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Opinions of Friday, 14 July 2017

Columnist: politics_today

Mr President, lets walk the talk

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

I have heard a lot of commentary about the President’s statement to the effect that he is willing to put his presidency on the line over the galamsey issue. From where I sit, it is fine talk and nothing more than that.

Make no mistake. What the President said were fine words. Fine words are important. Words are the means by which we convey our intentions. Saying the right things at the right time can land you a fortune. So for persons in search of reassurances, that was great.

But guess what? He is not the first to declare his unwavering support for an initiative. He will certainly not be the last. He is not the first person to attempt to create the impression that the presidency really means nothing to him; and that when called upon to make a choice, he will make a choice that is value based.

But Mr. President, you cannot be too sure when you say that you are going to lose the next elections simply because you are firm and resolute against galamsey. You cannot even be too sure about winning the election just because you did the right thing in the fight against galamsey.

In fact, Mr. President, we should not even hear that from you. For one thing, you have a secured tenure of 4 years. What is within your control is what you do within this 4-year period.

You have a mandate. No one is going to snatch that from you through a coup d’etat or an impeachment processes. Just execute your mandate as effectively as possible. What the electorate are going to do next should not really be of concern to you.

A better way would not be to simply say what you are going to do. A better approach would be to demonstrate your commitment in concrete terms. What haven’t we heard before in this country? What assurances haven’t been given before?

Governments after government have said so many nice things about the fight against corruption, for instance. Year in, year out we find out from various corruption perception indices that we are still where we are, if not worse of.

A lot has been said about school under trees, expensive health care system, lack of employment, general state of poverty, insecurity and so on.

How many governments have not promised on their honour in their manifestoes to turn the fortunes of the nation around?

Do we like what we see and feel around us? No! And when it comes to walking the talk, that is where government’s unwillingness comes to bear.

But once again, we have to be fair. This is not a presidential problem. It is a general leadership problem. Take some of the chiefs who are very vociferous today about the fight against galamsey. The question I keep asking is “where were they when the very first illegal excavation took place.”

Certainly they cannot feign ignorance or lack of knowledge. Take the politicians who are arguing and demonising galamsey. You do not need to do much to find out that they facilitate in one way or the other the galamsey that we see today.

So if the president wants to put his job on the line, he should simply do that. He shouldn’t say it. He should demonstrate it- not by words but by concrete steps.

Is he willing to stand up to foreign governments whose citizens are involved in this? Specifically, is he able to face up to the Chinese considering the numerous financial assistance that this particular country offers?

Is he saying that he is going to step down before the end of his tenure if it turns out that he is losing the fight against galamsey?

If there is one thing that has been said time and again about Ghana, it has to do with the fact that we are simply a nation of talkers. We love to talk. Period. That is our national delight. We make a lot of sense up until the time for implementation.

So whiles the whole world may be swayed by the fine speeches and statements coming from the President, I must say that I am not impressed. I like to treat such statements like they were never made.

What the country desperately needs are doers. Persons who literally can take the bull by the horn. Persons who are willing and able to make trans-generational decisions.

That is the kind of leadership we require.

What is the value of words if it is going to be water down by “you quoted me out of context” arguments, as it is always the case.

Let’s be serious as a nation. Let our seriousness be seen in action. We’ve had enough of the speeches! At the very least, let our works and actions for themselves. After all, they speak loudest.

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