Claim: Social media users accused John Mahama of snubbing critics when they complained of economic hardship by telling them to wait until the next election. They supported the claim with a 17-second video of the ex-president.
Verdict: Having analysed a more extended version of the video, we have found John Mahama’s comments taken out of context in the recent social media posts. He was instead speaking to members of his party and not the larger Ghanaian voters.
An old clip of former President John Mahama has resurfaced on social media, with some online users asserting that he was referring to critics complaining about economic hardship during his tenure.
In the 17-second video, John Mahama, who is the flagbearer for the National Democratic Congress for the 2024 election, is heard saying,
“…for those who disagree with me and are anxious to see my back, not to worry; 2016 is not too far away. I will urge them to be patient. In this difficult job, the least one expects is comradeship and solidarity.”
The video surfaces online as tensions build up towards the 2024 General elections.
Our investigation found a 3-minute news report by the State broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). This video report was uploaded on YouTube on November 6, 2013. The headline is “President John Mahama Orients MMDCEs.”
Between minutes 2:30 and 2:48, the statement by John Mahama in the resurfaced video can be heard, proving the clip’s authenticity.
However, before introducing that part of the clip, the reporter indicated that Mr Mahama was responding to “comrades from within his party” who have questioned his commitment to the fight against corruption.
Beginning the paragraph where he made the statement, John Mahama said:
“It is my hope that I can count on your support in the difficult fight against corruption. Recently, a few of my comrades have questioned my ability to fight corruption. I dare say they don’t know me well,” he stated.
He continued, “For those who disagree with me and are anxious to see my back, not to worry; 2016 is not too far away. I will urge them to be patient. In this difficult job, the least one expects is comradeship and solidarity.”
We also discovered an online publication from the same event. This publication contained excerpts of Mr Mahama’s statement, and the report clearly provided the context for the statement by the former president.
President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday said his determination to fight corruption had not changed and craved the indulgence of all to put their hands on the wheel to achieve that goal.
President Mahama, who was opening an orientation programme for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) at Madina, said:
“Recently, many comrades have questioned my ability to fight corruption. I dare say they don’t know me well.”
He said: “In this difficult job, the least one expects is comradeship and solidarity. In the next few days, I will announce new measures to tighten the system, ensure more transparency, and make corruption more difficult to undertake,” the publication reported.
Another online publication reported Mr Mahama’s comments as a “muted response to stalwarts in the governing National Democratic Congress who questioned his governance style.” This report also provided some situational context that may have necessitated John Mahama to make such comments.
We found another online publication where Mr Mahama was criticised for his comment. In this article, it was suggested that he was responding to former Majority Leader Alban Bagbin.
When John Mahama said that 2016 was not far and that people who wanted him out of office should exercise patience, he referred to comrades from within his party who complained about his commitment to fighting corruption. He was not referring to the Ghanaian voters complaining about economic hardships.