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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Columnist: Anyanful, Akwasi

Why we should rally behind Arthur Kennedy

Ghanaians everywhere are interested in the welfare of Ghana and want the best for our beloved country. I believe that Dr. Arthur Kennedy will be the right person to take Ghana to great heights and should be given the mantle. Pertinent questions have been raised ever since he declared his candidacy and in this article I will do my best to address the concerns. I hope at the end of this article, I will be able to convince skeptics to join me and rally behind Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy.

Lack of experience

Only the royals from birth are trained to be a king, queen or emperor. No body is trained to be a president. Can anyone tell me the presidential training or presidential experience that Nkrumah, Busia, Limann, Rawlings and Kuffuor had had, before ascending the throne? Even Rawlings ruling as PNDC leader realized it was very different from ruling with a constitution. So, experience typically is the events that have happened in you life and how you handled them to the benefit of all including yourself. We should thus assess Atta-Mills by his achievements as IRS boss and as a Vice President and Nana Akuffo-Addo as an Attorney General and Foreign Minister. As far as I am concerned, our tax collection, judiciary and embassies are nothing to be proud of. In a previous article I listed some achievements of Arthur K so I hope Atta-Mills and Akuffo-Addo supporters will enlighten us on their accomplishments, not just CVs. FINALLY IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT SOMEBODY WITH 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE MAY HAVE HAD ONLY ONE YEAR EXPERIENCE REPEATED 20 TIMES. So with the presidency, they are all starting on equal footing.

Diasporans do not know what goes on in Ghana

Whenever I hear people say this I just laugh my head off. We in the Diaspora are more abreast with what goes on in Ghana than most Ghanaians (homesters) due to the power of electronic media. I often call home and my folks are surprised when I talk about happenings that they themselves have no idea. Aside that, for greater than 95% of Ghanaians, if there is a situation, from funerals, through school fees to weddings, outdoorings what have you, the first thing they do is to pick a phone and dial or text a Diasporan. Ceremonies are put on hold till a Diasporan goes down to Ghana. We are always the first to know and recently President Kuffuor reported that Ghanaians abroad remit 4 billion dollars last year. SO ARE THEY NOW TELLING US, THE FINANCIERS, THE BURDEN CARRIERS, THAT WE ARE IGNORANT ABOUT HAPPENINGS IN GHANA? Let’s take other Diasporan examples – Black Stars - foreign coach and foreign based players. If a foreign based player fails to honour an invitation, Ghanaians are angry and label the person as unpatriotic; economic management and policies – foreign specialists from World Bank and IMF who have never stepped foot in Ghana before dictate their policies to us; JAK has traveled extensively looking for foreign investments; Ghanaians now have developed a good taste in foreign goods. Despite all this, people still maintain that Diasporans do not understand the system and can not be good rulers unless they work in Ghana for some time.

He should work in Ghana for some time

I do not agree with the suggestion that he works in Ghana for some time before vying for the presidency. I will be the first to say that, the system in Ghana is powerful and can easily swallow you so much so that things will appear normal to you even if you were against them in the first place. Therefore to make effective changes you should be fresh in the system with no record of favouritism or nepotism. Take the Liberian president who was also straight from the Diaspora. The first thing she did was to fire the whole Ministry of Finance. Afterwards, everybody had to reapply and show why his or her services were needed. She also asked another minister to resign or be fired when he was involved in a sex scandal. She also discloses and accounts for every single dollar spent on any travel abroad and further gives reason why any particular person should be on the entourage when traveling. She has also surrounded herself with people with similar vision and together they are fighting the system. That is why we need Arthur K who has also declared to have the most transparent Government possible and surround himself with people with similar vision. Do you guys believe that the other aspirants will be that transparent and ready to fight the system? From the Liberian example, it is possible to fight and change the system and we need someone who is not in the system to do that.

The Aprakus and Kyeremantens

One friend told me that they had heard it all before. JAK brought Apraku and Kyeremanten from the Diaspora, Rawlings brought Spio-Garbrah and they all did nothing but rather became more corrupt. I believe Arthur K is aware of this hence his desire to apply for the topmost position to run affairs. No matter the good ideas these guys or any others may have, if your boss feels his priority is to appoint Wireko-Brobbey and blow millions on a celebration or build a presidential palace, you become powerless. In any case I will expect men of integrity to resign honourably. Readers of Ghanaweb are aware of Kwesi Nduom and his desire to step down because his proposals (which I believe are very good) are being shoved aside. I also believed firmly that if Nkrumah had not been the president, it would have been difficult if not impossible to implement his vision. So, if you want things done, be in the position to ensure and oversee it.

