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Opinions Thu, 14 Mar 2013

Firm Leadership Will Guarantee President Mahama's Legacy

By Kofi Thompson

It is in the national interest that a serving President constantly reaches out to the opposition parties, in a nation as polarised as the Ghana of today is.

However, there is a world of difference between proactive and tolerant leadership that recognises the important role played in a democracy by opposition parties, in preventing the abuse of power and exposing corruption; and the appeasement that forever bending over backwards to please implacable foes - that in 21st century Africa, incredibly feel scandalised that a northerner should be ruling Ghana - represents.

The time has come for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mahama to face the unpleasant truth that although a majority of those in leadership positions in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and amongst its membership are decent individuals who are broad-minded and modern enough in their outlook to accept that in 21st century Africa no tribe in the continent is superior or inferior to another, there is a powerful minority of ruthless and tribalistic hypocrites in the NPP, who in private say it is an abomination for a northerner to rule Ghana. He can never please that blinkered lot.

According to some of their critics, it is at the doorstep of this backward minority of tribal-supremacist individuals determined to end President Mahama's tenure, come what may, that the series of coordinated events designed to convince ordinary Ghanaians that Ghana is in crisis and retrogressing ("because it is ruled by incompetent leaders"), ought to be laid.

And they it is whose endless negativity put off the discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians whose swing-votes now determine which candidate wins presidential elections in Ghana.

Not for those independent-minded Ghanaians the gullibility of the "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidon-types - whose blinkered support for Ghana's two biggest political parties is slowly destroying Ghanaian democracy.

Alas, today, the NPP's extremists are making the same mistake they made before and during the campaign for the December 2012 elections, in their quest to remove President Mahama from power.

For them the election campaign for the presidency has not ended, and their blunderbuss-negativity still continues unabated and in relentless fashion - in the print-media as well as on the airwaves of FM radio stations and television stations across the country.

And again it is putting off many fair-minded and discerning Ghanaians - just as it did in the December 2012 election campaign.

(The question is: Why do the vast majority of decent and fair-minded NPP members not speak out against the tunnel-visioned extremists now dominating their party? But I digress.)

President Mahama's administration must ignore the negativity of the narrow-minded and tribalistic minority now controlling the NPP, and focus instead on the hard work of making sure Ghanaians get treated water supplied to their homes on a regular basis and have uninterrupted electricity 24/7, as soon as practicable - whiles at the same time making sure their regime will be able to deliver most of the NDC's manifesto promises before the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Above all, to neutralise the tribalistic hypocrites harrying him, President Mahama must ignore his advisers and listen to those who call on him to publicly publish his assets and those of his wife. It is still not too late to make a real difference for him politically, were he to do so.

He will find that if it is done in tandem with a sustained crackdown on corrupt public officials, it will change the dynamics of the sabotage-a-week politricks now being used to destroy his regime even before it has began its work.

He knows perfectly well that he did not steal the presidential election and that the outrageous falsehoods slandering the honest and principled Dr. K. Afari-Djan will be exposed for what they are and thrown out by the Supreme Court.

That is why he must focus on doing what will enable him leave a legacy he can be proud of when he leaves office: giving Ghana firm leadership. He must never forget that it is him history will judge, not his advisors. A word to the wise...

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi