Mahama and the Girls of Sawoubea High School
I read Ms. Elizabeth Ohene’s column captioned “A Culture Not Safe for Girls” (Ghanaweb.com 10/31/19) with scandalous amusement. “Scandalous amusement” because it poignantly exposes the megalomaniacal former President John Dramani Mahama for the shameless, ethnocentric political chauvinist charlatan that many Ghanaians have come to know him to be over at least the last seven years. On the latter count must also be recalled the fact that the former Rawlings lieutenant vigorously campaigned for the Presidency in 2012, especially in the present five northern regions, so-called, in the name of being the metaphorical “North Star” and the last hope and chance for the northern-half of the country to catch up in the general level of socioeconomic development with the southern-half of the same.
Now, it clearly turns out that the Gonja native from Bole-Bamboi, in the newly Akufo-Addo-created Savannah Region, is the con-artist par-excellence that many of us have come to know him to be for quite sometime now. Mr. Mahama has also been authoritatively described by Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, the acclaimed founding father of the country’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), as being many times more corrupt than the summarily executed generals and leaders of the erstwhile juntas of the National Redemption Council (NRC) and the Supreme Military Council (SMC – I & II).
I vividly remember then-Interim President and Candidate John Dramani Mahama’s caustically lambasting then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the former’s most formidable opponent in the 2012 Presidential Election, for daring to suggest that he had a policy agenda of easing the hefty socioeconomic burdens on the Kayaye, the predominantly northern-descended female head-porters in many Ghanaian towns and cities, particularly in the southern-half of the country. In the presumptuous playbook of the former Vice-President and Arch-Lieutenant to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, easing the chronic and perennial socioeconomic burdens of the Kayaye was the exclusive preserve of only a politician who counted himself among these long-neglected abjectly poor Ghanaians by birth.
By this kind of barbaric and ethno-regionally divisive logic, Candidate Mahama also implicitly sought to blame the plight and predicament of the Kayaye on the now-President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, primarily because the latter was of southern “Kabonga” ethnic descent and, consequently, guilty and inextricably responsible for the raw and acute privation of these female head-porters. Of course, the scandalous absurdity of this logic has been more than proven by four-and-half years of Mahama stranglehold on Ghanaian politics during which our national treasury literally became the especial preserve of the filthy rich and exclusively northern-descended members of the governing board of the so-called Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
In short, about the only thing that “accelerated” in the northern-half of the country under the Mahama regime was the access and carte-blanche opportunity for northern-born and/or descended Ghanaian cronies of the Bole-born President Mahama to literally and wantonly empty the coffers of our national treasury and, by extension, the wallets and pocketbooks of predominantly southern Ghanaian -born citizens and/or residents of our country – and on the latter score, of course, we are thinking of the Agambire and the SUBAH and GUBAH and the GYEEDA and the Guinea Fowl rackets and affairs hatched by the second under the watch of a profligate and unconscionable Mr. Mahama. Indeed, so innumerable were these fraudulent rackets and criminal illegalities that some of us have even lost track of the bulk of them.
But what is most unpardonable about the abject political hypocrisy of Mr. John Dramani Mahama is revelation by the Girls’ Education Officer – until now, I had never been aware of the existence of this rather progressive and foresighted title - that there actually exists a state-owned and taxpayer-sponsored educational establishment called the Sawuobea Junior High School, in the Wa-East District of the Upper-West Region, where not a single girl or young woman has ever graduated from the aforementioned institution, that is, from the Junior High School Level, because of the existence of a morally horrifying and civically barbaric local culture which dictates the summary withdrawal of girls with ages ranging between 10 and 15, who are then forced into predatory marriages with adult males old enough to be their own fathers and, in many cases, even grandfathers (See Ms. Ohene’s column captioned “A Culture Not Safe for Girls” Ghanaweb.com 10/31/19).
And to think of the 2020 Presidential Candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress screaming foul over the Double-Tracking System of the Akufo-Addo-implemented fee-free Senior High School regime, on grounds that the inalienable constitutional right of Ghanaian youths to a qualitative educational package is being flagrantly compromised, makes you wonder about the caliber of Mr. Mahama’s leadership competence on the scale of our average national leadership competence capacity.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
November 1, 2019