He should practice his medicine

Others are saying that as a medic he should go to Ghana and practice in the hospitals since we need doctors. Give me a break guys. Addo-Kuffuor, a medic is in charge of defense and Major Quashigah is in the health or agric sector. President Kuffuor, Nana Akuffo-Addo and Atta-Mills are all lawyers. It is not as if our judiciary system is good so they can now shift into politics. Even in politics I am still yet to hear they proposed concrete policy statements about fixing the judiciary system. At least one of Arthur K policy statements is to “Revamp our healthcare system”. By saying he should go and practice medicine, are folks telling me that only those who have studied political science or “Presidential Course 101” qualified to run a country. It doesn’t happen anywhere in the world. Also remember that Osagyefo Kuntukunu (Okyehene) a medic, sometimes went to Kyebi hospital to save lives when the going got tough and that did not affect his chieftancy in any way.

What has he done for Ghana since leaving?

Believe me, a lot of Diasporans have tried to help Ghana in various ways and the obstacles and frustrations you will face is enough to deter any further attempts. It is just not easy to do something for Ghana from abroad. Cases in point - My cousin, a medic wanted to send very usable hospital materials (computers, scanning machines, gloves, syringes etc) to Ghana since his hospital was upgrading. He was asked to pay for the shipment to Ghana, pay the duty at the port and then pay for transportation to send the items to Tafo general hospital on his own. He even thought the embassy will at least communicate or send somebody from Washington DC to Bloomsburg (Pennsylvania) to check the items and verify that they were not junk, but no. In the long run he sent down what he could afford. Another friend who wanted to donate books to Ghana law school had to give up when he faced huge obstacles. In any case, can someone tell me exactly what Busia, Limann and Kuffuor did for Ghana when they were in abroad before they ascended the throne?

Why NPP

Some one asked why he wants to be in NPP considering the many scandals going on in the party. NPP like every other party has problems and he will thus be a coward if he runs away from these problems. Unlike the sedition charge, his life is not at stake and he is in it to fight and straighten things up. He has been with the party from the beginning and he will not abandon it now that his services are required. A neutral person like Arthur K will be in the best position to straighten things up in NPP and also unite the country with so much tension boiling up due to the energy crisis. I can not see for example Akuffo-Addo dismissing or punishing EASILY, say Mr. Bartels if the latter misuses public funds again after they being good fiends for eight years in NPP. I also can not see big changes and discipline in the NPP if one of the current ministers takes the mantle. There will be “untouchables” in the party and only a neutral person (without any skeletons in the closet) at the topmost position can handle these “untouchables”. They all know Arthur K is a threat who will definitely do the “house cleaning” so in my opinion he is the way forward.

Being paid by Arthur K

I wish to state emphatically that Arthur K is not paying me or anyone to write articles on his behalf. I heard of Arthur K (AK) after he was charged with sedition, met him for the first time in December, 2006 and have gotten to know him since. We met him informally at a reception in Atlanta with prospective business investors and there we bombarded him with questions from A to Z for about five hours. The answers, his vision and the passionate desire to help rebuild Ghana made me like him. The following day, at a fund raiser, there were more questions and many guests left smiling knowing that in him they had found a candidate who will lead Ghana to success. He was also available before and after the fundraiser for more questions from the crowd-shy people. I see in him a man for the people hence my writing the article. I am thus not on his payroll, I write the articles because I believe in him.

Nana Akuffo-Addo (NAA) came to Atlanta for a general meeting. He was two and half hours late and the meeting moderator said he had a problem at the airport. A terrible lie since NAA was already in New York and traveling Atlanta on a diplomatic passport. When NAA finally arrived, his excuse was he “OVERSLEPT”. Such arrogance, the same attitude the leaders in Ghana exhibit-being late to an event shows how important you are. His answers to questions were pathetic. After six years in government, telling us that “we need to pay policemen well, we need to… , we need to…….” without telling us plans the Gov’t has put in place to generate money for such ventures was not good enough. (Arthur K has always talked about reducing expenditure to generate income). He was also whisked away after answering a few questions at the meeting, leaving us unsatisfied. NAA will be coming to Atlanta again, I suggest the organizers arrange an informal meeting before the fundraiser, and I hope this time he will present us with his vision. I am still open-minded.

His Name

Someone remarked that his name was too foreign and suggested names that he will always vote for. I was very surprised that he suggested only Ewe names. Mr. Whoever, WE ARE WAAAAAAAAY BEYOND TRIBALISM. We are moving in the direction to get Ghanaians to vote for individual achievers not just a party. It will not make any difference to me if Arthur K had another name. He is a Ghanaian and the guy I look up to.

Let us give him the mantle

I could go on and on. I am not saying Arthur K has magical powers to turn Ghana around at the push of a button. If he becomes president, the road will not be easy for him, the obstacles are numerous, no doubt about that. However, he has the vision, he has the passion, and he has the drive. I have seen in him what I have not seen in other people. He is the person to take us there. Let’s rally behind him. Once again, if Ghana after 50 years is in the best of times and the current leaders are the best thing that ever happened to Ghana, let us vote them. However, if we want a change, a new direction, a leader who has already presented his vision for Ghana, then let’s go with Arthur K. Let us give him the chance and we will not be disappointed.



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