Today marks exactly hundred days since John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as the 4th president of the 4th Republic of Ghana. The president has admitted that the first 100 days has been turbulent but he remains focused.
Before his election, he had battled the provision of adequate power and water and till date, the situation is an albatross on his neck. Unlike his predecessor John Evans Atta Mills who once graded himself well, John Dramani Mahama only conceded the turbulent nature of his 100 days, saying that he is focused. For a man whose very election was and is still being seriously challenged in the Supreme Court of the land, a smooth first hundred days can be very elusive.
His inauguration was snubbed by the largest opposition party, the NPP and when he delivered the State of the Nation address, he was met with only a one sided chamber of legislatures. His very legitimacy as president is under scrutiny, perhaps, leading to difficulties in decision making.
His appointees were vetted by only friendly MPs and a wide section of the public believe the move has done more harm than good to the nation because sometimes, it becomes quite difficult to determine whether some of these Ministers can deliver.
And the load shedding has been more difficult than ever to manage… the usual “oh ECG” cries during blackouts has now changed to “oh Mahama”. President Mahama began promising an end to the load shedding, long before he was elected but the nation is still battling with the energy situation. Need I say the power situation has now been divided into two seasons, namely; off peak and on peak?
As if electricity is not enough headache, the Ghana Water Company announced water rationing. That also is set to end in August per the sector Minister’s promise.
Then came the season of strikes. First, the Ghana National Association of Teachers, then the National Association of Graduate Teachers, then the University Teachers Association of Ghana, followed by the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association and the Ghana Medical Association amidst complains of joblessness from the unprecedented Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana. The president was also entangled in a web of pastors supposedly being transported to Israel on a pilgrimage.
In recent days, his problem had to do with the payment of the constitutionally guaranteed ex-gratia to former MPs and Ministers while labour unions are on strike.
But President Mahama’s first 100 days have not been all gloomy…
The president received a lot of applause when he appointed non-political and non-NDC members to serve in his government. He got an even bigger applause when he appointed physically challenged to head a whole Ministry. His decision to reshuffle Ministers to regions outside their birthplace was particularly remarkable.
Through his Finance Minister, there have been clear directives to the various Ministries with regards to spending and thorough scrutiny of contracts, all in a bid to curb the huge budget deficit and ensure transparency. The IMF in its recent examination of Ghana’s economy indeed expressed worries about the implications of the energy crisis and the budget deficit but it is still confident about the country’s growth potential for 2013.
President Mahama’s pro-activeness in solving the labour issues albeit through the backdoor also comes up for huge praise.
It is perhaps too early to give judgment on whether his government will perform or not. But 100 out of 1460 days is not enough time for making pronouncements on a government’s performance, is it?
The setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the payment of unjustified judgment debts could not have come at a better time. For NDC die-hards, President Mahama’s ability to bring unity between himself and the party on the one side and NDC founder Jerry Rawlings is no mean feat.
By: Umaru Sanda Amadu