June 2, 2023
Analysis: Mahama's dead goat syndrome vs. Akufo-Addo's 'I don't fear hu' comment

Analysis: Mahama's dead goat syndrome vs. Akufo-Addo's 'I don't fear hu' comment

Politicians are naturally people who make promises and give their word to electorates whether in opposition or in government.

In opposition, they want to be voted into office and in government, they want to be trusted as people who keep their word.

In Ghana, one of the main measures the electorate can use to hold the politician to account is the ballots. There, they can retain or remove a politician.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has, however, delivered a ‘sermon’ to electorates who threaten the government with electoral consequences. His view is that not everyone would ordinarily vote for a candidate in an election and no one can be forced to vote for another under a democracy.

Having said that, he believes it is unnecessary for the people of Manso and Kwabre in the Ashanti Region to threaten his party the New Patriotic Party, NPP, that in 2024 unless their roads are fixed, they will vote against the Party.

But his comments are similar to one by former President John Dramani Mahama, his famous ‘Dead Goat Syndrome,’ comment.

GhanaWeb looks at the similarities and differences in the situation that triggered the said comments.

What exactly did Akufo-Addo say?

The president was answering a question by an OTEC FM journalist over threats by people of the two areas to vote against the NPP. “No problem, no problem,” Akufo-Addo is heard saying.

He continued: “I am saying people make those kinds of threats, me, they don’t frighten me. Somebody votes for you, somebody supports you, it is because they want you to do things for them, so I understand that.

“There is no need for people to say if I do not do it, this or that. That is your own problem. Of course, I will fulfil my promises.

“But if it so happens that you decide to vote for the NDC, that is your problem, that is not mine. Nobody will hold your hand to thumbprint for any candidate, the most important thing is that I understand the responsibility and we will deal with it,” he stressed.

Mahama’s dead goat syndrome comment

The then-president Mahama warned that he would not be shaken by the threat of strikes from labour unions as the country approached the 2016 Election.

“I have seen more demonstrations and strikes in my first two years. I don’t think it can get worse. It is said that when you kill a goat, and you frighten it with a knife, it doesn’t fear the knife because it is dead already.

“I have a dead goat syndrome,” he said on March 11, 2015, while speaking to members of the Ghanaian community in Botswana.

The similarities and differences:

a. Both politicians were president at the time of making these pronouncements.

b. The pronouncements bordered on electoral consequences of the government’s inaction on specific issues

The differences:

a. Mahama was speaking outside the country, in Namibia and his comments were to the wider populace but Akufo-Addo was addressing specifically the people of Manso and Kwabre as per the question posed by the journalist.

b. Mahama was seeking reelection at the time he made the comment but Akufo-Addo will not be on the ballot paper in 2024.

c. Mahama’s comment was at an event whereas Akufo-Addo was speaking at a radio event.

Whether or not this is a classic case of Akufo-Addo claiming ‘dead goat syndrome,’ in a different language, the NPP will have to live with the consequences come 2024.


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