President Mahama pretty much comes off to me as a miniature model of former President George W. Bush, the Younger Bush who launched the self-glorifying war against the Iraqi dictatorship of the late President Saddam Hussein, a man that both Mr. Bush and his father had once supported and then abruptly and conveniently turned against.
Indeed, President Mahama reminds me of the Younger President Bush because his policies and actions reek of a man who grew up with a diamond spoon in his mouth. He does not seem to have been entrusted with any serious duties, while growing up, by his father, Mr. Adama Mahama, a notorious womanizer with at least 19 known children who also served as Northern Regional Minister under the Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party (CPP) government.
And this more than amply explains why he would appoint Messrs. Bagbin, Mensah and Avoka to “coordinate the construction of 200 senior high schools, 10 teacher-training colleges and one public university in the Eastern Region, as well as the development of ultra-modern regional specialist hospitals; and the development of new international and regional airports” (See “Mahama’s Confused Administration Will Be Cut Short – Ursula Owusu” Peacefmonline.com/ Ghanaweb.com 1/23/13).
I don’t know upon what basis all these otherwise quite commendable institutional structures are being built, at a time that the Mahama government can scarcely pay civil servants decent salaries, and teachers and doctors are constantly duking it out with the government for better conditions of service. At any rate, what is the use of building 10 teacher-training colleges, instead of expanding already existent facilities operating under the auspices of the University of Cape Coast, the country’s flagship academy for teachers?
I would also rather have the Mahama government address massive environmental pollution engendered by Galamsey – or the largely illegal private mining industry – in the Eastern Region that threatens to wipe an entire region of bona fide Ghanaian citizens off the face of planet Earth, or render them destitute within a generation, than the establishment of a single public university that promises to afford mere bragging rights to the NDC government than any remarkable uplift, to either the general academic standards in the country or the quality of life of the inhabitants of the country’s third most-populous region.
Indeed, as I have had more than a single occasion to highlight the same, unless the Mahama government intends to force Ghanaians to live and school exclusively in their respective regions of birth, there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the people of the Eastern Region are easily among the best educated of Ghanaian citizens. And, indeed, even a casual survey of students enrolled in the country’s major universities is apt to resoundingly bring home this all-too-glaring fact to the knowledge of the Mahama government.
It is also rather pathetic that his stentorian pontification on his remarkable knowledge of postcolonial Ghanaian history and all, President Mahama clearly does not seem to have learned any meaningful thing from the wastefulness of the Nkrumah government.
He does not, for instance, appear to have any appreciable knowledge of the Grand Debate between Dr. J. B. Danquah and the African Show Boy vis-a-vis the fundamental need to prioritize democratic culture and the liberty of the individual, the veritable genius and engine of growth and development, over and above the mere dotting over the national landscape with vacuous and largely dysfunctional and otiose institutional structures, the sort of architectural white elephants that Prime Minister Busia aptly characterized as “prestige projects” of no substantial value, besides the “titivation” of one’s ego and the physical landmass.
Needless to say, even as Ms. Ursula Owusu, the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, recently pointed out, other than the glaring penchant of Mr. Mahama for profligate spending, there is absolutely no reason to believe that such national projects as detailed above could not be readily undertaken by the Ministry of Works and Housing, in constructive and cost-effective collaboration with the indigenous private sector, with foreign inpute where deemed to be vital and extremely necessary.
But as of whether the Mahama-Arthur regime is likely to be shortlived as a primary result of gross mismanagement, remains for the Wood Supreme Court to determine. So far, the Court does not seem to be as forthright and forthcoming as it expeditiously ought to.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York