Feature Article of Sunday, 2 September 2012
Columnist: Sita, Ahmed
A Friendly Request to Justice Sarpong to be Civil and Objective
By Ahmed Sita
This article, Mahama, Limann Reincarnation Ghana cannot afford, appeared on Ghanaweb.com on August 26, 2012. Let us ignore the title of this article for now. Even so, the first paragraph of this article shows clearly where the writer was coming from, where he was headed and where he would end. For the benefit of those who did not get the chance to read this article, here is the first paragraph:
“President Mahama has been in charge of Ghana for a mere three weeks and has so far not shown that he is ready for the big leagues and as a matter of fact, his manners and decision making resemble that of a former President imposed on Ghana by CPP power brokers by name Hilla Limann whose rule until Mills became President was the worst in the history of Ghana. In Mahama, we have another Limann in the making.”
As soon as you begin reading this first paragraph, you sense bias, premature judgment, disrespect and contempt for Ghanaians as a whole. This article shows clearly that the writer has an agenda.
Vice presidents are chosen in all the nations of the world for many good reasons. All such reasons always point to one thing. That is, one is normally chosen to be a vice-president because of the belief that this individual is capable of taking over the presidency in the event of an emergency. For this reason, Ghanaians made Mahama the Vice-President of Ghana a few years ago. Ghanaians exercised the provisions of the constitution peacefully and made Mahama President of Ghana recently because of an unprecedented emergency that needs no explanation.
The writer of this article, Justice Sarpong, quickly determined that President Mahama is incapable of that high office after only three weeks in office. This is his judgment. Is it really fair to make such a judgment after three weeks in office? Where did the writer of this article get the authority to make such a judgment any way? What makes him qualified to make that determination? He must remember that it is always better to use a balanced approach to all the things we do. This way, people are more likely to respect and listen to you.
In his first interview soon after the elections that brought him to office, former President Kuffour said as president, he would “try not to be corrupt.” That statement raised many questions than answers. All the same, it would have been unfair at that moment to label former President Kuffour in any manner based on that statement. It would have been inappropriate and a small-minded view to do so as much as judging President Mahama to be incompetent after three weeks in office. This writer must remember that if one is bent on destroying another person’s reputation at any cost and especially without any good reason, one may end up destroying one’s character in the process.
The writer of this article claims that President Limann was imposed on Ghanaians. Really? Was he imposed on Ghanaians at the ballot box also? How interesting is this? Here is a correction. President Limann was elected the Flag Bearer of his party and not imposed by any one. I still remember Victor Owusu congratulating President Limann on his victory and pledging not to do anything to undermine his administration. He lived up to his word. Victor Owusu was one of the respectful leaders of Ghana. Apparently, he learnt many things from Dr. Busia and followed his example.
President Mahama was chosen as the Flag Bearer of his Party for the sake of unity and not imposed as Justice Sarpong wrote. Incumbents, by virtue of their incumbency, mostly prevail at Party elections for the positions of Flag Bearer for many good reasons.
He also wrote:
“we cannot afford another Limann like administration in 2013 as some of us witnessed in the early Eighties.”
I wish he had given us suggestions for a better administration, such as a Busia-like, an Acheampong-like, a Rawlings-like, a Kuffour-like and so on. For then, he would have unmasked his maliciously intentions.
The writer showed deep contempt for the targets of his article and for the judgment of Ghanaians. Is that his nature or this conduct is only applicable to former President Limann, former President Mills and President Mahama? Either way, there is no escape. He must remember that respect is like a two-way street. If you respect a person, under normal circumstances, you obligate that person to respect you. If, on the other hand, you are contemptuous towards another person, you will have to take the blame for whatever happens. I believe strongly that every person deserves honor until one does something self-inflicting to the contrary. Even so, it is always better to help people in any situation, if you can, than to condemn them.
Here is another quote from Justice Sarpong’s article about former President Limann:
“He was a weak leader who could not do anything right and was overthrown by Rawlings on the eve of 1982.”
Does the writer really believe this? Apparently yes. How about Ghana’s first President Nkrumah, former Prime Minister Busia, former Head of State General Akuffo, who were all overthrown? Was it because they were weak and could not do anything right? Any fair-minded person cannot believe this to be true of any Ghanaian leader.
As for coup-makers, all of them often use blanket and groundless indictments of corruption and mismanagement to try to justify their illegal grab of power. The writer even seems to be glad that Rawlings overthrew former President Limann. He also believes that former President Limann was imposed on Ghanaians but Rawlings, who did the overthrowing, apparently did not impose himself on Ghanaians. What a small-minded article! If Justice Sarpong does not understand these points about coups, then we have a more serious problem.
Why is it that among all the deceased Ghanaian leaders, Justice Sarpong believes that only former President Limann was an imposed leader? At the same time, he believes that President Mahama is the only one among all the surviving Ghanaian leaders to be imposed on Ghanaians. Why these two? How about General Ankrah, General Acheampong, General Akuffo and Flt Lt. Rawlings? Did any of them impose himself on Ghanaians? Justice Sarpong apparently does not believe this to be true.
