NEWS COMMENTARY EXAMINES PRESIDENT MAHAMA’s CONDUCT AS HE BOWS OUT OF OFFICE AS THE 4TH PRESIDENT OF THE FOURTH REPUBLIC.
A new tranquil democratic era beckons after the emphatic victory of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 7 elections. In Parliament House January 5, President John Dramani Mahama set reinforced the tone of that era with his last state of the nation address which lasted 31 minutes – the shortest in modern memory. Although the duration was cute, its impact is huge. President Mahama put patriotic duty beyond personal rivalry and portrayed utmost respect for the in-coming President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo- Addo. President Mahama spoke glowingly of his relations with Nana and traced their common history of entering Parliament the same year in 1997, serving as MPs for three terms and leaving together in 2009. Most importantly, President Mahama wished Nana well. The outgoing President was also measured in touting his achievements, a clear departure from the chronic tendency of heads of state to deliver homilies on the litany of their accomplishments and espouse lofty development plans for the nation.
His baton race analogy of the presidency where one leader hands over to another also resonates well with almost all who heard it. The Bible, which is a perennial spring of wisdom, states in Proverbs 16:24 that pleasant words are a honeycomb – sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Indeed, the perfume of President Mahama farewell address is strong enough to deodorize the stench of inelegant comments and indecorous conduct which characterized the electioneering. It should also help mend fences, assuage verbal pains and heal physical wounds political opponents inflicted on each other in the fierce struggle to win power. Politics, in short should not be a discreditable business but a decent contest of ideas.
As long as we stick to the ballot box and not the bullet course to choose leaders, elections will be won and lost. Even though President Mahama lost the election he’s won the aftermath. This is evidenced by his incredible display of statesmanship and extraordinary ability to contain the loss of shattering magnitude. The political gospel of Mahama prescribes a new democratic scale to measure the conduct of future leaders. Specifically, he commit future losers to accept genuine defeats honorably and not at all attempt to dance to the politically mangled and extremely dangerous tune like the type being called by President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia. As the saying goes, a good example is better than a good advice. The example set by the out- going President outclasses the best advice one can give theoretically. It indeed bears the prospects to matriculate Ghana into an unassailable level of democracy, continentally and globally. Human as he’s, he blundered in several areas.
Per his own plea, we leave history to judge him.
But his blunders do not obscure the fact that his place in history is assured. To the in-coming President Nana Akufo-Addo, no one should envy him for ending his two presidential electoral steaks in the most dramatic of circumstances. It is said that good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up. He deserves all the accolades for his unshakable belief, unwavering patience and unquenchable spirit which have elevated him to the pinnacle of the political career.
As he supercharges his leadership skills to deliver, may God be his helper and bless our homeland Ghana.
By Roland Affail Monney President Of The Ghana Journalist Association.