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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.

Should Ghana’s President John Mahama resign or be Impeached?

Kwaku A. Danso

There is a cultural trait among Ghanaians that once a person is put in a social or organizational responsible leadership position, he is almost above human, cannot learn from the subordinates (not even new Computer skills), he must be given absolute respect and obedience, his faults cannot be pointed out, he cannot be punished, and he must die in that position.
In Prof. George Ayittey's book "Indigenous African Institutions", his research showed that as much as African tribal organizations and tribes were not able to define democracy through elections, at least Chiefs and Kings were not necessarily one-man Lords-and-Masters but had some level of accountability and responsibility to a council of elders.
Ghanaian leaders since the Rawlings PNDC era have all created an atmosphere of impervious shield where leaders become immune to criticism, and don’t listen to advice of even experts, or what one older economist called “your betters” on the GLU-Ghana Leadership Forum. That was not the case in the 1960s and 1970s, as this former student leader can testify. As age dawns on some of us and we may stop our many writings and advice, hopefully we will continue to point out what we see as wrong and have held us back as a people.
History has shown that any constitution or administration which offers no room for complaint or correction, and public institutions do not respond to citizens’ complaints, inquiries and feedback leads to failure. The name usually given to such include autocratic, dictatorial or extractive if such positions also lead to members acquiring economic advantages in addition to their political advantage. Even our Embassies overseas do a poor job and the Constitutional Council of State seems unable to point out faults of the President, hold him accountable for the poor planning and delivery, and have him removed in serious wrongdoing.
The sad irony of this is that these poor policies and poor planning have caused an economic downward spiral and hundreds of thousands lose their jobs but the government does not seem to know. In addition those who have invested their money in Ghana do not even have any guarantee of good faith police and security protection, as police collude with criminals. In about 3 or 4 cased in East Legon known to this writer, the police were clueless and helpless and in one case even refused to execute an arrest of theft because the police head is known to the thief. Ghana has reached a point of desperation.
Most home and business owners in Ghana’s city now have to dish out an average $2,000 for private Generators to subsidize the poorly planned electricity generation and distribution in Ghana. A survey shows home and business owners are spending an additional $300-$1,000 per month for fuel to power generators. How much failure does one measure! In a 4 million population, average ten per household or 400,000 homes, and only average 50% with generators, this comes to $400 million in wasteful additional investment. Fuel cost to these generators average for a 6-8 hour usage about $400 per month or $80 million per month. That figure comes to $960 million wasted by citizens in Accra alone to maintain generators. It is simple math!! The only people gaining are the petrol station owners and distributors. President Mahama has had the chance to plan and correct these. He failed!
It is for these reasons that I am asking Ghanaians President John Mahama to be man enough to simply resign as there is now enough evidence of incompetence, vague promises, poor planning, weak executive decision-making, and lack of adequate concern. He has failed the nation. Changing Ministers every three months is not the solution either. However before the NDC folks start insulting me, the negative political tradition that our society seems to have developed, let us remember that John Mahama is not the only one to blame. Corruption and lack of concern has permeated the whole society. Public employees seems to show no concern as planners claim to plan, engineers claim to design solutions but nobody seems to be in charge and crack the whip to implement anything! In the meantime taxes are collected and loans incurred so people on public payroll will get paid. At the end of the day it is the President to blame.
The stated mission and objectives of the PNDC revolution for 11 years and the transition from the military dictatorship of Jerry Rawlings to civilian rule in 1992 till now seems to have failed. I has been 33 years now and it has actually caused more indiscipline and escalated public corruption with inflated loans with no accounting, whiles granting masses of Chinese immigrant workers free access to Ghana, people who seem to care little about ruining our rivers and environment with their mining. Ghana is close to the very bottom in socio-economic and financial performance in relation to our peer nations. Leadership has proven itself incapable of reforming the social and economic malaise of the common man and total disregard for basic societal, economic and even physical land planning and registration, and development of sewage systems, roads and transportation systems, sold out infrastructure land communication systems, and ignored educational and health care systems where even babies born are not tagged and politicians travel overseas for medical care.
It is my strong advice that President John D. Mahama should resign to avoid any further disasters in leadership in Ghana. At the least he will maintain his dignity and history will perhaps forgive him. The NDC can replace him in time for the next elections. Before he does he should terminate the appointments of all those people he deems incompetent or who made promises to him and did not meet deadlines. Failing that Parliament should initiate an impeachment procedure and remove him from office. This has never happened in our short history after independence and if this is done, it will set a precedence for our nation and help build a better and more serious organization of people for posterity where leadership will be taken more seriously and employees of government will respect their positons and perform.
What do you all think?

All the best.

Dr. Kwaku A. Danso