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Opinions of Monday, 20 February 2012

Columnist: Asare, Moses

Mills - top candidate for the $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize?

Africa is a continent of natural wonders. But that’s not all. Africa also has plenty of leaders whose styles and conducts make Africa even more unbelievable….in a not so positive way. In Africa, you find the Yaya Jammehs who have vowed to rule for generations, the Paul Biyas who have already ruled for decades and the old guards like Mugabe who simply won’t go away. Then there are the Omar Bongos of Gabon, the Kabilas of D.R Congo and the Eyademas of Togo who have turned their countries into paternal dynasties.

Then on the opposite side of the fence, you have a new generation of leaders who are determined to pursue good governance and to help make a difference in the lives of their peoples. One such new generation leader is President John Atta Mills of Ghana, a rising star in a tough and unpredictable African political landscape. For sure, Ghana’s President Mills is moving steadily. Clearly, President Mills is on track to be refined into a great African leader. And if all things go well, whether he wins re-election or not, he could be a top candidate in the future for the $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize. It seems President Mills is scoring well on all factors considered for the prize including sustainable economic development, human development, transparency, including the fight against corruption, and empowerment of civil society, democracy and human rights and the rule of law and security.

There are several indicators which point to this. However, the greatest pointer of all is that the man is simply viewed positively as a good man. A simple man. A humble man. A man of the people. This is his greatest asset and the opposition NPP will find it almost impossible to beat this image.

On the issue of oil management which is perhaps the most strategic of all, the president has delivered. He has shown prudence in the management of Ghana’s newfound oil wealth. Already, Ghana earned over $400 million from oil exports last year. Inflation has been tamed. GDP growth is off the charts and at over 14% it is one of the highest in the world. Foreign investments are pouring in. Ghana is enjoying relative peace and security.

Another smart move by President Mills is that he has kept former President Rawlings at bay. He is his own man. If Mr. Rawlings, a man obsessed with controlling people, thought President Mills would be another walk over, he has made a big mistake. Mills has proven that he is the president and is totally in charge. Fact is, if President Mills had listened to Rawlings, perhaps Ghana would have been on fire by now. He ignored Rawlings’s call for revolution-style witch hunt and prosecution of former officials of the Kufour government and Ghana is better for it. Thank God, Mills chose to follow the wisdom of Nelson Mandela in not being vengeful.
He has also shown great patience and tolerance for his most avowed critics. For example, President Mills ordered the release of an opposition NPP activist who accused him of being gay, among other serious charges. He just let the accuser go free. If it was some other leader, he would have put the fear of God in him by teaching him a lesson he would never forget. At worst, he would have ‘disappeared’. And at best, he would have received a black eye. In between, he could have easily done some serious jail time just as Kofi Coomson, Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt and Haruna Atta sadly were reported to have been subjected to under former President Rawlings.

Nana Addo better take notes. Because if Nana Addo could not beat him even when Nana’s party had incumbency advantage, then Mills has become more difficult to beat than in 2008. To beat him, Nana Addo has to work ten times harder than before. He has to sharpen his strategy ten times better. He has to improve on his PR ten times better. It would be a very close election, but as the incumbent, President Mills has a slim advantage over Nana Addo. If the NPP does not work ten times harder, four more years of life in the wilderness await them. And for Nana Addo, having come so close and yet so far, his long held dream of becoming a president would be sadly lost forever, as the NPP transitions to a younger generation of leaders around age 50 just as the UK and China are now wisely doing.

