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Opinions of Sunday, 16 October 2005

Columnist: Ababio, Nana

GLU ? A Revolutionary Government in the Making?

Ghana Leadership Union Inc is a Tax-Exempt Non-stock US corporation, registered in the United States of America and formed by a group of Ghanaians in the diaspora with the purpose of contributing to the building and reshaping of Ghana. The President of the Union, Kwaku Danso, a Ghanaian Engineer based in the USA, sees leadership as a core problem in tackling the problems facing Ghanaians. He believes that ?Ghana?s situation calls for an urgent need to demand a more effective management and leadership through a sense of purpose with absolute discipline, sacrifices from all, and accountability to sustain our democracy?.

And it seems that GLU is keen to make a difference in Ghana?s evolving democracy. They have set up an office in Ghana and already engaged in discussions at a forum that lists Ghanaian Economists, Engineers, Lawyers, Professors, Doctors, Businessmen, Journalists etc. The free flowing discussions range from issues on the Institution of Chieftaincy, Toilets at Kotoka International Airport, African time orientation, Socialism, Cocoa Farmers etc. GLU claims to be non-political and has been a strong critic of both the NDC and the current NPP government.

According to email discussions sent exclusively to the writer for his political analysis and research, Kwaku Danso, the President of GLU thinks the only original idea the Kufuor government has come out with is Cassava and Starch factory. He asks: ?Where are the Functionality coming in to give us more visions for our society? Where are the institutions coming in to help shape new visions for our own political philosophy?? Is Kwaku a President in waiting?

Kwaku Danso has been very open with his aspirations for the leadership. In one of his discussions, he expresses his frustration that he could not land a job at the then Tema Electronics Factory and the fact that in Ghana one has to drive for simple information that can be obtained by email or telephone. Kwaku therefore makes an interesting statement: ?This is the culture that new management will help to change. Any change is difficult but our people are not as resistive to change as I found. They are willing and ready when we are?.

In another posting, the President of GLU claims ?We had good reason not to join the status Quo, but to form the Ghana Democratic Republic Party [for lack of a better name] and spent our own money [perhaps $20,000 cash plus my Van and others]. Our Goals then of course was mainly just to get Rawlings to come out of the closet of the PNDC and compete openly. We did succeed, and allowed the open system we have today that had finally allowed the NPP to take over.? He continues that if those on his forum are serious, they should put money together and form a political party and leave their uncles and fathers to follow Danquah/Busia and Nkrumah. Are Ghanaians ready for GLU to solve its leadership problems? Stay tuned!!!

The Secretary of GLU, Okyere Bonna believes that Ghana?s wounds are self-inflicted and are nothing of the devil?s doing. According to him, Ghana?s wounds are the result of the people?s own continued choice of incompetent and wrong leaders. He therefore invites Ghanaians to focus their attention on clearly conceptualizing the qualifications of prospective leaders.

At one of the discussions, a contributor wrote: ?Until, our people find ways to make sure that the government works, they deserve the leadership that they have. It may sound harsh but our people have been dormant for far too long. This is one of the reasons why I think institutions like chieftaincy create a suppressed mindset that make people too passive. We have to pull this system by its taproot and kick ass. That is the only way forward. The masses will have to do this in a CIVIL action or a coup may be inevitable. I hate coups but if this nonsense continues, we may see one in my lifetime.? In fact, few on the discussion forum, including GLU President Kwaku Danso condemned the coup proposition. But this is just an example of the extremism on the Kwaku Danso discussion forum. Like the NPP in opposition which promised jobs and thought that they could solve most of Ghana?s problems when voted in power, GLU reckons it has a vision to save Ghana. In fact, GLU believes it is poised to bring some sanity into Ghana politics by helping prosecute corrupt Ministers and Government Bureaucrats.

Through its programmes and political theories/discussions, GLU has the potential to transform into a political party. Unfortunately, GLU as a political party could be dangerous for Ghana. Reasons?? Digest some of the extreme policies and issues of change that are discussed at the forum. If the moderates and optimists on the discussion forum do not contain some of the political extremists and GLU gets its way, then Ghana should prepare for a series of policies along these lines:

(1) Push for civil society to get rid of Chieftaincy. Consequence? Destroy traditional values and the custodians of Ghana?s rich culture. It seems some on the discussion forum are ignoring the positive contribution that Chieftaincy provides in Ghana?s development despite some of its flaws and when challenged by the wife of a traditional leader, Kwaku Danso asks for examples of such positive contributions.

(2) Increase salaries to the standards of the developed world to ensure decent standard of living with the aim of wiping out corruption. An excellent proposition in theory but impractical to implement under the current economic conditions in Ghana.

(3) Attempts to provide clean drinking water, electricity, housing and basic needs to all Ghanaians, only to find that GLU has been living in a dreamland into thinking that Government has the financial resources to provide services to all Ghanaians. If it was that simple, rich countries such as the USA and UK will not allow homeless peoples on their streets.

The good news is that interviews conducted among some on the discussion forum indicate that many think the President of GLU has a good grasp of problems in Ghana, but his ideas to solve Ghana?s problems have no practicalities to the situation in the country. In fact, when one of Kwaku?s allies described his writings as ?nonsense?, it triggered a brutal response from the friends of Kwaku Danso. While the accusations got rolling, the GLU President was also caught taking coverage after he made an unsubstantiated comment on one of the most respected Ghanaian Professional ladies in the diaspora. Whether the comment was positive or negative, the GLU President could not come out in the open to reveal his ?Reliable Source?.

Exchanges on the forum indicate disagreements on the way forward for Ghana and confirm the theory that some Ghanaians in the diaspora are out of touch with realities in Ghana. During a complaint from a diaspora who had visited the toilets of Kotoka International Airport, Prof. Ayittey responded that the complainant should set up a business to rectify the problem rather than complain, but refuses to clarify how this could be practically achieved in a country where laid down procedures for contracts are not followed in many circumstances. Kwaku Danso also passionately discusses underground sewage to tackle sanitation problems in Ghana and comments that President Kufuor does not have the leadership skills to address the problem. He reckons he has built his own sewage system. In theory therefore, he can scale it up for the entire country. Is the NPP listening? Let Kwaku Danso transform the leadership complaint into a business opportunity by providing him with a contract to solve Ghana?s sanitation problem.

Discussions on the forum also indicate that all is not well with the organization purporting to have the solutions to the leadership problems in Ghana. GLU?s own sources indicate that they are even struggling to raise funds for the administration of its office in Ghana, let alone undertake undercover operations to unearth corruption in government circles and form a political party. To the frustration of Kwaku Danso and his GLU, many on the forum have not been supportive of GLU?s initiatives despite calls to contribute towards the organisation because many believe there is too much ?cheap talk? from GLU. The NPP which has the experience of being in opposition and thought it could solve the chronic unemployment problem in Ghana now risks being voted out of power in 2008 because of its inability to deliver on its promises. One would have thought that with all the renowned Economists in the Government, Ghana?s unemployment problem would be a simple task to solve.

While Ghanaians should embrace all diaspora groups purporting to help in the development of Ghana, the citizenry should also be aware that theories are not easy to implement as GLU wants Ghanaians to believe. Can Ghanaians afford the experimentation of so-called theories of causality and mental development that Kwaku Danso preaches?

My advice to GLU is, put your house in order, listen to colleagues on your forum who understand the dynamics of Ghanaian politics and get on with the business of working for the betterment of Ghana. While I will personally not describe Kwaku Danso and his friend?s writings as ?nonsense? they are just academic until we see practical results. If the intention of Kwaku Danso is to tackle the so called leadership crises in Ghana, then he should register GLU as a political party and get his people on the ground because the theories will not let him realize such ambitions.

Hopefully, Kwaku Danso will prove the writer and many on his own forum wrong, win political leadership and transform Ghana to the status of Singapore through Lee Kuan Yew?s textbooks that he proposes to introduce in Ghanaian schools. Good luck Kwaku Danso and Ghana Leadership Union.

Nana Ababio,
Political Analyst, London


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.