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Opinions of Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Columnist: Amoyaw, Sandy

The benchmarks of a great president

What are the qualities of Presidential leadership? What makes a President a great leader? Kwame Mkrumah was a great leader because he knew how to guide and to inspire people. Kwame Nkrumah had leadership qualities such as possessing persistence, having resilience through education, demanding excellence, communicating and informing people, being decisive, developing esteem, having nerve and courage, practicing team leadership, and finally sharing a vision.

There are many qualities of a great President. President Nkrumah had great vision for Ghana and was a very intelligent man. Dr Abrefa Busia was one of the most important Heads of State in our nation’s 50 year history. Busia issued the Aliens Compliance Order, which was extremely controversial; however, Dr. Busia held his ground, as all great leaders must. Presidents who succeed set ambitious goals for themselves and move heaven and earth to meet them.

Intelligence and vision are two more very important qualities of a great president. Also, the most successful presidents tend to be hard working and persistent. The pictures we see in newspapers, the stories we read are all strategically placed to create a certain image of the leader of the country. These images are supposed to play on the emotions of the voters. The qualities that are emphasized and presented are those desirable by the majority. In essence, a President is a public figure for a force much greater than himself. He is the front man of a group of people whose interests lie in ruling the country and deciding in what direction the country should go next. A great President is that person who can strengthen the economic capacity of the middle and working class families, this invariably, will enhance the quality of life and also improve the well-being of all the citizens.

We need a President who will support a constitutional amendment that will make the President’s salary and gratuities taxable, and also a President who believes that an honest government should spend taxes and fees for the specific purposes for which they were collected since the nation’s economic policies have a direct impact on government and taxpayers. Additionally, the President should recognize that the ballooning debt, record-breaking spending deficit, and the ever-widening trade imbalance are a danger to our way of life, and a serious obstacle to our children’s future. Furthermore, that President should believe that trickle up works much better than trickle down in stark contrast to fiscally irresponsible and counter productive government fiscal policies that offer benefits to only a small percentage of well-to do Ghanaians

The reckless “tax, borrow, and overspend” policies of the administration will cause massive financial hardships for future generations of Ghanaians. We need a President who does not believe our children and grandchildren should be responsible tomorrow for the failed economic policies of today. The country needs a President who supports initiatives to ensure the security of our families because every parent should be able to provide housing, nutrition, clothing, and health care for his or her family. No child should go hungry or without health care and that government has a role in making sure appropriate supports are in place and accessible to families who are in need

The government should have a President who supports measures to provide strong and effective legal protections to secure the investment of workers in public and private pensions to honor the principle that a lifetime of honest work should be rewarded with adequate retirement income.

The ability to live in secure, accessible and affordable housing, available without discrimination, is essential to giving families a sense of community, self-respect, and dignity. The President should be committed to making the dream of home ownership and clean, safe rental housing a reality for more Ghanaians by encouraging agencies and financial institutions to work together to broaden the reach and increase access to housing opportunities, housing rehabilitation programs, financial education, and down payment assistance that fits the needs of both rural and urban areas. Developing effective solutions to the problems related to homelessness requires a strong commitment to public-private partnership. In addition to the acute problem of homelessness among the mentally ill and their families, runaways, and other populations that typically make up a large share of the homeless populations, the impact of the current government’s policy has left many families just one rent check away from homelessness. A great President should be committed to ending homelessness by removing barriers and increasing access to services that support progress toward self-sufficiency in rural and urban communities.

Our economic security depends on developing the full potential of both Ghanaian entrepreneurs and workers to create a prosperous economy and a good quality of life for all Ghanaians. Small businesses are the innovative, job-creating engines of our economy and need to be nurtured. Workers need jobs that offer them and their families the dignity of a decent living instead of a lifetime shadowed by insecurity and poverty. To strengthen small business, a government headed by a great President should systemically foster entrepreneurship, especially the independent initiative of small business, to enlist workers in creating new goods and services. Thus a great President should encourage the following

The tax policies that favor big business at the expense of small businesses must be reversed; Raising productivity by applying information technology should be a priority; Supporting research and development of environmentally sound alternative energy systems that create markets and jobs and help achieve energy independence; and Public policy initiatives should be adopted that make it affordable for small businesses to provide health insurance for their employees.

Ghanaians believe protecting citizens from crime is a primary responsibility of government essential to our quality of life and vital communities. All Ghanaians are entitled to be safe and secure, free from fear of violence. The guilty must be justly punished for crimes they commit, the innocent must be protected, the rights of victims must be ensured, the accused provided due process under the law, and public safety officers must be strongly supported. A great President must lead efforts to make the country’s criminal justice system tough yet fair and also encourage parliament to pass legislation to give judges the option of giving armed robbers convicted of capital crimes stiffer sentences.

In conclusion, we need a President who can make Ghana stronger and regain confidence and trust among the other Africa nations by respecting human rights and restoring our leadership role as the first African country south of the Sahara to gain independence from colonial rule. Thanks to our only great President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It is important that our economic policies reflect that core value by promoting policies that address urgent needs of the country and minimize the potential for poverty and economic hardship.

Sandy S. Amoyaw New York City

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.