Greed in dignity

Ghana Fan At Wafu File Photo

Tue, 18 Dec 2018 Source: Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

Greed and dignity don’t gel the way I understand the two words. When you are greedy, you trample over decency. You don’t care what happens to the other person. If you happen to be a leader, a greedy one that is, everything, including the distribution of the national wealth is about you first and not the welfare of the people you lead. So no matter what opportunity your people give you, unless you steal it from them, of course, you are never satisfied and you want to be in power forever.

Even as Mr John Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana 2001-2008, was pleading former presidents be treated with dignity, someone was threatening that a former president be left alone. President Kufuor has been treated with far less dignity by withholding his hard earned pension for 10 good years. I remember the Hannas and Zitas taking him to the cleaners during the 2008 presidential campaign even when he wasn’t contesting. But however undignified congresspeople tried to portray him, including actively sabotaging his Mo Ibrahim award nomination, he carried himself with dignity.

Meanwhile, one of those he was pleading for was busy undignifying himself to the extent that someone is pleading he should be left alone. The man is busily trying to mess up the motherland constitution by seeking a return to power in a manner only dictators will attempt. I feel sorry for the lawyer who is shouting all over that there is nothing as term limit for being president of the Republic. All you need to do is steal as much money as you can when in office and use that to buy votes back to power endlessly.

At the basic level, we seem to have, apart from Dr Hilla Limann, treated our former leaders with dignity. We pay the generous pension along with many perks. We haven’t gone anywhere near South Korea or Brazil where incumbent and former leaders are made to pay for their wrongdoings. Our approach so far has been an incumbent leader cannot be found to have done a prosecutable wrong, while the former leader is treated as never to have done any prosecutable wrong no matter what action while in office.

Some will say it is not true no president has ever indulged himself (so far, we have had no herself) in prosecutable wrongs. It is just that the compatriot nature is ‘let sleeping dogs lie.’ It hasn’t helped to check the greed of leaders while in office. But it has created a lot of room for any retired leader to be dignified. Let me add, though, it takes the leader to dignify himself for the rest of us to dignify him.

If as leader you care about the led to initiate and implement programmes that benefit the led, you would be preparing yourself to be dignified once out of office. For example, if you care so much to introduce universal health insurance, school feeding programme, free bus ride for schoolchildren, youth employment programme and capitalize basic schools with funds, you are sure to retire in dignity. Some may insult you for their own selfish greed for power. But the majority will always remember the good things you did to better their lives.

In fact, should it happen that those ampebre people who insult you are the same people who find themselves taking over from you, then they will ensure you would be without dignity out of office. They will deny you your retirement benefits. Ampebre people are greedy and the greedy are without dignity because they would callously create loot and share. Compatriots who are treated that way, will see no dignity about that depriver. In retirement then, compatriots would pour scorn on you and treat you without dignity.

To many of my compatriots, it is an imponderable that with clear constitutional provision that no one can be president forever, a retiree is pushing to be president again. The census people say we are between 29 million and 30 million people. So if its mathematically correct there is one in 30 million chance that one of us would be president, it is beyond belief that someone who has had that chance and blown it leading a create, loot and share would seek a return to do same when the 29.999 million of us are yet to have a chance to be president.

Dignity is not coveted through greed. Dignity is bout modesty, empathy and desire to do good for others. It is earned and not just bestowed. Those who do dignifying things are likely to end up dignifying and with dignity. Those who take advantage of their leadership positions to acquire V8s, kanazoe fords and mansions, forsake dignity for personal aggrandisement. Leader in dignity, retired leader with dignity

Columnist: Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh