Oh No, Mr President

In his attempt to defend the car gift from the Burkinabe contractor, Kanazoe, President Mahama appears to have stirred yet another controversy. Two days after describing the criticisms on him over the car gift as baseless, President Mahama met the clergy at the Flagstaff House.

In that meeting, the president is reported as saying that he does not like American cars and that his preferred car is Toyota, which is made in Japan. The president made the statement to justify his position that the car gift given him could not have been a bribe as being alleged by his opponents.

President Mahama, as a human being and a Ghanaian, has every right to defend himself if his actions are criticised by his opponents. But in so doing, he must be conscious about the comment he makes in public, because he is not just an ordinary person, but the president of the Republic of Ghana.

The ordinary Ghanaian has every right to state in both public and private if he or she prefers Japanese cars to that of America. Unfortunately, President Mahama, because of his position cannot make such comment in public.

Since time immemorial, both American and Japanese governments have been giving massive support to our economy. This support comes from taxes paid by their citizens, including multi-national corporations such as Toyota and Ford.

If both Ford and Toyota are not making much return on their investments, it would affect their tax obligations to the American and Japanese governments.

The latter would also not get the needed taxes to tackle their domestic problems and get a surplus, which they transfer to developing countries, including Ghana, in the form of aid to support our economy. This means that both Toyota and Ford are playing political and economic roles in their respective countries and beyond.

For the president to say, therefore, that he prefers Japanese to American cars, means that he is indirectly campaigning for the purchase of Japanese cars in Ghana and not that of America. This, to us, is very dangerous, even though as a human being he is entitled to make his own choices.

The government of Japan has supported Ghana in the various sectors of the economy, especially the road sub sector. Apart from promising to provide the funds for the construction of a modern interchange at the Tema end of the Motorway, negotiations are also on-going for them to fund the construction of the second bridge over River Volta as part of the Eastern Corridor project.

The same Japanese government also funded the construction of the Adanse Praso-Bekwai Junction road. The government of Japan has also been supporting the construction of school infrastructure and a host of others in the country.

In the case of the US, they released a whopping $500 million during the reign of President Kufuor, part of which was used to construct the first class George Walker Bush Highway or the Motorway extension in Accra.

Agreement has also been signed with the current government, headed by President Mahama, for the release of another tranche of $495 million from the US government to help tackle the problems in our power sector.

From the above narration, it is clear that both the US and Japan governments are tremendously supporting the development of our economy. It is based on this that The Chronicle finds it distasteful the comment made by President Mahama from no other places but the seat of Government.

The competence of the president when it comes to communication cannot be challenged anywhere but he still needs someone who would be giving him specialised advise on the subject, because a doctor cannot perform surgery on himself.

We think political pressures are forcing our president to be making basic mistakes in terms of communication and he needs to have a second look at that.

America and Japan are both economic super powers in the world and for a president from a third world country which depends on these two giants for survival to try to knock their heads together is unfortunate development and a serious diplomat breach.

It is the hope of The Chronicle that the president would accept our criticism in good faith and try better next time. Where possible, he should render public apology for the comments he made to set the mind of America at ease.