john mahama 2

The biggest political mistake that Mr. Dramani Mahama ever did and will forever live to regret was the statement he made in Parliament when he was delivering his State of the Nation Address that the Free SHS was feasible. This simple acceptance will forever haunt him till the day he dies.  It will be written in gold in our political history books and generations yet unborn will use it as a weapon to castigate politicians of this generation who deliberately lie through their teeth to throw dust into the eyes of unsuspecting Ghanaian electorate just for the sake of political power.

In the run-up to the 2012 elections, I travelled to Sunyani to visit an old friend who had been admitted at the Regional Hospital. On that fateful day the NDC was having a rally and in attendance was no mean a person than Mr. John Dramani Mahama. I took time off to be part of the rally even though I kept my distance at the rally ground because I had the funny feeling that if any of the NDC goons spotted me, I will taste Armageddon in real time.  I carefully listened to speakers after speakers and they all seemed to have only one message for the teeming supporters who kept shouting ?Free SHS Sakawa?.   Nana Akufo-Addo?s Free SHS mantra was condemned to the extent that one speaker even told the crowd that if Nana could make a free SHS possible then he would be able to do so with cocaine money.  And these rubble-rousers clapped loudly amidst insults to the man who muted the idea of a Free SHS!

Then the man himself, the generalissimo as far as anti Free SHS is concerned mounted the podium amidst shouts of ?Free SHS Sakawa, Free SHS Sakawa? The President shouted his voice hoarse, asking them to keep quiet  but the ecstatic crowd will not listen to the number one citizen. When finally the crowd kept quiet for the President to speak he started by blowing air into the microphone and shouted ?Twoo Boi?.  Then the  anti-Free SHS propaganda started flowing. ?Se kwatrekwa se obema wo ntoma a, bisa ne din,? (If the naked person says he will give you cloth, ask his name).  That was candidate Mahama for you.

He told the brainwashed supporters of the NDC that Nana?s message of making SHS free when voted into power was a hoax and a trick to hoodwink Ghanaians. He said even Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who inherited millions of pound sterling from the colonial masters could not make secondary school free, not to talk of this time when Ghana?s population has hit 24 million.  According to candidate Mahama, politicians should try to tell the people the truth in their search for political power and stop the lies. He said the truth is that a Free SHS is not feasible for the unforeseeable future and that the NDC will rather bring to the people quality education.  The communication expert in him urged him on as he continued to condemn Nana?s mantra, chopping the air with his bare knuckles to the admiration of supporters of the NDC.

That night I had a weird dream which saw me standing by river Nile with King Pharaoh at the opposite bank beckoning me to cross over to Egypt because where I stood was not a fertile ground to stand as an Angel of God. I obeyed and instead of flying as angels do I walked on the surface of the river Nile like the Lord Jesus Christ did.  A knock on my door woke me up only for me to realize that after all, it was a dream. I realized that I was still in Ghana where politicians shamelessly spit out saliva and lick it back.

?Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education following consultation with stakeholders has prepared a report on the road map for progressive introduction of free secondary school education in Ghana as requested under the 1992 Constitution? ? President John Dramani Mahama.

Oh no, Mr. President this is shameful and a blow below the belt.  Nana Akufo-Addo had constituted a team of experts in education and stakeholders to study the feasibility of a free SHS before he came out to tell Ghanaians that if given the political power he would implement that constitutional requirement.  You have been at the helm of affairs for the past one year and it is now that you have seen it fit to consult stakeholders to see to the implementation of a free SHS which is already a constitutional requirement.  Article 25(1) (a) stated clearly that ?Basic school shall be free, compulsory and available to all.? Mr. Kufour, a visionary leader read it and made sure the Capitation Grant was introduced to make that constitutional requirement realistic.  In anyway, for the three years that you partnered  the late Mills to rule this nation and later had another year as a transitional president and one year as a president did you not see that constitutional requirement until Nana muted the idea?  SHAME!!

I seldom consult my lexicon because I have enough vocabulary in my arsenal of English words to write whatever I want to write without necessarily consulting my dusty lexicon.  When the President repeated ?progressive introduction of free secondary school?, I was forced to go for my old Webster?s Dictionary of Contemporary English Language which defined progressive as ?proceeding step by step.?  If we are to go by this definition then I am afraid it will take a decade before the idea of a Free SHS will become realistic if the NDC is to rule beyond 2016.

They will commence the Free SHS in one particular region and go ahead to build one or two of them and relax, waiting for another time when campaign will start for them to point to the few that they have started as their achievement.  They will hop from one region to the other introducing the project amidst fanfare and start beating their chests that they have done well. Then they will make a documentary of the importance of Free SHS on TV and appeal to Ghanaians to help in their own small way to make the project a sustainable one.  The President has told us already that Ghanaians are short-sighted so when they introduce Free SHS in 2015, Ghanaians will forget that somebody promised a real Free SHS to both day and boarding students.

Do you remember the onetime payment of insurance premium?  They don?t mention it anymore and Ghanaians are also not asking them any question about that promise as we go about our duties.  And to add insult to injury the NHIS is gradually dying.  All that they are good at is to change the names of President Kufuor?s initiative like NYEP to GYEEDA, create, loot and share or Jubilee House to Flagstaff House and load the place with useless presidential staffers who receive huge salaries without doing any work.

And do you remember their manifesto promise of getting rid of filth in the capital city in a matter of 100 days in office? Today the whole city is engulfed in filth and cholera, bilharzias and Hepatitis B are on the increase.  The filth is not concentrated in Accra alone but all over the country.  Ghanaians have kept quiet as if nobody promised to get rid of filth in 100 days. It has been more than five years since the NDC came to power after making this promise but things have gone from bad to worse.  The sad aspect of this sorry state that we have found ourselves in is that when campaign time starts they will pretend as if once upon a time they promised us something which they could not deliver.  With money, soap, ?kruwaba?, ?bentua? etc, they will go to Abgobloshie, Sodom and Gomorrah and other slums to buy votes from these poor folks.  How I wish these people will wise up and teach them a lesson worth learning, come 2016.  They will have to, because the sages say only a fool will allow his testicles to be trampled upon twice.  When once upon a time economy became ?ecomini? according to the late President Mills and now  Mr. Speaker has become ?Mr. Meter? according to President Mahama,  with the Hon. MP of  Wa East, Aminu Salifu referring to the State of The Nation Address as ?Speech of the Nation Address?, then something has gone wrong somewhere. This nation needs the services of an exorcist, wallahi!!! Anyway, excuse me while I pollute the air with my favourite Havana Cigar.  All that you have to do is to cover your nostrils if you don?t want to contract catarrh.

 By Eric Bawah

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