribal Supremacy into an enviable art with inimitable genius. The critic may also do himself and the rest of his northern tribal clique a lot of good by visiting the forecourt of the Supreme Court of Ghana to see a more poignant and super-digitized version of the “Hotel Rwanda” movie. And then we can productively and meaningfully discuss who the real ethnic supremacists are in contemporary Ghana.

Even more pointedly ought to be observed the fact of his geographically exclusive northern development SADA project having epically failed beyond the most creative Ghanaian imagination. The people of the Western Region, where my maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, spent a considerable period teaching and establishing schools for the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), are too savvy to facilely fall for the well-practiced Mahama scam-artistry. Then again, isn’t it bizarre that the President would launch his 2016 Flagstaff House retention campaign in Cape Coast, the Central Region’s capital and home region of both his immediate predecessor and current Vice-President, Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, but then begin his second faux “Accounting to the People” propaganda tour in the Western Region, instead of Gonjaland and the Northern Region to whose people he claimed to be the last and only hope for massive socioeconomic development during his 2012 presidential election campaign?

Now, let’s get to the brass-tacks, as Americans are wont to say. The fact of the matter is that the man clearly envisages the Akan people to be a naive electoral quarry to be hoodwinked with empty promises, in hopes of piggybacking and exploiting us for the exclusive benefit of his SADA tribesmen and women, as well as those self-serving Akan-descended NDC gravy-train chasers who cannot see beyond a plateful of gari-and-beans on their dinner table. Needless to say, we are not the least bit surprised that the NDC apparatchiks should be talking about a Western Development Fund. After all, wasn’t the entire criminally botched SADA idea shamelessly stolen from the visionary strategists of the New Patriotic Party?

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