CELEBRATING ALHAJI DR. MAHAMOUD BAWUMIA, THE ECONOMIC PROPHET OF OUR TIME IDDI MUHAYU-DEEN’S FOLDER

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Dr. Mahamoud Bawumia made his first appearance on the Ghanaian political scene sometime in 2007 when he was nominated by the flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Akufo Addo to partner him in the 2008 general elections as the party’s vice presidential candidate. His nomination was met with so much cynicism by many political pundits both within and outside of the NPP, who contended that this decision was very unpopular because he was going to add very little to the NPP presidential ticket. These cynics essentially argued that Dr. Bawumia was a novice in politics and thus, had absolutely no clue about how to get the needed numbers for the party, which is the underpinning of such political consideration. They also contended that the celebrated economist, who was then the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Bawumia was a perfect man when it came to economic issues and matters that had to do with facts, figures or data and not the art and science of politics.

But the man who appointed him damned these cynics and kept fate in his Running Mate much to the surprise of many, especially because he had overlooked some consummate politicians from the NPP fold who were in strong contention for this consideration. With the benefit of hindsight, I can say without any shred of doubt that Nana Addo has long been vindicated and the doubting thomases have since had to revise their notes. This is because Dr. Bawumia has more than distinguished himself in all departments and couched an enviable niche for himself, as an embodiment of economic and political institution, whose legendary contribution to the socio-economic development of Ghana cannot be exaggerated. Indeed, he is today seen by many, as arguably, the most popular Ghanaian politician across the divide.

As a matter of fact, the souring popularity of Alhaji Dr. Bawumia is conspicuously manifest in the overwhelming admiration and support he receives from students, the youth of the country, the middle class and northerners at large. As a student activist in the national student front and the immediate past NUGS secretary, I can say on authority that majority of students today, prefer to grant more audience to the charismatic Dr. Bawumia than even the President of the Republic, apparently because of his calm demeanor, humility, enviable track record and message of hope as well as economic prospects, which he personifies. You would notice that, consistently, government has been trying in a surreptitious manner, to prevent him from addressing students in our tertiary institutions. The story is not different with majority of the nation’s youth, the middle class or bourgeoisies, who hold this economist and chartered Banker [Alhaji Dr. Bawumia] in very high esteem for same reasons.

Again, the NPP’s electoral fortunes in the northern region and the “Zongo/Muslim Constituency” have improved drastically with the advent of Alhaji Dr. Bawumia, who hails from that region. He is the reason why the agelong political narrative that the northern region is the stronghold of the NDC would sooner than later, become a thing of the past because of his rising popularity. Indeed, as we speak, Dr. Bawumia has delivered all the “Mamprusi Seats” in the northern region to the NPP, apart from the Nalerigu Constituency and has also significantly increased the number of NPP Parliamentary Seats in the region from 3 to 11, which constitute almost 400% rise. How more remarkable could that be! It is not for nothing that Alhaji Bawumia is seen by the NDC as the NUMBER ONE THREAT to their electoral hegemony in the northern region in particular and Ghana at large.

In the economic front, Ahaji Dr. Mahamoud Bawumia is not only a colossus but also a walking encyclopedia of economic industry and astuteness. He is widely known for his COMPETENT PREDICTIONS and PROJECTIONS of the Ghanaian economy; a trait which has meritoriously earned him the accolade, THE ECONOMIC PROPHET. I am yet to see a single prediction or forecast he has made about the Ghanaian economy which hasn’t materialized. Alhaji Dr. Bawumia has thus, been vindicated in all his economic prophesies and proved his critics, wrong. For instance, when he cautioned the NDC government in 2014 against their reckless borrowing and predicted that by the end of the year, the government would have no option but run to the IMF for an ECONOMIC BAILOUT, President John Mahama called his bluff and said they would continue to borrow, once they were not borrowing to eat kebab (kyekyenga). On his part, the Finance Minister replied Bawumia and said they were engaged in smart borrowing and so, there was no cause for alarm.

However, our economy was in tatters compelling government to indeed run to the IMF by the end of the year for a bailout as Bawumia predicted, which was consummated in the early part of 2015. Unfortunately, this IMF bailout came with some killer conditionalities including the infamous freeze in public sector employment, complete deregulation of petroleum pricing as well as the utility sector, staff rationalization among others. If they had listened to this economic prophet [Alhaji Dr. Bawumia], I am not sure we would have found ourselves in this quagmire which is suffocating everybody. Again, when Dr. Bawumia questioned the methodology for computing inflation figures (the so called single digits at the time), he was heavily chastised by government communicators until the IMF corroborated his concerns before same was reviewed to give us realistic figures.

He was also vindicated when he postulated that the Bank of Ghana’s prescriptions on how to arrest our depreciating cedi during the acute exchange rate volatilities were NOT going to work. After he was attacked by some government functionaries and perhaps, “babies with sharp teeth” at the initial stages, the BoG later abandoned those stringent measures or prescriptions and found wisdom in Dr. Bawumia’s technocratic advice when their approach failed to yield the desired results. It is pretty obvious that I cannot finish mentioning the numerous instances of vindication in respect of Dr. Bawumia’s economic prophesies. No wonder the business community, to a large extent, depends on some of his economic projections in planning. In fact, some industry players who attended his latest lecture at the national theatre on the state of the Ghanaian economy confirmed this assertion to some media houses.

