Friday, 22 February 2013

The State of The Nation - John Mahama : The Review

Opportunities For All
The first state of the nation address of the first
term of John Dramani Mahama, who went into
the election as the incumbent following the
unfortunatate passing of J.EA Mills.

The Concept
With no immediate past opposition government
to blame (like the last two departed presidents), Mr.
Mahama opted for a precarious mix of realism (we
are where we are and its not good), idealism (if we
can just pull together we'll solve all our problems),
and optism (just look into the future, you'll see a
fully fledged middle income country).

 The Story.
Its hard not to like the man, well spoken, nice, affable 
and an all round gentleman.  But he is still a politician,
and and therefore he almost had no choice but to take
us through the rigmarole of listing the 'great' projects
being undertaken - building roads, hospitals, schools,
- talk us through how the growth rate a few years
ago may have been the highest in the world, how we are
top ten in this or that list, etc., etc. so it was surprising and
refreshing to note that the theme of this speech seemed
to be Truth.

The speech came to life when he attacked (he didn't really but
I am into reading between the lines and seeing the second
or third derivatives) the opposition for sullying the hard
won reputation of the electoral comission who in his view
(and according to international and local election observers, had
conducted "by far the most credible, transparent, free and
fair (election) since 1992."

There were pot shots taken at public sector workers,
"This issue is even more significant because as we struggle
to settle the wage bill, thousands of public workers continue
to make demands for wage increases and threaten work
stoppage if we do not meet these demands ...... It is said “to whom much is given, much is expected.”"
 and even the clergy.

And then he stripped the meat off the bones, making 
it clear to Ghanaians that they had to pay the full price
for their fuel because their government couldn't afford
to pay it for them.

He even almost managed to scrape through the power and
water problems without bruises, but we've heard so many
excuses and deadline dates, that this time it didn't quite

The Writing
If you think of it as a technical document to present the
state of the nation in facts, figures and logic, it comes off as
well written in easy simple language, but if you think of it as
a speech to inspire the nation to some grand beckoning
future, then it lacked in flowery language and would be
just average.

The Resolution
The ending was really good. Quoting himself from his inauguration
speech and solemnizing the moment by invoking
God, he managed to make the ending quite touching.

To Read Or Not To Read
If you are looking for an introduction to the current goings-ons
in Ghana from an authoritative source, by all means you should
read it, otherwise quite frankly don't bother.

Click here to read the speech

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