Following Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia’s use of a driver’s mate analogy to describe his real status in the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government, an old video has surfaced of former President John Dramani Mahama referring to himself as a “spare driver.”
In the said video, taken during a presidential debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in 2012, Mr Mahama who had succeeded late President John Atta Mills, urged Ghanaians to vote him as president for his second and final term.
“The NDC government has done a lot in four years. Our constitution gives our president two terms, take it that I am the spare driver, caretaker or whatever; Prof. Mills of blessed memory started the process and I am finishing his unexpired term.
“I believe that the NDC government deserves a second term to be able to build on the foundation it has laid in these four years and I am certain that Ghanaians would vote for me and turn me from the spare driver that I’ve been described as, into the actual driver of the bus leading us into the destination that we want to go to,” he stated.
The criticism that has greeted Dr Bawumia’s use of a seemingly similar analogy during his recent lecture, has generated a debate over the distinction and similarities between a spare driver and a driver’s mate, as well as the context within which the two candidates situated themselves.
“As Vice-President, I am like a driver’s mate. But if, by the Grace of God, you make me President, I will be in the driver’s seat with constitutionally mandated authority to pursue my vision and my priorities.
“Clearly, the initial conditions that we inherited in 2017 are not the same as will be in 2025. Therefore, my priorities will be different. We have done many good things and I will be seeking to build on them,” Dr. Bawumia noted during his lecture last week.
According to pro-Bawumia persons, there is clear similarity within the context of the analogy made by the New Patriotic Party flagbearer and the spare driver analogy made by Mr. Mahama.
However to supporters of Mahama who is the 2024 presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Dr Bawumia’s analogy sought to appeal for votes by insulating himself from the failures of the current government while Mr Mahama had taken responsibility for his role in the Mills-led government.
“These guys are so naive, that they don’t even know the difference between a “mere mate”, which is what Bawumia falsely claims to have been to Akufo-Addo and a “spare driver”, which is what John Mahama rightly says he was to Prof. Mills of blessed memory.
“Whereas, Bawumia claims that he has been a “mere mate”, to Akufo-Addo, ostensibly to dissociate himself from the mess of his own government, Mahama said in 2012, that he was a spare driver to Prof. Mills, (which is what we have insisted a VEEP is all along),” National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi argued in an X post.
According to the opposition spokesperson, the distinction lies in Mr Mahama owning the record of the government he served in as vice president whereas Dr Bawumia has sought to distance himself from the government he has served as vice president over the last seven years.
“As you can see in the attached video, H.E. John Dramani Mahama owned up to, and defended the record of the Mills/NDC government that he was a part of as a spare driver and justified why the NDC, deserved another term to continue its good works. He never attempted to distance himself from any decision of the Mills government that he was a part of.
“Again, John Mahama in 2012, campaigned on the basis of “continuity” as can been seen in the attached video, but today, dishonest Bawumia is preaching a “new path” with a promise to undo several of the key policies of his own government, as though he is an opposition leader in his own government,” he stated.