Former President John Mahama has said he will soon decide whether or not to contest the flag bearer slot of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He told party supporters in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region during the party’s Unity Walk on Saturday, 5 May that now that the party’s re-organisation going “well” and almost over, he thought it was time to make that announcement.
Should he decide to run, Mr Mahama will be contending with former appointees Sylvester Mensah, Alban Bagbin and Ekwow Spio-Garbrah as well as former SSNIT Board Chair Prof Joshua Alabi, who have all expressed interest in running.
Mr Mahama had always postponed his announcement with reason that a premature declaration will throw the party’s re-organisation programme out of gear.
Meanwhile, Mr Mahama has described the Akufo-Addo-led government as intolerant.
According to him, appointees within government resort to the use of “unprintable” words against him anytime he criticises or suggests measures to deal with any national issue, whereas he welcomed all kinds of insults and criticism during his time as president.
He said: “One of the things you need to be, as a good leader, is the ability to listen and to tolerate criticism. When I was president, I was probably one of the most criticised and insulted president’s but the mark of good leadership is that you maintain your calm and you maintain your focus.
“Unfortunately, it looks like the current people in government cannot take criticism. When you offer any decision, they call you all kinds of unprintable names, but I was not brought up to use unprintable names against my political opponents.
“The language you use in your political discourse is a reflection of your upbringing. If you were brought up well, it must reflect in the language that you use in your political discourse, and, so, you can call me any name. The simple point I made was that we have tried it before, we have gone after these young people with soldiers, it didn’t work, and, so, the best way to go is while you stop them from doing illegal small-scale mining, be working on providing them with alternatives.”
Mr Mahama’s comment was in response to the series of backlash he has received for suggesting that government’s approach to the galamsey fight was wrong.
Mr Mahama, at a similar Unity Walk in Kumasi, had said: “It is a fact that if illegal mining is not controlled, water bodies and farmlands will be destroyed. But as we put a stop to illegal mining, we must apply commonsense and ensure that a livelihood package is in place for the miners.
“The tactics of deploying military men to arrest illegal miners is not the way to go because my government has done it before but it failed. The solution is to bring a new mining [law] that will regulate the activities of the miners”.
Acting General Secretary of the NPP, Mr John Boadu, in response, described him [Mahama] as a desperate politician who would not receive the nod to lead the country again.
The Danquah Institute (DI) accused Mr Mahama of endorsing galamsey.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu called on small-scale miners in the country to ignore Mr Mahama’s criticism since the ex-president is a “conman”.
Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, questioned whether Mr Mahama applied sense in the fight against illegal mining activities during his term of office.