Opinions Wed, 6 Nov 2013

Chief Justice Wood On The Vacuum of Visionary Leadership ?Part ll

Who are Christ, Whitney Houston, Cheikh Anta Diop, Mariah Carey, Prophet Muhammad, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Usain Bolt, Phillis Wheatley, Buddha, Albert Einstein, Nina Simone, Pele, Mandela, Mohammed Ali, Miriam Makeba, Elvis Presley, Celine Dion, and Marcus Garvey without the masses? Let’s continue:

Again, we may venture, as we did earlier, in Part l, to say that leadership is a social, cultural, and intellectual, characterology-wise, reflection of the people. Because it’s from the people, the masses, from which a leader is chosen. In this sense, bad leadership reflects badly on the people, so is good leadership. Simply put, leadership acts as a social mirror. Both the masses and their leadership see each other in the social physics of the reflection of characterological light.

Therefore, if the performance of an anatomic member of the body politic does not measure up to public expectation, must the masses wait for four or eight long years to rid the nation of a particular under- or poor-performing leadership, which is no more than a blood-sucking enemy of the masses? Why don’t our political parties institutionalize injunctive instruments via their party manifestoes, progressive ideas which support internal or palace coup, a vote of no confidence, say, in the case of an under- or poor-performing, even, simply, of bad leadership?

We advance this theory in anticipation of the possibility that, a more progressively competent leader(s) may exist within the rank and file of a given political party, but whose educational, economic, and social pedigree may constitute a major hindrance to smooth political ascension, not to talk of the presidency. This argument may also hold true for parliamentary politics. We think a term of four years or two terms of eight years is too long for under- or poor-performing politicians. There must be some form of institutionalized shorter tenures, expressed through disapproving parliamentary or constituency franchise, for political leaders who perform poorly. That said, what is the constitution of our inter-party oversight committees doing to check the rising tide of corruption?

Why must the people sit idle while one of them artfully takes them through the psychological and social manipulative techniques which William Lynch so aptly described in his letter “The Making of a Slave”? Ironically, we fear a psychopathic reader of President John Mahama’s book “My First Coup D’état” and Niccolò Machiavelli’s “The Prince” may want to give President Mahama a taste of his first coup d’etat if, in fact, he does not address the country’s problems with the political celerity and moral urgency which they deserve. We are not calling for putschism by any stretch of the imagination, however, since we believe in the power of constitutional consensus and electoral compromises. Yet the psychological rapidity and political firmness with which Ghana’s political leadership colludes with foreign multinational companies to loot the nation’s coffers is a worrying trend. The unchecked rising levels of shamelessly bold political thievery do not augur well for the future of our children and for the country’s future. Unfortunately, the political kleptomaniacs are using the looted funds to prepare a better future for their posterity. Interestingly, we see a parallel of this situational collusion between Black leadership and foreign multinational companies operating inside the belly of post-Apartheid South Africa.

These foreign multinational companies in South Africa, as well as elsewhere, give one-two percent company shares to Black South Africans and make them rich in the process. They then use these handpicked rich few as buffer against local unionization and as emotional planks to the greedy ear and stomach of Black leadership. Look how rich the core leadership of the ANC has become in just eighteen years! And look at the comparative crushing penury of the black masses? We see this phenomenon in some form in Asante’s book “Rooming in the Master’s House.”

Why would Jacob Zuma want to spend nearly £16 million to renovate his private rural residence? How many Black South Africans continue to live in Bantustan shacks? Jacob Zuma had said himself that many of these shacks could not be technically referred to as “houses.” This is how The Guardian put it: “Anger was surging on Monday over the 238m rand (£16.2m) renovations of Zuma’s rural home in Nkandla…Newspapers report in South said public spending on Zuma’s residence dwarfed that for the past presidents FW De Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki (See “Jacob Zuma Faces Investigation Over Plans to Renovate Home,” Oct. 8, 2012). Of course, South Africa’s constitution allows renovation of private presidential residences at national expense. But constitutionalism does not necessarily connote moral rightness. And shouldn’t we look deep into the forlorn eyes of our suffering people and do right by them for once in their lifetime? On the other hand, when Marikana workers, some with silicotic lungs and others suffering from other complications of pulmonary fibrosis, complained about their poor working and living conditions, their legitimate grievances were met with the brutality of state apparatus, what, in other words, led to the Marikana Massacre! The ANC government, like the Apartheid government before it, teamed up with foreign interests to suppress the legitimate demands of a section of its industrious population, mostly black.

Moreover, the clandestine tactics where our leaders use shadow or ghost companies to divert money from the national coffers into private and party pockets is equally abominable. Chief Justice Wood also mentioned the canker of nepotism. Unfortunately, she and others of her kind may have been named to the bench through nepotism or cronyism. Again, Chief Justice also noted “greed, corruption, abuse of office, nepotism have become the bane of Ghana.” What is there for the judiciary to do as regards neutralizing these dictatorial tendencies? Yet greed, corruption, and abuse of office are equally emblematic of the judiciary! On the other hand, we would have wished Dr. Ampaw had told Chief Justice Wood this: “Some practicing lawyers know within their hearts that they can never win a court case, and for this reason have made it their hallmark to force judges to be on their side by bribing them.” Elsewhere, Dr. Ampaw, a supposedly keen observer, said it was up to “some few lawyers” who are noted for bribing judges to explain how they successfully compromise the integrity of judges. How? But why can’t we put the same burden of explicatory proof on those “few judges” whose integrities are compromised with tempting offers? Further, regarding lawyers’ supposedly forcing judges to take grafts, may we ask if these bribe-giving lawyers are open members of Al-Qaeda or Al-Shabaab. Do they approach judges taunting them with bazookas, dynamites, AK-47s, and bombs? Why don’t these judges report culpable lawyers to the appropriate authorities for prosecution or reprimand? Dr. Ampaw did not raise these questions, let alone address them. But these are sensitive issues that must be rigorously investigated and culprits severely punished.

Chief Justice Wood’s political sentiments and indictment of the political process are not unique to Ghana or Africa. They are global phenomena. Interestingly, Desmond Tutu has mentioned nepotism as Nelson Mandela’s greatest foible. He has said that Mandela’s government would have been free of post-mortem criticism if he had not included friends in his government on the basis of Apartheid-era ANC political activism and social solidarity rather than on political competence. Nelson Mandela, the great man, like all men, has his weaknesses. However, we qualifiedly forgive Nelson Mandela in that his foibles and political weaknesses are adequately compensated for by his unbridled love for humanity. But could we forgive the present crop of African leadership who are more than willing to sell African humanity for pittance as we readily forgive Mandela? Yet we saw these self-less qualities, Mandela’s, in many of our women, Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, WEB Du Bois, Walter Sisulu, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Paul Bogle, Oliver Tambo, Dedan Kimathi, Steve Biko, and Raymond Mhlaba. The ANC political activist Mhlaba, for instance, spent 25 years in prison because of his love for African humanity. Which of our Ghanaian leaders is prepared to spend a day in prison on behalf of Ghanaians?

Finally, once upon a time, one of our fathers traveled to Libya in the 1970s to seek gainful employment. He got one in Tripoli. And the company he worked for was Bilfinger-Berger in a capacity as a security guard. One day his German boss asked for a meeting with his African employees. So the African community gathered in a big auditorium.

It turned out that an unknown employee had evacuated him/herself on the toilet floor rather than into the water closet. Given that different races, ethnicities, and nationalities worked for this company, why would the German ask only Africans to assemble in the auditorium for inquisitional embarrassment, while leaving out Asians and White Westerners? “Whoever amongst you evacuated on the toiled floor must own up now!” his German boss bellowed with sweltering anger. Our patient father looked interrogatively at his German boss’s face. “How can you tell Asian or European feces from a Black African’s?” he asked.

Is African humanity the moral equivalent of a piece of fecal matter on a dirty toilet floor? We don’t know! However, two weeks following the auditorium meeting, expectedly, our father’s German boss transferred him to Benghazi with a letter of demotion. This is why we have consistently argued against our oligarchic leaders’ treating us as Roman political elites treated Roman plebeians. Our people, the masses, are humans with intelligence as well as with emotional patience and social tolerance. Simply put, we ask our leaders to stop treating the people as a piece of fecal matter!

After all, we don’t want “My First Coup D’etat” to turn into a social and political actuality for any leader in the present dispensation! The end.
Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis