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Opinions of Sunday, 4 February 2007

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

Ghana: Hail your President.

The decision by African countries to elect Ghana’s John Agyekum Kufour as chairman of the African Union must warm the hearts of all Africans and Ghanaians from the political divide.

Though Ghana’s elevation was on account of Sudan’s recent appreciable craving for war, tolerance for human rights abuses in the troubled region of Darfur, and its objection to the deployment of United Nations-backed troops to prevent more killings, the choice of Ghana once again confirms the country’s emerging status as the rising star of real democracy in Africa.

As we celebrate the election of John Agyekum Kufour as the new "chief" of this 53-member strong union, we should also look beyond Sudan’s disqualification, and amplify the good works of our great leader who has performed creditably to change the political landscape of a country that also opened the gate to de-colonization in black sub-sahara Africa through its Pan-Africa hero- Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.

Through President Kufour of Ghana, the story must be re-told, that unlike other African Leaders who used a "stick" to propel themselves to leadership, he picked a "carrot" and submitted himself to an electoral process that brought an end to dictatorship which as it were, was branded as social democracy, and brought together socialists who operated as democrats for political expediency.

In addition to maintaining peace in Ghana, Kufour also contributed to maintaining peace in other West African countries to the admiration of world leaders, an achievement which Africa recognizes to entrust the African Union due to his benevolent political influence.

As Ghanaians celebrate the honor bestowed on their President, they should also not forget how their towering political figure infused tolerance into their political vocabulary, and of free speech, culminating in the liberation of the media from a former "civilian cum military government" which failed to accept free speech as a democratic norm.

Kufour’s elevation must be seen as another reward for his fight, together with the likes of Nana Addo Akuffo-Addo, the current foreign minister of Ghana, and others, that led to the once again liberation of Ghanaians from the darker years of military adventurism and democratic experimentation.

It is a reward for a new style of leadership as typified by the introduction of the People’s Assembly concept which continues to bring Ghanaians closer to the presidency, a demeanor comparable to the "fireside Chat" designed by the great American president- Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.

To all Ghanaians, your president has been chosen because he knows how to humbly relate to the African character, he tolerates varying opposing views, his deep interest in democratic principles has been recognized by Africa.

This is an important recognition that must not be taken for granted by all Ghanaians, as well as those who continue to disrespect, ridicule themselves and the presidency, due to their unwillingness to appreciate the good works of the present government of Ghana.

These are people alienating themselves from the natural flow of the truth, and the tenets of real democratic principles.

Your President’s feat must not be underestimated, as it further represents the new commitment of Africa to punish leaders who are failing their people, and reward those taking bold steps to sustain democracy, the rule of law, and ensuring that the rights of the people are not debased.

To all fair-minded Ghanaians, those who cherish democracy and believe it’s a better alternative to anarchy, and to those who genuinely believe in our country’s march to become the powerhouse of true African democracy, the election of your hardworking President should bring all of us closer to embracing the beauty of excellent leadership that can be re-packaged to boost the African leadership image.

By his election as the AU chairman, your president’s belief in democracy and peace has been noticed.

Share in that pride as a nation, and support him to transform his love for democracy into an African agenda that can also sustain stability, food security, and respect for all.

These models have been tested in your country-Ghana with good results, and that explains why pundits believe Ghana can use its clean score sheet to move Africa to the forefront of managing its own problems in a more functional way.

Time, they say, will unfold good results from this African agenda, motivated by the conviction, that Ghana’s Kufour is a true democrat who is humble enough to change the face of Africa through quality leadership skills.

Kufour’s attributes justify why he is the right man to lead the one and only Africa somehow displaced by spots of political turbulence and chaos in a growing stereo-typical world which moves much quicker to label a continent for all the wrong reasons rather than "partner" it to solve pertinent problems.

Congratulations, the President of Ghana.

-Author- Ato Aidoo, formerly of the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana. He lives in Evans, Georgia.

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