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The acrimonious exchange between Dr Bawumia and Mr John Mahama is bad for the north


Two northern political behemoths, former president John Maham, and current vice president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, are slugging it out big time, yet again. The name calling, the ad hominem attacks and denigrating remarks are deeply troubling.

The slugfest is a throwback to, and a renewal of sorts, of the naked hostilities that marked the voraciously ugly 2016 election campaign. Ghanaians, particularly northerners are recoiling.

What triggered the latest nasty verbal brawl between the two men was Mr. Mahama’s not so subtle dig at Dr Bawumia for spearheading the acquisition of the controversial digital property address system. He described it as a despicable 419 scam.

Mr. Mahama said: “How can you launch a Google GPS system that is freely available on our mobile phone and say it is a national addressing system. It is such a pity.”

The vice president reacted instinctively. He took exception to Mr. Mahama’s verbal assault and responded in kind.

He said: “We know 419 when we see one, and that unfortunately was the hallmark of the administration of former president Mahama.”

How I wish Dr. Bawumia hadn’t sprung to action, stayed above the unfolding fray, how I wish he hadn’t taken on the former president. After all, Dr. Bawumia occupies the second most important office in the land; he is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Decorum demands that he exercises restraint in the face of extreme provocation. He should never have taken the bait thrown his way.

Ghanaians, particularly northerners, off all political stripes, are cringing at the “royal” spat. We all know the two men come from opposite sides of the political aisle. Invariably, there will be huge philosophical differences, and occasional disagreements, here and there, over policy and governance.

But the nastiness and vitriol of the exchanges between the two men, are alarming and should be cause for concern. The northern political class is by no means a large one, with veteran and seasoned politicians.

However, Mr. Mahama and Dr Bawumia, are arguably the most prominent, high profile politicos the region has produced in the last decade. In their separate ways, both men have given a voice to the vast swath of land north of the Yeji river.

It is thus befuddling that these two brave sons of the north will engage in such petty political squabbles that ultimately benefit no one.

It was Chinua Achebe, the late great Nigerian wordsmith who once observed that : “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

He couldn’t be more right; as Mr. Mahama and Dr Bawumia duke it out in the political arena, it is the northern region that bears the brunt.

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