Feature Article of Thursday, 13 September 2012
Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman
By Alex Bossman Baafi
This country’s failure, since independence to achieving economic emancipation to lift the masses from poverty, diseases and underdevelopment has been a source of worry to well-meaning people of our country. It is exactly this legitimate concern that prompted this article. The country’s progress is dependent on following and fulfilling a focused transformational vision for our country.
Any time elections draw closer, many presidential hopefuls surface to deliver their vision purporting to have the magic wand for economic success to change the destiny of our country for the better. This year is no exception. The ruling NDC party with H. E. John Dramani Mahama, still pursuing the “Better Ghana Agenda”, is confidence of the mandate of the electorate for a second term come the December elections. The largest opposition party, NPP, under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, promises to pursue the vision of “Economic Transformation” when given the nod. The CPP and it flagbearer, Dr. Abu Sakara are also determined to make sure of “Making Ghana Work Again” dream comes true. The same can be said of other contesting parties, each aiming at getting the nod after the impending elections to walk their party’s vision accordingly.
In my opinion, having a vision alone is not enough. When given approval by the good people of our country, the leader must articulate a clear vision and direction by immediately communicating compelling principles and philosophies driving the vision. This is very important because it clearly defines the character of the leader, where he stands, where his/her destination is, and how s/he will get there safely. It also provides the opportunity for the team members (ministers of state) to understand the tasks ahead. This will energize them to make sacrifices in their onward march towards the destination that had been envisioned and clearly espoused by the leader.
Vision must be followed carefully by crafted roadmaps. Roadmaps are generic guidance strategy documents/plans to achieve specific projects. They detail out activities and tasks describing project stages and phases which must be religiously followed to achieve the objectives. Indeed a roadmap is a visual guideline showing key streams of activity of person(s), team(S) or organization to achieve set results that are usually keyed to specific timelines. In the absence of a roadmap, the team is likely to engage in “Hit or Miss Affair”.
The political leaders of our country always give ambitious national policy agenda. They outline their vision on the economy, education, healthcare, energy, water, housing, roads/rails infrastructure and many areas of our national life but often fail woefully to walk the talks. Many often achieve very little at the end of their tenure in office. In my view, they perhaps fail partly because they discount the importance of competent team building, that is, appointment of Ministers of State.
For leaders in this country to achieve their vision, they should know that assembling a competent team to achieve the vision is very critical. People play a critical role in any strategy therefore the leaders should assemble well qualified, competent, credible and respected people of integrity as Ministers of State who are capable to maintain focus in following the roadmap to deliver the desired result.
In our country, most leaders build team from cronies, family members, friends, party faithful (foot soldiers) and tribesmen instead of basing appointments on merits. Such leaders prefer bootlickers. They value people who could look and sound good in spinning lies and propaganda more than they care about month-over-month results of proven performers. Such teams produce mediocre performance and contribute to the failure of our leaders and our country’s quest to move forward.
After the 2012 general elections, the chosen leader must be bold to carry out performance evaluation of the Ministers of State to get value for money and reshuffle where necessary to correct off-track performances to maintain focus. In fact, the performance assessments exercise must be made a priority in our governance system for the leader to get the best from his team for the betterment of the good people of our country.
Finally, my additional few words of advice are that, the one who will be honored by the good people of this country must hold his/her Ministers accountable and embrace reward and punishment as the integral part of governance. S/he should run a transparent government devoid of corruption. Above all, the leader should make it a duty to serve with honesty, integrity, alacrity and exercise authority with humility.