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The gloves are off; president and opponent trade barbs.


 The war of words has began; I recently observed that the campaign for the presidency was going to be heated and overly nasty. Well, it did not take long after his party launched its 2016 campaign for Mr Mahama to take off the gloves and immediately tear into his main political rival, Mr Akuffo Addo.

At a recent campaign stop in the northern region, Mr Mahama took the fight to the opposition leader, describing Mr Addo as “intolerant, divisive and dictatorial.” Harsh words, no doubt, but you should expect that kind of language from a president who throughout his tenure has been relentlessly vilified and called every name under the sun.

The battle lines are drawn now, and there is no turning back. Each man is fighting for his political life, and would therefore not spare any effort to sully the credentials and hard won reputation of the other.

Mr Addo has not been exactly nice to the president, either; of course, it will be fool hardy to expect otherwise. The gentleman wants to be president, after all.

On numerous occasions he has employed well known and well rehearsed strategies used by opposition leaders all around the world to hit hard at incumbents they are trying to unseat; hammer their fiscal and economic policies and call them ugly names.

On the campaign trail, Mr Addo has not disappointed; he has had no qualms painting Mr Mahama as incompetent and vision-less much to the deafening cheers of his supporters.

The ugly spectacle we are witnessing, the adult spat between Mr Addo and the president, unfortunately, is the nature of politics, it is a blood sport; ironically, if you were to lock these two gentlemen in a room and ask them to deliberate on national issues of paramount importance to Ghanaians, they will undoubtedly be nice to each other.

Mr Mahama is burdened by an ailing economy marked by high rates of unemployment, especially among the youth and exorbitant food prices.

And the opposition is licking its chops; it is milking the woes of the economy to its political advantage. But the opposition is doing what any political entity desperate to wrest power from the governing party will do.

A weak economy is the proverbial Achilles hill of any national leader. History is replete with the stories of politicians who were famously good leaders, but ultimately were undone by their poor stewardship of their nations economies.

Clearly, Mr Addo is the beneficiary of Mr Mahama’s difficulties. Mr Addo is seen by many of his supporters as the better alternative. He is said, and he himself has forcefully made it abundantly clear that, he has the answers to the country’s hydra-headed problems.

But the rush to make Mr Addo the doctor with the prescription Ghana sorely needs, should, however, be tempered with the stark realization that robust and vibrant economies are not built over night. It takes sustained efforts and fierce commitment from national leaders.

The global economy is still struggling, and how long has it been since the financial implosion of 2008? So, let’s remember that before we get carried away by the sweet talk of politicians itching to get our precious votes.

Given Mr Mahama’s perceived mishandling of the economy, one would have expected Mr Addo to have a huge lead in national polls, in fact, an unsurmontable lead. But his numbers are unimpressive. They dismally unattractive.

Mr Addo barely has 50 percent approval rating, and that is least comforting particularly so if you are gunning for the highest elected office in the land.

Mr Mahama’s numbers aren’t stellar either, but for a sitting president to register nearly 50 percent in national polls, all the in the midst of a struggling economy, is truly revealing.

The verbal slug-fest between the two presidential candidates will continue until December 7, when one of them is elected president of our republic. Until then, enjoy the unfolding political drama.





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