The trading of “insults” between President John Mahama and the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s flag bearer Nana Akufo-Addo is “silly”, former flag bearer aspirant Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy has said.
“The competing promises about dams, etc., and insults back and forth were making both the president and the NPP presidential candidate look and sound a bit silly,” Dr Kennedy wrote in an article.
Nana Akufo-Addo has always referred to President Mahama as an incompetent leader. Mr Mahama recently fired back saying his arch rival in the December 7 polls was a “divisive dictator”.
Later in an interview with Paul Adom-Otchere on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme on Tuesday, 6 September, Mr Mahama justified his attacks on the former Attorney General saying Nana Akufo-Addo drew first blood. “For four years he (Akufo-Addo) has described me as incompetent, for four years he has described me as visionless, for four years he has described me as a thief. He says when he comes to power he won’t steal your money; what does that mean? It means I am stealing Ghanaians’ money,” Mr Mahama interpreted, adding: “I’m a politician and I know it’s an occupational hazard sometimes to have your opponents vilify you. So, I don’t take it as anything. … I am campaigning and I am saying that we need at this stage of Ghana’s history somebody who can bring the country together and my opponent’s track record does not fit that role because in his own party, he is not able to bring his people together.
“Today, it is the truth, people can’t criticise Akufo-Addo in NPP, if you criticise him, they will suspend you or sack you or his attack dogs will be set on you. Ask people in NPP, they are quiet, they can see the bus is going to crash but if they say it they will attack them. So they are waiting for the bus to crash, and when it crashes, I said they will take the bus and send it to Kokompe to repair it and put it back on the road for 2021.”
Although Mr Akufo-Addo has said he will not hurl insults back at Mr Mahama, he recently accused the President and the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) of stealing his policy ideas.
As far as Dr Kennedy is concerned, the recriminations between the two politicians who are the frontrunners in the polls make them look petty. In the light of this, he has welcomed a recent lecture delivered by Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Nana Akufo-Addo’s running mate as the way to go, since such exercises focus on issues and facts rather than insults.
Below is Dr Arthur Kennedy’s full statement:
There have been a lot of comments on Dr Bawumia’s lecture on the economy yesterday. The partisan commentary began with claims that he had been denied a venue by the government. It is a shame that our media houses could not untangle that to let us know the truth.
Then, following the lecture, some in the NPP who should know better, went into overdrive with praise. Prof HKP talked of picking a running mate who could “carry his weight” etc., leaving the unfortunate impression that the NDC running mate could not carry his weight. VP Amissah-Arthur, Bawumia’s credentials notwithstanding, is no slouch. He has been a lecturer, a governor of the Bank of Ghana and a World Bank consultant. Politically, he helped the NDC to retain Central Region while the NPP lost the Northern Region and Walewale! So there, my friends, is the weight issue!
To return to the lecture, Dr Bawumia deserves congratulations for turning this campaign to a discussion of substantive issues. The competing promises about dams, etc., and insults back and forth were making both the president and the NPP presidential candidate look and sound a bit silly. Dr Bawumia drew my ire with his work on Togo and ill-fated attempt to join Dzifa Attivor in the ethno-religious gutter but he was solid gold yesterday.
Mr Terkper has responded, albeit not with the same eloquence, to the issues raised by Dr Bawumia.
To date though, my top marks go to IMANI Ghana. Their response was timely, substantive and balanced. I have had occasion to take IMANI to task recently but they get an A on this one. While their presentation was undermined by their attempts to respond to NPP attacks, it was excellent from beginning to end.
I urge the media and academia to weigh in, to give us light, not heat. Let this debate and the rest of this campaign be substantive and make us all proud.
Finally, I can’t wait for the VP debate between Dr Bawumia and V.P. Amissah-Arthur. Just a caveat though. They should remember their audience are ordinary people at Suame, Esikado, Kolungugu and Anloga, etc. Let the language be the language of the streets and the people.
God bless you all.