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Opinions of Sunday, 22 September 2013

Columnist: Akomanyi, Kwame

Spirit: the bane of leadership in Ghana?

Any ardent follower of politics in this country, I am very certain may have at a point flirted with the very important question of the apparent lack of leadership in our society. Why is it that some of the leaders we put in position of authority seem to fail us the followers who entrust them with such power of authority? I have had my fair share of such sleepless night of deep thought about leadership in my dear country, Ghana. Whenever I wake up with what appears to be an elixir to the challenges of leadership, another leadership slip appears in the news that makes ineffective my theory of solution to the challenge of leadership. Once again, I am romancing with another potential cause of lack of leadership in our society. A certain lawyer Ayikoi Otto seems to be getting me there, is it spirit as he claims?
As I watched the contempt proceedings brought against the Chief Scribe of the New Patriotic Party and a member of their communications team in the Supreme Court, as part of what is now the famous supreme election petition. I wondered the strategy that the counsel for the accused was going to be, and most importantly the arguments he will advance to convince our law lords to acquit and discharge his clients. What made the case for the counsel for accused much difficult was that the case was coming on the heels of the issuing of the ‘final touch line’ warning and the sentencing of two other personalities on the same charge by the same court. Admittedly, as a student of the law, I could not marshal any convincing argument and resigned myself to pleading, if I were in the position of the counsel for accused.
I was following the case because I am a student of the law but subconsciously my mind had its eye on the case because it was once again a case of leadership failure. The pronouncements of the two gentlemen can find its match in the Kennedy Agyepong (MP) tribal outburst, Nana Akufo Addo ‘All die be die’ utterance, the Sami Awuku pestle explosion, the various insults we have rained on our political leaders on political platforms that cannot be substantiated, cases of bad decisions on the part of our leaders to award huge contracts to themselves and their cronies as well as the mismanagement of public funds entrusted in the care of our leaders.
Is it truly the case as argued by counsel for the accused, among many other reasons, that it was a case of a spirit possession that caused his client of over 32 years standing at the bar to make such pronouncement? That these spirits have the power to cause momentary seizures of rational thoughts leaving in its trail such condemnable outbursts? I have my doubts and beg to differ! Understandably spirit possession as a strategy by counsel to plead for a birthday gift of acquittal from the law lords did work but wonders if it can stand scrutiny when applied to any rational thought. These spirits I dare say, if true, then have really possessed most of our leaders and we must begin in earnest to find a solution to it. If it will require a trip to Israel, our leaders of the ecclesiastical order must uphold it irrespective of the sponsor since it appears they have failed to deal with such spirits in our republic.
As stated much earlier, I do have my doubts about this spirit and it is at this point I seek to proffer some solutions. As intrinsic with our human nature, we ascribe to the spirit world whenever we fail to offer a sound interpretation to the cause of any action in the physical realm. This clearly is not one of those cases we can ascribe spiritual causes because the cause is so much palpable.
Firstly, our leaders must take note of the four cardinal qualities of leadership as noted by Plato and try to develop them. Plato in summing up the traits of quality leadership as put forward by Xenophon in the Cyropaedia identifies four main qualities: justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude. This is what defined the ideal leader in ancient Greece that influenced Roman and western idea of leadership which we in the developing world aspire to. For the purpose of this write-up, I may expatiate on temperance as noted by Plato. Temperance in the view of Plato means ‘self-control’ or ‘inner governance’ what has come to be known as emotional intelligence in today’s business circles. For a leader, if he permits reason to rule, his abilities would become virtues. Contrary, if a leader is motivated by his heart his abilities would degenerate into vices. This is just the case with our leaders and not the case of any spirit who seems to have possessed our leaders. Is just purely a case of absence of ‘inner governance’!
Finally, Temperance is also virtue extolled by many religions. As a very religious nation, where most of our collapsed industries have been converted into places of worship for various religious groups, one cannot help but question why the virtue of temperance has eluded some of our leaders. For the Christian faith with which I am very familiar, self-control which is used in close association with temperance is so highly exalted. It is part of the numerous virtues that characterise the holy-spirit filled Christian. If our leaders are so empty that they are been filled by some strange spirit, then I think our religious leaders have more to do to get them filled with the holy spirit which can bestow the virtue of temperance. The challenge with such leadership slip is a lack of self –discipline and tolerance for opposing views. As a nation our march forward must be characterised by a high level of temperance not just on the part of our leaders but the general citizenry as well. Long live our republic!

Contact:, the author is a student of the law at the faculty law, university of Ghana.