In his 2015 New Year’s Address, President John Dramani Mahama made the dubious claim that he was a “Listening President” who very much appreciated constructive criticism and the usefulness of such criticism towards the rapid development of the country. “I have listened. I am listening, and I will continue to listen,” Mr. Mahama spiritedly declared (See “Mahama Calls for Constructive Criticism” Ghana News Agency / Ghanaweb.com 1/1/15).
Well, his very confrontational attitude tells quite a different story altogether. And this is precisely what makes his call far less solemn, or serious, than it otherwise could have been. It is also not clear what percentage the Ghanaian leader personally contributed towards the composition of his otherwise quite poignant and terse New Year’s Address. For instance, the President makes the following quite “constructive” and meaningful observation: “Working together, despite our differences, we will find out that no problem is insurmountable…. Let’s fill the [coming] year with hope and not despair.”
And yet, nowhere in President Mahama’s address does he, even slightly or subtlely, acknowledge that he has heard and heartily welcomes Nana Akufo-Addo’s public declaration of his willingness to working with the President to realize the goals and objectives of his free senior high school education program which, by the way, we all know was first put forth as an electioneering campaign plank by the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
And so it is obviously not clear to those of us who have been studiously following his pontifical public pronouncements that Mr. Mahama sincerely means even half of the promises that he is known to farraginously put into the public domain. Still, it was unmistakably evident that President Mahama had yet to forgive or forget the unremitting panning that the General-Secretary of the rump-Convention People’s Party (r-CPP) dished the President and his cohorts of cabinet appointees and party operatives at the Baba Yara Stadium, during the most recent National Democratic Congress’ party primaries in the Asante regional capital of Kumasi.
Back then, as we all clearly heard and witnessed the same, Mr. Greenstreet boldly told a plenary gathering of party bigwigs, including Mr. Mahama, Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur and the hip-shooting Chairman Jerry John Rawlings that the National Democratic Congress was the most administratively insensitive regime since the country’s declaration of independence from British colonial subjugation in March 1957. Mr. Greenstreet also strongly warned that there would be hell to pay, if the key operatives of the NDC did not reform their seemingly incurable self-serving and abjectly decadent ways.
It was clearly in direct response to the Greenstreet tirade that “President Yenntie Obiara” called on all critics of his administration to be “constructive” in their criticism, if they wanted their critical observations to be taken with the degree and level of seriousness that such critics desired. This is quite interesting because many of the most ardent critics of President Mahama and his government do not really envisage themselves as veritable representatives of the country’s political opposition, even when these critics themselves happen to hold prominent executive positions in the various political parties.
They simply tend to see their role as critics in the mode of causing the operatives of the party and/or government in power to stick faithfully and religiously to their campaign agenda and promises, and not to present the government with alternative strategies and/or agendas. You see, it is a glaring sign of failure, when the key operatives of any political party in power show an abject lack of confidence in their own plan of action, or electioneering campaign platform, and instead defensively resort to brazenly and diffidently soliciting strategic alternatives to their own.
The preceding clearly appears to be the fundamental harmatia, or weakness, of the Mahama administration. And it is fervently hoped that the President and his minions would find ample time to more “constructively” reconfigure their campaign platform and/or strategic agenda in order to move the country forward, if they hope to have a fighting chance in the next general election.