As the elections campaign heats up the core messages of the leading candidates get clearer.
What each of them offers the public gets touted more often and with greater emphasis, as if the ears of the voters are impervious to the campaign rhetoric.
While the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC’s) John Mahama zeroes in on his offer of Jobs, improved Free SHS, free primary health care, the big infrastructure push, legalisation of Okada, agribusiness, regulated small scale mining and more, the rhetoric of President Akufo-Addo has exposed his personal battle with credibility.
Curiously, at every single opportunity, instead of keeping faith with the NPP’s 2020 manifesto, Mr Akufo-Addo spends many words on rescuing his credibility. At a point his tongue slipped and he ended up saying what many Ghanaians have become accustomed to; that he is “a liar”. That those words slipped off his own tongue could not have been a mistake. The gods must have intervened.
As our elders say, a toad does not run out of its hole in the day for nothing. Either there are driver ants or snakes hunting it for food or it is hungry for food itself. Mr Akufo-Addo, just like the toad, is out across the country shouting hoarse and pleading with Ghanaians to trust him because he knows he lacks the credibility.
Throughout the history of modern Ghana, no leader has had as much public confidence, following an election, as Mr Akufo-Addo received in December 2016. Yet, none had dissipated this goodwill faster than he did. To many voters, Nana Akufo-Addo was an economic, governance, security, anti-corruption and a moral messiah.
He promised Ghanaians the best economy where jobs were going to be abundant under a ‘competent’ Economic Management Team led by his Running Mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. He assured the citizens he will build a ‘Mecca’ only to audaciously deliver an economic ‘Yemen’. He pontificated about the curse of government borrowing, only to assume power and borrow more than all Presidents since 1957 without commensurate development to boot.
In 2016, when we listened to the campaign speeches of Candidate Akufo-Addo we had no doubt that his family and friends would be kept at bay from his government. People seeking to make money on the back of his government would be avoided if not chased away. Indeed we were made to believe that corruption would be made expensive to anyone who attempted it under his watch.
Ghanaians, in 2016, saw in Mr Akufo-Addo a champion of Freedom, Justice and the Rule of Law, not rule of men. He was hailed for his speeches.
Yet, when he assumed power, Mr Akufo-Addo delivered the highest number of family members in government in Ghana’s history. He gives us the highest number of friends involved in corruption scandals weekly. Evidently he presides over the most violent regime in the 4th Republic. Ghana’s new international image of graft and sleaze is something we cannot be proud of.
President Akufo-Addo, in government, has used every opportunity in power to destroy the rosy image we were given about him at the time he sought our mandate.
If you cannot deliver in deeds what you promised in speech, you cannot redeem yourself by more speech. Actions, they say, speak louder than words.
As Ghanaians inch closer to the December polls what each leader is capable of delivering is what will inform the voting decisions of the public. It is difficult to see how, by mere words, Mr Akufo-Addo can redeem his tattered credibility.
By Kingsley Lakle