Former President John Dramani Mahama should have been inducted into office as the Presidential Candidate of the NDC for Election 2020 last week, but it had to be postponed due to the death of a former National Chairman of the Party, Dr. Kwabena Adjei. A new date is yet to be fixed (At the time of writing it had not). The induction once performed, will allow him to call the shots all the way to December 2020. Since we are not a monarchy along the lines of Great Britain, the question of a “Leader of Loyal Opposition” does not arise, only a President or government in waiting!
Almost everyone following political developments in Ghana in the weeks and days leading up to the primaries knew JDM would win the NDC primaries, but there were many who felt one win was good as the other and so even if he ended up with 50%+1 it was legally a win and would entitle him legitimately to run as the party’s presidential candidate for 2020. The 50%+1 is the figure in national elections that would qualify a candidate to become President of the Republic of Ghana so it is not a figure to be scoffed at or treated with contempt.
Because of the special circumstances of JDM’s candidature in the NDC primaries – former President, several challengers – he had to carry the day decisively, which he did in spectacular fashion – 95.24%. It settled all doubts right there, for in NDC terms, it was now a matter of “put up or shut up” and in national terms it was “watch out, the man is coming back”!
The outcome of the primaries has given him such sweeping authority and legitimacy that, if he had the inclination, he could assume omnipotent and omniscient airs with the accompanying dictatorial tendencies. But that is not the man’s style and thank God for that!
Since leaving office after 2016, he has already been vindicated several times over and many members of the electorate who contributed to his not getting his second term in 2016 now openly aver that they were wrong and want him back. As manifest destinies go, the road is open…
So, what are some of the shots JDM may or should be calling? Policy directions being entirely his prerogative. These columns cannot presume to put words in his mouth, they can only do what columnists do best: express not just opinions but also wishes.
JDM is in a unique position. He does not have to make empty promises or tell lies – the kind that have come to haunt his successor and his team. JDM has already shown that he can build roads, hospitals, schools, etc. The evidence is clear. JDM will set his sights far into the future to look ahead at creating a Ghana that wakes up every day looking forward to prospects of possibilities and not a country in the grips of pessimism and cynicism, reduced to recounting of failures and frozen in the fear of not feeling a part of. A Ghana that will drive its citizens to be better at innovation and creativity, leading to new ideas, problem solving and new products. A Ghana that takes inspiration from our traditions and heritage to create a future fashioned to bring enlightenment and prosperity. A Ghana where every citizen can proudly and truly be a part of.
Three conceptual areas stand out in this vision. As a result of his past record and rightly assuming that essential bread and butter issues would be taken care of, JDM can be freed to be magnanimous, free to reform and free to play the role of the “philosopher king” – three essential leadership ingredients. The nobility of his thoughts, words and actions would create the trust needed for reawakening.
If politicians can deceive the electorate, it is conceivable that a politician can equally be “wronged” by the electorate. Magnanimity comes into play when such a politician rises above it all and creates an environment devoid of rancor, vindictiveness and exclusiveness and through that create a truly thriving society. No need to belabour this point…
Reform. It is a small word. Only six letters, but in its true form, lies at the heart of every human achievement since man became socialized eons ago. Reforming society is what has brought us this far: social engineering through political systems, governance, arts and sciences, the law, the economy, medicine, sports, all have to do with reforming our thought processes, adopting critical thinking and making room for new ideas even if they seem outlandish. Progress comes out of that, flourished by the magnanimity of the person calling the shots!
With magnanimity and reform taking centre stage, the shots cannot go wrong and society will repose its trust unequivocally in the person calling the shots, which then galvanizes the people into self-perpetuating progress. The overflow of creativity and productivity then eventually puts the power back in the hands of the people as demanded by the constitution which stipulates that the sovereignty of Ghana rests with the people. Mysterious as it may sound, that is the role of the philosopher-king.
Propitiously, JM’s win has galvanized the NDC and excited the nation, which may be just what the doctor ordered for Ghana’s next transformational journey….
As stated earlier, a presidential candidate, not of a ruling party, is not essentially an opposition leader; his role is to provide his party the right leadership to be active members of the polity and also give his compatriots at large the hope and great expectations of a bright new and prosperous future and in the process gain their confidence to be given the privilege of calling the shots!
By Oli A Rahman, Tesano, Accra