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Opinions of Saturday, 21 July 2018

Columnist: Michael Jarvis Bokor

Akufo Ado is a weak leader, unfit for contemporary Ghana

Folks, you know that those of us persistently damning Akufo-Addo on the basis of his inadequacies won't relent for as long as he gives us cause to bash him. And we will continue to bash him with all gusto and vigour, verbal violence, venom, and determination. He is a weak leader.

Let's not go far in substantiating our claim. Happenings under his watch and his stance speak volumes to justify our claim.

While he talks about fighting corruption and punishing culprits, he is quick to exonerate his appointees caught pants down in corrupt acts. He is quick to cleanse them to their own surprise and consequent bewilderment. Is this one too a leader to trust?

Let's just settle on what is happening now to paint the picture of Akufo-Addo as a weakling. The police have gunned down 7 young men in Anwiankwanta in the East Bekwai District, which has sparked tumult among the Zongo community in the Asawasi area of Kumasi.

No amount of suasion by the leaders of the Zongo Community is doing anything to calm nerves. The Zongo youth are out on the streets, doing things with impunity (including chasing away the IGP from a meeting geared toward solving the problem).

Physical acts by the aggrieved Zongo youth aren't being contained despite the appeal to conscience and good sense from their leaders. As reported, the situation is out-of-control.

The regional Security Committee can't handle it. Neither can the local opinion leaders. The implications are clear: that life and property are threatened. Who knows what will happen next?

The explanation given by the Ashanti regional police Commander appears to have incensed the angry Zongo youth instead of calming their nerves. The situation is alarming.

Let's add to this terrible situation what has happened to the nursing mother brutalized at the Midlands Savings Bank by the AK 47-wielding policeman and we should see clearly the nastiness that the Ghana Police Service has caused just within two days!!

What bothers us is the absolute lack of concern from the government and the Ghana Police Service to prove that they are indeed working for the good of Ghanaians.

On its part, the Police Service has dug in to justify whatever happened in the murder of the 7 Zongo youth. Its self-defending statement made at the press conference confirms it all.

Nothing has come from the NPP front, even though claims have been made to the effect that the victims were its known supporters.

The worst of all is that Akufo-Addo hasn't reacted to the sordid happening to prove that he is concerned about the loss of life. He hasn't reacted in any way. Is that how a President should behave, especially when the murder of these 7 Zongo youth is provoking so much anger and destabilizing the situation in Asawasi?

It can't be ruled out that the tension will spread to other Zongo communities, especially after the aggrieved youths have already defied their leaders' urge to remain calm while efforts were being made to contain the situation. Tempers have flared beyond control.

Yet, no word from Akufo-Addo. No leader worth his name will behave this way.

He is bent on touring the three regions in Northern Ghana to continue projecting himself as a leader, which he is not. A true leader communes with the people and shares their sentiments, even as he/she unites them through peaceful means, not violence. And when an act of violence occurs that endangers peace and security, he forcefully reacts so it doesn't ramify into a terrible national catastrophe to destabilize the system.

Take it from me that this Asawasi show of force by the Zongo youth is a potential source for something terrible to happen unless contained diplomatically. I won't be surprised if the Zongo youth elsewhere in the country capitalize on it (given their own instigating factors of employment, etc.) to cause mayhem wherever they are.

If the ramification happens, I won't blame anybody but Akufo-Addo and his lackey (Bawumia) for highlighting the Zongo element in their kind of narrow-minded politics. The emphasis that they laid on the "Zongo" aspect of the Ghanaian situation is unprecedented; and what is happening now is a pointer to the fact that the Zongos in Ghana need more than development projects to add their value to the Ghanaian situation.

Akufo-Addo doesn't seem to know this aspect of the calculation. And if the mayhem ramifies, he shouldn’t be surprised at how it will undermine his integrity. Ghanaians will be disturbed at such ramification because of its negative impact.

What is it about the “Zongo” that isn’t characteristic of the excruciating poverty tormenting Ghanaians? And why go for the Zongo alone as if by solving its problems all will be well for all Ghanaians?

And to imagine that a whole Ministry has been created by Akufo-Addo for that Zongo segment!!

He is out there in Northern Ghana, projecting himself for cheap political purposes, even when the action by the police undermines his own integrity. And he will thump his chest for appointing a Minister for Zongo Development and waste the tax payers' money on such a phantom venture.

I can foresee much trouble ahead for him and his NPP in this light. Once the Asawasi Zongo youth have gone thus far in registering their anger, things will "knock things" for Akufo-Addo to challenge his worth as a leader. Don't tell me that the Asawasi Constituency supports the NDC (whose MP has already stood up to call for action by the government on the murder of the 7 youth).

I am happy at this point that the Speaker of Parliament has created room for the former deputy Minister of the Interior (Agalga) to ask questions on the police brutality when Parliament resumes. I wait to see what happens.

Intriguingly, the government isn't even prepared to establish an independent committee to investigate the police brutality against the 7 Zongo youth. In a functional democracy, heads would have begun rolling by now. But not in Ghana under the weak leader called Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, who is more vested in flaunting himself around as a traditional chief would do but which a "productive President" won't.

As usual, Akufo-Addo has chosen the route of silence as golden instead of coming out forcefully to confront what is happening. Ghana can't be safe under such a weakling.