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Opinions of Friday, 3 August 2012

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.

Do Our Leaders Plan for emergencies?

By: Kwaku A. Danso

This report of a Presidential Aide, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye instigating an “attack” and planning a barrier and blocking of a rural road and forcing the late Ghanaian President Mills’ travelling convoy to stop and the President to get out of the vehicle and meet or be surrounded by villagers is very interesting and worrying. (Ref: GLU Forum, Kwasi Gyan Apenteng: Subject: RE: I Organized 'Attack' On Prez Mills' Convoy - Nii Lantey Vanderpuye [Truth Serum being served for breakfast in their 'chocolate tea' with corner loaf ...is revealing and setting us free] Tue, 31 Jul 2012 12:08:31)

However, it tells of our naïve Ghanaian or African culture also that perhaps led the white man to sense they could take strategic competitive advantage of us when they entered our coast lines some hundreds of years ago. There is perception among many that they still do in many business transactions today, taking advantage due to greed and international corruption involved. CD wrote: “A far more worrying question is this: if the "ambush" had gone wrong and the President had been hurt, would this guy have owned up or gone on the air and stated that the NPP had invited the Togolese army to join the Burkinane army to block a road and kill President Mills?” (CD, GLU forum, Tuesday, July 31, 2012 8:37 AM)

Fabricating fanciful stories is part of the African entertainment culture. However, the sad culture is this idea of not seeming to plan for emergencies or not believing that such things could happen. That the President forgave Nii Lantey is also part of the culture that confuses forgiveness with breaches and enforcement.

I remember in the design of electrical circuits, and in the study of Physics, Electronics and Science that leads to the design of many of the products for human use today, we have what is called “redundancy design”, and it starts with some mathematical iterations also used in programming, “if not, then what?” scenarios. As a former Manager in Failure Analysis in industry, I laughed when Toyota was having problems with the “sticky accelerator problems” and they blamed it on sticky pedal. This same concept is used in the design of your Memory chips called RAM - Random Access memory and Microprocessors. We know that material is not perfect after all the high temperature treatment and stress, and defects can occur in the Silicon used at the sub-microscopic levels. They are called “dislocations” in the study of Materials Science and Engineering. Don’t worry about the difficult equations at this time, since I don’t even remember them.

In human life we expect problems and we do the same in planning for emergencies and in Leadership studies we have what is called “Executive emergency preparedness” and “Successor planning”. These are explained in my book (Leadership Concepts and the Role of Government in Africa, 2007) based on research and articles of many academic Professors.

The sad fact of this is that this idea often goes with what we call intelligence. We have several proverbs in our Ghanaian and African language and culture that suggest that we plan in life for a rainy day, emergency preparedness, but for some strange reason, the educated African seem to get confused. From Kwame Nkrumah’s time, we exhibit some sad characteristics in this area. Nkrumah did not even have a Vice President and he seems to have believed or been dulled by the political jingles around him that “Nkrumah never dies”. It was not his fault, but he has to take responsibility. He was not perfect and culturally bound to believe in the old African Kings - and who ever heard of Vice Kings! Not even in UK do they have Vice Queen! In short my study shows that our people have a low preparedness for emergencies. Somebody like the late President Mills perhaps worked on Faith, that the God of Abraham would protect him. Don’t we all do the same sometimes? In the Ghanaians and most African culture, it is not unusual for many to have faith in external forces.

When somebody dies, the usual procedure is for family elders to prescribe a fitting burial, even when there is no rainy fund. We usually refrain from talking about our personal experiences but we need to learn. When I suggested in 2004 the creation of a family fund where all the working adults would contribute small sums monthly to be used when somebody dies or for needy school children, everybody agreed as “Nyansa-sem” (wise thing). When I proposed at the meeting of the Abetifi Association meeting in Dec. 2007 the idea of collecting taxes per household for community projects such as public toilet (the immediate challenge they were grappling with) and even forming a town council, I was shocked with a unanimous acceptance after very enthusiastic discussion. The sad thing for me is that in all cases, our people lack leadership; and as soon as I left the idea was never implemented. If there is one lesson I can share, it is never to expect to sell a vision and have it implemented without the originator.

Kwame Nkrumah left Ghana and Africa a big vision misunderstood, deliberately undermined, and unfulfilled. South East Asia nations have fulfilled a similar vision in only four decades. I feel bad in not being able to sacrifice my body as well as my mind, and set up certain things and nurture them before leaving this earth. What we may consider elementary, as Sherlock Homes called it, is not being done! We all have to look in the mirror. The path is going to be even more difficult as Ghana chooses to disenfranchise their people who obtained dual citizenship of Euro-American nations and want to settle and offer their by taking up leadership positions. For me, it was this plan of being able to be in Ghana to sacrifice that I built these 4 units and house with air conditioning for maintaining my body as a retirement plan for income. I am not a good martyr. In this modern day, I can’t stand to be sweating as we used to do as children. Moreover I need my computer to plan and do my estimations and the PC cannot stand the high temperature and humidity. POINT is that I did not build a village type house in East Legon, and hence I need reliable delivery of electricity, which unfortunately our former President said he was not an electrician to supply us in East Legon. A retired school teacher appointed as Managing Director of Electricity Company may not understand what I need electricity for. After all in the village he did not need one when teaching his kids. Gosh!

So, yes, our people are good people but they don’t seem to ever plan for such things as you point out, emergencies, etc. Not for water delivery, not for electricity and not for roads and highways as population in our capital city is exploding over the years! If Kwame Nkrumah knew he was hated and people were planning to get rid of him, would he have taken that trip to Hanoi without some planning for this coup? For those of us who think Nkrumah was on the right path, that lack of “paranoid management” (As former Intel CEO Andy Grove wrote about as the only way to survive), is missing in Ghana, and not only at Nkrumah’s time but down to the late President Mills. It appears true that in life, as Dr. Grove wrote, “Only the Paranoid Survives”. I have found no nation or group of people more paranoid than Americans. Americans have more nuclear weapons, more money spent on defense than the rest of the world combined, and yet you have men like Mitt Romney and John McCain who would have a following with some paranoid idea that America needs to keep spending on defense! (But don’t forget lots of money for some big boys, and employment in defense the America industrial complex).

Have a good day

Kwaku A. Danso

President - Ghana Leadership Union & Moderator –GLU Forum. (Contact: dansojfk@gmail.com )

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