View Full Version : The Wishful Thinking of John Mahama

14th March 2011, 02:14 AM
I read about the interview that Vice-President John Dramani Mahama granted New York-based WBAI (99.5Fm) radio with quiet and sad amusement (See “John Mahama: The Future Is Very Bright For Ghana, Africa” MyJoyOnline.com 3/8/11).

And as I further pondered the practical reality of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) having seriously bungled the development of Ghana’s economy, with far-reaching consequences for the entire West African sub-region, or the ECOWAS zone, I became even sadder.

Of course, up-most in mind was the quixotic $10 billion housing construction agreement that the government of which Mr. Mahama is the second most powerful figure heedlessly and myopically signed with the largely unknown South Korean firm called STX. On WBAI, the former Information minister of the Rawlings government reportedly gushed about how “leveraging the talents and resources of the countries and peoples of the ECOWAS zone” could position Ghana at the forefront of African development in the 21st century, and I wondered whether the humongous monetary capital involved in the scandalous STX agreement could not have been wisely and competitively distributed among several viable West African construction companies, in order to induce precisely the sort of economic leverage that Mr. Mahama was talking about.

I was even further saddened by the fact that it was the same man now gushing rapturously about the need for collaborative development in the ECOWAS sub-region who also led and, in fact, signed the scandalous STX agreement, most likely to the delightful horror and disdain of the South Koreans themselves. And then I further began to wonder what deuce so lugubriously pre-destined our leaders to be so full of theory and rhetoric and almost totally bereft and bankrupt on the practical front.

In his interview with “Wake-Up Call” host, Esther Armah, described on Google as a Black Briton, Vice-President Mahama curiously attributed the slow pace of socioeconomic development on the ECOWAS front to the Euro-bilingual colonial legacy of French and English. Curiously because in reality, the slow pace of development in the West African sub-region and the African continent, in general, has largely been more about avoidable political instability and abject lack of foresighted leadership, exactly like that which is frightfully exemplified by Mr. Mahama vis-à-vis the STX racket.

Interestingly, I thought I ought to mention, at least in passing, the fact that my attention was drawn to Mr. Mahama’s interview with Ms. Armah primarily because I barely missed a presentation this morning (3/8/11) that the Ghanaian-descended Ms. Armah gave right here on the sprawling campus of Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City, Long Island, where I have been teaching for the past fourteen years.

Anyway, I tend to believe that the “Francophone-Anglophone Divide” is often and facilely thrown into discourse on African development, largely as a subterfuge for the massive failure and unpardonable embarrassment that is postcolonial African leadership. But that Vice-President Mahama is about the same age as postcolonial Ghana, makes an otherwise sanguine situation all the more petrifying. At another time not quite long ago in the very same country of Ghana, where the STX scandal occurred, the key operatives of this inescapable national outrage would have been made to face the full symphonic orchestra of the firing squad.

Ironically, it would have been the founding-patriarch of the very political party of which Mr. Mahama is currently the second most powerful figure who would have led the charge. Tell me about a strange world, dear reader!

Source: *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) an