Misguided leadership, Ghana's inability to fight the quagmires of poverty and underdevelopment

Poverty   South And North  There are a lot of slums across the country

Mon, 17 Dec 2018 Source: Acham Patrick

Undoubtedly, God has blessed Ghana with numerous resources. God in his wisdom has blessed Ghana with resources such as gold, bauxite, black gold (oil) diamond, coffee, cocoa arable lands for farming among others. However, these resources are not being use to the benefit of the citizenry. A lot of factors account for this. Issues like colonization, unfavourable globalization factors, slave trade, misguided leadership among others. This article will concentrate on misguided leadership as the predominant factor accounting for Ghana's inability to fight the quagmires of poverty and underdevelopment.

It has to be said at the outset that this article is not about the misguided leadership of any regime but all regimes since the inception of the fourth republic. To put the article into perspective, I would like to offer stipulative definition of the basic concepts in the write up.

Leadership is the ability to inspire confidence and influence people to elicit their enthusiastic cooperation towards the achievement of a collective goal. Leadership also entails prioritizing and a sense of good judgement in the use of scarce collective resources to bring developmental outcomes that can tangibly be reflected in the lives of your followers. J.P kotter states that " leadership is the development of vision and strategies; the alignment of relevant people behind these strategies and the empowerment of individuals to make the vision happen despite obstacles ". Misguided leadership is the exact antithesis of the stipulative definition of leadership. Underdevelopment connotes poor conditions of living and a state of despondency on the part of the ruled. In subsequent paragraphs I will elaborate on some of the misguided leadership phenomena as underlying the litany of Ghana's underdevelopment.

To begin with, the unbridled practice of winner- takes- all politics is a palpable feature of misguided leadership. The winner- takes- all politics according to professor Gyampo, connotes the practice of state capture and partisan monopolization of power, resources and opportunities by a political party that wins an election and the marginalization of opposition parties and all other groups that are not part of the ruling party in the governance process. With the winner- takes all politics, and because of the legion appointment powers of the president, all appointments are made in favour of party apparatchiks without recourse to meritocracy, competence, and expertise.

It is quite plausible and rational to appoint people who believe in your political philosophy to help you man the affairs of the state. However, it is more problematic and preposterous to exclude people who are not your party's loyalists but have the requisite competence and expertise to help you discharge your mandate. Exclusivity and good governance are not conterminous.

The effects of appointment without recourse to meritocracy is culpable malfeasance and dereliction of duties on the part of the appointees.

The winner- takes all politics have created two artificial political seasons in Ghana, that run concurrently- wet season for the party in government and dry season for political opponents and other Ghanaians who are not part of the party in power. This tendency of exclusivity and marginalization associated with the winner- takes all politics syndrome, results in relentless efforts by the opposition to sabotage the national agenda so as to paint the ruling party black and be voted out in the next election.

The winner- takes all politics polarized the national and dissipate the much needed brains

The situation is seemingly getting more compounded as the phenomenon of political polarization is gradually taking tribal and ethnic dimensionality in Ghana's body politic resulting in systemic shift from issues based politics to personality attacks and deliberate character assassination.

It is therefore not surprising to see the mounting teeth -grinding tension, accusation and counter accusation during every parliamentary and presidential election in Ghana, and the threat of Democratic relapse simply because of the winner gains and the loser loses attitude and mentality of the modern Ghanaian politician.

In this current state of hyper- partisan affairs, decency, decorum and civility in politics have been thrown to the dogs, integrity is getting extinct and the truth is sacrificed on daily basis for selfish interest.

We need to ask ourselves questions like: how long in the name of democracy, can we continue to gamble with and sacrifice Ghana- her people, resources and fragile or negative peace on the altar of parochialism? How long can we continue to lose the competence expertise and valuable contributions of the opposition to national development through this cancer exclusivity in governance?

Another leadership factor that accounts for Ghana's inability to fight the quagmires of poverty and underdevelopment is waywardness and wanton dissipation of public funds. It is quite indisputably that several regimes in Ghana has misappropriated public funds. For instance the Buses rebranding scandal during the erstwhile Mahama's led administration is a quintessential case of waywardness and wanton dissipation of public funds. Also the recent decision by the Nana Addo's led administration to construct a national cathedral is a misplaced priority. Our leaders must start to use our limited resources to solve existential problems facing the citizenry.

Corruption has also undermined Ghana's efforts to fight the quagmires of poverty and underdevelopment.

Corruption in any form either petty or grand cannot help put the country on the pedestal of development. Corruption is a social menace which has been acknowledged as a serious threat to Democratic consolidation and good governance. Corruption in the public sector hampers the efficiency of public services, derides confidence in public institutions and increases the cost of doing government business.

Corruption lead to the enrichment of few people and the pauperization of many. Our leaders are extremely self-centered and as a result, they have relegated the needs and problems of the people to the margins. The avarice of most Ghanaian politicians know no bounds.

Ghanaian politicians in opposition preach against corruption but upon the assumption of power, they tend to rationalize the corrupt acts they preached against whiles in opposition. For Ghana to be able to fight the quagmires of poverty and underdevelopment, we need to comprehensively and collectively deal with corruption.

Using the Lincolnian definition of democracy as a taxonomy, apart from Ghana's supposedly peacefully elections from the inception of the fourth republic, Democracy have not worked for Ghanaians. The deficits in Democratic governance in Ghana are more than the benefits. According to Aristotle, the end of the science of politics is good life. In Ghana, the end of the science of politics is enrichment of few and the marginalization as well as the pauperization of many.

Nevertheless, the above remarks do not suggests that all those in government are corrupt nor does it stands that they lack the required leadership qualities, rather it should be an opener that misguided leadership could not lead to any meaningful change. It is noteworthy to remark that though most Ghanaians appear free, nevertheless, they are in shackles. From this, it could be posited that sustainable development cannot be achieved in the midst of these despicable mess.

Against this backdrop, we must be thoughtful in all that we do, that conscious efforts must be taken to repositioning the country and put it on the pedestal of development. René Descartes in his meditations stated that “cogito ergo sum" I think therefore I am. Our leaders must begin to think

The solution to the problem of misguided leadership could be resolved through efforts on the part of the government and the governed. All articles and clauses that give room to abuse and misuse of power, corruption and domination should be amended in our constitution. The 1992 constitution has ushered the country into the "tyranny of majoritarianism" where majority views are carry through and minority views are relegated to the margins.

In fact, the government should stop pay- offs their political loyalists with certain key positions that requires expertise, adequate skills and economic technicalities. More so, our leaders should stop paying lips service to the problem of corruption and poverty alleviation. Our leadership must also be exposed to moral theories like Kant's deontology. More importantly we must give the government our enthusiastic cooperation.

Long live Ghana, long live our Democracy.

Columnist: Acham Patrick