Bawumia's Exit is Ghana's Loss, Really!

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The evidently forced, premature resignation of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia from his post as a deputy governor of Ghana’s central bank must be greeted with wistful sadness. This is because Dr. Bawumia appears to have been forced out of his job primarily for exercising his democratic and citizenship right of making the quite noble and laudable decision to partner the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the lead-up to Election 2008, and not because of the quality of his professional output, or performance, at the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

If so, then his exit is likely to have a quite significant impact on the affairs of the institution which the former NPP candidate for Vice-President has served for nearly a decade, and the nation at large. At the time of this writing, the substantive governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Paul Acquah, was also reported to have tendered his resignation. (We shall also be examining Dr. Acquah’s resignation in due course).

In any case, among his publicly known achievements was the lead role that Dr. Bawumia played in securing the widely celebrated, United States-sponsored Millennium Challenge Account/Fund, geared towards the overhaul and development of the country’s battered economy. The list of Dr. Bawumia’s achievements is rather impressive by any objective measure.

But what makes his apparently forced resignation by vindictive and hardnosed operatives of the now-ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) quite troubling is the at once eerie and regressive message that such action sends, which is that the NDC is unabashedly about the unholy and patently ungodly business of summarily stifling the salutary and democratic right and initiative of some of the most talented Ghanaian citizens to opt for the higher – albeit quite adventurous – office of the presidency. For Dr. Bawumia’s forced resignation appears to have wholly stemmed from the visceral and infantile anger of those who perceive the former deputy governor of the BoG to be an inveterate political opponent of the NDC apparatchiks, and thus their sworn enemy, rather than any specific and/or personal offence that Dr. Bawumia might have committed against them.

And the foregoing is an avoidably sad commentary on modern Ghanaian political culture. Indeed, ballot box-wise, Ghanaian democracy may have come a long way; however, as a cultural praxis, democracy has yet to take firm and healthy roots in Ghana.

Even so, Dr. Bawumia ought to thank his stars that he is being forced out at this very early stage of the emergent Atta-Mills administration. Had he chosen to stubbornly hold onto his deputy governor’s job at the BoG, it is almost certain that the deliberate aggravation and outright frustration that his determined political opponents and enemies would have fomented for him, would likely have taken an unnecessary toll on his health and his life. And while, indeed, legally and morally Dr. Bawumia would have been righteous in his cause to have roundly ignored NDC calls for his ouster, practically speaking, it would not have been worth his while.

The good news, however, is that Dr. Bawumia is still young, handsome and intellectually puissant; and with his sterling qualifications as one of the country’s leading lights in the finance and economics industry, it ought not be difficult at all for him to secure an equally good and respectable job, either in the private sector of the fast-developing Ghanaian economy, or even with one of the giant multinational financial and business institutions. He may also rest assured that his prominent political career is just beginning, and it shall not be long before Dr. Bawumia has the proverbial last laugh at his inveterate political opponents and enemies.

We also seize this opportunity, together with the luminary likes of Nigeria’s Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and Prof. Stephen Adei, former United Nations Development Program (UNDP) southern-Africa representative and rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), to vehemently decry the unhealthy winner-takes-all approach to postcolonial African politics. For, it goes without saying that this pathological practice breeds inordinate penchant for cronyism and nepotism, with the salutary culture of merit being unwisely shortchanged. In the end, it is society, as a whole, that becomes unnecessarily poorer for the indulgence of such politically regressive agenda.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Dorkordicky Ponkorhythms: Wheel of Fortune” (iUniverse.com, 2004). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com. ###

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame