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Opinions of Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

When A President Loses His Way


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What cause is he looking for?

Within a little over a month, confused and lack of confidence Kufour has been out of Ghana three times. This president’s inordinate travels, with very little to show for it, is unsurpassed in our nation’s history. He was invited to Germany for 3 days but goes for a week! He is on his way to go thank the Germans for feeding and taking care of us? What has he done to uplift our people? If the German leaders behave the way he does, will they be able to give us hand outs? Where is the dignity of this man Kufour? Is traveling an addiction for Kufour? If so, did this addiction start once he was elected president? Is this how irresponsible people behave when they have the resources of others at their disposal? Somebody please school Kufour on the concept of stewardship. And please don’t give me any bull about how he is doing his job. Yeah right! He was doing his job alright when he is alleged to have overdose on wine and forgot to show up for a radio interview. Can we see our bill please? Who in the NPP is willing to place before the public and defend, how much these travels continue to cost the taxpayer? Even that irresponsible cock of Swaziland does not travel this much. I am reminded of a saying in Fanti that goes thus, if you teach a leper how to chew stick, even when he or she is asleep, the stick still hangs precariously between his or her ajar and tiring lips. Let those who can understand do!

If you want evidence of a black colonialist, look no further than Kufour. What a crying shame!! Does this president really sit and think through his actions? I mean seriously? Are we going to feed off table crumbs from the Germans forever? This president must be very lonely at home and how best to treat that vacuum with greed. If there is a down side to democracy, the brand that we perfect in Ghana, it must be the inability or lack of flexibility to manage or control power, once given to opportunist like Kufour. And if you think I am being harsh, you don’t know what fine billingsgate I would have preferred to administer to this callous and clueless president. I have to really bite my tongue till it bleeds. I have very little tolerance for tin cup dictators like Kufour who hide behind democracy to abuse power and the scant resources of the country. Regrettably, this is at a time when people are dying needlessly due to lack of resources and facilities. To disregard and abuse the intent of some of these constitutional provisions for personal and partisan gain, only goes to show the dictatorial tendencies of Kufour. No wonder he selfishly worked for the PNDC even as it brutalized, killed and maimed some key democracy adherents in Ghana. Shame on our greedy and self seeking president!!

Kufour’s leadership ability is questionable in my mind because of two, among others, preeminent traits that he employs overly. Kufour is an opportunist and a very vindictive person. Kufour is the kind of person who pitches his dirty tent in the camp of opportunity, so long as he is able to fleece the people. Kufour is the kind who will always choose the path of least resistance regardless of whether it fits the bill or not. He is not one to roll up his sleeves and blaze new trails so others might benefit. Not a single novel idea has been proposed by this lazy president. He is in to live off what others have toiled for. He will beg and beg because that is all he can do. He will stock and stack the Supreme Court because the constitution allows it. He will travel recklessly because it is legal and he does not have to pay for it personally. He will take loans and more bloody loans to pillar a fragile economy because he can. He will build a 60 million presidential mansion because he has a parliamentary majority who will support this boondoggle tripe and are afraid of losing what little handouts they get if they get in the way. Those chiefs who refused to play ball with the NPP have all been ostracized. Even within the NPP, those who tried to step up and call the president to order have been cast aside and in some cases removed from post. These people have been denied any future opportunities. This is the reprehensible Kufour that ought to be exposed. How can anyone, with a straight face, call this leadership? How my friends?

Let me say this, I have noticed in the Ghana web comment section, that some are so frustrated with these presidential jolly trips that they even curse that he might die in a plane crash. My friends, I feel your pain but please, for heavens sake, don’t go that far. I understand your frustration but don’t wish death on anyone. We’ve tucked it in and sucked it up for almost 8 years. Let us do well to wait this failed president out. Any African president, who seeks validation from colonialists, is not a leader worth noticing. Let him, by his wicked, reckless and misguided deeds make peace with the powers that he answers to. If Kufour, at night, can pray to God with a straight face, that is if he prays at all, about the suffering kids and women in Ghana and get up the next day to spend the little money that we have on jolly rides and baseless travels, let him. Does this president have a soul at all? Does he have a heartbeat? Can he feel? Bloody Mary have mercy on us!! Let us not wish evil on him. It is only Kufour who can invoke evil onto himself. By his deeds, he will be judged. And there is no rest for the relatively wicked.

