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Opinions of Sunday, 21 August 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Team B and the Latter Day Moses

President Atta Mills has neither the gift of the gab nor the charisma to lead a people, and neither did Moses. The difference, however, is that Moses was not picked by a JJ Rawlings in a Swedru Declaration. The bible says Moses was handpicked by God. And to make up for his obvious deficiencies, God equipped him with the power to perform miracles, most notably, parting the red sea to let his people go. Atta Mills insists God is the president of Ghana and yet the only hint of a miracle from him is the imminent purchase of a military jet that could be used to pursue armed robbers.

It is difficult to impugn the ability of a man of such intellectual and academic excellence. Obviously though, intellectual capacity does not necessarily equate to an ability to lift a people and lead a nation. Gordon Brown had been a well-respected chancellor of the exchequer in Britain and generally considered as the intellectual power behind the modest economic successes of the Tony Blair era till he staged what many people have described as a “palace coup” to get rid of Blair and take over the reigns of power without having had to face a general election. His subsequent fumbling performance as a prime minister and disastrous humiliation in the next election has driven him prematurely into oblivion – a forgotten, broken man.

On the other side of the coin is Al Gore, who was vice president to the ever popular Bill Clinton and yet refused point blank to avail himself of the extraordinary campaigning skills of his then morally tainted boss, preferring instead to be his own man and to fight his own battle. He lost the election but not his pride, nor the respect and admiration of many. He has gone on to be a very successful campaigner on environmental issues. We doff our hats to the likes of Al Gore.

Then there was Atta Mills, a university professor who had never been in politics and was handpicked by the NDC to occupy the tainted seat left behind by the walloped and humiliated Mr Arkaah – a politician who had dared to be his own man and to ask difficult questions in a Rawlings cabinet and suffered dearly for it. This very first foray into the political arena cast a big shadow on the judgement of the man who is now our president. He took the softer option. Even more surprising was the Swedru Declaration that followed, when our learned professor was simply propelled by the then very popular Rawlings to succeed him. He accepted, once again, a rather soft option. By this time, alarm bells should have started ringing out loud about the judgement of the man who hoped to be our president.

Anybody who believes the fumbling Atta Mills would ever have won an election in Ghana on his own merit without the fervent support of Jerry Rawlings and his wife is probably not facing reality. He would hardly have won an NDC primary, let alone a general election and I even doubt he would have bothered to stand at all, seeing how out of his depth he appears to be in the political arena. He dealt the Rawlings card from the bottom of the deck, and then once power had been bestowed on him, belatedly decided to try to be his own man for once, by surrounding himself with lieutenants who posed no threat to him, but some of who nevertheless remain an embarrassment to the government and the people of Ghana. A Team B side (apologies to Spio-Garbrah) can offer nothing but Team B advice. And the fact that the president even allows himself to be swayed by these people, casts a slur yet again on the judgement of the man. We are talking here of people like Baba Jamal, caught on tape advising civil servants to lie, and exaggerate and be dishonest while disseminating government information or be dismissed. I take serious exception to this and to the fact that the president has remained silent on this issue.

Was this just an attempt at spin gone wrong, or an issue that strikes at the very heart of our credibility and brings into question the integrity of not only Baba Jamal, but of his boss and the government as a whole? Silence is no option here! If this is the pervading philosophy in this government, then is it any wonder we cannot get to the bottom of issues? We are no nearer finding the truth about STX or of the proposed purchase of military jets. We are buying black sheep and painting them white. When faced with the wrath of Ghanaians, the minister said he had merely been joking. I am not surprised. The whole government has become nothing but one big joke

Don’t be deceived. “Asomdwehene” and “God is the president” are all facades, calculated to throw dust into our eyes and to disguise our president’s personal weakness as a leader. A football manager picks his coaches and his team, often in his own image, and takes responsibility for their performance. Is it not surprising, that the Asomdwehene has been responsible for hiring some of the most arrogant, undisciplined and verbally virulent individuals to be his ministers. Where is Atta Mills’ political judgement?

At the end of the day, God is not our president. God only permits us as individuals to avail ourselves of the blessings he bestows on us. Times are hard. Economies are crumbling. Our people are suffering. We need to be led out of “Egypt” to the “Promised Land.” We need a president to motivate our people, to inspire and to comfort them, and what do we get? A latter day Moses with impaired judgement and no miracle stick to part the red sea. Heaven help us all

. Papa Appiah

Lexeve1@yahoo.co.uk

www.papaappiah.blogspot.com