Former President John Mahama

In 2012, an election which was blemished with rampant irregularities and inane showcase of thuggery had to find its footing in the Supreme Court (SC) for validation, before Ghanaian voters could be satisfied with the electoral results.

After over six months of the trial, the SC greeted us with the phrase “administrative errors” on the part of the Electoral Commission as the grounds for setting aside the petition by candidate Nana Akufo-Addo (as then he was).

Mr Akufo-Addo in his public reaction to the court’s ruling expressed disappointment but took it in good faith since for him, the stability and peace of the State trumped any individual’s parochial interest(s).

And after fiercely contesting the 2016 elections, a prophecy my friend shared with me came to pass when Nana Addo beat John Mahama with over 1.5million votes. In this piece I would seek to juxtapose then President Mahama’s administration’s stance on basic education and strikes to President Akufo-Addo’s strides on same subject area. 

On handling threats of strike actions during President Mahama’s tenure, when the hardworking doctors, lecturers and other government sector workers of this country sought to, amidst threats of strikes negotiate with his government to listen to their plights, all our president could say was that he had metamorphosed into ‘a dead goat’ impermeable to any barrage of strike actions.

A comment which ridiculously earned it place in ‘BBC’s Best Quotes of 2015’. President Mahama told the Ghanaian community in Botswana in 2015 when he went on a working visit that: “I have seen more demonstrations and strikes in my first two years. I don’t think it can get worse. It is said that when you kill a goat and you frighten it with knife it doesn’t fear the knife because it is dead already. I have the dead goat syndrome going forward.”

 Respectfully, someone should probably educate me; my question is, ‘Is there any country in the world where a ‘dead goat’ is president? Why is the ‘dead goat’ now seeking a comeback? 

Again, the last part of President Mahama’s statement is where I would like to draw the attention of Ghanaians to, “I have the dead goat syndrome going forward.”

Ghanaians must note that the man who is seeking to lead this country again never said his ‘dead goat syndrome’ was for 2015 only, he used the present continuous tense, “going forward.” And that is to mean that, former President Mahama, if he is mistakenly given the nod again in 2020 will go back to his words, “I have the dead goat syndrome going forward.” Fellow Ghanaians, please we all do not know what this “going forward” utterances by President Mahama may mean, except to say that on the face of it, and by applying the literal interpretation rule to it, he only sought to sound a warning to Ghanaians about the untold hardships he’ll shower on us (especially government workers) anytime he gets the opportunity again to rule our dear country – Ghana. Fast-forward, President Nana Akufo-Addo, after ‘caging’ the unprecedented election results for historians and politicians in this country in 2016, when confronted with a similar salary issue from the claims by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to be equitably enrolled onto the Single Spine Salary Structure had this to tell Ghanaians: “As we seek to establish a world-class labor force comparable to any in the world, we must address the concerns of workers in the public sector over their remuneration.” 

As a follow up on the president’s pronouncements, when the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) threatened a strike action against the Akufo-Addo-led government in July, 2018, Mr Robert Cudjoe, PRO at the Ministry of Health told Chief Jerry Forson on ‘Ghana Yensom’ on Accra FM that the government had received the concerns of the doctors, noting that: “Government won’t sit down unconcerned for the strike to start, and, so, today or tomorrow we are going to hold a crunch meeting with the leadership of the GMA to discuss the issues with them.” In fact, things were sorted outed amicably – it was done, it was dusted. 

On Transforming Basic Education In 2015, when the then Ghana’s Second Lady, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur mounted a podium at a gathering of the chiefs and people of Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region, in responding to a request for chalks and log books by the head teacher of Kukurantumi Presbyterian School said: “The Head teacher has shocked me…she said you lack chalk and log books…I am very shocked that you are today asking me about chalk…how much is a box of chalk…I won’t give you chalk today, I won’t give you chalk tomorrow.”

She averred further that, “Secondly, you talk about log books and school uniforms, I think we have spoilt you so parents don’t want to even buy school uniforms…head teacher eii, find another means of helping yourself.” In a sharp contrast to Mrs Amissah-Arthurs statement, when Mr Ken Ofori-Atta was presenting the 2017 Budget Statement in Parliament, and affirming President Nana Addo’s unwavering commitment to education, he said: “To make basic education truly free and ensure participation by all, the government will introduce the following measures  from the first term of the 2017/18  academic year: increase the capitation grant by 100 per cent from GH¢4.50 to GH¢9 per child per annum; introduce equity in government support to schools by restructuring the disbursement of capitation to introduce equal amounts of base grant to be paid to all schools at the beginning of the academic year; disburse 50 per cent of total capitation as base grant and the remaining 50 per cent on per capita basis.” 

On further social interventions in basic education, Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned that, “…The government will continue with the programme by procuring and distributing 250,000 school uniforms and 40,000 sandals for the pupils.” As if things were over, after absorbing several BECE fees among other things, printing fees were also absorbed in the last term of the just ended 2018/2019 academic year. Now the real issues Ghanaians need to be regurgitating, judging from the various positions of the past NDC governments that is seeking a new mandate from the good people of Ghana, and how the current  NPP government is revamping education in Ghana and solving labour issues is: ‘Whether or not the ‘dead goat’ (Pres. Mahama) must not continue to rest in its graveyard’ and ‘Whether or not Ghanaians must ensure that the transformation agenda that this country needs championed by the ‘live goat’ (Pres Nana Akufo-Addo) continues unabated’. I have promised to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland and that’s why I’m voting for a ‘live goat’ come 2020. 

Source: Nana Aboagye (0246568902/0202991881) Faculty of Law – Central University