Former President John Dramani Mahama says he was the only President in the fourth republic who was heavily harassed and frustrated by Organised Labour with industrial actions.
He recounted that the severity of the labour agitations led to a shut down of the country and plunged him in a state of frustration as President, a situation that led him to express his deep felt frustration with the popular ‘dead goat syndrome’ comment.
The former President who was speaking at the Academic City University College in Accra on Friday explained that the decision to deregulate prices of Petroleum products while he was President triggered mass strike actions following the increase in prices of fuel.
“We had to take a decision on deregulation of petroleum prices. When you go to buy cement, government doesn’t fix the price; when you go to buy Milo government doesn’t fix the price. Unfortunately the only thing that government continued to control the price was petroleum products and what happened was that government did not have the courage to sell it at full market value. We were bringing petroleum products at a certain cost. You go buy petrol at $100 and come sell it at $50. There is a difference there and somebody has to pay for it [because] it is a debt that is there and to pay for it, that has to come from your taxes. So we had to take a decision on deregulation,” he said.
He explained further that the decision to implement deregulation policy, shot up prices of fuel and sparked further labour unrest which he had already been grappling with.
According to him, the use of the idiomatic expression which suggested he had developed a dead goat syndrome was to explain away his readiness to face the consequences of some of the decisions he had taken but not meant to spite the people of Ghana as it was misrepresented by the then opposition New Patriotic Party.
“If the prices doubled, I knew TUC and Co were not going to leave me in peace. Already I was one of the most harassed Presidents by Organised Labour and this is what led to the statement about goat syndrome… I was confronted with mass labour unrest. I am the only President in the Fourth Republic where all organised labour came together and went on strike and shut down the country,” he said.