Potrog, the ‘caged bird’ and the national situation

Akufo Addo Picks Forms President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Tue, 11 Feb 2020 Source: Isaac Ato Mensah

A concerned friend, Engineer O, asked me over the weekend, “So can Nana Addo not see what is going on, and especially about these ‘missing excavators’ can’t he sack about 50 District Chief Executives?”.

People are frantically seeking to understand what is going on within this administration.

Let us offer our perspective.

During his inauguration speech at the Independence Square on 7 January 2017, President Akufo-Addo said:

“For myself, I am in the unique position of being able to draw on the wisdom and experience of three former Presidents of the Republic, their [Excellences] Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama”.

Based on this quote, we offer two references.

First, Lt. General Emmanuel Erskine in 2001 publicly advised President Kufuor to imitate President Rawlings who ensured both juniors and seniors walked directly to him with information, a strategy which Erskine believed accounted for Rawlings’s 19 years stay in power without a coup d’etat.

Second, Kufuor himself publicly stated that, Theresa, his wife monitored the media and gave him daily updates on the situation prevailing in the country, suggesting that someone who did not need favours from him was telling him the truth.

In 2018, when I encountered an Akufo-Addo appointee, he told me point blank, I was writing “Nkwasiasem” to wit, “Nonsense”, in my blog posts.

He explained that “the president has over 600 informants across every village in this country”, hence the president knows from the security agencies the realities in Ghana more than I do.

So the appointee concluded, “When the Sinohydro loan comes, the narrative will change, I assure you, the narrative will change”.

Please note: “narrative”.

As my mentor will say, “In ghana we manufacture our own reality”.

A second quote from POTROG’s inaugural address: “We must restore integrity in public life. State coffers are not spoils for the party that wins an election, but resources for the country’s social and economic development. I shall protect the public purse by insisting on value-for-money in all public transactions. Public service is just that – service and not an avenue for making money. Money is to be made in the private sector, not the public. Measures will be put in place to ensure this.”

Here is a final quote from POTROG’s address.

“We should all recognise the danger we face by the alarming degradation of our environment and work to protect our water bodies, our forests, our lands and the oceans. We should learn and accept that we do not own the land, but hold it in trust for generations yet unborn and, therefore, have a responsibility to take good care of it and all it contains.”

Leadership requires sound judgment, strict morals, sacrifice and the ability to do things yourself, thereby imparting knowledge and skills.

What we are hearing now are only caged birds singing – appointees yearning to speak the truths their hearts can no longer keep.

Yet what we see are supine law enforcement agencies, who insist that they “need a complainant” before they act.

Maya Angelou tells us in the second stanza of her poem:

“But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he often opens his throat to sing.”

Now that the caged birds have started singing, let us all appropriate Maya Angelou’s poem for ourselves; she wrote, “the caged bird sings of freedom”.

Maya Angelou who worked as an administrator at University of Ghana, Legon and left this country in 1965 back to the U.S. tells us “a free bird” is happy to “fly on the back of the wind”.

All this was before any Year of Return.

On the back of the wind of confessions then, as my mentor advises, “Let us reflect on our obligations so that we are led to meaningful individual actions”.

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Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah