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Opinions of Friday, 15 May 2009

Columnist: Antwi, William

When Nepotism Is Not Nepotism! The Cadman Mills’ Appointment.

The President: When Nepotism Is Not Nepotism! The Cadman Mills’ Appointment.

Having completely lost its way and mindlessly refusing to accept its electoral humiliation as the ruling party in the just ended general elections, the NPP continues to ratchet up its persecution of the president in the media by desperately trying to make a political event out of the appointment of his brother as an eminent member of his economic advisory team. They are behaving as if the president is running the country like a monarch and refusing to accept the naked fact that such isolated appointments are done in all mature democracies as an efficient and prudent way of managing human talent and resources. In their desperation and to jumpstart their campaign for 2012, they continue to ceaselessly attack the president. In the instant case, however, they have shockingly drawn in the president’s brother, Dr. Cadman Mills - a very decent man - by washing his marital problems in public as if human beings cannot be afflicted by such marital hiccups. If this is the ugly way the NPP and its media acolytes want to return to power then they have a very long way to go.

What is so scandalous and materially ironic about this needless accusation is that the personalities who are leading this graceless charge against the president are individuals who should use their high public profile and education to discuss this appointment in a non-partisan manner vis-a-vis the nepotism tag. Disappointingly, they continue to yell themselves hoarse without telling us what is so wrong with the president’s appointment. The stark point here is that just bringing up Dr. Cadman Mills’ name to show his blood ties with the president without more, is, pure and simple, a sordid exercise in intellectual surrender. Their standard refrain is that Dr. Cadman Mills is the president’s brother and that the NDC - whilst in opposition - accused the Kuffour administration of nepotism and tribalism for making such similar appointments. How do we expect to grow in a healthy way if we continue to politicize such important appointments? So sad!

I think the sensible issue that should engage us as a nation is: At what point in time does such a presidential appointment cross the line into "nepotism" - a term defined here to mean repeatedly putting your relatives in public positions or better still, undue preference for relatives in making appointments to public positions? In addressing such an important issue, we must not only look at the qualifications of the appointee(s) but, also, whether the president is repeatedly pulling strings to instal his kinsmen or relatives in public positions. It is painfully obvious that the president’s detractors do not have the integrity to address this issue. For instance, they do not have the moral courage to question Dr. Cadman’s credentials or anything in his character that will undermine the trappings of the president’s economic advisory team. What is even more baffling is their inability to link his reported marital hiccup to his ability to discharge his duties. Talk about gutter politics!

Can we just deal with the strength of the following example to make this conversation more interesting?

Just imagine that Abedi Pele is the head coach of the Black Satellite soccer team. Should any objective-minded Ghanaian raise hell if Abedi selects his son, Andre Ayew, to play for that team? In other words, can any reasonable person go to town excoriating Abedi Pele, the coach, for selecting his highly talented son without addressing Ayew’s skills as a footballer? Also, won’t it be reasonable to delve into the issue of whether Abedi systematically selects his children and/or relatives to play for the national junior team? Should Abedi Pele leave out his son from the national junior team in spite of his obviously productive football skills just because he is his son? Won’t Abedi Pele be stabbing the nation in the back if he stupidly refuses to use his son’s talent in winning games for the country? In other words, why shouldn’t the president make good use of his brother’s skills, experience and brains? Just because he is his brother? Why do we keep showcasing ourselves as so hopelessly incompetent in dealing with such simple issues?

In truth, why should the president’s detractors be so enraged to the point that they continue to place so much hefty premium on such an isolated appointment without dealing with the thoughts and ideas Dr. Cadmills brings to the table? What we should do as responsible citizens is to aggressively monitor his ideas, actions and inactions by way of his performance while in office rather than his blood relationship with the president. Have we become so hopelessly incompetent in dealing with such issues that we have started measuring the qualification and loyalty of our public officers with a "nepotism yardstick"? For the record, I stand in defense of "nepotism" if the president’s brother’s ideas will help alleviate poverty and public corruption in our country and, for that matter, improve on the economic lot of millions of our people.

Would we rather prefer that the president appoints square pegs to fill round holes? As a nation, encouraging the president to nominate or appoint certain individuals to fill certain positions without regard to their qualifications and loyalty just to satisfy a certain quota or pacify a certain constituency or tribe is wrong for the country. Merely touting a government as "nationalistic" just because appointees or nominees reflect all the regions of the country without regard to the qualifications and loyalty of these nominees and appointees is a recipe for national disaster and the reason why we are still dangerously attached to our tribes and/or political parties. Yes, it is good politics if a government is seen as representative of the nation but we must begin to de-emphasize our total reliance on this "quota thing" - a situation that has led to some communities rejecting some of the president’s nominees merely because they are not "part of them" without regard to their ability to deliver! At times I wonder if some Ghanaians are more Ghanaians than others! In short, the president must be allowed to appoint the best men and women to man our various public positions. Should we waste political capital on such an issue?

The time has come for us to stop playing the ostrich and look ourselves in the mirror and say to ourselves that enough of this destabilizing quota politics which is doing our nation a whole lot of harm. This destabilizing phenomenon is the reason why some high profile offenders are now hiding behind their parties and tribes to avoid prosecution for their alleged crimes against the state. Let each public officer be judged according to his or her deeds instead of his or her blood relationship or tribal or political affiliation.

The time to stop the sneer campaign is now! And not later!

And, respectfully, we must start growing up as smart people and leave behind this parochial kind of politics!

Oh! We nearly miss this opportunity to drive home this important point: This is also the time for the president’s communication team to lucidly explain such important political appointments to the public! This is not the time to give his political enemies a field day by allowing them to recklessly propagate their bankrupt ideas in the marketplace of public discourse!

We shall return.

WILLIAM ANTWI - BAFO - A.K.A. OYOO BUSANGA. NEW YORK.