A sustained political pressure that has crossed boiling point keeps mounting on former First Lady, Lordina Mahama to refund all allowances paid to her by the State in her capacity as Second Lady, First Lady and former First Lady covering the period of January 2009 till date.
The pressure is a ripple effect of the ongoing debate on the payments of allowances and salaries to the spouses of Ghana’s Presidents and Vice Presidents both past and current as recommended by the Ntiamoa-Baidu’s Committee.
It is understandable why Lordina Mahama has been singled out among the lot of former First Ladies and this is because her husband, John Dramani Mahama, is seen as a most likely presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) come next elections in December 2024.
Indeed, he is the only former President who has come out to speak against the said payments, which his party has described as “sexually transmitted payments.”
The other First Ladies do not have their husbands eyeing the Presidency in the near future. They are not positioning themselves as attractive political commodities to be marketed to a vexed electorate. They simply have no votes to lose or gain.
If Lordina does not refund the said payments, it would be used as a potent and popular political campaign material against her husband come 2024. Indeed the campaign has already started albeit unofficially .
On the other hand, if Lordina decides to return the payments, it would be an unfair position she has been boxed into because over the last 12 years, whatever payments that had been given to her by the State whether as Second Lady, First Lady or former First Lady were not illegal payments.
They were her entitlements and benefits and therefore singing her out forcing her to vomit the lump sum covering a period of over a decade, is rather a hard blow to take.
If Lordina refunds the money, she would be seen in political circles to have done so as an afterthought or under duress just to clam the stormy waters.
If Lordina does not refund, she would be seen as the wife of the leader of the largest opposition party who benefited from and continues to benefit from a State payment scheme, some leading voices in her party vehemently criticized and raised hell against.
Whatever the case is, Lordina has been plunged in the center of the political storm attracting a negative narrative for her husband and party.
Until 48 hours or so ago, the government of the day, led by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was at the receiving end of the public pressure. The entire government communication machinery was literally bending over backwards to find convincing answers from the angry masses.
The tables flipped when the current First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Second Lady, Samira Bawumia both said they would every money that had been paid to then since they assumed their respective positions in 2017.
Truly, Rebecca Akufo-Addo refunded the full payments on Tuesday through a Consolidated Bank Ghana Cheque. Samira is reported to have laced boots to refund her payments this week.
All eyes are now on Lordina and expectedly the NPP is on a full swing attack, mounting pressure on her and milking the situation.
The NPP General Secretary, John Boadu, has been vocal in calling on Lordina to return the cash: “Let me say this emphatically, former President Mahama’s wife, Lordina Mahama, must, as a matter of urgency, refund all monies paid to her since January 2017 till now.
“Those she received as far back as 2009 should also be refunded. The monies she has received from that time till now would amount to GHC3.2 million,” Mr Boadu stated interview on Pan African Tuesday.
The same party’s National Youth Organizer Henry Nana Boakye, is even threatening street demonstrations against Lordina if she does not refund the payments: ” . . The First Lady having heard the discussions going on about their allowances and upon sober reflection has decided to refund all allowances paid her since 2017 as recommended by the committee. So we expect the former First Lady Madam Lordina Mahama to also refund the money paid to her by the state,” he said.
“Her refusal to do so will lead to a massive demonstration by the youth of this country,” he told Okay FM.
The Bono Regional Chairman NPP Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye DC has also stated on Neat FM that Lordina Mahama must refund all allowances she received from the state.
“Whatever has been given to any former first lady must be declared by the Supreme Court as null and void,” and he has accordingly headed to the courts over the matter.
President of the Artisanal Palm Oil Millers and Out-growers Association of Ghana, Paul Kwabena-Amaning has also asked Lordina to return the cash:
“Former President Mahama’s wife, Lordina Mahama, must, as a matter of urgency, refund all monies paid to her since January 2017 till now. Those she received as far back as 2009 should also be refunded. The monies she has received from that time till now would amount to GHC3.2 million.
“I’m therefore challenge Madam Lordina Mahama, former first lady of the Republic to also refund the GHS 3,272,256 to the state which is an accumulation of almost 13 years of being a first lady and a former first lady with immediate effect.”, ,” Paul Kwabena-Amaning told Kingdom FM 107.7
Lordina Mahama, on her face book wall on Tuesday, said a statement in circulation purported to have come from her outfit promising to refund the said payments was fake and should be disregarded.