Those who left school early don’t understand idioms

John Mahama

Former President John Mahama says he does not regret his do-or-die comment and will not retract or apologise for it.

According to him, he used an English idiomatic expression and the meaning does not connote the interpretations it has garnered.

Mr Mahama, who is on a Thank You tour in the Bono Region, stated that the National Democratic Congress ( NDC) will be very vigilant at the polling stations during the 2024 elections.

Speaking on a Techiman-based radio station, Akina FM, he stated that the 2020 elections showed the NDC that elections can only be won at the polling stations, thus, they will not let their guards down.

“We were clearly robbed but we accepted the verdict for the sake of peace, but I want to state here that the next elections would be won or lost at the polling station. So at the polling station, it will ‘be do or die.’ I am not saying ‘all die be die.’ I’m saying it will be ‘do or die’ because the right thing must be done.

“We will do everything to ensure that the election is free and fair. We will not cheat the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and we don’t expect anyone to cheat us either. Let the elections be peaceful and fair,” he added.


His comment has since been condemned by members of the NPP who are of the view that the Statesman is inciting violence and beating war drums.

But reacting to the uproar, Mr Mahama said the comments were harmless and only being given school interpretations.

“They don’t understand do or die? Do or die is an English idiom. In Africa, we have many proverbs and we sometimes don’t say things in the square format, we use proverbs.

“In English, we have idiomatic expressions. Those who left school early don’t understand idiomatic expressions. ‘Do or die’ means a critical assignment you have and so you must do the needful or perish,” he said on Sunyani-based Moonlite FM.

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