2016 Election: Ford gift saga won’t affect Mahama – Lecturer
controversy generated by a car gifted President John Mahama by a Burkinabe contractor in 2012 will poses no threat to his efforts at re-election, a lecturer at the Department of History and Political Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mohammed Abass, has said.
The gift was given to Mr Mahama by Mr Djibril Kanazoe, according to investigations conducted by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure Awuni. The Burkinabe was, in turn, given a series of contracts by the Government of Ghana, including a $650,000 deal to fence a tract of land around Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso, after he had parted with the SUV.
Tongues have been wagging over the revelation, with calls on Mr Mahama to resign from office despite a press release from the government stating that no wrong was done by the president.
Asked if the development could have any impact on the performance of the National Democratic Congress’ presidential candidate in the November 7 polls, Mr Abass told Accra News on Thursday June 16 that: “It is something that can affect him negatively in the upcoming elections. But assessing voting patterns in Ghana, we know that mostly the issues do not matter; issues do not influence the vote in Ghana in particular. Usually the voter does not switch allegiance; whether his candidate does what is right or wrong, he does not care in most cases. So, even if negative issues arise about a candidate, his voters go to vote for him again; some even justify it.”
Mr Abass added that there was even the tendency of such supporters to attempt an “equalisation” when such issues arise, by dredging up similar issues about an opponent to counter the bad press their favourite politician suffers, a situation, which, in most cases, results in the politician in question, emerging from the tempest unscathed.
“But these things do not help, they do not help us,” he lamented.
He, however, explained that there was a tiny “very discerning” section of the electorate who switch allegiance based on such happenings.
Expressing his views on the saga, Mr Abass said Mr Mahama erred in his action, as the facts of the matter are difficult to parry. He said in accepting the car gift, the president disregarded the country’s laws on acceptance of presents by public officials. “So, in that case, he did what he should not have done,” the lecturer stated.
Mr Abass advised that the president or his spokesperson should come out with an “apology” and some “explanation” so Ghanaians forgive him for what has happened. “But most of the time, we do not see such a thing happening in this country,” he observed.