Monday, September 19, 2016

The Best of the B.A.D : The Commander in Swag

One thing is for certain in the Beacon of African Democracy, the President seems to have his pulse on the beating heart of the youth. In other words, 'he got swag'. Defining exactly what 'swag' means can cause one to run into numerous problems but it loosely means displaying a cross between uber-coolness and very hipness. In other words, someone who has swag knows what is hip, fresh and new.  

President John Dramani Mahama (in dark glasses; uber-cool as usual)
at the launch of his presidential campaign in
the Central Region of Ghana.
Source: Screenshot from a live Joy TV news broadcast

President Mahama is relatively young, good-looking and seems to have always been a youth magnet of sorts. Back in the 2012 election, he eloquently and correctly stated that he was born in 'Ghana' while his opponent Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was in fact born in colonial 'Gold Coast'. These are undeniable facts. 

President Mahama proved just how much swag he had when he read his inaugural presidential speech on 7 January 2013 using an electronic tablet. This was around the time where that very election was being challenged in the Supreme Court. The young people on Ghana Twitter and elsewhere went wild: 
Twitter search of 'Mahama, speech, tablet'
Although programmes under President Mahama specifically targeting Ghanaian youth empowerment and employment such as the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) have been.....erm......less successful, our president has remained a youth champion throughout his tenure.

Sons of Anarchy poster
In June 2016, a curious thing happened that I can best describe as a Sons of Anarchy moment. This happening further proved we were still one nation under the Swag President. Speaking of the series Sons of Anarchy, I watched two episodes and was stumped by the appeal. But alas, I digress. We were talking about Ghana in June 2016. After heavy flooding in Accra, our president, like any super hero would, donned some cool clothes and headed out on a solo motorcycle ride across the city of Accra apparently inspecting torrential flooding. There are number of YouTube videos of this tour. My first thoughts were:
  1. Who actually does this?!
  2. Isn't it better to take a helicopter to inspect flooding?
Ghanaian social media on the other hand, was very much impressed. 
Screenshot from YouTube of some of the many videos of the
President's Sons of Anarchy moment 

Then came the Rio Olympics in August 2016. While watching the live broadcast, our President appeared to have been immensely impressed by Usain Bolt's amazing feats of greatness on the track. Being the P.R. guru that he is, President Mahama decided to release a photo with his swag credentials on full display. This time, Twitter was not so impressed. The general sentiment on the President's Rio gambit are best summed up in a tweet by a Twitter user named "Bearded Raiden"(tweet reproduced with kind permission of said Bearded Raiden
A rough translation of the tweet: It appears that President John Dramani Mahama is taking the upcoming Ghana 2016 Presidential election as if it were a Senior High School election. His actions seem to suggest that his motto is simply "Vote for me, I am a cool guy and I have swag".

Other comments on Twitter gently reminded the president that his mandate was in fact to fix the economy and create jobs rather than displays of swag... 
To borrow from young people lingo, this Bolt gambit appears to have been an 'epic fail'.  Could it be that our President is in fact all swagged out or just a case of swag overload? Stay tuned for more from the Commander in Swag.

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