Opinions Tue, 19 Aug 2014

A shocking and depraved history awaits Mahama

On February 17, 2014 when I published my article titled: “President Mahama seriously needs leadership training”. At that time, little did I know Ghana was heading towards the tipping point of the brittle sea cliff (Please see the link below for that article: Mahama seriously needs leadership training!

Of course, I knew at the time that things were not on the right path. However, I never, ever envisaged that; Ghana’s presidential seat was going to be used for a managerial training program for the president and his team! Honestly, I have never admired the leadership style of President J.D Mahama not because I don’t like him as a person. That’s not the case, rather, I find it very absurd and despicable for a sitting president to utterly and unwaveringly refuse to discipline his subordinates upon all the calls to hold them accountable for the ‘looting spree’ currently going on in Ghana. That’s absolutely preposterous!

I’ve been rhetorically asking myself all the time; “How can you run down a great nation such as Ghana in less than two years in office? How possible? From my personal perspective, it looks as if the president and his team came to power to share the resources of the country among themselves, because they think, they have been shelved for far too long. That’s why, PERHAPS, everybody is quickly grabbing as much resources as they can, before it’s too late. The question is: with such an attitude and mindset, how do you move the nation forward? Please, keep the answer to yourself, if you can……., because, that’s the cause of my frustrations! That’s why I also ask myself every day: “Do our leaders really care for Ghana or they just care for themselves, families and loved ones?” Well, I think, you are the judge!

In my previous articles, I have been criticized heavily by some folks of being bias towards President J. D. Mahama, because, those folks mistakenly took my namesake, to be an “Ashanti” who they claim simply ‘hates’ President Mahama. Well, I’m glad that I’ve been perfectly vindicated! Majority of Ghanaians have now realized that it was a grievous fault to align every single ‘Akan’ name to the “Ashanti tribe”, and grievously, the masses are correspondingly paying for their naïve ‘shouts of praises’ on non-performing leaders in our dear nation. Interestingly, some staunched followers of the sitting president have publicly expressed their anguish and despair in the current economic hardships in Ghana, including the founder of the party in power and former president of Ghana, J.J Rawlings. Hmmm! wonders shall never end, for real!

Let’s face it; there’s no doubt every President wants to be successful. Unfortunately in Africa, due to our over indulgence in religion, superstition, culture, divinity, norms and customs, witchcraft, mysticism, deities, lesser gods, some special tree, rivers, traditional priest and priestesses, etc., etc., our definition of an effective leader is someone who has humble looks, obedient to his or her team members, soft spoken person which is interpreted in Ghana as a good communicator, some God fearing in him or her, or very religious person and very persuasive even when utterly lying to the general public . I say this with no infractions, but that’s all it takes to be a leader in Ghana and most sub-Saharan African countries. Once a leader possess these cultural, social or ethical values, most Ghanaians unfortunately, think that God has blessed and placed such a leader where he is and that; things will happen by God’s grace. In other words, ‘manna’ will automatically fall from heaven, or miracles will happen. In Ghana, people normally fanatically finish it by the popular saying; “God will provide!” That’s the ‘gloomy mentality’ and the overall leadership style of most African leaders, including Ghana’s president J.D Mahama.

Well, with all respect, that’s not LEADERSHIP! Effective Leaders have the ability and the capability to put their ideas, vision, foresight, road map, goals, objectives, etc. into practice to alleviate the hardships of the people they lead. Leadership is not just being ‘humble and soft-spoken. Those ethical values and qualities are good, but are not the top qualities of an effective leader.

My forecast and predictions were absolutely right when I predicted that our currency, the cedi is going to be ‘nosedived’ and plummeted as happened in the dark days of the 1980s , even though I never anticipated or imagined in February 2014 that, it’s gonna be the worst performing currency on the international stage. Does anybody know the mission statement of Bank of Ghana (BoG)? It’s really funny, considering the fiscal situation in Ghana at the moment. It is boldly and confidently written on their website:

“To pursue sound monetary and financial policies aimed at price stability and create an enabling environment for sustainable economic growth” (http://www.bog.gov.gh/ ). According to BoG, inflation target for 2014, is 13.00%. But guess what? By the end of the second quarter (June, 2014), the inflation (CPI) had already jumped to 15.00%. As I write right now (08/15/2014), the inflation rate in Ghana is almost 17.40% but they are cooking the books once again and reporting 15.30%, which is still the highest level since December of 2009. Who are we deceiving here? Our western donors, the Chinese or who? Well, you are the judge!

Folks, some of you may not be aware of this, but according to Trading Economics.com: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ghana/inflation-cpi , in Ghana, the most important components in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are food and non-alcoholic beverages which is 43.6% of total weight. Housing, water, electricity, gas and other utilities take only 9.5 % and clothing and footwear is 8.9%. Sadly, the two most important sectors of education and health represent 3.8% and 2.4% of total weight respectively. In contrast, prices slowed for miscellaneous goods and services to as low as 13.0% which was even 14.4% in last June. Clothing and footwear also fell also 12.9% from 15.3 %. At the same time, cost of health increased by 13.5% and of hotels, cafes, and restaurants by 5%.

So here’s the million dollar question: If you have a current inflation rate of more than 17% and the cost of education and health care are galloping at about 14%, how on earth, do you expect the masses to survive under such a fiscal crisis? The simple answer is “widespread stealing and looting”, and that’s what we are seeing right now in Ghana. It also explains why the few in politics are extravagantly rich, but very selfish.

Folks, what’s my point? I do not think any rational person in Ghana will attribute all the numerous problems Ghana faces at the moment to the bad leadership of President Mahama. That’s a big NO! Of course, his administration has played a very significant and vital role in our current mess. It’s rather unfortunate and tragic, that his leadership style just directly or indirectly has given the very big, fast and unsympathetic last blow to the failing economy which has completely ran it down within a matter of two years! To me, that’s highly unacceptable of a leader whom so much is expected.

There’s no doubt, a very bad and mortified history will be created specifically for Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration. They are many, and I don’t even think a 1000-page document will be enough to list them. However, I wanna concentrate on two main issues which are so dear to my heart, but more importantly, the number one strategy that can combat the “looting spree of state properties” currently going in Ghana. Please, in my opinion, it’s not necessary to go back to history and talk about Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and others all the way to the recent past president; J A Kufour’s administration. No! That’s not my intention. The purpose is to figure out what can be done now to fix the mess. “Where we are going right now matters more than where we have been”. That’s why my frustration is directed toward the current administration.

First, there’s no nation in the world that survives and fulfils its needs and purpose without holding the leaders or the public officials accountable for their actions and in-actions. I believe most of you are aware of the harsh criticisms that continue to be raised on President Mahama and his NDC government. I’m talking about the endless judgment debt scams including the monumental ‘Woyome’ judgment debt, the SADA, SUBAH, GYEEDA, Isofoton, CP, Waterville, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and her judgment debt fiasco.

We also have another group of looting spree including the hilarious “Akomfem”(Guinea fowl) project scam, Merchant bank ridiculous liquidation saga, Iran and Turkey gold fiasco, Embraer jet ridicule, outrageous Cuban scholarship scheme, the funny airplane hangar, the 9 billion cedis saga in the last 3-months of the 2012 elections, the luxurious Dubai holidays, etc., etc. In the midst of such extraordinary corruption and dishonesty among public officials which in no way compared to the late 1970s and early 1980s- what we call the “Kalabule” (stealing and cheating) era, which was a norm in Ghana at the time. Even though, I have never supported the idea of that cold and chilling killings in those dark days, the truth is that, it restored some form of lucidity in the system but unfortunately, things have later on deteriorated beyond human imagination.

What do we see under president Mahama’s leadership? Miserably, as at now, not even a single public official is currently facing justice, even though there are uncountable allegations of corruption and kickbacks going on in almost every sector of the economy. His few, so called ‘party financiers who are made to face the existing corrupt justice system in Ghana due to the constant public outcry are unfortunately, made to return the stolen items without any form of punishment. But guess what? The poor folks in the villages and the struggling masses who happened to steal common cassava form the rural farms -just for survival sake, are handed down a cool 10-year sentence in prison with hard labor. Hmm! justice system in Ghana…………, I bet you, it’s a long story, so we’ve a long way to go!!

Now, I’m beginning to believe the argument that; many senior leaders fail because they do not have ‘a calling to leadership’. To me, this is purely lack of passion! The reason is that, in Africa, most of our dictators (leaders) rely on their own skills to do everything and are generally blind to their inadequacies and drive. Frequently they see their position in terms of privilege and power, although they NEVER admit it, and will totally ignore the advice of others. They are essentially unprepared for leadership and are unwilling to be held accountable for their conduct.

You will recall that, unlike other leaders in Ghana, President J.D Mahama was never prepared to lead Ghana, or had plans to become a leader. Never in his political career did he declare openly to become president of Ghana as others have been “fighting” for it over the years. He was forced into this highest office of the land and subsequently became the elected president after the sudden departure of the late President J.E.A Mills to eternity. It was a constitutional requirement as a vice president to take over power due the death of a sitting president. This is simply a luck! But leadership is not about luck. It’s about ideas and capability to physically do it! This clearly explains why he has repeatedly failed to have the proper vision or any vision at all for Ghana.

Don’t’ forget the fact that, vision must be methodically established and pursued on behalf of the country right from the START, not as a response to demonstrations, fiscal crisis, strikes, public outcry, or personal factors. If a leader has a strategic vision, it greatly helps to determine his or her leadership style because it must be pursued vigorously. Just look around you, those leaders who pursue a vision for the wrong reasons such personal fame or gain, are no doubt more inclined to value the accolades and ‘songs of praises’ from their political party members, from their cronies, and fans over creativity, innovation and clarity of their main purpose for the country.

Second, I’m frustrated for the fact that, I’m afraid, if things don’t turn around as soon as possible, our dear nation could plunge into chaotic and messy “new normal”, as seen in some other failed nations. I see it clearly coming, not as if the sky is falling, but I think, it’s not too late. Let’s listen up, speak up, rise up, and get things done in the right way. In other words, let’s boldly and confidently hold our corrupt and greedy leaders accountable for what they have done so far and what they have also failed to do. That’s all we need to do for now.

Folks, let me be very clear on this: In my opinion, president Mahama is someone who’s publicly a good person, a family man, respectful, and probably God-fearing gentleman. However, his lack of direction, lack of vision, lack of energy and enthusiasm (no passion), his poor judgment and decision-making processes, his incessant refusal to collaborate with those who constructively criticize him or see things different from the way he sees it, and his staunch resistance to new and innovative ideas, are the main reasons for the unprecedented deterioration of Ghana’s economy just within two years in office. Will the president listen up one more time?

Here’s the take home: Mr., president, unfortunately, your office cannot be used for an internship program at this time. The point is that if you can’t get the job done, please, just find another job!

Thank you.
Columnist: Peter Osei-Adjei