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Opinions Sun, 25 Aug 2013

Sekous was right ghana needs a fire-in-the-belly leader

Compatriots,

One Kwantabesa criticised a recent radio comment by, Dr. Sekou Nkrumah who commented that ex-Pres. Mills was a weak leader. Kwantabesa felt Sekou was disrespectful to Pres. Mills’ memory. He argued 2013 is different from that of the 1960s. Therefore Ghanaians today must be less nationalistic and militant – they must take their time to slowly solve national development challenges within a liberal democratic structure.

Dr. Nkrumah’s comment was also criticised by Nana Ato Dadzie, (interestingly, a former Chief of Staff in the Rawlings era, and a member of the defense team in the Election Petition. He also moonlights as ‘one of the regular guys’). Dadzie said he will like to meet and tell Sekou that he has not been in politics long enough to make such comments against ex-Pres. Mills. That Dr. Nkrumah was also vilified as a ‘dictator’.

I disagree with Kwantabesa. The scale of challenges during nation-building is what must determine how radical or not policy responses must be. Historical epochs are just dates. The problems we have today are just as grievous as, or even worse than the 1960s. Our population levels have more than quadrupled (from 6.5 million in the 1960s to 25 million people today). Our commodity resources are more depleted (‘finishing’). Our material needs are gargantuan. Therefore, the necessary levels of urgent (radical/militant) measures must be equally applied to solving them.

Again, Ato Dadzie knows political longevity is not an accurate measure of sharp analysis. Good research and analytical abilities surpasses lazy, acquiescence to western economic diktats and agedness in politics anytime.

NDC-NPP SQUABBLES As usual, beyond the sphere of oppositional commentaries illustrated above, the usual politicised daily stage shows (of blatantly biased, stifling, ‘media-agenda’ opinions) continue to be beamed on TV and radio. Some of these have been fronted by the very same NDC v NPP political pundits who may partly have contributed to the judge’s decision to act to control the contemptuous effusions. Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile, Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, commented on Judge Atuguba’s reasons for issuing the contempt of court ruling (see above):

“Principles are being chopped down, which principles and by who and how? This is the president of a panel and it means a lot…It is a very prejudicial statement to be made by a president of a panel at the Supreme Court level. That is my view, it is prejudicial; it doesn’t help anybody. What occasioned it?” (Kweku Baako: Justice William Atuguba’s ‘Nation Breaking Down’ Statement Is Prejudicial, Jan, 12, 2013, http://exposeghana.com/kweku-baako-william-justice-atugubas-nation-breaking-down-statement-is-prejudicial/). Baako was quoting and interpreting his understanding of a judicial guideline. But it is doubtful if he understood the guideline better that nine Supreme Court Judges!

True to form, Nana Ato Dadzie counteractively rebutted Kweku Baako’s criticism by supporting Justice Atuguba: ‘fantastic…kind of a leadership statement.’ It will warn the country to be cautious about utterances and acts that could ‘do things that will break the stability of this country, especially in a situation where people are dissatisfied with elections results.’ (ibid: as above).

So we see the Punch and Judy Show of politicised media puppetry involving the NDC-NPP is replayed before our eyes. With them, there is hardly consensus on any issue of national importance. They must disagree predictably on any number of issues on radio and TV: Election Petition, Judgement Debts, contempt ruling, and even the GYEEDA report. These traditional protagonists will not even give on this deep level of financial mismanagement which afflicts GYEEDA. It does not alarm them towards consensus! Meanwhile the smaller parties who, incidentally, have some major policy innovations in development and modernisation, are wastefully sidelined from parliament.

GHANA NEEDS A NEW FIRE-IN-THE-BELLY LEADER So in developmental terms, factual, reasonable, defensible, public comments that are consistent with discourses that will help Ghana to debate and reconfigure its leadership, must be exempt from the far-reaching and overzealous spins on the ‘Contempt of Court’ ruling. It is valid to compare Ghanaian leaders in order to conclude some have more fire in their belly than others. Saying ex-Pres. Mills was a weak leader, is no more ‘disrespectful’ as saying Rawlings had more fire-in-his-belly as a leader than Kufour; or that Dr. Nkrumah was a leadership giant in Ghana/Africa/world compared to Kofi Busia.

There is no need for Papa Police to arrest anybody. How disrespectful or harmful a statement may be also depends on the context it is uttered. Stating an opinion on radio, is not the same as defying nine Supreme Court Judges who have warned you to desist making rude and untruthful comments. Is it?

Still, is it not true that Ghana needs a new fire-in-the-belly; courageous, intelligent, assertive, charismatic, magnetic, effervescent leadership (like Dr. Nkrumah, Acheampong and Rawlings once were)? Must the discourse for this new leader not be welcomed and understood as a positive contribution to nation building?

This new leader of modernity will have the knack to accurately analyse and more patriotically defend Ghana’s national self-interest in entirety. He/she will decisively break away from the bankrupting IMF-SAP programme that appears to mesmerize the NDC-NPP political Cosa Nostra!

Such a leader will make a Covenant with the Ghanaian people to nationalize our key economic sectors (our inevitable source of finance) to fund a 10-15 year science and technology-led Development and Modernisation Programme (DMP). Such a leader will communicate clearly the advantages of the DMP to the people, in order to mobilise them persuasively to implement the DMP objectives. Such a leader will guide Ghana to construct: manufacturing export-oriented industries, universal infrastructure (road, air, rail, public housing).

Such a leader will reinvest our export earnings into the provision of excellent internationally envied: employment, universal health, housing, transportation, food/material goods and education (rivaling Japan, China, Cuba, USA, Switzerland and Germany. Such a leader will be prepared to die for Ghana!

Regards.

Columnist: Kofi of Africa