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General News of Friday, 18 November 2011

Source: The Herald

Yet Another Pot Calling The Kettle Black

The immediate past President of Ghana, J. A. Kufuor, has reacted swiftly to former president JJ Rawlings’ assertion that he is the best leader Ghana has ever had in the country’s political history.

Mr. Kufuor, who ruled from 2001 to 2008, said Mr. Rawlings’ comment to South Africa-based television network, e-TV smacks of arrogance, and he should have allowed Ghanaians to rate him.

Ex-President Kufuor popularly known as ‘the Gentle Giant’ told Joy FM he will not mark himself since “good beads do not speak” (Anwenne? pa nkasa), an Akan proverb that means “quality does not promote itself. ”

Kufuor said: “Let the people of Ghana say so [that Rawlings is the best] otherwise it becomes a boastful statement.”

“I am not prone to boasting, I don’t like that. ”

“… Let the people of Ghana say, over this period, this is the best leader we have had, I will not say I am the best, I won’t say that; it should be the people I led,” the joint winner of the 2011 World Food Programme Prize stated.

President Kufuor broke his silence on the much-talked about national honours on Saturday when he said he did not create the new highest honour, the “Grand Order of the Star and Eagle of Ghana” for himself but for the institution of the presidency.

He said the occupant of the highest office of the land is entitled to be honoured if he serves the nation well, adding he had to start it for others to follow.

The President said this when the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa of the Greek Orthodox Church led a delegation to bestow the Grand medal of St Mark on him.

The culture of bequeathing National Honours and or Awards to deserving individuals who have contributed in one way or the other towards uplifting the circumstances of any country is a practice that dates back thousands of years.

The practice serves two primary functions, firstly to appreciate such individuals for their dedication, industry, service or whatsoever contributions they might have made to the society’s development; secondly, and equally important, to serve as motivation to others to strive to the extreme of their abilities, to be equally recognized and honoured by the larger society.

Under ideal circumstances, the screening and selection processes of individuals who get nominated to receive national awards coupled with the accomplishments, integrity and contributions to societal advancement of selected awardees serve to enhance the stature of National Awards. The Awards ceremony itself acquires a larger-than-life image as it is often a determining factor to gauge the direction towards which a society wants its youth (and invariably, its future) to be attuned.

What we witnessed in Ghana in 2008, was a charade of a national honour; the award ceremony was designated as the very best of the land called Ghana, the question I asked then and still ask now is by whom?

It was presented to Mr. Kufuor, the former president of Ghana sometime in 2008 by himself to himself for being the best. It composed of 64karates of gold, manufactured in the UK and paid for with the consolidated fund generated from the tax payers’ sweat, you and I. “Grand Order of the Star and Eagle of Ghana”

It was a history made by Ex-President Kufuor. A history equaled only by Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, who declared he had defeated the British and conferred on himself the decoration of CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire).

His full self-bestowed title ultimately became “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”, as well as Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga of former Zaire, who promoted himself to the rank of Field Marshal, had a relation institutionalized as well as his portrait on the Zairean currency and quite recently Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria who recently decorated himself Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) or as many would like to call it Grand Criminal Of The Federal Republic.

Isn’t it amazing that Mr. Kufuor would say, he does not like to boast and that Ghanaians are the best judges; by inference, only Ghanaians could confer an award of good service on their president.

The award was organized against the conscience of our very existence as a nation, and despite the opposition from well-meaning Ghanaians, Ex-President Kufuor still went ahead to decorate himself.

The President cannot under any circumstance award himself/ herself a pass mark unless the people he or she presided over say so; the ordinary people who sleep and wake up at the mercy of criminals and thugs; the ordinary man who goes from day to day, albeit he does not know where the next meal will come from. The ordinary student who is made to scratch through school and comes out and remain unemployed despite the huge natural resources that we have; these are the people who must say a leader deserve an award.

Ex-President Kufuor is craving for immortality, his penchant for worldly things and recognition is unequalled by any leader we have had as a nation since independence. Whatever our first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah did, he did that in the interest of the people, so is former President Jerry John Rawlings. These leaders were true heroes who sacrificed their time and energies to emancipate their people from mental slavery, and imbued in them a sense of discipline and commitment to work, putting Ghana first.

They epitomized Abraham Lincoln’s saying that ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

President Kufuor on the other hand was interested in self aggrandizement, and he asked not what he could or had done for his country but rather what his country could do for him. Below is what ex-President Kufuor asked for after enjoying the largesse that comes with being a president of a third world country where accountability have been thrown to the dogs, where we as citizens only go home to belch when our stomachs are full, after making some few ugly noises. Is it not true that the anger of the powerless is useless?

The Mary Chinery-Hesse Committee, which was established in 2004, issued its report in December, 2008. The report recommended a number of retirement and ex-gratia benefits for the retiring President and departing Cabinet Ministers, senior members of the government and Members of Parliament.

1. Six cars (3 saloon, 2 SUV’s and an all-purpose vehicle) for his use, with insurance, maintenance and fuel provided by the state. 2. He is allowed paid overseas travel for up to sixty days per year for himself, his spouse and three staff (5 star accommodation, first class travel), plus entertainment expenses (not specified) to be paid for by the State Protocol Office. 3. The package also includes an ex-gratia award of over GH¢ 440,000 (USD 315,000) for a single four-year term, and another GHC¢ 221,000 (USD 158,000) for the second term. 4. Finally, the president is allowed a USD 1 million contribution of seed money for the creation of a presidential institute or foundation. Econoff estimates the total value of the package to be worth less than USD 2 million in cash, and under USD 2 million equivalents for the properties, travel and other non-cash benefits over a decade of retirement”. 5. Two houses; one in ACCRA and one at another place of his choice

But Does Kufuor deserve everything; he has not relented in his effort to have everything under the sun, he was recently inducted into the “Freemasons” a secret society that has ever since been the source of power and influence, as they have used their money to impose presidents and leaders across the world.

I am not for a moment indicting or questioning the modus operandi of “The Freemasons”, but rather questioning the motivation that could drive former President Kufuor, who is a devout catholic to abandon his Christian principles, knowing full well that the Catholic Church does not sanction the activities of the “Freemasons”

This only goes to illustrate the greed that consumed ex-President Kufuor who wanted recognition and a big applause even when the play is not over.

Corruption was the flagship of his eight years rule from 2001-2008. He travelled around the world, if am not exaggerating more than all the presidents put together since Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana till date, gallivanting from country to country and one continent to the other, all in the name of looking for foreign direct investment which never came, and if it did come at all it ended in his pocket and the pockets of those of his close associates.

Yet, this is somebody who says he does not boast.