Feature Article of Thursday, 28 December 2006
Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.
Is Atta Mills An Easy Win For NPP-2008?
Many in the media think they can predict the future, but Leadership of any nation, and our dear Ghana, is too critical and important to the socioeconomic development and welfare of our people to be left to soothsayers alone. As every year draws to a close and our people still suffer, critical analyses are called for as to potential leaders’ skills and character that will lead to successful performance. I like to examine politics and any candidate from a business standpoint if the decisions we make as a nation will be a good decision that benefits all or most of the people. Many may hide but we cannot avoid for too long discussing politics, since it affects our lives and that of our people. The Editor/Publisher of a paper in the US wrote me this below and I offered an opinion that I share with others, since it’s all for the good of our dear Ghana.
“Has the NDC party just handed the NPP another easy victory by electing Atta Mills? I am curious what you have to say”. (Sydney Casely-Hayford, email@example.com, Friday, December 22, 2006 9:56 AM)
My Response and Comments:
It is very difficult to resist giving my opinions on issues that have become dear to my heart, the political direction and development of our nation of Ghana. However, we have to realize that not every issue calls for a comment from me, especially having formed a political party meant to contest and take the bone of leadership away from men and women who many feel have performed poorly and disappointed the people of Ghana. Can I be objective? Of course, Yes! Note that Mills may match against the best NPP has to give, but that is not all. Yes, he is a loser in two previous contests, but well, some people take longer to catch on and one should not hold that against him. My opinions are based on academic evaluation only and not meant to influence anybody.
Prof. Mills, by all paper qualifications, should be among the most qualified to lead Ghana, by Ghanaian standards. In America there will be some definite shortfalls in his qualifications (such as practical executive decision-making experience and originality). However, not many would qualify if one were to examine the leadership queue we have in the NPP and the NDC. The issue with Prof. Mills, it seems to me, are of three fold:
(1) The first one is mostly one of stigma of being his own man or not, since most see him as a “weak-minded” man who can kowtow principles and work under a dictator who had been reported to have slapped and physically assaulted even a top academic mind like former VP Arkaah, in addition to a history of violations of human rights during the 1980s era. Our people in Ghana may like a “soft and gentle giant” only for one day – but the next day they need somebody who exhibits strength and can instill discipline. They are getting to know now the only way we can move our nation forward must be to stop the “gyae-ma-no-Nka” (let-it-be) and “dwane-toa” (domestic appeal) principles when people in public trust mismanage assets, squander public funds and abuse trust. Ghanaians know now they need a strong-minded disciplined leader. But nobody will go for a bulldog who uses a gun to overthrow a government illegally and intimidates people, and ends up being bought by Western conglomerate money and living rich. Exhibition of external strength and dynamism may be similar to what some call charisma. However, did current President Kufuor win on charisma?
(2) The second is one of opportunism of a man who having seen all the evils of the past of a dictatorial government, offers his services to the dictator simply because the man is wearing a business suit today instead of a military uniform of yesterday. Some of us would find it ethically and morally difficult to make such a transition. President Kufuor has been criticized in some quarters for having accepted such a position under the PNDC of early 1980s, even though he did not last long in that position. As such some people may be tempted to think Prof. Atta Mills is a mere opportunist who, for the sake of power, accepted such a position of privilege, and not necessarily for any personal political or ideological ambition of his own. We must note that there are some very savvy political animals who will sell their souls to the devil only to get power and once they attain the power show their real spirit. Is that the man we see as Prof. Atta Mills? Does the man seem as a strategic political thinker, who for some reasons chooses to accept a position only to outmaneuver his less endowed boss? You be the judge.
(3) The third issue with Prof. Mills is one of inner self-image (that may projects on the outside) related to the above of being one’s own man, but perhaps lack of a demonstrated executive leadership thinking. One does not have to be an electronic engineer to demonstrate creative genius. No. Can anybody show me any creative idea Atta Mills has come out for Ghana to move ahead from a third world to a first world nation? I hate to judge people, and I recall faintly perhaps having met Prof. Mills when he came to Stanford for a short time, since some of us have lived in that area for a very long time. Without long interaction, it is hard to judge the mind of a person of such academic stature. Had he written much in the public domain, it’d be easier to judge. The issue is that a political brain that can save Ghana from the doldrums of under-developed and poverty and calabash mindset, and usher us into the real 21st century, must demonstrate some creative thinking that go beyond the cassava principles of thinking we see in Ghana. Some have called a version of such thinking “indigenous capitalism”? Closer examination shows there is not much conviction that such ideologies can create jobs for a modern youth and workforce who studied Physics and yet find themselves selling dog chains in city traffic.
Folks, I don’t mean to jest, but for God’s sake, can anybody point to a nation that has crossed the line of poverty growing cassava or cocoa and relying on raw materials? Come oooon!! Even our total net revenue from gold, timber and cocoa is less than the Interest on our indebtedness that had grown to more than 50-85% of our export revenues.
The world is a very complicated system of goods and services, using technology in a globalized market place. Professors Jick and Peiperl of England (Jick, T., & Peiperl, M.A. (2002). Managing change: Cases and concepts (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill) have suggested that the three most powerful forces that are moving the world today are customer focus, technology and globalization. Are we sure that Prof. Atta Mills understands the complicated mechanisms under which this world we live in turns today? He is perhaps better than many we know, don’t get me wrong. There are some ministers like Prof. Ocquaye who have attributed corporate personnel problems to the devil. It is obvious to many that former President Jerry Rawlings did not have a clue. Bombing a Makola market to bring equitable distribution of goods in 1979, or stripping market women naked and caning them in 1982-83 time, surely did not seem like a good understanding of such forces, does it!? It seems equally obvious to many that current President J. A. Kufuor may not have that much of a clue either, and in addition does not even have the self-image and self-confidence that we Africans can even develop ourselves. His priorities in budgeting, resource distribution, and his many travels may be an indicator. Does any of the 15 or 19 potential NPP candidates have a clue how to maneuver themselves in a globally competitive arena?
Some have lived overseas for long and, but what were they doing overseas? Well, only the future will tell.
BTW who told you that NPP is the winner in 2008? You have never heard from the ground floor, have you – of a new political party called the GHANA NATIONAL PARTY? Some call it the Diaspora Party but they are on the ground floors in all districts in Ghana even though not many in the media in air-conditioned offices in Accra pretend they have not heard of them. Watch out!
Kwaku A. Danso
(The writer is Engineering and Management Consultant and a Financial Broker in California and has an office in East Legon, Accra, Ghana engaged in an entrepreneurial endeavor in creative technology development. He holds B.S, M.S and M. Eng, in Engineering and PhD in Organization and Management /Leadership emphasis in Business and Technology. His hobby is Political Activism and he is the President of Ghana Leadership Union and co-founder of Ghana National Party. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org). Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.