President Mahama might do a Second Coup D’etat
In June 2012, the world witnessed a historical publication about His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, while serving as vice president, during the 5th electoral terrain of the 4th Republic of Ghana. My first Coup D’etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa, published in the United States of America by Bloomsbury, was on record as a lead memoir by a high profile executive of the mineral-rich West African state.
The importance of the 320-page is as overwhelming as the positive commentaries it earned in worldwide reviews, from Newsweek to Washington Post and from Chinua Achebe to Ghana’s most prolific critic, Nana Fredua-Agyeman of ImageNations. The decorated narration of Mahama’s childhood, beside later developments, is an incredible telescope for readers to look into an era of the lackluster post-independence African society, and in parallel, the past of the main character: the son of a public servant – his experience of the premier military intervention, his beliefs, his strength and weakness alike. Upon the rudimentary impression of the book, having a guess into the author’s political future also remains central to the imagination of readers.
Being earnest about his weaknesses, however, became a latent weapon for his political opponents. Has the sincere Mahama any regret for laying bare all the schemes of his early coup? I don’t think so. Walking through a barrage of cooked scandals, Mahama has proved his worth as a governor of influence who opens-up for scrutiny. That alone makes him a firm believer in the rule of law. But he goes further than the standard. For the respect he upholds for the people he serves, and for the good image of the presidency, he doesn’t mind going beyond the requirement of protocol:
In his last campaign of the 2012 general elections, he publicly threw a legal challenge against morbid allegations of corruption. Since the accusations leveled against him were false, and purportedly made-up to his distraction, they amounted to naught. It therefore beggars belief when public figures who have conducted themselves well on political platforms are given the generic advice to behave. Doesn’t it frustrate understanding when advice is not given where advice is due?
A study of the book was necessary on two fronts: For homeland politics, some commentators concentrated their analysis on finding faults with Mahama’s personality. And it came to pass; when his opponents fell on a trivial context (of innocence) and nailed him to an incident that bears no consequence in the life of the intellectual character the president has grown to become. The interest of world politics may vary. An insight into the chapters must have given the European and American partners of Ghana, an opportunity to zoom-in on the eventful gatherings of the man who had the potential of succeeding the then frail John Atta Mills.
The average African leader is unpredictable. He comes to power as a patron for progress, but a couple of years onto the throne; he degenerates into a brute or a distinctive greedy barbarian. If there was any ground for ideology, Mahama’s debut coup must have stood at ease in the shelves as a milieu-at-hand for examining the mindset of a man who was futuristically crucial for the relationship between the international community and African nations of the sub-Sahara.
Seasons come, and seasons go. Time is far spent. It has been cloudy. The rain has fallen. The euphoria and hysteria of the first coup are fading into the past. There are probably more reasons for a second coup. The thought of the president recording a second coup, has preoccupied my mind, just as much as the expectations of his audience, publishers, or agents might be. If a sequel goes into print anytime in the future, I hope my curiosity would be well-fed. I would like to get insider stories about the controversial change of name for the president’s new home. It was such a scuffle!
Finally, the president settled on the Flagstaff House address, instead of the original Jubilee House. Examining the defense surrounding the several scramble of names, I deduced that the president just wanted to honour the good intensions of the soul that gracefully built a mansion of that prestige. To have added ‘Jubilee’, was grateful of Mahama. In other not to betray his departed companion who did the name-change, he decided on maintaining a bit of both. Perhaps Mahama wanted to be loyal to his immediate predecessor, while respecting the brain and strength behind his residence-assumed.
Whatever the president’s intentions were: however courteous, however considerate, however ambiguous, however clumsy, he shouldn’t have forgotten that he had a divided public to submit his prerogatives to. The media also didn’t spare its censure. Whether that was a healthy ceremony or not, the finale of the matter is that Mahama couldn’t please all. There is bound to be a revolt somewhere. Mahama would be the best teller of events. He would be able to tell, for instance, if the public jeopardy was a coup de grace that ended his humiliating naming rite. If Mahama does his second coup, he might better take us through those flip-flop moments.
