A government spokesperson has backed comments some have described as a verbal assault on former President John Mahama by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
Deputy Information Minister, Pius Hadzide, said on Joy FM’s Top Story, Tuesday that Dr Bawumia spoke the truth when he said former President Mahama plunged the country into economic hardships due to his incompetence.
“My understanding is that from time to time, the former President must be reminded of his abysmal records that he left,” the Deputy Minister justified Dr Bawumia’s recent jab at Mr Mahama.
The banter between the former President who is fighting for a comeback and the Vice President dates back to the run-up to the 2016 electioneering campaign.
However, Mr Mahama kick-started the recent episode when he ridiculed the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the challenges it is facing in managing the country’s economy.
The former President said the governing party has proven that it is only competent at holding economic lectures and making promises ahead of the 2016 elections but was incompetent at managing the economy.
That reference to economic lectures has been interpreted as a swipe at Dr Bawumia who spoke at numerous economic lectures during the 2016 campaign.
Dr Bawumia also launched an attack on the former President, resurrecting the old ‘incompetent-Mahama’ tag.
Dr Bawumia said recently, “I hear the incompetent one says he wants to come back [GIGGLES]. He wants to come and do more damage; as if he didn’t do enough damage.”
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has condemned Dr Bawumia’s reply.
According to the opposition party, the Vice President is being pedestrian.
Mr Mahama’s contender in the upcoming NDC primaries, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, however, wants Mr Mahama to focus on trumpeting the NDC’s plan to deliver a better economy to Ghanaians when it is given the mandate, instead of trying to purge himself of the incompetent tag.
Defending the comments of the Vice President on Top Story, the Deputy Information Minister said although Dr Bawumia finds time to remind Mr Mahama about the economic chaos he caused the country, he is delivering on his mandate as the head of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Economic Management Team.
“Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is very busy assisting the President to fix the eight or so years of sustained mismanagement of this economy. We inherited a very terrible economy and I can assure you that [Dr Bawumia] does not have time to engage in propaganda and trivial partisan politics at this point. I think that we rather have to advice former President Mahama and managers of his team to focus on the NDC and its internal elections. He doesn’t seem to know what time it is right now,” he said.
He added: You recall that by 2008 when the NPP was leaving power and when the former President [Mahama] was coming in…our GDP growth was around 9.1% when he was leaving power in 2016 it was a meagre 3.7%. What we saw is a declining growth in industry and agriculture. In fact, Industry was in a negative growth. The record he left us was a massive unemployment.”
‘NPP fears Mahama’
Meanwhile, Pollster Ben Ephson has said the seeming hard stance the governing party has taken against the former President signifies the former President represents their worse fears ahead of elections in 2020.
“In fact, if I was an undecided delegate in the NDC, a statement that the Vice President made, that Mr Mahama should come they [NPP] are waiting for him, I would say Mr Mahama is someone they are afraid of among all the candidates,” Mr Ephson averred.
He said if Mr Mahama was a weak candidate, he would not elicit such swift reactions from Dr Bawumia.