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Opinions of Thursday, 20 October 2016

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

President Mahama has been exposed!

After witnessing so much duplicities, corruption, incompetence, nepotism, cronyism and frequent abuse of power in the NDC government, many Ghanaians have ceased believing the so-called visionary leadership skills of President Mahama.

Thus, it is nothing but a propagandist declamation when President Mahama keeps insisting that it is only the NPP Party that lacks visionary leadership. (See: ‘NPP lacks visionary leadership’-Mahama; starrfmonline.com; ghanaweb.com, 19/08/2016).

“President John Mahama has taken a swipe at the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), describing it as a party that lacks visionary leadership”.

“Mahama said just as the NPP’s tradition undermined Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, their present leadership is working hard to mislead the public into thinking that the massive investments in infrastructure are a misplaced priority”.

The fact of the matter is that a visionary leader provides a new direction and inspires us to abandon our “old ways of doing things”. The all-important question then is: does President Mahama inspire us? I do not think so. He does not provide a true leadership in my opinion.

Actually, when we are preoccupied with our self-interests, be infinitesimal or gargantuan- a visionary leader sends out a wake-up call, alerting us to seek the true priorities in life. This sense of urgency is just as important in a leader as a sense of vision.

Ironically, however, President Mahama’s so-called visionary Leadership is basically lacking the quality of urgency and inspiration. Needless to say, President Mahama’s vague rhetoric only seeks to proselytise millions of Ghanaians to support him and nothing else.

In practice, visionary leadership must give people a long-term vision that transforms their lives with meaning; it must point them in a new direction and show how their every action is an indispensable part of a positive change ahead, for it is not enough for a visionary leader to persistently preach to us about how we should be productive or efficient; a supposedly visionary leader like President Mahama needs to inspire us to change or improve the world in a productive and meaningful way.

Apparently, we often tend to believe that a visionary leader is a person who is well-connected, who is powerful or charismatic or wealthy. No.

Unfortunately, we judge our leaders by what they have. However, a visionary leader should be judged by his/her extraordinary qualities, not -- ego, impertinent boldness, and self-interest.

In fact, a visionary leader sees his/her work as altruistic service toward accomplishing a goal. That is, a visionary leader must seek to take bold and pragmatic measures towards improving the lives of his/her subordinates.

Then again, visionary leaders act as role models, motivate, provide meaning, optimism, enthusiasm, strategic thinking and stimulate the intelligence of their subordinates (Bass, 1985).

It is also true that visionary leaders promote their subordinates innovative and creative skills by solving problems entirely in new ways without blaming their subordinates for their failures (Bass et al., 2003).

As a matter of fact, President Mahama’s visionary leadership became questionable when he turned away from NDC’s party pledge to resort to ‘lean’ government and went ahead and appointed two deputy Ministers each in the Energy & Petroleum, Food & Agriculture, Education, Information and Gender, Children & Social Protection ministries (See: Myjoyonline.com/Ghanaweb.com, 28/03/2013).

Besides, despite some of his appointees lackadaisical approach to their duties, President Mahama has nonetheless been endorsing the usual Ghanaian mantra: ‘hire to retire’ (stay in the post regardless of abysmal performances).

As a matter of fact, a visionary leader should be able to ensure that his/her subordinates are toeing the line.

And if possible must resort to ‘hire to fire’ (dismissal upon poor performances).

Unfortunately, however, President Mahama, who is being touted as a visionary leader, supervised dubious judgment debt payments. But then again, giving gargantuan sums of money belonging to the nation to people who have no entitlement does not speak well of a supposedly visionary leader.

What’s more, with all the promises President Mahama gave to Ghanaians during the 2012 electioneering campaign, he has however failed to end the dumsor, has failed to implement the one-time NHIS premium and free SHS, jobs aren’t readily available for the jobless, the economy is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire, he has reneged on his promise to keep ‘lean’ government, Ghanaians are becoming poorer and poorer, sleaze and corruption have escalated to immeasurable proportions, endless borrowings etc.

As the sages say, “Leadership is not power and dominance; it is service to mankind”.