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Opinions of Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Columnist: Appiah-Osei, Lawrence

In Our Current Era, Age Matters In Every Profession, Even In Politics.

Throughout the world over, people are rejecting the old men and women in every profession, even in politics. They are beginning to know that voting for old men and women is just a waste of time. Even employers have started considering age when hiring. They don’t just look at your experience but also how long you will stay on the job before some misfortune happens. Old men are not safe anywhere. The job of President in modern times (our era) is not meant for old men and I can give several examples.

On October 28, 2014 we heard sad news for Zambia. Their President, Michael Sata, had died at the age of 77. He was sworn-in as President in September 2011. That means he was 74 years at that time. Trust me, if someone in the government had said the Mr. Sata’s age was too much for him to be the President, the opposition, of which Mr. Sata was the leader, would have rubbished it and said in politics, age was just a number and it did not matter. Lo and behold, Mr. Sata could not finish his first term of 4 years. He is no longer to be found on the land of the living. He didn’t even die in his country. As a President, he died on a foreign land. Who said in politics, age doesn’t matter?

On our own soil, the late President Atta-Mills, who was born on July 21, 1944 and died on July 24, 2012. He was 68 years old. The late President Atta-Mills was the oldest President of our time and unfortunately, he was the first sitting president to die. May His Soul Rest In Perfect Peace. We all knew that the late President was not very well and sometimes had to travel abroad to seek medical attention, but his death came as the greatest shock and surprise to us all. It is likely, the age of the late President Atta-Mills contributed to the way his health moved very fast from bad to worse, and finally to his death. So who said age doesn’t matter in politics?

The Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, was born on April 16, 1927. He served as the Catholic Pope from 2005 to February 2013. He gave up his duties and responsibility as a Pope due to his health and of course his age. He was 86 years old when he resigned. Many in the Catholic world received the Pope’s resignation with shock and surprise. Some even received it with fear. But what else could Pope Benedict XVI had done under the circumstance? He never said age did not matter in all things and so he will hang onto his post. He took the wisest decision at that time and even now. The Catholic Church has moved on under a younger leadership of Pope Francis. Who said age doesn’t matter in religion too?

In South Africa, the late President Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 and died on December 5, 2013. The late President Mandela was sworn-in as President in 1994. His first term ended in 1998 and he decided not to seek re-election. He cited age and health as some of the reasons for his resignation. The late President Mandela was 76 years when he was sworn-in as President. Just as in the case of Pope Benedict XVI, many South Africans received the resignation with shock and surprise. Some even received it with fear. But what else could President Nelson Mandela had done under the circumstance? He never said age did not matter in all things and so he will hang onto the Presidency. He also took the wisest decision at that time and even now. South Africa has moved on under younger Presidents. Who said age doesn’t matter in very profession?

On May 5, 2010, we heard sad new from Nigeria. Their President, Umani Musa Yar-Adua had died at the age of 60. He was born in 1951 and took office as President on May 19, 2007. The late President Yar-Adua could not finish his first term of 4 years. He spent 2 years and 341 days in office. Just as in the case of the late President Atta-Mills, he also became ill for some time whilst in office. Again, it is likely, the age of the late President Yar-Adua contributed to the way his health moved very fast from bad to worse, and finally to his death. So who said age doesn’t matter in politics? The list goes on and on and on………………

I write this article and dedicate it to Nana Akufo-Addo, the Presidental candidate of the opposition NPP. I will hit the nail on the head because it is Nana Akufo-Addo, who has been going across the country saying, of all the professions, politics is one of those that age does not matter. He continues to say he is not too old to be President and so Ghanaians should have mercy on him and vote for him in December 2016. In fact, throughout his campaign to become the flag bearer of the NPP, these were the only two statements he made. That is, he is not too old to be the President, and also age doesn’t matter in politics. Because Nana Akufo-Addo has no message for the NPP delegates, he had to bribe and corrupt the 140,000 delegates with GHC600,000 before they voted for him to become the flag bearer. Old men corrupt to win elections. Unfortunately, Nana Akufo-Addo himself has not considered the risk in voting for a 72-year-old man to be President. Fortunately for him, he needs to retire and he should have retired some 8 years ago. Ghanaians know the higher risk involved in having a 72-year-old as President and we are not prepared to take that higher risk. We will forcefully retire Nana in 2016 if he doesn’t want to do it voluntarily. We don’t need old men in our Ghanaian politics anymore. The risk involved is too much.

Fellow Ghanaians, Nana Akufo-Addo is too old and risky for the position he is applying for. Employers will not hire him and so should Ghanaians. Old men who are contesting for the Presidency are being rejected worldwide and Ghana is not different. The people of the world are retiring old politicians and Ghanaians should do the same. The other day when I was talking to a white co-worker and told him, the opposition party in my country has elected a 70-year-old man to be their flag bearer, all he said was eeeeewwwwhh! In America, eeeeewwwwwhh means something that is not appropriate to be considered, see or talked about. It means something very bad, awkward, weird and distasteful.

If for nothing at all, Ghanaians should consider the hospital bills that Ghana will pay for voting for an old President. At least, we all know that Nana Akufo-Addo has to be flown to United Kingdom (UK) every 3 months for medical check-up. Even during the election petition hearing, Nana had to beg the Judges to allow him to have medical attention in UK. What could be worse than that? I can assure you that once Nana becomes President and gets older; his 3 months medical check-ups in UK will be reduced to every month. If you have a President who travels to UK every month for medical treatment but not for investors and partners, believe me, the current strikes, demonstrations and hardships will be nothing to compare. Who said age doesn’t matter in politics? Age matters in every profession and Ghanaians should be sick and tired of voting for old men, who win power and die soon after. We’ve had that bitter experience before and we don’t want to go through it again. One is more than enough.

Lawrence Appiah-Osei (Protocol)

Public Relations Officer (PRO)

NDC Washington Metro Branch

Appiah65@Hotmail.com