My friends, often when young men take arms and unseat a government, and we’ve seen quite a bit of that in Ghana, many of us are quick to rightfully call them names and pour scorn on them. What we often fail to do, is ask ourselves how we got there in the first place. And though I don’t condone coups or violent overthrows, I think it will be naïve not to notice and loudly make the case that bad governance and irresponsible behavior by so called leaders, legal or not, often serve as fodder for self seeking military adventurers, anarchist and trouble makers. There is are reasons why a coup plotter like Rawlings is still popular in Ghana and Kufour’s behavior is not helping to weaken those reasons. Pragmatically, it makes sense therefore, to make sure that adherents of democracy don’t carelessly pave way for conflict or upheaval by not bringing notice to the abuse of power and misuse of state resources. We have very limited resources in the face of staggering and daunting needs. So, why should one person waste our resources the way this president does without any consequences? And NDC folks are being hauled to court for financial waste or loss? Keep in mind that I am not here to defend thugs within the NDC. Not at all!! However, we need parity if not equity in our national affairs. For how long will we tolerate these tricks by the president? And we also have to take care of him once he retires?

We have a responsibility, regardless of what party we belong, to stand up and tell Kufour to stop the fleecing and profligacy in a HPIC country like Ghana. Traveling all over the world does not make you a leader. Even America, with all the resources at her disposal, will not tolerate such reckless travel from her leaders. If you think I am lying, ask “air Sununu” who worked for the first president Bush, father of George W. Bush. Stop the silly travels so that our kids may have money for schools and eradication of worms. Mr. President, why go to the Olympics if we can’t afford to send credible athletes there? Every little bit counts. I mean, what will it take to get this president to understand that Ghana does not have a bottomless pit of money. These bills have to and will, be paid. Government may be faceless but it does not mean that the bills will not be paid. And the NPP party leaders sit and watch this decadence? The chiefs sit and watch this claptrap? Where is the council of state in this quagmire? How long will our elders sit and watch this debauchery unfold? Why should one man recklessly misuse our resources the way this president does? Why are we Africans so accommodating of such blatant iniquity? Watch these same people gallivant like imps on steroids if some should take matters into their hands and stir it up. Are these elders going to earn their grey hair or behave like a council of elders in a dingy palace of an absolute monarch?

My friends, Ghana is a country of haves and have-nots. Majority of our people continue to suffer needlessly. A great deal of their suffering emanate from poor and visionless leadership like the one we see from Kufour. Notice how they are telling us that Ghana is broke. To rub coarse salt in our wound, they tell us that the school feeding program is too expensive. Yet we can afford these elective travels? What happened to the Akan saying that, you do what is necessary before attempting what is fitting? Are these not the people evangelizing about tradition, culture and native wisdom? Why don’t they apply some wisdom for a change? We must have forked tongued officials in charge! Haba!

When majority of the people suffer needlessly at a time when a minority enjoy affluence and foxtrot in the lap of luxury, they are bound to seek ways, legitimate or not, to seek redress. Note that the minority pseudo elite are not working for their keeps, but rather cleverly, they steal from the poor and suffering majority. The silence of the majority should not be misconstrued to mean that they are stupid or have accepted suffering as a way of life. We are gradually positioning this country for major conflict if we don’t put the brakes or kibosh on the kind of decadent leadership and kleptocracy that we see from Kufour and his phalanx. Something must give and it must give soon or else. I knew democracy will be a challenge for us but never did I think these troglodytes will make it this worse!

Let me end by saying that, if this is what democracy looks like, then we are not ready for it. However, if it is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, then some of us better begin the orange revolution in Ghana. We must never accept or nurture a democracy of decadence and profligacy when majority of our people suffer and have no food to eat. Is this the same Ghana where women are being locked up for not being able to pay hospital fees after birthing? Is this the same Ghana where kids study under trees and drink disease infested water? Is this the same Ghana where kids have guinea worms? Is this the same Ghana where teachers are not being paid for months and in some cases years? Is this the same Ghana that cannot pay the health bills of our Olympic athlete? Is this the same Ghana where we continue to bleed doctors? Have these men no conscience at all? How do these leaders sleep well at night given the arrant suffering? What the hell is going on?

Are we going to act now or wait till our people get to their limit of endurance? Democracy does not mean that we should nurse irresponsible acts!! Democracy does not mean we should not act!! It is not limited to voting every four years. There is more to it and we must step up big time or lose this whole. Let us find a way to put an end to this misguided attempt at leadership before it becomes a way of life. Every bad habit starts with a first act. Vote wisely and surely vote to get rid of these scoundrels who continue to kill our people through wicked policies, bad leadership and turgid greed. Shame on them! Ahoooooooooooooo! Vote wisely!! Think Ghana first!! Enough of the prattle!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell. Harry Truman

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