Some may think, “look at him, there he goes again, another NDC plant”. For the answer, just go read the article I wrote titled “multimillion dollar corruption increases under President Mills”. This was a very explosive article I wrote in the January print edition of the New York City-based AFRICAN LEADER newspaper and also posted it online at It was totally against President Mills. Anyone who reads that article would think I am an NPP plant. But here am I today singing the praises of President Mills. Again, this is exactly what Africa needs. As the continent at the lowest developmental stage which the IMF calls ‘primary stage’, Africa more than any other continent needs unbiased and intelligent debate to develop a strategic vision and build intelligent systems and institutions to deliver prosperity to her peoples.
While it may not be easy to do so, it is very important to distinguish between President Mills as a person, the NDC party as a whole and the current government. These are three distinct players even though they may be interconnected. Most Ghanaians agree that President Mills is a great leader: selfless, kind, God fearing, disciplined and passionate about serving the people. Here is a leader who is not arrogant and always puts the people first. Here is a leader who has great relationships with the leaders of the opposition NPP despite almost daily insults by these same opposition leaders. The fact remains that the NDC may not be the most popular party in Ghana. We know that. We also know that some people in the Mills government may be ganging up to loot the nation. Some of the Ministers and top officials may not have come to serve the people. They have come to enrich themselves using front men and corrupt third parties. This is a big problem not just in the Mills government but throughout Africa and the world. People are in to make lots of money in a short time because they know in politics they could be here today and gone tomorrow. Their families have to eat.
Despite significant resistance from his own party and government, Mills is now cracking down hard on these corrupt officials. He has come out swinging with his presidential axe, firing where he needs to: decisive and swift action. He had long been perceived to be weak. But at last, President Mills is no more Mr. Nice Guy. His decisive action which forced out former Attorney General Martin Amidu and Education Minister Betty Mould Iddrisu have put fear in his friends and foes alike that the man is a no nonsense leader. He is also taking strong action against Woyome personally. Several similar issues allegedly came up during the Kufour and Rawlings governments and some of these cases were swept under the carpet. Mills has taken decisive action and he must be praised.
It is no wonder that President Mills has been judged by the East African Magazine as one of the best leaders on the continent. Having scored excellently in the areas of governance, democracy, press freedom, corruption and human development in the past year, President Mills was awarded grade A with a score of 70.1% for his performance as a leader in 2011. Mills has shown great consistency in leadership since he scored the same grade in 2010. This is not fancy because Kenya’s Nation Media Group, publishers of the East African Magazine is probably the largest and most respected media group in East Africa. I personally know some of their executives and the group values great performance and discipline.

If the NPP and Nana Addo think they would cruise to an easy victory in the upcoming December elections, they better think again because they would have a tough fight. But whatever happens, President Mills will be forever remembered as a great, selfless leader. And perhaps, who knows, the $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize may be added to that.

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About Moses Asare

Moses Asare is a director and special writer for the AFRICAN LEADER, a New York City-based media company serving the over $50 billion U.S African consumer market through direct subscription, email list, event sponsorships, networking, newsstand sales and online platforms. As the premier African newspaper and the reliable media brand for the U.S African market, AFRICAN LEADER is available in a newspaper format and also online at Moses Asare is a respected expert on the U.S African Market, a booming niche market valued at over $50 billion. Multicultural marketing consultants generally agree that the 3 to 5 million African immigrants, non-resident African immigrants and African-born U.S citizens currently living in the United States represent a booming niche market. In various key executive positions, Moses Asare has been actively involved in the U.S African market for about 10 years. Through his consulting work in Africa, Europe and the U.S and also as a strategic advisor to a New York-based communications firm providing multicultural consulting services to Fortune 500 clients, Moses Asare has provided strategic advisory services to leading multinational companies seeking to grow their brands and improve ROI in marketing to international and niche consumers in the United States. Moses Asare is also a director of Convergence International, a non-profit, New York City-based global think tank established to promote free enterprise, entrepreneurship, investments and opportunity particularly in emerging and frontier markets and disadvantaged communities in the United States. Moses Asare has written extensively on key global issues and current affairs. Moses Asare is passionate about issues that impact global peace and prosperity. He is currently living in New York City with his wife and three lovely children. You may contact Moses Asare at To support our work, Donate NOW. Send your check or money order to AFRICAN LEADER, 1211 Brook Avenue, Bronx, New York 10456, United States. Please make check or money order payable to Moses Asare. Or email us: Big, anonymous donations are welcome to help advance the company’s flagship projects. Call Toll Free: 1-877-606-3085 Fax Toll Free: 1-888-540-5684