Every open-minded person can tell that Justice Sarpong is full of hatred just by reading his article. He looks at Former President Limann, President Mahama and his Vice President Amissah as imaginary enemies. Imaginary enemies, indeed! Worse yet, he abhors these assume enemies.
The writer also declares:
“There are two causes of human fallibility-– ignorance and ineptitude and we have seen those two characteristics in Mahama's three weeks administration that should be a warning to Ghanaians.”
If President Mahama is ignorant and ineptitude, what are you? Are you also ignorant and ineptitude? May I remind you that there are many causes for human fallibility and not just these two causes you have given. Some of the others are lack of objectivity, bias, arrogance and so on. Objectivity, whenever absent, can lead to a dangerous loss of mind and consequently, loss of self-control. That in turn, is counter-productive to the regulation of human behavior. There is always much to admire in all those who are humble. Humility is one of the noblest human qualities. Arrogance, on the contrary, is the most objectionable conduct anywhere. One can safely blame this narrow-minded article on the groundless anger with which Justice Sarpong wrote his article.
In one paragraph, Justice Sarpong declares:
“A Mahama/ Amissah Arthur rule defies or is an insult to our moral fiber as a society. Morality counts and in the two of them, I don't see what our children can learn from.”
What a malicious exaggeration? What moral values is he referring to? I conclude the writer believes in God since he is concerned about moral values. Well, God is Almighty and yet He does not judge and condemn souls easily to Satan’s Kingdom at the first signs of transgressions. He gives people plenty of time for repentance and reformation. What is the implication? There are no angels on earth.
If the writer of that article is worried about his children because of President Mahama and Vice President Amissah, let him be reminded that there is a solution to every problem. You just have to understand the problem first and then it will be easier to find its solution. In this case, since he appears to understand his problem, the best solution for him is to ignore President Mahama and Vice President Amissah on the moral question. Thereafter, he should take the matter into his hands and teach his children all the necessary moral values at home. And if he is already doing this, he is on the right track. But then, there should be no need for him to expect his children to look up to anyone else for moral development.
Here is Justice Sarpong’s conclusion: “We cannot afford Mahama's communist ideas because "Communism works only in Heaven where it is not needed and in Hell where they already have it" Mahama is not the man to be entrusted with our country to.”
This writer just declared President Mahama a communist without telling us why––another show of innate hatred for President Mahama. If this writer believes that Communism really belongs in Hell, where does Capitalism belong in his opinion? Heaven, Earth or Underground? He must understand that there are no perfect human beings anywhere. You can cut, carve and search the whole world till doomsday, and you will never find any perfect human being. Every person is human and so is limited in all areas. As a result, you will never find a perfect system of government anywhere also. Every government administration has its successes and failures. We live in a dynamic world. Military coups have accordingly lost their glory permanently and Ballot Box revolutions have taken over. The ballot box is normally the best place to judge the performances of politicians. Ghana is for Ghanaians and its citizens will soon exercise their Ballot Box options.
Justice Sarpong should take a good look at his concluding paragraph. He may notice an error in language along with all the errors in his article. What does that tell us? It confirms that no one knows everything and every person makes mistakes.
Justice Sarpong has shown contempt for President Mahama, former President Limann and other Ghanaian Leaders and Ghanaians in general. The title of his article alone proves this point. This is the same Justice Sarpong who belittled and questioned the judgment of Ghanaians after the results of the December 2008 elections did not go his way. And he has been at it ever since. But all may not be lost. He still has time to redeem your reputation. Here is how. Since you are interested in Ghanaian politics, you are challenged with all good intentions to shift gears and write only objective articles on how Ghanaians can rid our country of corruption, tribalism, nepotism, crime, how to improve the economy and how to promote peace and unity among the people of Ghana. This is what we need to build a solid foundation for the peaceful coexistence and prosperity of Ghanaians. Justice Sarpong, do this, and you will be contributing a great deal to Ghana’s national development. In the process, it may just be the new beginning you need to establish yourself as an impartial writer, if such an admirable conduct pleases you.
If you refuse to take up this noble and friendly challenge and decide to continue on your negative, predisposed and one-sided conspiratorial path, you can at least start learning about the merits of presenting both sides of issues. Many Ghanaians will be glad to see you chronicle all the major corrupt practices that took place in Ghana since independence. To make it easier, you may also confine this exercise to these civilian administrations––the administrations of Busia, Limann, Rawlings, Kuffour, and Mills.
If time is a factor, then you may simply expose only the corrupt practices of the last two civilian administrations and give suggestions on how to prevent them in the future. This will, indeed, be an interesting comparison for Ghanaians to digest. In that attempt, do not leave anything out. Make an extra effort and strain yourself at any cost to be objective. Include all the major and minor corrupt incidences that occurred in Ghana during this period regardless of your political and other affiliations.
Better yet, you should run for the office of president someday. You may or may not win. Many Ghanaians will be glad if you win. Then, we will watch carefully to see how you do. Thereafter, we will be glad to judge you at the ballot box after your first four years in office. Good luck!