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Feature Article of Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Columnist: Adamu, Tanko Balik

Is President Mills smart enough to lead a successful Ghana?

As a young Ghanaian still struggling to make it in life, I know how this piece could be misconstrued by many to tag me as a disrespectful youth. I’m however not perturbed because somebody has to ask some of these tough questions. If you are one of those that would prefer to be led by an incompetent and not forward looking individual, I suggest you don’t read this. However if you are like me and would prefer quality leadership then maybe you should read on and come up with the other questions.

I was one of those who had been fooled at the beginning by the academic credentials of President Mills. I as well as many Ghanaians had so much hope for our country especially as we were beginning to emerge as an oil economy. It took all but one year for the true President Mills to finally stand up. This true President Mills has over the years proven to not only be dangerously incompetent, but also unintelligently scary. I’m beginning to fear for the peace and stability of my home country that I love so much. Most of my fear and concern come from the fact that there are still a few people in Ghana that are still willing to sing the praise of President Mills. These people have resorted to tribal and religious insinuations that are further used to dumb down the population and deny us our ability to think through the decisions we make in our everyday lives.

In today’s global economy, smart leadership has become indispensable. Leadership that is able to look into the future and fashion out policies and procedures to be able to deal with the challenges that would confront us is nonnegotiable. Our leadership can no longer be one that specializes in fault finding. We can no longer continue to be blaming others for our failure to lead our people and offer them hope. Our nation abound with a lot of minerals and now oil. We have to start to use these resources to create opportunities for all Ghanaians. This can only happen when our leaders start to put their problem solving caps on. President Mills and his ministers have however proven that they are not capable of this aptitude.

A few of the good professor’s decisions over the years made me reach the conclusion that if we as a people are to advance, we would have to start by removing incompetence from our leadership. We have to start by removing President Mills from the office of the President and bring in people that are ready to deal with the challenges of this century. Some of the not-forward looking decision making process of the president include the following; First is his much talked about “surprise visits”. As mediocre as this is, the president and his bunch of hangers-on are actually touting it as a major success. Why anybody thinks this is a good problem solving tool that can stand the test of time is beyond me. That said, we have had a whole professor of law think that all you have to do to stop cocoa smuggling to Ivory Coast is to surprise the workers at the ports with a visit. He also extended this novelty problem solving to the Ministries where the productivity of workers are expected to magically increase because the President surprised them with a visit. These surprise visits have led the president to the markets as well where he purchased Kenkey to prove to Ghanaians that the correct price to sell or buy the staple is 50p. At almost all of these visits we saw our God fearing fearless leader scream on top of his lungs at people because things were not being done according to his expectations. A few orders (Commands) were issued to solve these problems. Some of the orders included NO TVs at the Ministries and a transfer of a bunch of Customs Officers.

The question I have for all those that followed him on the trips is whether those issues that the president identified have gone away? Absolutely nothing has changed! You don’t solve problems by screaming at poor hardworking Ghanaians who are only managing with the situations they have found themselves. Nothing reveals the president’s inability to be a player in this century than his total failure to manage decent in his own party. Our law professor somehow seems to not understand that he was elected on a party platform that was an aggregation of people of varying interests. He is so surrounded by yes men (President Rawlings calls them greedy bastards) that he either never hears of other opinions or consider them in his decision making process. This has resulted in the STX disgrace, the ongoing single spine debacle and of course the total mismanagement of by-elections and the population and housing census. The president did not even bother to address some of Nana Konadu’s campaign issues nor has he taken steps to understand what people like Teye Nyaunu and President Rawlings have been saying for so many years. The president is yet to publicly acknowledge these concerns. Shouldn’t the NDC leadership demand to see a concrete plan from the president on how he intends to manage decent in the party to save it from itself?

Corruption was one area that I thought our so-called God fearing president would have tackled head on. Our president praised God so much so that we all thought if for nothing at all, he would attempt to obey at least one of God’s commandments that said “Thou shall not steal”. To our utter dismay, this man of God bungled this simple command that we all learnt from our parents. Before you run off to defend the president and say he did not steal from the people of Ghana, pause and ask yourself, which of our fourth republican presidents transacted a personal business while they were still in power? You don’t remember the “token” he received from Regimanuel? How about his involvement in the Woyome scam? We are learning from FONKAR that his wife received money from Woyome and since giving money to wives of public officials has been Woyome’s M.O., I have no reason to doubt FONKAR. All you have to do to know that the president is a serious player in the thieving from the Ghanaian people is to look at what he does when these issues are brought to light. He actually had the gull to put the payment of judgment debts into his budget and instructed his Attorney Generals to not defend the country in these cases thereby guaranteeing that they are paid out. Remember also that he fired the one true “Citizen Vigilante” that actually decided to contest the payments in court. We would not forget the Stand Dodge withdrawal of cash for hampers. Our president actually thought it was a good idea to offer pampers to press men rather than develop the capacities of our people to make a living for themselves.

One would expect that with all these failure of leadership and the misery that Ghanaians are going through, the one thing the president would offer us is honest leadership. No! Not president John Evans Atta Mills! He is so dishonest that he arrogantly told Ghanaians that his achievements were “Unprecedented”. It doesn’t cost anything to be honest and we should at least get that one from you Mr. President! A few lies that the president told that I’m still waiting for an apology to Ghanaians for include, (1) his lies that he was unaware of the Woyome payments that we later found from EOCO that “he tried to stop on two occasions” apart from the fact that his office was copied in almost all letters that Betty Mould Iddrisu wrote to the Finance Minister amongst others. (2) His lies on the number of Ghanaians that are now on the NHIS which was later explained away to mean the number of times that Ghanaians fell sick and had to use their cards. (3)The lies on the quantity of energy added to the Ghanaian energy supply that has since been contradicted by Inusah Fuseini. (4) His lies on the number of trophies won by Ghana at various levels of international competitions. I can go on and on… To add some of the lies and deception being peddled by his agents right from the Vice President to Solomon Nkansa would take us all day. I would let you the reader add the rest of the not so smart decisions and actions taken by our president and his crew but unlike him, I would proceed to suggest a few things we can do as a people to ensure that when we solve problems, the solutions become long lasting. These long lasting solutions should be able to outlive any government.

It begins by removing president Mills and all traces of incompetence from positions that requires excellence to survive in this century. We would need people that think in terms of systems. All problems and challenges that confront us as a people are almost always symptoms of some system failures. Thinking of issues as system failures, we would be able to drill down to the root of these issues and offer that system corrections that would be long lasting and probably cheaper. For instance if we had taken the time to understand why kids did not have school uniforms, we may have decided to remove the requirements for school uniforms in schools. This is a communist relic and adds nothing to the child education process. We would not have been spending money as a country to buy each child a school uniform. The money used in this direction could easily have been used to supply the tools needed for the students in their classrooms. This would also propel us into the future where what you wear to school is no longer an issue that any government would have to worry about.

I would also suggest to our president and our parliamentarians to start translating their solutions to specific problems into laws and policies. These laws and policies would be living and breathing guidelines that we can change and adapt to deal with similar situations in the future. They also provide all Ghanaians with certainty in the expectations. We would all be held to the same standards and thereby move our country forward. Merely shouting out instructions here and there does not solve our problems even when we are able to remember them and of course usually excludes the person shouting those instructions from obeying them.

There are too many smart people in Ghana that can be made part of the process of nation building. These people do not have to necessarily be part of the political process. I recently attended a forum where one of the members of a council that President Obama had formed to study a specific problem and come up with a solution spoke. This individual was a lecturer at a university and his presentation diagnosed the issue that was presented to them. It further contained a list of solutions that were drafted into a policy by the Obama Administration. I was not surprised when I saw President Obama announce the launch of this policy in my own city of Pittsburgh. I just thought to myself and asked if there was any consultation that was going on in my motherland between our president and the people that have the solutions? Has the president tasked any university to research into our myriad of problems? How many of their recommendations have been translated into national policies? Have we consulted them on how to deal with low productivity or the smuggling issue? Nobody seems to have been able to explain how they achieved their much talked about single digit inflation rate let alone translate it into a national policy document. How then can we guarantee that a new government would be able to sustain this or improve upon it? Dr. Bawunia should better start writing down what he seeing so that we as a nation do not lose sight of what is happening today when they come into power in January 2013.

To sum up, I would like all Ghanaians to start demanding answers from our political leaders. These answers can no longer be bumper stickers. We have to start demanding policy and permanent solutions. Costing their solutions and ensuring that they would represent the best use of our money would not hurt. It is with this mindset that we can say we are adequately prepared for this century and the next after all even our donor partners are having to adjust and are cut their costs everywhere. Why not us? Thanks for reading!

Tanko B. Adamu Pittsburgh, PA USA

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