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“John Mahama’s Promises and My Women’s Trousers” – Manasseh Azure reacts to Mahama’s Ex-gratia cancellation promises



There was a time I believed that women who wore trousers–which I considered to be men’s attire–would not go to heaven.

I no longer believe in some of the views I held 10 years ago. If you dig them up one day, and I hold a different view from what I used to believe in, it should not amount to hypocrisy.

As I grow and learn, new information and perspectives shape my thinking. So my views may change on some issues. It is common with human nature.

The fact that John Mahama has benefitted from ex-gratia doesn’t mean he cannot have a different opinion about it today. The fact that his previous administration had more than 60 ministers and deputies doesn’t mean he cannot think differently when it comes to the number of ministers.

I will not ridicule him. Ex-gratia is something Ghanaians feel strongly about. There is an apparent consensus that it is wasteful and should be scrapped, especially for some political office holders.

A potential president who wants to scrap or reduce its beneficiaries should be encouraged to do it and more. I will not ridicule him. I will not say he should return what he has benefitted. That is belittling the discourse.
In order to build a strong democracy, citizens and civil society have a responsibility to be critical of duty-bearers. They also have a responsibility to encourage those who make an attempt to put in policies that are in the interest of the people.

I will encourage John Mahama to initiate more of the policies that will bring sanity into our politics. If he wins, we can police him and his administration to implement them.

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If his opponents in the election think they won’t scrap ex-gratia or cap the number of ministers, they should say so, and clearly. At the end of the day, Ghanaians will judge and choose.
As far as I’m concerned, I will be happy to see more of policy-related promises going into the next election. I still maintain that anybody at all can borrow and build hospitals or pay school fees. (I should have said “any idiot can borrow…”, but today is Sunday.

I would have been disappointed if John Mahama was not saying things that contradict the policies and actions of his administration.

We need policies that shape our democracy and I will encourage candidates who do that. I won’t ridicule them. If they win, I will then hold them to account for their promises.
That’s how we build a nation.

By Manasseh Azure