Thursday, December 5, 2013
Now, to the two surviving former Presidents. John Agyekum Kufuor hasn’t been lonely all through his life and wasn’t so when in power. He has had all the trappings of life to make him what he has always wanted to be. Even out of office, he isn’t lonely. Probably, he knows how to cut his steps to not be lonely.
The junketing alone that he did in office (going on almost 200 foreign trips in 8 years) should be enough to pave his path in live with gold. Only he can tell whether he is also lonely now out of office and counting his days. Of course, he created and nurtured the cabal that will always cushion him.
Can we say so for Rawlings too? Probably not, considering the peculiar circumstances within which he rose to power, the excesses characterizing his administration, and what he has done, said, or failed to do or say that have all combined to weave a web of controversy about him.
Those who hate him have their own reasons; but no one can deny the man his due. He has cut a niche for himself and will continue to live as he wishes without bending to anybody’s whims or caprices. Probably, that bent is what his detractors misperceive as his being lonely. Some have been quick to say that most of those who were with him all those years have abandoned him and left him destitute. Some may, then, jump to the conclusion that he is lonely; but I don’t think he is. The man continues to make his mark and enjoys life with his family and friends. Indeed, Rawlings has thrived on risks throughout—and he enjoys such quirky situations!
And as Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings once labelled him as a good cook, he enjoys doing what will make him exhaust time profitably without bothering his head over bygones. In his own small way, then, he is happy and not lonely.
This is where John Mahama slips in. He has been the reserved type ever since he appeared in the public domain as a politician. Affable and unassuming, he knows how to cut his steps, which is why he has risen steadily from one level of prominence to the other.
Unavoidable circumstances changed his political fortune for him to take over from ex-President Mills when he least dreamt of becoming the fount of authority in Ghana. He rose to the occasion and endeared himself to the hearts of the electorate to be given the mandate at Election 2012. Forget about the evil machinations of his opponents in the NPP. Probably, they are lonelier than he is; or at least, they are constantly tormented at being rejected at the polls—prisoners of their own wretched and self-righteous conscience!
Having been in power for less than a year, though, there seems to be much for Mahama to worry about. And it is not because he is not performing his constitutionally mandated functions; but it is because of the usual Ghanaian mentality at work. Bring in here Kutu Acheampong’s claim that Ghanaians are difficult people, and you should place issues in their proper context.
No day passes by without detractors putting in the public domain something concocted against him. If it’s not about corruption, then, it’s about his being a “Pepeni” President not worth respecting. If it’s not about his government functionaries being undermined, it’s about his own leadership style that is questioned.
Trust Mahama for one thing. He has remained focused on his assignments and is going about them with the best composure that he can muster up. Ghana is still secure, despite all the useless agitations mounted by mischievous political groupings either openly operating as political parties opposed to the NDC or as organized labour or think tanks hiding behind the smokescreen of their designations to foment trouble.
Of course, being a human being to whom perfection is not a quality, President Mahama doesn’t expect to be without limitations. He is leading a government that has erred in part either by not enunciating the requisite policies to solve problems or by acting in a manner to compound existing problems in the very first year of a four-year tenure.
But does that warrant any claim that he risks being left alone to become lonely, just because some think that his government isn’t solving problems as speedily as expected? Or to be raised the superlative as the loneliest President that Ghana would ever have had?
And whose definition of “loneliness” should we work with here? Kwesi Pratt’s? Or those thinking like him? If building Rome in a day were possible, there would have been many Appian Ways everywhere!
For all that Kwesi Pratt may care to know, what he considers as loneliness is President Mahama’s moment of gregariousness, robustness, and conviviality. He has enough to absorb himself in for comfort.
I think that President Mahama is being tactful and that he knows full well the enormity of the challenges facing him. He is cutting his steps methodically and should be allowed to do so. He won’t allow himself to be stampeded by anybody. No negative characterization of him will change the dynamics either.
Once he is still in control of affairs, he has three more years to prove to Ghanaians what he is made of. In a 4-year tenure, any jumping to conclusion at the end of 11 months into that tenure to conclude that President Mahama will be the loneliest President is nonsensical. Duh!
Those who think that he is lonely should not foist off their misperception on us. I expect those thinking that way to know that the President is no superhuman being. He can succeed only if we give him the support that he needs. If we work with him to implement his government’s policies and to ensure that nation wreckers are neutralized, he should lead us where we want to go.
Just a quick Biblical eye-opener: Indeed, when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the land of milk and honey, he didn’t act alone. He was just a leader who acted on inspiration and the guidance provided by the Supreme Being to move the mass of Israelites on the right path to freedom and celebration. And in one way or the other, the attitude of the Israelites counted a lot.
Had the Israelites refused to cooperate with Moses, he couldn’t have done anything. Even after his death, his successors (Joshua and Aaron) needed the support of the masses to conquer the enemy forces and claim Canaan.
Are Ghanaians giving President Mahama the much-needed support? The days of arm-chair criticism should be over if indeed we want to rally around him to succeed as a nation.
That is why those still constructing national problems and strategies for solving them within the context of an NDC-NPP dichotomy constitute the worst enemies of the state. Or those sitting on the fence and wasting their energies pointing gossipping fingers at those doing the job. Woe betide the idlers!!
In civilized communities, once the general elections produce the winner, every difference is sunk for the sake of the nation and heads are put together and concerted efforts made to serve the national interest. The political parties maintain their partisan focus only when necessary; but they don’t highlight them to overshadow national interests. Nor do they sabotage the government through useless propaganda and manipulation of public sentiments in the vain hope of scoring political points. Reason prevails!!
Disagreements over policies still crop up but are discussed in bipartisan or multi-faceted ways with the national interest in view. Anything that risks endangering the national interest is quickly avoided.
Not so in Ghana, where the unproductive politicization of issues is the norm. No need to go into details, but it should be clear from what has been happening over the past 11 months that whatever anybody sees as not serving the interests of the country hasn’t exclusively been the making of President Mahama. It has been the making of forces that have pitted themselves against him because they hate seeing him (a “Pepeni” President) make the kind of progress that they can’t make. Such stinking self-righteousness!!
I shall return…
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