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Opinions of Monday, 13 September 2010

Columnist: Afful-Dadzie, Anthony

President Mills, you have been excellent, but also terrible

Mr. President, I am among the few who earlier on sung you praises for performing creditably so far (see for instance “President Mills so far you’ve earned my thumbs up!”). But I promised I will be among the first to criticize you when need be. Deep within me I hate using this public forum to criticize you for I do not think this is the right medium, but I dearly want to get this message to you and have no means than this. My message is plain and simple, and it is this: Mr. President, you have been excellent but equally terrible! Do not be sad or hate me for this pronouncement, for I believe if you could give the necessary attention to your shortcomings you will be on course to be counted among the best of the presidents to have govern this great country.

I can vouch on your excellent economic records so far, your genuine zeal to fight corruption, social programs that have the suffering masses at heart, improvement in the agricultural industry, but sincerely I am afraid I cannot defend your record on matters that borders on national security, communication and internal unity in your party. Your shortcomings particularly on security is causing fear and terror among the populace. I will delve deep into these matters and give my reasons and some suggestions as to how things could be improved. Kindly forgive me if you find any portion of my writings offensive, but since I believe you are the right person to lead us (and the package presented by the opposition is the same old stuff rewrapped in a deceiving manner), and cannot afford to witness another eight years of looting of national coffers and drug trafficking from those who are now hungry and thirsty for power, I am compelled to alert you on these your shortcomings, perhaps it may help. I have no time and space to sing you praise on your excellent records - it is glare to every Ghanaian whether they will be truthful to it or not but also because I think your party can do a better job on that than me.

The biggest threat to your presidency which you may not appreciate now is maintaining and enforcing law and order in the country as is demanded of a commander in-chief of this great nation. Many, especially floating voters cannot fathom the manner at which so-called NDC foot soldiers have taken the country to ransom. It is as if they are the new police force of the land. From Bumprugu to Elubo, these NDC foot soldiers have been chasing DCE’s, MP’s and now regional ministers. Mr. President, I am compelled to ask this question. Would you have condoned or been happy of the conduct of these foot soldiers were they of the NPP and you in opposition? If it is not about snatching of public places of convenience, it’s about chasing DCE’s. Should I infer from this that very soon these foot soldiers will be charging to the castle to remove you from power?

These foot soldiers may not account for even one percent of all your supporters, yet you have allowed them to deprive you of winning the heart of many floating voters by their actions. The number of supporters you may be loosing each day as a result of the arrogance and stupidity of these so-called foot soldiers, I presume may be great. The sad thing is, this is coming at a time your opponents are scared of your excellent record on other fronts such as the economy. The actions of the foot soldiers are one of the many faults the opposition wished it is perpetrated because it is playing into their hands. In fact given the hunger and thirst for power written all over the faces of your opponents, I will not be surprised if somehow it is your opponents who are hiring or influencing some youth to perpetrate these foot soldier atrocities. This is possible given the type of opposition politics we have in Ghana, and their open desire to win election 2012 at all cost. I believe the opposition is capable of orchestrating such diabolic acts. For, how can you tell those chanting as foot soldiers are really NDC supporters? Any group of youth can get up, perhaps put on NDC attire and go on a rampage in the name of NDC foot soldiers. Anyway, whether they are of the opposition or from your own party, I think you have to crack down these hooligans else they will lead you to shame and deprive this country of the opportunity to wean itself from corruption and greediness which you have genuinely been trying to eliminate.

I understand you are a very humble and caring person, and that may be the reason why you have not been proactive enough to rein in on these foot soldiers. But Mr. President, remember that even David who was a man after God’s own heart had to crack the whip sometimes. He led the people of Israel to countless wars and did not spare trouble makers from his own people. 2nd Samuel chapter 20 talks about the revolt of Sheba who wanted to sow a seed of division among the house of Israel. King David had to take action, and here is someone who is after God’s own heart. The same can be said of Gideon. I think even God may not be happy if it is clear you have to crack the whip and you refuse to do so. If cracking the whip is a task too difficult for you search for someone in the military whom you can trust and give him a mandate with state authority to spearhead this mission since it is clear the IGP is either not interested in solving this growing canker or has been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand. If you can accomplish this, you will give me another opportunity to come and sing you praises.

On communication and internal unity in your party, it is understandable you have been terrible given the forces at play. However, I strongly believe you can turn this around to the utter shame of your opponents who are so happy your party is on a suicide mission. I mean self destruction. Please do not underestimate the power Rawlings wields in the party. If even his sworn enemies on the other divide could not malign him in eight full years how then can his own party? You’re too wise to be wasting your time and resources to contain or malign him. It just won’t work! He has followers who loves him dearly and believes in his philosophy and will die at all cost to defend him. But let this not scare you at all. Machiavelli will tell you that such people are those who really will work their heart out to you if you could bring them on board. Just put him to work. From afar I think the Rawlingses are very hard working. They just hate to sit idle, and that Mr. President is one of the major sources of their frustration.

Besides, he is not that bad as many will want us to believe. If anything at all God used him to put a stop to military uprising in Ghana. Let us not underestimate this; a cursory look at what is going on in most West African countries should convince us to appreciate the role God used him for mother Ghana.

On former president Rawlings, let him represent you on some of your foreign obligations (which you may deem O.K for a former head of state to undertake) especially those ceremonial invitations. Trust me he will love it and he will defend you anywhere, each day. Assign him some of the thousand project commissioning invitations you receive each day but cannot honour. Also, let him occasionally represent you on some of your numerous national duties such as university and polytechnics matriculation and congregations. If you can find a way to let him feel loved and not forgotten, you will be surprised the fortune you will reap from this. I believe as usual your opponents will jump on it and say Rawlings is now the head of state, or that you are pandering to his whims and caprices. Because of this, it may be helpful to limit his appearances, but engage him fully behind the seen. I also understand if you give him an inch he will want to make it a two, but you can handle that I trust you. Lastly, if you care you can also find Nana Kunadu something to occupy her time although a little interest on your part in her 31st December movement will be enough to get her on your side. I don’t think she will decline your offer since she knows she is not a winnable candidate whether she will like to hear this painful truth or not.

Mr. President, you will be surprised how getting Rawlings on board will work magic for you. All those Rawlings supporters mercilessly firing left and right will seize, and the beauty of this is you need not spend time chasing those disgruntled supporters. Rawlings himself will bring them to order. If you may permit me to repeat, do not forget Rawlings still has followers just as former president kuffour has followers. Don’t malign them by maligning Rawlings. It will do you no good. People like Alhaji Bature are flatterers and are seeking their own good but not yours. Please do not let these people speak for you. They just don’t have you at heart but their own importance so please deny them access.

Lastly, on communication and presenting a unified voice of government Mr. President, I will entreat you to look for not more than four people, who are witty, not arrogant, respected by the populace and who are generalist on all issues of government to act as the mouthpiece of the government. Let these four people and only these four represent you and speak for your government especially on those provocative questions put to members of your administration on radio and TV political talk shows. Please be proactive on this issue. Do not allow anybody in your government except these four people to engage the FM and TV stations. Let all FM and TV stations put in a request with at least a days notice accompanied by the specific questions they will want answers to these four persons, and let this body of four either find a better representative to answer these questions or do it themselves. And please let these four people know they have a big responsibility at hand and should render you nothing but the highest form of service. We are fed up with all sorts of state Ministers and MPs just getting up and answering all manner of questions from the FM and TV stations. There are too many people presenting confusing and contradictory answers on simple matters which are causing a great deal of mistrust and hatred for your government. Let it be known publicly that those jumping from one radio station to another do not represent you, and as such do not speak for you.

Lastly Mr. President, for the sake of mother Ghana, do not be afraid to take bold decisions in the interest of the country even if such decisions may appear to undermine your second term bid. People by nature are afraid of change because it puts them out of their comfort zone, but with time they will come to appreciate the wisdom in the change you are advocating. If need be, endeavour to be a better one term president than a foolish, greedy and wicked two term president. God will bless you for that. But I trust as the almighty GOD liveth you will get a second term in office to the glory of HIS name.

If you will permit me Mr. President, I will like to leave you with this, that: seek ye to do the right thing, give to the populace what they deserve, serve the people whole-heartedly, appreciate the sufferings of the masses and work assiduously to alleviate their pain, give them security, use public money wisely, refrain from arrogance, love thy enemies, and see if GOD will not grant you a second term. Remember how you won the 2008 elections, don’t you think it was the singular hand of the almighty God?

By Anthony Afful-Dadzie (