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Opinions of Sunday, 5 December 2010

Columnist: Isang, Sylvester

Ambrose Dery Demontrates That Political Leadership Is For Change!

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In political history, it is believed that man once lived in a ‘State of Nature’ or ‘Natural Condition’ of war where each man was driven by egoistic interest making man a wolf against his fellow man.

Griped with fear, a social contract was entered into to establish government or a civil society. It is said that the main essence of government is to play a fiduciary role in which government serves the collective interest of the very people that vote her to power.

The contrary is what pertains in Africa and Ghana for that matter. In Africa, people come to power not to serve the interest of the populace- providing them with basic facilities such as ordinary KVIP, water, motorable roads, electricity among others but characteristically to focus on building their individual stomachs first and then followed by addressing the stomach needs of their close relatives and friends. Having experienced different governments; NDC and NPP rule many Ghanaians can attest to the fact that politicians have the same agenda- focusing on their stomachs first.

If African, and for that matter Ghanaian politicians were always to come to power with the firm conviction that leadership is about service to the electorate but not a means to acquisition of wealth, then after more than fifty years of political and economic independence many Ghanaians in every corner of this country will not wake up every morning to use the bush as the commonest source of toilet facility.

As people queue at the few KVIPs in the big cities to ease themselves in succession, what echoes my mind is ‘aba, Africa when will we live a descent life’. Whilst these women, men and children queue to use the KVIP in succession, their representatives in parliament are saying ‘Yeah Yeah’ in agreement to a loan facility for MPs to buy a V8 or Ford Explorer vehicle, rather than say taking measures that will enforce the rent legislation and building requirements which have it inter alia that every land lord must provide a toilet facility in his house.

The seemingly deceptive nature of African politicians is making many a people to have apathy towards political activities which in itself is a recipe for perpetuation of the pursuit of selfish desires by politicians.

The good news however, is that there is an emerging class of a few Ghanaian politicians who irrespective of their political lineage or coloration are determined to solving basic problems of the ordinary men and women in society whether you share their political ideas or not.

It is this new class of emerging few Ghanaian politicians that the man Ambrose Dery belongs. Honourable Ambrose Dery is a born altruist. Even when he was not in active politics he was famous not only for his excellent records as a distinguished barrister, but because of the immediate attention he pays to people who lay all sorts of problems before him. I think the people of the Upper East region especially, those in the Bolgatanga Municipality can attest to the fact that Honourable Ambrose Dery does not discriminate when it comes to addressing basic human problems.

It is little wonder that many use the term ‘Fara Garti’ to describe his tribal identity because of the fact that despite being a Dagao (Dagarti), Honourable Ambrose Dery has always been seen as a Frafra. Many thought for example that there was no way he could have lost his bid to become a Member of Parliament in 2004 if he had contested in the Bolgatanga Constituency under any party ticket or as an Independent Member.

Despite his initial hesitation in entering active party politics when he had the call from former President J.A Kufour, Honourable Ambrose Dery has since demonstrated that leadership is service to the people especially the less privileged.

He excelled in whatever position that he found himself. From Deputy Attorney General, to Upper West Regional Minister and now as a Member of Parliament for Lawra-Nandom Constituency.

Anywhere he finds himself he leaves an indelible mark of superb dedicated services. By the time he left office as Upper West Regional Minister he had introduced what was called ‘Ambrose Dery’s Time’. How did this come about? The Honourable was very time conscious and as such he was always present at the given time at an occasion that he was invited to and once the time allotted for his speech was up he got up to deliver his speech even if it meant reading the speech to the empty seats or few people present. This instilled time consciousness in many people in the region especially organisers of public fora who wanted to avoid disciplinary action from the minister for lateness.

It was not a surprise when Honourable Ambrose Dery overcame all the odds to set a history in the political panorama of Ghana’s Parliamentary Democracy by winning the Lawra Nandom Seat under the ticket of the New Patriotic Party hitherto regarded as an NDC strong hold and indeed a no go area for the NPP. Indeed the NDC has always won that seat since the return to parliamentary democracy in Ghana in 1992.

As a mark of excellent leadership, Honourable Ambrose Dery is the first Member of Parliament of the Lawra-Nandom Constituency and perhaps in Ghana to position a personal assistant in his constituency to be collating the concerns of the people which he goes back to the constituency every two weeks to address. I am mindful of the fact that the current government has instituted the idea of giving national service personnel to MPs as personal assistants but even before this, Honourable Ambrose Dery has already put in place his own personal assistant.

Approach Honourable Ambrose Dery, be you NDC, NPP, Dagarti, Frafra, Ashanti, Ewe, or if you like northerner or southerner, he will act or at least attempt immediately to solving your problem.

Should we get a handful of the Ambrose Derys in Ghanaian politics, why not, politics will really give solutions to the myriad of problems that confront us as a developing nation.

Before I conclude, let me state categorically that this write-up has no political motivation because if you have had a personal interaction with the man Ambrose Dery you would have seen development in him. Therefore, as the Bible says ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and Jesus what is Jesus’.

Writer: Isang Sylvester


Teacher’s Cert A, Tamale Training College

BA, UG-Political Science and Psychology

MSC Queen’s Belfast, UK-Leadership for Sustainable Development

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