I think President Mahama’s readers would also be keen about how he overpowered the strong-willed doctors’ strike, during his third month in office. What did the settlement? Is it the armoured negotiating skill of the communication specialist, our beloved alpine-statured president, and the anointed forth John of the republic? Or the marshalling of 300 Cuban force, who flew-in to the liberation of public hospitals – to the invasion and conditional surrender of the aggrieved Ghanaian doctors? Would Mahama add regrets to his script? Would he account for the poor girl who died just because the government couldn’t forward a quick deal to satisfy the doctors? Is the Ghanaian doctor too demanding? Only Mahama has the letter that could better describe national income verses the necessary health expenditure. If the NHIS is successful, there should never have been an industrial strike of that sort, I risk thinking so. The president might have the analysis which could prove my cynicism wrong.
Long before Mahama was sworn-in, darkness and light were running a shift in the economy that is heavily dependent on hydro-electric energy. The president had policies that were determined to get the bull by the horn. So, in October 2012, he promised an end to a system of load shedding, by February 2013. It wasn’t fulfilled. Again he promised. And he promised, again! Again, it wasn’t fulfilled. The entire 238-point-something kilometer square fraction of planet Earth was plunged further as the days went by. The language for greeting one’s neighbour became an idiom that pointed to a seemingly ridiculous leader. That was the only funny side. The rest of the story was a thirst for some kind of revolution. It was like a battlefield:
Streets were bleak and unsafe for nights’ pleasure. The economy that once registered a single-digit inflation, was then crippling. It must have been the bother of every citizen. Especially so was the leader who had been a member of the NDC team that built solid blocks on dual-carriage foundations: that of their own master plans and the ingenious start-ups of J.A Kufuor’s administration.
Finally, owing to the strenuous implementations Mahama put in place, light overthrew darkness. The details of how the president took arms, is a story that shouldn’t rest in the Department of Public Achieves untold. Would the president do his reading fans a fovour? Would he make his protagonistic schemes exclusively known to the world of literature? The making of a second coup would be the best reportage for the extra watts and contracts that were progressively signed to arrest the situation. Something has been done, but nothing has been done, if the framework does not consider long term solution. Is the president that serious about alternative sources of power? He has the sole responsibility of making notes on this and other VRA extravagance.
Perhaps the event that would attract much interest is the behind-scene strategies that wrought the camp of the respondents of the 2012 Election Petition. When the verdict is read to Mahama’s faovour, people would be itching to know how he won through his field commander, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, flanked on the wings by marksmen: Lawyers Tony Lithur and Tsatsu Tsikata. People would want to read it first-hand from the president: how his forces toppled the siege against the EC declaration.
We can’t determine as yet, so if the petitioners win, I still believe people’s interest would be a search for the kind of shield that helped Mahama in maintaining a gentle composure in the heat of fireworks that beset the three-month hearing. What brand of bullet proof did he wear, in keeping safe from vilified newspaper reports? What did he use to boost his spirit as he led the 24million mostly illiterate population who were subjected to various deviant interpretations of proceedings, by some crook activists of both sides of the parties that went to court?
How was the situation handled by the first family? People would want to know! If Mahama loses, we may have the opportunity – through the window of his second coup – to steal glances at his human side. If he ever sobbed, we may get to know the cuddling role that the beautiful and heartwarming First Lady Lordina Mahama played in the bedroom, apart from having distinctively following the tradition of Ghana’s hardworking first ladies – by helping the weak and needy in society, and representing the nation at international meetings of women and children concerns.
Now let me dare say this: If you study the mayoral history of Ghana for the last two decades, you would realize that if the mayor of a particular metropolis is not himself semi-literate, his subordinates would be stooges who work under the unchecked powers of a large and sometimes domineering educated elite. Let me use the case of Mayor Alfred Vanderpuye. Of course he didn’t mean any ill by re-christening the national hockey complex after Mills. But to have done so without consultation nor delegated authority, goes very much against the limited autonomy of the metropolis – even as it was detrimental to the former honouree. Sensing the inappropriateness, President Mahama ordered a revert.
Reports about the revert had a stormy hit. It dropped on frontpages like an explosive. News analysts tried as hard as they could; by dancing in circles around the issue. Sorry to say; they couldn’t speculate the shrapnel of letters and fibrous phone conversations that might have criss-crossed the office of the president and Mr Vanderpuye’s. If the president does a second coup, it would be worth shedding light on how, in his authority, he took over that sacred mandate from the mayor. The 95-year old flagmaker, Mrs Theodosia Okoh, should be the happy redeemed citizen of this special rescue assignment of the president. Being a disciple of peaceful coexistence that he is, the president ultimately reconciled the mayor to the most popular grandmother of his locality. Yet the excesses and the probability of a future mayoral trespass remain a danger.
