What exactly is Akufo-Addo’s success story?

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In responding to a news report on Ghanaweb yesterday that President Mills would return to the country on June 25 after a successful medical check-up in the United States, one Kwakyi said:

“I will prefer Mills to Akuffo-Addo any day! Mills is not the best of presidents Ghana has had, indeed not as effective as any in the past. But better than this man who wants to throw Ghana into chaos. Akuffo-Addo? No!”

This swipe at Akufo-Addo underscores the reason why sections of the Ghanaian populace don’t support him. They question whether Akufo-Addo will be a better leader than all those who have ruled the country so far and not succeeded in taking it out of the woods.

The question they ask is: What is Akufo-Addo’s success story to win their hearts? I have kept asking this question until now that the man himself as given vent for it by stating that a government led by him will not promote “chop-chop.”

Was this man part of Kufuor’s government at all? Was he not the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General who deconfiscated the assets of convicted drug barons and under whom Ghanaian diplomatic passports vanished under suspicious circumstances? And many questions beg answers from him!

Maybe, something about him hitherto unknown to us may change impressions. Until then, we remain skeptical that he will be a better leader than all those we’ve already had.

I may not wish the PPP’s Nduom to be Ghana’s President, but there is something about his politicking that jumps at many, including me. He is quick to point to his stature as a successful business executive and accomplishments in terms of his performance in the Kufuor government, drawing particular attention to policy initiatives (at the National Development Planning Commission and the Millennium Project). He doesn’t hide behind promise-making nor does he resort to verbal aggression.

Even Bawumia touts his work at the Bank of Ghana, especially in helping formulate policies, one of which led to the redenomination of the Cedi. He counts on his experiences just as the NPP is quick to project him as an “economic guru” who will help Akufo-Addo solve the country’s problems.

But what about Akufo-Addo himself? We haven’t heard him refer to any particular accomplishment in public life to warrant his desperate manouevres to become Ghana’s President. Putting aside the issue of “entitlement,” which seems to be the motivation for his quest, what else is there to recommend him?

Just like me, there are many Ghanaians who want to know what exactly Akufo-Addo’s success story is so that we can decide for ourselves where to place him even before the December 7 elections. We want to know what exactly he has accomplished as an administrator that recommends him to the high office of President. We also want to know what leadership skills he has exerted anywhere to confirm that he can outdo all others that we’ve had so far, especially the incumbent whom he has disdainfully nicknamed “Professor Do Little.”

So far, there has been very little to persuade some of us that he is the one to solve Ghana’s problems as he is touting—and which his NPP followers haven’t ceased irritating us with!

Is it about his academic accomplishments? I don’t think he is any more distinguished than the intellectuals who have achieved the highest level of education and participated at all levels in the governance of this country but failed to solve problems.

Is it about his claim to be a human rights activist? Having being branded as such and, given information about his involvement in the numerous agitations against previous military governments (especially the Acheampong and Rawlings ones), has that activism equipped him acquire the leadership skills needed to rule Ghana?

Or is it because of his involvement in the activities of the Alliance For Change that culminated in a series of street demonstrations (dubbed “Kume Preko,” “Wie Me Preko,” and “Sie me Preko”) that achieved very little practically apart from exposing some of them to the international community as anti-Rawlings elements?

Or will we say that he has ever managed any enterprise successfully and, therefore, has what all the other Presidents lack? It is all about administrative acumen and leadership skills that will make the difference.

Is it because of his being a private legal practitioner all these years? What level of administration has he done in that law chamber to suggest that he has any distinguished administrative acumen? How many accomplished lawyers haven’t already come to notice but failed to help solve our country’s problems? Why should Akufo-Addo think that he will make the difference?

I have it for a fact that his law practice has been in tandem with other partners. I don’t know what monumental case he has fought in court for anybody or institution and won resoundingly to warrant his being projected as a successful or accomplished lawyer.

I know who the renowned lawyers in Ghana are, and Akufo-Addo is not one of them. His father might qualify as one of those reputable lawyers.

In politics, Akufo-Addo is known for his activities in the ranks of the Danquah-Busia cabal. He has twice represented his home constituency (Abuakwa South) in Parliament, but evidence from there indicates very little appreciation for him in terms of practical accomplishments for that area. So, at the level of MP, where does he even draw strength from to warrant his quest for the Presidency?

I have been given to know that he has been actively involved in politics over the past 30 years, topping it up with his appointment as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General by Kufuor but failing to perform creditably to warrant his being retained.

After the Tsatsu Tsikata “Fast Track Court” fiasco, Kufuor quickly removed him from that post, giving him the one for Foreign Affairs, a position he held until he won the nod to lead the NPP to the 2008 elections and lost.

He is known to have contested the NPP’s flagbearership in 1996 and 2000, losing on both occasions. For the 2008 elections, he stood above the 16 other contestants but was repudiated by the electorate after initially garnering 49% at the polls and bubbling with high hopes to win the run-off. It didn’t happen.

For the 2012 elections, he is poised to brave the storm. As he campaigns for the elections, he comes across as not really informed about issues with which to win the hearts of voters. His “Listening” and “Restoring Hope” tours have been more erratic than expected.

What seems to be drawing attention to him is the package of “huhudious” promises that he and his Running Mate (Mahamudu Bawumia) are making all over the place as if they are not aware of the danger posed by that method of politicking.

Take away these promises, and there is nothing substantial to persuade anybody like me that Akufo-Addo is the problem solver that the country direly needs.

Let’s not even talk about the credibility problems that he has—be it the spate of allegations of drug/substance use/abuse, immorality (womanizing), or concentrated arrogance—which are making it difficult for some of us to accept him as a future President. No joke intended here. It’s a serious matter.

So, putting everything together, then, what is the success story that should recommend Akufo-Addo to the electorate?

Or will the voters go for him just because they have lost confidence in the incumbent? Or because Akufo-Addo is articulate enough to enumerate the country and its citizens’ problems without actually providing any concrete measures to solve them apart from the hordes of promises that he and his Running mate have begun blurting out? What else?

Too many—just too many nagging questions!

We want to be told what Akufo-Addo’s success story is so we can probe issues further to know why the electorate should repudiate the incumbent and settle on him instead. Anybody willing to tell us that success story? I pause for answers—and insults from those NPP zealots to whom insults are their only reaction to issues of this sort that feed the discourse on our national problems.

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.