Feature Article of Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Columnist: Sulemana, Iddisah

What Would Kufuor Do?

At last week’s unveiling of the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Bush at the White House, President Bush stole the show. Of the many jokes he churned out, one joke is particularly seemly for my present discussion. He told President Obama that "when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, 'What would George do?'"

In like manner, I think President Mills needs to ask himself “What would Kufuor do?” when making some tough decisions. One of these tough decisions is asking his director of communications, Koku Anyidoho to excuse himself. Too much of a bad thing can be catastrophic! Inaction is a deadly political disease, Mr. President. Silence does not always pay. I’m pretty sure Kufuor would ask his communication director to resign under the circumstances. President Mills needs to do two things. First, get rid of Koku from that office. You can reassign him if you think a sack is too harsh. Secondly, the President needs to personally apologize to the ECG boss.

The flood lights outage incident at the Baba Yara Stadium during the Ghana-Lesotho World Cup qualifier, and Koku’s suspension of the Ashanti Regional Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) are despicable, to say the least. The suspension announcement adds to the unending and unpardonable list of gaffes and goofs from the President’s communication team, especially from Koku Anyidoho. Perhaps, what makes it worse and pesky is that Koku made that “executive” decision with some “senior persons in government” without the consent of the President. It paints a bad picture of the presidency, and lends questionable credence to the assertion that President Mills is not in charge. For me, it was very disrespectful on Koku’s part and on the part of any such senior persons in government to make such a decision without the President’s endorsement. Koku needs to excuse himself now! An apology is not enough. We’re tired of these ridiculously avoidable mistakes and their concomitant unqualified apologies.

We have many structural problems in this country, and one of them is power instability. Every now and then, power outage is experienced somewhere in the country. This issue is a national one. It is not political. In fact, under Kufuor’s watch, the country went through load shedding. This is a structural problem, and I don’t know how this (intended) suspension solves the problem in anyway. We need holistic approaches to solving “gargantuan” structural problems, not "konkonsa" solutions!!I am not sure what exactly our leaders are doing to put an end to this nagging problem. What is evident is that short term solutions to long-term problems never work (what in development parlance is called policy myopia)! Hence, some energy experts need to get to work.

Indeed, the power outage was very embarrassing and unacceptable to us as a country. But the silver lining in it is that it exposed us to the world, and exposed our hypocrisy. Why should anyone think that it is okay for us to have power interruption and instability, but disgraceful for the outside world to know this? One hour of mere stadium floor lights warrants the suspension of a regional ECG boss?

God bless Ghana always!

Iddisah Sulemana (iddisah@gmail.com)

Columbia, MO