You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2014 03 24Article 304131

Opinions of Monday, 24 March 2014

Columnist: Blay-Miezah, Acka-Nyanzu

What’s age got to do with seeking to be President

Really, what’s age got to do with seeking to be President of Ghana?

Like Ghanaians are increasingly becoming used to, anytime Nana Akufo-Addo speaks or sneezes, the NDC panics. And in its latest panic reaction to Akufo-Addo’s statement of intent on his political future, the NDC as always is forcing us to begin to consider a subject of non-issue as a presidential aspirant’s age as a basis for one not to seek a party’s nomination or voters election as President. This argument of the NDC not only lacks constitutional merit but equally absurd in the face of any rational thought.

So what has age really got to do with ones intention or ability to lead a country? Even before I proceed to expose this fallacy and hoax of AGE by the NDC, I believe we should refer to our constitution and consider what the law has to say about the expectations of one who seeks to run for the office of President. Aside the citizenship, minimum age of forty years and sound mind requirements, there is nothing else barring any Ghanaian from seeking to occupy that office. In exiting the same office, one might be forced to resign or impeached on the grounds of ill health in which case he or she is functionally unable to carry out ones duties as required so that one can be in a wheel chair, be blind, over a 100 years, disabled or all combined but so far as such is a Ghanaian, above forty years and is of sound mind, the law does not discriminate against such to seek to and occupy the office of the President.

Back to the empty ‘old age’ argument by the NDC against Akufo-Addo, I would like to ask them if late Professor John Mills was a young man at age 62 in 2008 when he was their candidate and contested to be Ghana’s president? Indeed, if the late Professor had remained in the civil service, he would have been in his second year on retirement. At the time Nii Lante Vanderpuje said Mills would run for president in 2012 at age 66 even if to just wave his phalanges from a wheel chair, was he (Mills) growing any younger? Even worst of all, were the NDC and Professor Mills’ handlers not aware that he (Mills) had been diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2004 and given maximum of five years to live? But what did they do to Ghanaians? For their selfish political interest and convenience, they packaged and sold to Ghanaians a pack of lies on the state of health of Mills claiming he was fit when they very well knew he was not. Then he won the elections and his ill health worsened as predicted by his doctors, but then again, his handlers fearing that a sick Mills would mean losing the 2012 elections had to force the terminally sick man to jog on the tarmac to be captured by TV cameras on return from his last foreign medical treatment abroad.

This is the man whom according to NDC founder Jerry John Rawlings could barely work for three hours in a day as President, he became deaf in one ear and barely heard with the other, he could barely speak and when he spoke, it was with pain and great difficulty. This is the man the NDC chose to afflict Ghanaians with.

Clearly , the NDC were so blind to the real problems of Professor Mills which had to do with his failing health and nothing to do with his age after all much younger persons have suffered and continue to suffer from cancer and other terminal diseases. Is younger Professor Mills not dead now and older Akufo-Addo still alive? Bottom line is death is a common denominator to humanity and does not discriminate with age, race, sex, professional and academic qualifications, wealth or Social status. So really, what has Akufo-Addo’s age got to do with anything or him seeking to be President? If they do know of any terminal illness Akufo-Addo suffers, then they will be doing harm to Ghanaians if they denied us such knowledge but if it is all about his age, then I beg them to spare us the frivolities. Is it now considered to be illness for one to grow or attain age seventy? Which of them do not pray to God to grow or surpass the age of seventy? Does it mean they are praying and asking for sickness when they do such? Who says that leadership and competence lies in being a youth or young person? I would not dare classify our sitting President John Mahama as a youth because the evidence does not support such a claim but I will acknowledge that he is younger in age than Akufo-Addo .

Being younger in age than Akufo-Addo has not delivered to Ghanaians the kind of leadership and competence that the people’s mandate requires of President Mahama. The state of affairs in Ghana today whether as midterm crisis or leadership’s failure is happening under the leadership of a man who is well above the middle age and fast approaching civil service compulsory retirement age of sixty. We have past and current examples of elected leaders across the world that can be described as young or old but we can all attest to the fact that visionary and competent leadership has never been the exclusive preserve of the younger or older leaders.

The seriousness of what is ahead of us in the next election can easily be found in our current predicament where the choice of a leader that majority of Ghanaians made at the polls in 2012 is the result of where we are now. We allowed our votes to be easily bought by the cheapest of propagandas and money. We risk finding ourselves in more dire or critical situation soon after 2016 elections if we allow ourselves to fall for these cheap and empty arguments. That cycle of falling for the lies must be broken at the next election. Instead of making us feel the improvements in the quality of our lives which is the mandate we gave them, the NDC is rather concerned about machinations on how to win the next election by deceiving the electorate. As Ghanaians, we may move a notch higher by demanding that all persons seeking the highest office of the land be examined and certified as healthy by an independent medical body or institution. That, to me would be making progress instead of this empty noise about age.

Acka-Nyanzu Blay-Miezah

Axim, Evalue-Gwira