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Defeated Ghana President: Praise-Singing Sycophants Misled Me

  • Gibbs Dube

John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.

Outgoing Ghanaian president John Mahama says he lost the presidential election because his party’s time was simply up, and no amount of deceptive campaign promises could keep them in power.

In his election concession speech, Mahama said, "No amount of monopolization of the media space could save us. No amount of money could stop our defeat. No amount of local and international celebrity endorsements could help us. And no amount of vote buying could stand the irresistible hurricane of change that shook our nation on Wednesday."

He urged his party members to stop the “blamestorming” that has started "so that we brainstorm on how to get ourselves out of the mess we have put ourselves in.

"The future of our great party looks gloomy and we have to start work on how to get ourselves out of what appears like an eternal stay in opposition. In life, when you are hit by the subduing blow of misfortune, you have two options. You can allow that blow to crush you. You can also move on with the enormous lessons such misfortunes often present.

"I cannot immediately tell my next move in life, politics and my role in our great party. But if I should ever make a comeback to politics, the lessons I have learnt from our defeat should serve as the moral code which will guide how I guide myself. I have learnt that the Ghanaian voter, though mainly uneducated and simple, is more sophisticated than we thought. I have learnt that it is unacceptable for the people to loot, hoard and splash during elections."

Mahama further said he learnt that the calls of the noisy minority cannot be ignored because they largely shape the opinions of the silent minority, who politicians exploit for selfish gain.

"I have learnt that not all those who criticized us hated us. Sometimes the best way to express your love for someone is to be critical of their actions. If I should ever return, I will not display a 'dead-goat syndrome' towards disaffection of the masses.

"When those who opposed us cried foul, we retorted, “hate can’t win.” Tonight, however, I am the first to admit that some hate can win. This election has taught me that the hate of corruption can win. It has taught me that hate of incompetence can win. Our defeat has taught me that hate of impunity can win.

"I have learnt that the hate of the obscene display of ill-gotten opulence wins. I have learnt that hate of mediocrity and deception definitely wins. And I have learnt that hating evil will forever triumph over the love of evil. That was what happened on Wednesday."

He noted that another important lesson he learnt from the defeat is that the success or failure of a leader depends on the kind of people he or she surrounds themselves with.

"While Rawlings appointed the likes of Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas as deputy ministers, I made the mistake of giving that respectable position to the likes of John Oti Bless. I have now realised, rather too late, that if I had kept the likes of Ben Dotsei Malor and Dr. Raymond Atuguba around me, they would have injected some semblance of sanity into the presidency and given that high office an aura of respectability and decency.

"The praise-singing sycophants who act on the dictates of their stomachs are only specialized at telling you what you want to hear. Unfortunately, I did not listen to voices of reason. Our elders say a disease that will kill a man first breaks sticks into his ears."

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