Former President John Dramani Mahama has been on a gripe spree since he lost the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. He has now moved beyond the courts, where he found a good tonic to bastardise the Supreme Court, to the famed Harvard University Business School. He however seems to forget that first year students of the school, most probably including African and Ghanaian students, understand what the word ‘misreporting’ means in development.
Many believe a speech Mr Mahama delivered at the school over the weekend has exposed him as someone who would always want to place the pursuit of his political agenda over the collective interest of the country.
It appeared that while the former President tried so hard to stay within the limits of diplomacy, decency and academic honesty, by agreeing that COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict had, indeed, hit all economies in the global community, the ‘Mahama’ in him failed to be suppressed.
The result was that he did what he had been doing all along, and which he has been pushing his ‘rural’ constituencies to emulate: that is lie, and lie to the pits of ignominy.
Unlike his young graduates in Ghana who hail him when he sneezes his propaganda opium, the former President may have forgotten that Harvard of all schools would have handy all the latest information on African economies, including Ghana, before he even got to the podium.
He may have first forgotten, as a former President, that no country dealing with a development agency or the World Bank and IMF, for that matter, can misreport on an amount as huge as GHC33 billion.
He would know, too, that for the World Bank to agree to Ghana’s record 2021 GDP growth rate of 5.4 per cent, there is no way a figure of that magnitude could be spirited out of the accounting systems.
Worse is his own conclusion that an audit was yet to be carried out to reflect the true records.
Yet, most media persons saw news in his goof, rather than the admission that the global community, including Africa and Ghana, has a responsibility to bend over backwards in vibrant partnerships, like the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to redeem economies, businesses, communities and citizens in enduring frameworks.
Like Mahama, they were quick to run with the story, instead of shooting the mischief and finding out how we can, as a nation, deal with this canker of one person deciding that everything he has not directed is ‘bogus and politically incorrect’.
It is sad that up till yesterday’s afternoon, when the experts were correcting the wrong impression, his Young Turks, who are graduates from Ghana’s universities, were vehement in defending the goof.
Fortunately for the global community and decent Ghanaians, the young men and women would double-check Mahama’s claims and realise that he, as President, in normal, non-COVID times, grew the economy by three per cent, from an earlier eight, and drove Ghana to an IMF programme.
Harvard students would affirm that, indeed, Ghana under COVID just scooped a juicy record by global terms.
In addition, they would go back and do a check on how Ghana performed during COVID. Here, they would confirm that not only did Ghana do a commendable job fighting COVID, but that the economy grew positive in the pandemic, earning it a right to be part of the countries licensed globally to produce drugs to sustain the fight against COVID-19.
Every Ghanaian travelling outside, to do private or official business, is considered an ambassador of the country. Particularly for John Mahama as former President and aspiring Head of State, that position is automatic and revered.
Indeed, when he spoke, it was as if it was the President of Ghana who was speaking. At least, that is the understanding in today’s civilised world.
It is sad, however, that he missed an opportunity to redeem his image as a former President who should be seen as a statesman, who is genuinely concerned about the development of the country, as well as enthused about the successes the country chalked, especially, during the Covid era.
Even though those who matter most in the global scheme of affairs believe Ghana still offers a good example for others, Mr Mahama thinks otherwise.
Unfortunately, this is the same man the NDC and its Council of Elders are presenting again as their flagbearer in the 2024 election, hoping to get the electorate to elect him once again as the President of the very country whose image and interest he does not seek to promote.