His ability to demystify and oversimplify complex economics to the understanding of the ordinary man is incredibly fascinating. No wonder his usual SCHOLARLY ECONOMIC LECTURES receive more audience than even the rendition of the state of the nation’s address by a sitting president. This is in spite of the fact that the celebrated economist, Alhaji Dr. Bawumia is in opposition. You can imagine what the story would be, if his party was in government. Indeed, as he himself always says, facts and data speak for themselves and because he is not good with propaganda, he sticks to data, which is his comfort zone. When Dr. Bawumia, who I describe as an economic timber is speaking, the whole of Ghana is silent because of the profound erudition and wisdom he espouses. And when he throws one punch, the entire government machinery is destabilized and goes through a typical “kpokpogbligbli experience”. It takes several months for government to recover and adequately respond to him.

Having noticed how expensive and uncomfortable this approach was, government has now resolved to rather attack his person rather than the issues he talks about, hoping that would dent his credibility. You would notice that when Dr. Bawumia speaks about the economy, the “babies with sharp teeth”, who have no clue about economics are immediately unleashed to respond to him with their acidic invectives, who then attack his credibility and try to tarnish his hard-won reputation. Sometimes they go so petty by attacking his immediate family and also cast doubt on the genuineness of his famous academic credentials.

One other spirited campaign against the credibility of Dr. Bawumia which is being led by the NDC general secretary has to do with his allegation of having names of foreigners, precisely, Togolese in our voters register. The NDC says, he is not credible because he has failed to make available the rest of the names (some 90%) of these foreigners on our electoral roll as he promised. First and foremost, I wish to tell them that Dr. Bawumia only communicated the official position of his party on the matter and so, it is problematic to personalize the issue and single him out for attacks, even if there is any justification for that, which I doubt. Secondly, what has been the EC’s commitment to cleaning the 10% which was made available by Dr. Bawumia? They rubbished it on the grounds that they couldn’t get a copy of the Togolese register for the necessary authentication.

Meanwhile, this same EC, as said by Charlotte Osei was able to fly all the way to Kenya and South Africa to get a copy of their voters register for their indulgence but they could not travel to Togo, our next-door neighbor to properly engage the authorities for a copy of theirs. They had to resort to an ordinary phone call and letter writing in demanding for the Togolese register. How more disrespectful could that be to the Togolese election governing body? No wonder their request was declined. With this dismissive posture of the EC, which sensible political party would waste their time to conduct further works and make available the rest of the names? And is the NDC and its surrogates waiting for Dr. Bawumia and the NPP to tell them that they had abandoned this exercise? I thought this is highly commonsensical. So, because of this single act, the NDC is telling us that Dr. Bawumia is a lair and ought to be treated with contempt? How incredulous! Well, they can continue living in their world of narcissism and phantasmagoria.

I hold a strong conviction that a large section of the Ghanaian populace believe in this tried and tested economic doctor [Alhaji Bawumia] because of his commitment to keeping a true tongue and proven track record, which transcends the borders of Ghana. He played a leading role in the stabilization of the Zimbabwean and Senegalese economy as the then Country-Director for the Africa Development Bank. You can understand why every country wants to have the Bawumia experience. Of course, he was also, very instrumental in the stabilization of the Ghanaian economy during the erstwhile Kufour government, which transitioned our country from one of HIPC status to Lower Middle Income. This, essentially meant that we had moved from the control of the IMF by the end of 2008.

Regrettably, President John Mahama has taken us back to the IMF for a bailout and POLICY CREDIBILITY in his own words. From all indications, Alhaji Bawumia has not only been a blessing to the NPP but Ghana and the World at large. He is a TREASURE that we all need to religiously protect in order to continue benefiting from his exploits for God and country. This piece would be incomplete if I fail to acknowledge the invaluable support and contribution of his beautiful and hardworking wife, Hajia Samira to the enviable BAWUMIA SUCCESS STORY. I hope somebody will not say that by this, I am insulting his wife and suggesting that she is ugly and lazy since that is the latest logic in town.

Conclusion, if with all these international award winning accomplishments of Alhaji Dr. Mahamoud Bawumia, we are still being told by our friends in the NDC that he has no credibility and ought to be ignored, then I wonder if there is any Ghanaian politician in our current dispensation that can stand the test of credibility. If we can’t trust Alhaji Bawumia under the circumstances, then who else? Let them continue to tickle themselves and laugh whilst thinking that the Ghanaian people aren’t that discerning. Reality shall soon dawn on everybody and they will get to know their smoothness level. In the meantime, Alhaji Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia is my icon and I celebrate him on this day and time. I am a proud admirer of the Bawumias and I guess you are too. Long live the economic guru of our time! Long live my Motherland!

Assalamu alaikum

This piece was compiled by a concerned Ghanaian in the business of OCCUPYING HEARTS and MINDS for the love of God and country.

IDDI MUHAYU-DEEN

Youth Activist/Social Commentator
Former NUGS Secretary

(0245335197)

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