Former President John Dramani Mahama declared in 2015 that he had a condition known as the ‘dead goat syndrome.’
Seven years on, he has addressed the the circumstances surrounding that declaration whiles he was away on official assignment in Botswana.
Mahama was at the time facing possible protest over fuel price hikes due to government’s deregulation policy and he was sure that organized labour was going to come after him, hence the use of the idiomatic expression which became a popular refrain used by the then opposition.
During a public lecture on December 9, 2022 at the Academic City University College in Accra, he spoke about the syndrome and how he “developed” it.
“I was one of the most harassed Presidents by Organised Labour. That is what led to the dead goat syndrome… because when you kill a goat, you cannot frighten it with the knife again,” he explained.
“I am the only government in the Fourth Republic where all organised labour came together and went on strike and shut down the country ….,” he added.
Mahama’s dead goat syndrome comment
The then-president Mahama warned that he would not be shaken by the threat of strikes from labour unions as the country approached the 2016 Election.
“I have seen more demonstrations and strikes in my first two years. I don’t think it can get worse. It is said that when you kill a goat, and you frighten it with a knife, it doesn’t fear the knife because it is dead already.
“I have a dead goat syndrome,” he said on March 11, 2015, while speaking to members of the Ghanaian community in Botswana.