Opinions Mon, 6 Apr 2020

Has the deadgoat thrown in the towel for Akufo Addo already?

It is advocated in courageous crisis management that real leaders are not born; the ability to help others triumph over adversity is not written into their genetic code. They are, instead, made. Indeed, real leaders they say are forged in crisis. The ability of a leader to gird and inspire people through difficult times is what makes one a leader.

As COVID-19 tears its way through country after country, town after town, neighborhood after neighborhood, President Akufo-Addo's trait as a real and courageous leader is becoming more visible than ever before.

Most of us know the famous lines of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address in the midst of the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.” He followed that by pointing to the nation’s strengths in meeting the crisis: “This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.”

Less than a decade later, as the United Kingdom stared down the Nazi onslaught in the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill encouraged his people to keep the faith: “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”

We can't over emphasised the display of courageous leadership by Margaret Thatcher. The “Iron Lady” of British politics set her country on a rightward economic course, and led it to victory in the Falklands war and helped guide the United States and the Soviet Union through the cold war’s difficult last years.

The Mayor of New York City Rudi Giuliani's courageous leadership came to the fore during the 9/11 attacks.

I have seen courageous and real leadership on display with the handling of COVID-19 crisis by the current New York governor, Andrew Cuomo.

What I've learnt from how some of history’s iconic leaders acted in the face of great uncertainty, real danger, and collective fear is exactly what President Akufo-Addo is doing in the face of this global pandemic.

Take for instance his far-reaching social mitigating measures for the COVID-19 crisis announced last night. The president by his actions has clearly cemented his place in history as one of the real leaders Ghana has ever produced.

The Tax free income for three months plus 50percent increase in basic salary for frontline workers couldn't have come at a better time.

The availability of GHC600 million soft loan scheme with 1-year morotorium period and 2-year repayment plan for micro, small & medium scale businesses is such an awesome intervention.

And the fact that government has taken it opon itself to absorb the water bills for all Ghanaians for the next three months, as well as the provision for water tanker services to ensure the supply of water to all vulnerable communities speaks volumess.

By these measures, President Akufo-Addo has cemented John Mahama's fate in the next elections. The game is over. Mahama will have to look for something else to do and forget about becoming president again.

With the avalanche of corruption cases dangling around Mahama's neck, especially the Airbus corruption, how is he going to turn the tide, looking at Akufo-Addo's sterling performance?

I am more than certain that the deadgoat will throw in the towel for Akufo Addo before long.

Yours truly Ernest kofi owusu Bempah
Columnist: Ernest kofi owusu Bempah