Exactly two years ago, John Dramani Mahama took the Oath of office to begin a four year term as the 4th President of the 4th Republic of Ghana. He had blazed into the campaign with a few months left for the decider following the sudden death of the sitting President Mills and won the 2012 election one touch. But the controversy that enveloped the election and the litigation that characterized its validity are unparalleled in our national history. For eight good months, the Supreme Court heard its highest profile and most politically sensitive petition by the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akuffo Addo challenging eligibility of the results. Productivity was held hostage by the trial due to the all-absorbing attention it attracted from the generality of Ghanaians. Despite the historic live coverage by the state broadcaster, GBC, the sensational tilt by sections of the private media and partisan twists by some political elements stoke tensions and sent Ghana teetering on the brink of an implosion. It took the unwavering commitment to justice by the Supreme Court, the display of statesmanship by Nana Akuffo Addo who accepted the verdict and above all the Grace of God Almighty to save the situation. Before the electoral dispute, Ghana’s democracy was perceived globally to be in fine fettle. But the Supreme Court litigation proved otherwise. The blatant truths exposed during the proceedings were that despite its shiny veneer, our electoral system needed reforms which must be fixed to guarantee a foundation of peace for the 2016 polls.
Peace they say, is the ultimate of life. But this indispensable ingredient was conspicuous by its absence in the first year of the Mahama administration. Insecurity had replaced aspiration as the dominant concern of the people. That situation was worsened by the chain of strikes and demands by workers which distorted the spending priorities of the government. No doubt, the cedi fell, inflation rose and the economy declined, leading to Ghana’s application for an IMF bail-out. It is to the credit of President that he begins the second half of his rule with the cedi stable and the nation peaceful. Despite the cataclysmic challenges and manifold obstacles, Ghana is making leaps in progress in the areas of infrastructural development, water supply and electricity extension. The flagship interchanges at Kwame Nkrumah in Accra, the Eastern Corridor roads to shorten the distance between the north and the south, the Cape Coast Sports Stadium and the expansion of the Kpong Water System to cover Adenta and other areas are a few but penchant examples. It is also to the credit of President Mahama that during the first half of Mahama’s presidency, Ghana can still lay claim as the model of democracy in Africa. This is a clear departure from the situation which saw our multi-party governance system heading for the rocks in 2013.
However, President Mahama will readily admit that he still has a tall mountain to climb on the road to election 2016. Inelegant comments and strident attacks over corruption, whether proven or not, tend to detract his presidency. He also needs to convince many who are deeply skeptical and blatantly pessimistic that his government will stick to its social democratic credentials even in the face of unrelenting stream of tough times. Perhaps, the free senior high school and model pre-university projects, more pro-poor interventions and much awaited energy peace of mind will prove the skeptics wrong and put President on a comfortable lane for next year’s elections. Ultimately, however, it is the electorate who can best assess him. And this assessment will reflect in the outcome of the Election 2016.
BY DR. AFFAIL MONNEY, PRESIDENT OF THE GHANA JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION.