President Kufuor is not “political-wabi”

Mon, 2 Jun 2008 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

By Sydney Casely-Hayford, The New Ghanaian

The Japanese word “wabi” describes near perfect beauty or character made even more significant because of its direct flaw, which by its position or revelation makes the image or character even more enhanced. In our modern generation, take Bob Marley, whose musical genius was made more brilliant because of his known addiction. Elvis Presley - drugs, Marilyn Munroe - depression, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep for beauty set in enhanced features.

In Africa, a rare political breed, one whose policies have turned a tirade of criticism into an example of leadership, which hopefully could start an “afri-politico” trend yet to be replicated on the continent, Nyerere of Tanzania. He retired at home pursuing an interest in writing and teaching. Flawed by his myopic view of what constitutes corruption, Kufuor’s failed zero-tolerance policy could catapult him to wabi stature as he flays in his lame duck presidential term to stay the course, unable to kick-start a renaissance in Africa’s political leadership.

Bad enough that he has placed Dr. Richard Anane back working at the same transport ministry, where he once was under fire for lacking both a moral and financial backbone, we had the interference to influence the nomination of Alan Kyeremanten as the NPP candidate of choice; the hotel Kufuor debacle; IGP Kwarteng Acheampong, security capo Francis Poku’s departure with a whimper; the twin children with Giselle Yajzi, honoring Prof. Mills; the release of Dan Abodakpi and now his desire to Chair something during his presidency, so he wishes to appoint himself chairman of the Bui dam project.

If these flaws in judgment did not exist, our president could be perfect. Interviewing Prof. Mills about a year ago to the date, we spoke at length about many things P/NDC and his personal ambition, two times failed candidate, but most importantly, why NDC and why follow JJ Rawlings? Why attract a “poodle” tag in the Ghana media, for serving as his master’s voice? Certainly, he defended himself, albeit in my opinion lamely, but my one big question for which I believe he would have deserved this medal had he stayed the course; why did he leave the IRS where he was dong such a splendid job only to go and reside under a dictatorship, where he had absolutely no control and among other things mutely hang in, even in the face of the murder of innocent protestors on May 11 a decade ago? If the IRS problems had been fixed when he was at the helm, in my opinion he would have achieved far more than any before and after him, in which case, he would more than deserve a medal. I have lived the history of Ghana now as an adult and I cannot find a thread of achievement to merit the honor. What has Prof. Mills done other than to have been appointed vice president by a military junta and subsequently chosen as a presidential candidate? What long-lasting legacy did he leave after his tenure as vice president?

And why Abodakpi? The courts determined he was dishonest, found him guilty and sentenced him to prison. Why, why oh why interfere? What possible reason could there be for shortening the sentence? Who gave this advice? Who even brought the idea up? And when they did, how did they sell it to the president? If he hit on this solution all by himself, heaven help us, because there is more to come.

As chairman of the Bui project, President Kufuor wants to demonstrate that he will bring a difference to the project. Fair enough. Hear CHRAJ’s argument. It is a potential conflict of interest because it is a venture for profit and the president should not place himself in that position of possible benefit. If it does not say so clearly in our constitution, then we need to amend the document. Constitution not-withstanding, there is an ethical line here, clear to anyone who chooses to see it; that he cannot even if he wanted to, embalm himself in so much day-to-day grime without fingers pointing to gain, and with everything else that needs be done as head of state? Is he bored? What is the real motive? You see already I have started the questioning. I have a catalogue of things the next president can do. Maybe I can refine my list and move some of the items forward into this year, before he leaves office. With all this, I withdraw my opening statement.

Kufuor is anti-wabi. He is demonstrating a grimy flaw in his character, insufficient to make him wabi. His multitudinous misjudgment in financial scandals, questionable peace offering to political rivals, and not knowing when to recluse himself from what could be potential conflict is too much to confer such a noble quality on him. There is a fine line here, when one decides that this or that decision could be misconstrued as an attempt to thwart the laws of the land or to interpose oneself in an event for personal gain.

The “political wabi” carefully steers away from the impending controversy and looks ahead to a loftier legacy.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney