Akuffo addo’s competency credentials under scrutiny

Wed, 3 Feb 2016 Source: Dekportor, Mensah

The issue of competence of Ghana’s political leadership and aspiring leaders has recently received prominent attention in Ghana’s political discourse. Indeed the relevance of this issue cannot be underestimated especially as Ghanaians head into election 2016. Although the main focus of the discourse has rightly centered on a critique of the sitting President, it is equally significant for the focus to be placed on the competency of aspiring political leaders. In this regard, it is pertinent that the competency credentials of Akuffo Addo, a leading aspirant to the Presidency, be placed under the spotlight to determine whether he has the right credentials for the office of President.

The most appropriate mode of judging Akuffo Addo’s competency for the Presidency relates to how he has handled political leadership and responsibility that has been entrusted to him to date. In this context his 12 year tenure as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa constituency is relevant to the issue since it offered him a good opportunity to demonstrate his competency credentials at the local level, His claim to visionary leadership even at this micro level was however largely nonexistent. In other words his impact on the lives of his constituents as Member of Parliament in the constituency was next to zero. It is a fact that to date his constituents of the Abuakwa constituency cannot point to a single developmental or social landmark that he left there during his twelve years tenure as MP and cabinet minister when so much was expected of him.It is said that charity begins at home, and therefore if Akuffo Addo had been politically charitable to the people of Akyem Abuakwa that would have been an appropriate and significant reference point of his performance and competency in his quest for the high office of President of Ghana.

Perhaps there is no other area in which Akuffo Addo’s competency credentials have been tested to the maximum than in his role as flagbearer and leader of the NPP. Since the exit of Ex-President Kuffour as leader and flag bearer of the NPP, the once vibrant and largely united political force that the NPP represented during the Kuffour era is a pale shadow of its former self today under Akuffo Addo’s leadership. Indeed there is no denying the fact that the fortunes of the NPP have substantially dwindled since Akuffo Addo took over from Ex- President Kuffour as leader of the party in 2008. This is primarily because the quality of leadership that was offered the NPP during the Kuffour era pales in comparison to what Akuffo Addo has offered the NPP to date. Whereas Kuffour offered a more inclusive, humble and tolerant leadership style to lift the profile of the NPP, Akuffo Addo has offered the NPP an abrasive, intolerant and divisive brand of leadership that has weakened the NPP as a vibrant opposition front, thus calling into question his competency and leadership credentials.

There is no denying the fact that the period from 2008 to present offered Akuffo Addo his best opportunity to prove to the NPP and to Ghanaians that he has the competency and the right leadership qualities required to be President of Ghana. However judging by the significant negative developments that have occurred in the NPP during his tenure as leader, one can rightly conclude that he lacks the right leadership credentials to positively manage and impact even the NPP let alone the whole country Ghana. Competent leadership involves being tolerant and having the ability to exercise a unifying influence on the group that one has been nominated to lead be it a party or country. It also involves going beyond the rhetorics of competence and demonstrating one’s claim to competency as and when the opportunity presents itself.

It further involves not just knowing the generalities of issues that confront one’s party or country but also the details of the issues and offering the people credible alternatives to what is on offer by the other side. It further involves also choosing one’s words carefully as a leader and basing your presentations on credible sources of information in order not to lose credibility. It very importantly involves presenting an accommodating brand of leadership that tolerates dissent.

Within the context of managing and leading a country, the standards of competent leadership are on a much higher pedestal. We must therefore interrogate the issue of competence holistically and apply the benchmarks not only to the sitting President but also to those aspiring to replace him. If those aspiring for political leadership cannot offer competent leadership even at the micro level of party politics how would they measure up to the higher challenge of managing a whole country?

The criteria for competence at the higher level of managing a whole country thus clearly transcends one’s ability to recount well known challenges facing the country. It hinges on an aspirants capacity to provide credible alternative solutions to handling problems and challenges facing the country, and a demonstration of the aspirants capacity to effectively manage the economic, social and political dynamics of a third world country such as Ghana.

Akuffo Addo is yet to demonstrate to Ghanaians that he has the capability to provide and implement any credible alternative policies to that of the sitting President. He should go beyond the rhetorics and demonstrate to Ghanaians that he is a credible alternative. Unfortunately his management of affairs and issues at the micro level of NPP politics does not give credence to his competency to positively manage affairs at the high office of President of Ghana.

The ball is therefore in Akuffo Addo’s court to prove to Ghanaians that he has the degree of competence required for the Presidency. He has failed with opportunities that have come his way at the micro level to demonstrate competency in his leadership. His over reliance on doom and gloom politics as a major campaign strategy has yielded no positive results for him to date as previous election outcomes have shown.

The real issue therefore of significance to Ghanaians for an Akuffo Addo candidacy would yet again be based on him and his competency and leadership credentials.

Because the fact that Ghanaians are suffering - as the NPP claims - does not mean that a Presidential candidate (Akuffo Addo) who has failed to exhibit any high degree of leadership competency when put to the test, is the solution. He is more likely to make a supposed bad situation much worse than it is. The current state of the NPP is ample testimony of what his leadership is all about.

Report By:

Mensah Dekportor (Hamburg-Germany)


Columnist: Dekportor, Mensah