Ghanaian Politics: Youthful Liars Vs. Visionary Elders – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
It has become laughably obvious to level-headed and progressively thinking Ghanaians that the Mahama-Arthur-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has absolutely no tangible and/or practical antidote for the precipitous downward spiral of the Ghanaian economy. Not that anybody expects them to; after all, is it not an inescapable fact of public record that the current bleak state of our national economy is a striking reflection of the gross incompetence of Transitional-President John “Paradigm-Shift” Dramani Mahama and his arch-lieutenant and former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur?

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The pity here, though, is that rather than maturely take responsibility for their callous bungling of the economy a la Judgment-Debt scam-artistry, the henchmen and supporters of Messrs. Mahama and Amissah-Arthur prefer to make an issue out of the age of their most formidable political opponent and rival for the presidency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who, of course, also happens to be the flagbearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Just the other day, for instance, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the NPP, Dr. Mahammadu Bawumia, an internationally recognized expert on the monetary aspect of economics and finance, had to remind his cynical and pathologically mendacious opponents that “What matters [in moving the nation towards a viable industrial economy] is a vision-laden policy and integrity, not age” which, by the way, is relative and dependent on a variable combination of one’s genetic makeup, lifestyle and the use to which one puts these and quality-of-life factors.

But even more significantly, the Simon Fraser– and Oxford-educated Dr. Bawumia highlighted what he firmly believed to poignantly differentiate an Akufo-Addo leadership from its Mahama counterpart, by observing as follows: “I am honored to be partnering Nana Akufo-Addo because he is full of vision and brilliant ideas for the development of Ghana. Nana also has the energy and creative genius to deliver for Ghanaians; and so whether somebody is advanced in age or young does matter a little, at best, especially when the personality concerned is healthy, robust and intellectually agile. Indeed, what most Ghanaians look for in a good leader is one who has productive and practicable ideas.”

Anyway, on the question of age, I comparatively averaged out the combined ages of Messrs. Mills and Mahama in the lead-up to Election 2012, and came up with a grand total of 122 years old. Now, when the latter is evenly divided between the recently deceased President John Evans Atta-Mills and Mr. John Dramani Mahama, we arrive at an average of 61 years old. Intriguingly, this is exactly the age of Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Ghana’s current Transitional Vice-President.

Likewise, when the average age of Messrs. Mahama and Amissah-Arthur is tallied, we arrive at 57.5 years old. On the other hand, when we average out the ages of Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Bawumia, we arrive at 58.5 years old. And with the life-expectancy rate of the proverbial average Ghanaian pegged roughly at 56 years old, there is statistically no difference between the ages of the two major contenders for the presidency of Election 2012.

But, of course, even as Dr. Bawumia eloquently pointed out recently, Election 2012 is primarily about creative intelligence and proven administrative competence; and on these two criteria, Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Bawumia are far and away without compeers. When the eligible Ghanaian voter factors in the critical question of integrity and/or honesty, then matters get even bleaker for the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress and his arch-lieutenant.

Indeed, during the 1992 United States’ presidential electioneering campaign, Mr. James Carville, campaign manager for then-Candidate William Jefferson Clinton, coined the following catchy phrase, “It is (about) the Economy, Stupid!” Needless to say, this is precisely what Dr. Bawumia sought to enlighten his main political opponents about, and which the former university professor, IMF-World Bank operative and Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana hoped that every progressive Ghanaian citizen would fully appreciate.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Marlena: Sexual Indignities,” (, 2009), a volume of poetry. E-mail:

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