The election of MMDCE’s has its own advantage, but it would do so much harm in a unitary state where the local executives are already wielding absolute power. A mass-based election does not promise the elimination of the hard-fought evidence of mismanagement nor the tendency of corruption. Nevertheless the president is in favour of an eventual election of local rulers. It looks very slippery a view. Yet, it would be interesting if the second coup of Mahama expands his viewpoint on this historic phase of decentralization, as it has become a matter of constitutional review, during his tenure.
As at the first week of February 2012, the Information and Media Relations minister hadn’t been on the job for long. He hadn’t dealt much with conspiracies that could surround the man on the highest seat of government. He thought that the best way to protect the president was to evasively deny allegations of President Mahama’s relationship with the American gay lobbyist, Andrew Solomon. The minister who is supposed to have known the truth, seem to have said: Paul and Silas, the president knows. But who is Andrew? Meanwhile Andrew Solomon has been a friend of the president, united by literary and other noble engagements – and separated though by carnal knowledge, and positions of same-sex relationship / legalisation. In the middle of safeguarding the president’s image from his homosexual friend, was a domestic anti gay discourse with civil groups. Mahama was found guilty of Nana Oye Lithur’s ministerial nomination. Oye Lithur was the ‘unworthy’ gay rights advocate whose probable approval to the headship of the ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection became a fear-and-hate object of the widespread protest that loomed.
Mahama was therefore not outrightly free from the ‘blemishes’of gayism, in lieu of the secular but very religious state he rules. Yet the threat of demonstrations did not discourage him from pursuing the confidence he had in the competent lady of his choice. In the end, Mahama foiled the plot. Oye Lithur was calmly appointed. That was a rather silent combat. How the president did it; remains to be known in the next book he might write: My Second Coup D’etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Morals of Some Sexual Orientation.
As I bring my supposition to conclusion, I must assert that there is something admirable about my central character: Mahama has always been an honest examiner of his endeavours. Commenting on his first 100 days in office, he made admissions to some policies he failed to deliver. On that premise, if the president does his second coup, he might as well attach failed attempts (policies) to his list of achievements. So far, the president is brisk and thorough about putting Ghana’s financial disgrace in order. If any, he might break seals of cabinet that might have covered GYEEDA or judgment debt scandal. Secrecy is a required prospect of a second coup. If the official report of Attah Mills’ last days is anything to be trusted or revered, Mahama may give an affirmative report about the professor’s fateful journey from the Osu Castle to the 37 Military Hospital – to confound skeptics, and to the appreciation of the people whose welfare the democratic Mills exemplified the propagation of tolerance and efficiency – toward the routine fiscal growth of the Better Ghana Agenda.
Should he give testimony to a second coup, let us look forward to tales of adversity. Mahama may as well, get us closer to his heartbeat: the aftermath and preventive measures placed on the sporadic fire-caused destruction of wealthy urban markets. He may possibly reintroduce his illustrious Taka Tika Gangale unity speech, and spare a tiny paragraph to serve a lesson about his worries of the infamous split of the Rawlingses, from the party they swore eternal affiliation to.
Hunters have tales to tell about their game. That is usual. But they don’t tell everything they see in the deepest setting of the forest. For the interest of national security, Mahama may not reserve a space that will lead into the wisdom of a Commander-in-Chief going outside tradition to request his aid de camp from the police service. If, for the sake of freedom of information, we are so desperate to know everything that happens in the corridors of power, let’s leave that job for Julian Assange and the Wikileaks daredevils. If we want a Hollywood thriller of the century, let us give the BNI a tip-off. And let’s fold our arms and enjoy a sensational movie of coups, counter coups, and some Ecuadorian refuge on a British island. We may finally get lost somewhere. And end-up in the dilemma of Edward Snowden at the crossroads of a shrewd transit in Moscow. Espionage and delusions! Shadows and dragons! What a funny world!
Before Mahama’s second coup goes into print, we would have had the opportunity to see much about the boy who wouldn’t yield to intimidation of any sort: the well-cultured boy who overcame bullying in his days at Achimota School. Before the world realizes, Ghana would have been driven into the real benefits of Middle Income Status by the young man who was once driven by his father’s chauffeur, around the length and breadth of the land he would grow to steer its affairs. Meanwhile, his foot is on pedal, accelerating the percentages of Gross Domestic Product. When all is done, when he’s done his best, may his second coup, too, be done!