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Opinions Fri, 5 Mar 2004

Kufuor, the Best President In the World? Not so fast.

Politicians are an unusual breed. They peddle alluring promises to unsuspecting voters, but seem to suffer from a peculiar cognitive dissonance on many issues; they crave media attention, but are prone to outlandish statements.

NPP detractors and other malcontents are indignant over a recent statement attributed to the head honcho of the Kumasi Metropolitan Authority, Maxwell Kofi Jumah. He reportedly asserted that President John Kufuor is the best president the world has ever produced.

Though I loathe being conflated with Kufuor's critics, I can't but agree with them this once; if there ever was a sycophantic and patronizing statement, this is it.

Jumah's basis for this rather silly description of the president is Kufuor's undeniable long years of public service. No qualms about that. But the KMA chief executive is extravagantly wrong to depict the president as the best in the world. There are better ways to demonstrate fealty to a president than this naked and blatant coddling.

What Jumah has done, perhaps inadvertently, is to relegate the achievements of other Ghanaian presidents to history's junk heap. And that is unconscionable.

While Kufuor has accomplished remarkable good things in a relatively short time..... a reliable steward of the economy and a capable custodian of the domestic agenda, I am not so sure he deserves such an accolade......the best leader in the world? Even the President himself would shun such flattering tributes.

Many factors militate against the "coronation"of JK as the best in the world.....for starters, the national economy is still moribund and Ghanaians are in the tight grips of unrelenting poverty.

And to exacerbate an already fetid situation, ethnic conflagration and chieftaincy disputes threaten peace and stability in the northern regions. Additionally, as our once vaunted educational system reels from cosmetic changes introduced by the P/NDC, roads in some parts of the country are treacherously dilapidated, and the list goes on.

But wait, before we dance a "victory" jig over Jumah's statement, these problems first need to be fixed, and even that should not be the basis for putting the garland on Kufuor's head. History should be the final arbiter.

A fervid NPP supporter I spoke to shrugged off Jumah's statement, describing it as patently dishonest and ill-timed. "Did Jumah take leave of his senses? " he asked.

Well, whether Jumah's utterance was a blatant ploy to curry favor with the President, or was that of a politico shooting off at the hip, is hard to decipher.

Nonetheless, the statement comes across as incendiary. Jumah is an astute politician, but an obstinate one, who knows which fires to stoke.

No one is pelting Jumah with dead cats for the faux pas of uttering such a silly pronouncement.

Nor is this column the perfect cudgel with which to pummel the KMA chief executive for invoking the ire of NDC stalwarts.

In fact, there is nothing amiss with being pliant, or canoodling with top party officials, but to label a president who has such profound and intractable problems ahead of him as the best the world has produced, smacks of demagoguery and unbridled ambition.


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.
Columnist: Yahaya, Moses Kofi