By Iddi Muhayu-Deen
In all sincerity, I hold the humble view that Ghanaians have been exceptionally patient and accommodating of former President John Mahama and his unending excesses.
This is in spite of the fact that he is the luckiest Ghanaian in our recent history having been privileged to have been given more than enough opportunity by the Ghanaian people to serve as a leader in almost every capacity at all levels. No Ghanaian, I dare say, in our 63-year post independence history has been as lucky as John Mahama in this respect.
John Mahama is the only Ghanaian who has had the privilege to lead as an Assembly Member; as a Presiding Member; as a Deputy Minister of State; as a Member of Parliament; as a Minister of State; as a Vice President; as an Acting President; and ultimately, as a President of the Republic. To whom much is given, they say, much is expected. But what do we get from John Mahama? Mediocrity, incompetence, insensitivity, cluelessness, arrogance, disappointment, condescending and insulting effusions. Absolutely presidential to say the very least!
John Mahama had used derogatory words like “Sakawa”, “baloney”, “stupidity”, “useless”, “uncouth”, “mafia” among others to refer to a section of Ghanaians with whom he had issues. He had told us that no Ghanaian was qualified to criticize him except persons who had been Presidents before. He had told us he had developed a “dead goat syndrome” and therefore would not listen to anybody. He had “insulted” Ghanaians time without number.
He had said it is not out of place to lie to Ghanaians when you are on the campaign trail in order to get their votes. It is probably on the basis of this that he recently told us that he introduced the Free SHS policy, because he said that on the campaign trail where he said it is okay to tell lies. He had also said Ghanaians have short memory, and so, probably felt we may have forgotten the position he and his party had taken against the Free SHS policy.
Fellow Ghanaians, haven’t we had enough of John Mahama? I think we have, and I also think it is about time we gathered courage to tell him enough is enough. Well, Mr. John Mahama, Ghanaians may have short memory, but certainly not short enough to forget that you are the luckiest Ghanaian of our time who had been given the most opportunity to serve but failed abysmally. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you sponsored over 42 adverts against Free SHS. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you told us that Free SHS was a hoax and a 419.
Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you told us that if Free SHS was ever possible in Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would have implemented it. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you told us that Free SHS would only be feasible in Ghana after 20 years. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you told us that anything that it free lacks quality and even brought in the doctored Dr. Mensa Otabil tape to substantiate your position against Free SHS.
Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you went to the Supreme Court to try and stop the implementation of Free SHS by the Akufo-Addo government. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you had organized demonstrations against Free SHS.
Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that on 25th August, 2015, the very year you claimed you started implementing Free SHS, the Ghana Education Service through the then Director-General, Mr. Jacob A.M. Kor, released APPROVED SCHOOL FEES for both Day Students (GH¢405.50) and Boarding Students (GH¢724.50,) for the 2015/2016 academic year [story link: https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/ges-releases-approved-fees-for-shss.html].
Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that in 2016, GES again released approved Fees for all Senior High Schools a year after your so called Free SHS where each Day student was required to pay GH¢560, and Boarding students were required to pay GH¢1022 each [story link: https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/ges-releases-approved-fees-for-senior-high-schools/]. How can you tell us that Secondary Education is free and yet the Ghana Education Service, whose Director-General was appointed by you, tells us otherwise and proceeds to release approved Fees for all SHS students?
Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that in the year 2015, some WASSCE candidates from the Oguaa SHS who were writing the WASSCE exams were sacked from the exams hall for owing school fees as reported by the Ghana News Agency. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that in 2016, the results of over 51,495 WASSCE Candidates were blocked on the website of WAEC for owing school fees [story link: https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/results-of-51-495-fee-owing-wassce-candidates-blocked.html].
Again, Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you told us that countries like Kenya that sought to implement a policy like Free SHS, ended up collapsing their education sector. Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that you told us that if you had GH¢2bilion, you wouldn’t waste that money on Free SHS [story link: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pulse.com.gh/news/politics/npps-huge-spendings-on-free-shs-compromising-quality-education-mahama/xmq463t.amp].
Ghanaians may have short memory but certainly not short enough to forget that your own National Youth Organizer, Opare Addo, commended the Akufo-Addo government for implementing Free SHS [story link: https://www.accuratenewsgh.com/ndc-national-youth-organizer-thanks-president-akufo-addo-for-implementing-free-shs/].
So, Mr. John Mahama, you can see clearly that our short memory has not unable us to forget the many ills you spearheaded against the Free SHS policy and indeed against the Ghanaian people. I appreciate the frustrations you are going through in trying to convince Ghanaians that you are a better alternative. I appreciate the fact that the Free SHS policy, which was conceived and successfully implemented by President Akufo-Addo is the biggest threat to your campaign because it is the policy that has touched every home in Ghana.
I appreciate the fact that your second humiliating defeat at the polls is steering at you. But what I cannot appreciate is why you think that you can use lies and deceptions to avoid your inevitable defeat come December 7. May I inform you that the debate on who introduced Free SHS has long been settled by the Ghanaian people.
So, kindly stop hurting your campaign by seeking to bring back this conversation because it will do you no good. Rather, I advise you to focus on your MORTUARIES and OKADA policy as spelt out in your party manifesto, which policy you can wholly and confidently own, and Ghanaians will grant you that; but certainly, not the free SHS policy.