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Opinions of Thursday, 2 February 2017

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

Presidential Transiting: Please, let’s have some detail

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By: Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

‘So what do I call him [John Mahama]; as former president?’ the commentator asked a colleague she thought would know.

The simple answer ought to have been ‘former.’ That either was hesitant to say that indicates our lack of exactness with facts, processes of events and everything else.

Either there are wide gaps in interpretation or nothing is written or there are no established conventions.

Transiting from one presidential administration to another was a test case.

For over 10 and half hours, the motherland Republic had no President. The Constitution expects a president to assume office one second into a January 7 following the declaration of a winner of a presidential election. So I took it upon myself to time how long a new president would be sworn in after midnight January 6, 2017.

The President-elect arrived at 10:29 am and was seated 10:37 am. VP-elect had arrived some minutes earlier.

Chief Justice was invited by the Speaker at 10:46 am to administer the oaths. V-P Bawumia took his oath between 10:49 and 10:53 am.

President-elect Akufo-Addo was invited to take the oath at 10:58 am, and was sworn in over the period 11:00-11:04 am. Signatures were appended 11:06 am and the new president was handed the state sword for a 360-degree wave at 11:07 am.

Public events, whenever attended by a president, must have a rendition of ‘God Bless Our Homeland’ immediately upon his or her arrival.

It is, therefore, strange that an event of the magnitude in proportion and significance as a presidential investiture goes on and on without the patriotism inspiring anthem.

The anthem doesn’t even get sung or played immediately after the president has completed taking all (three) oaths.

The president must be seen arriving in his or her official vehicle with a Coat of Arms number plate. Again, on a momentous occasion such as the inauguration, that crown was nowhere.

Both the outgoing and incoming presidents arrived in crownless vehicles. The expectant crowd would have relished coat of arms number-plated presidential ride. And oh, a name for the venue. It is interesting that Okoe Abodwese did not address that one in his name-changing onslaught. The place was christened Black Star Square. For some reason I cannot remember, Blaa Kutu changed it to Independence Square. I don’t remember any other change after that. So I have presumed the name remains Independence Square.

Whether it is, or not, people are unsure because Oman FM kept saying Black Star Square; while UTV wrote the same.

BBC radio also said that but BBC online news had Independence Square as did Joy FM and TV3. I think someone should take responsibility and issue an official public statement to educate the public, school children in particular.

Presidential minders were nowhere when the president needed water. It had been heart-in-mouth with the Kufuor search for the presidential oath; and then later John IV’s question: ‘Where is my speech’ mid-speech delivery.

Meticulousness is detail. After many, many years in public life, people, some journalists can’t properly write Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

They spell Maafo as Marfo. Some kind of direction from the presidency as how the President should be addressed will be most welcome. President Akufo-Addo, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo. We need to choose the right one. I didn’t hear the name nor the description of the new president’s cloth (symbols).

We must learn that sometimes, the most auspicious occasions are the ones with the least time and experience to organise.

That said, we must stop justifying our mistakes with others’ mistakes. Moving forward in development is correcting past mistakes and not justifying contemporary ones by referencing past ones. The electorate has spoken against that. That is why compatriots vote for change; to create opportunity for correcting past mistakes. Change is, thus, justified when mistakes are corrected and not repeated. You don’t allow plagiarism accusations to dampen the resplendence and beauty of an inauguration.

We now know dishearteningly that writing an inaugural speech is no child’s play and that plagiarising from a plagiarist makes no great words because what is plagiarised remains plagiarised. James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey would say that best was not enough. Not a harangue of a speech; for, it was nothing like ‘Yentie obiara’ halting the Dotse Mallor image reconstruction project in its tracks at the commissioning of a shoe factory.

It’s useful to be guided by avoiding the bile by the liver, slips that douse great acts. It’s the ultimate competence. It is realpolitik. Compatriots could focus on a former president appropriating a vice-presidential house for personal permanent use.

Yet the reality of the motherland politics is the loudmouthed pounding on the form away from the substance.

The being a Ghanaian portion of the speech must be played repeatedly.

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