Where Are The President?s Men?

Sun, 3 Jul 2005 Source: Kotre, Kwame

In recent weeks it appears the country is preoccupied with the sensationalism of ?Kufour Hotel?and everything else that the few architects of this circus can bring to the media.

Viewing things from faraway USA and for someone who is addicted to finding solutions to Ghana?s multitude of problems, I am disappointed to note that some few individuals try to shift the government?s focus from developmental efforts towards unnecessary acts of defensiveness. All human beings are at the mercy of 24 hrs/7days a week and how we use our time reflects on our efficiency.

This government and certainly President Kufour should not be allowed to be intimidated by these empty accusations which depending on how it is expressed can put the president on the defensive and zap his energies away from more important areas which is what the architects of this circus are aiming to achieve.

Ghana?s new found democracy is certainly an evolving phenomenon. For so long the people have been ruled through the bondage of fear and for the 1st time in the history of Ghana we have the most tolerant leader such that every citizen feels he or she can exercise their democratic right by expressing themselves, which is a good thing but far too many are urged to make irresponsible comments in the name of freedom of speech. The irony of democracy in its promotion of free speech is that it is unclear when one can be held accountable for expressing a speech of garbage. Sometimes we Africans are consumed by the burning urge to criticize any opinion regardless of its merit. This conclusion is made based on my college experience here in The States more than 30years ago. Whenever there was a meeting of The African Students? Assoc. little is accomplished because of cheap display of one?s intellect to oppose a view just so that his/her voice can be heard. No wonder Rawlings had an aversion for the intelligentsia (Book long).

One thing that is clearly missing in the government or in the NPP party is someone who is bold, articulate and smart enough to counter some of these distractive garbage allegations against the gov?t. Recently I read some articles by one Danquah Kufour and another by Amoako Tuffuor in his press conference. I don?t know who these individuals are but the government needs to have a well organized counter punchers like them to not only set the records straight but something that needs to be in place as a matter of politics. The NDC may be gaining grounds in their negative campaign against the present government as an attempt to erode the positive gains by NPP come year 2008. In Amoako Tuffuor?s conference he cleverly chronicled few of the abuses by NDC against which the present government could have mounted an investigative proceedings, but for the sake of national unity. It is ridiculous for some to expect the president to dignify these garbage accusation by him speaking to the nation on the topic. His office has given a matter-of-factly statement on the subject and while we are still playing politics it is up to the well organized opinion builders to give it a political spin. I cannot over emphasize this point: In a society like Ghana where very few represent the intelligentsia, and belong to the fraternity of the pen and/or the sorority of the sound wave, and far more majority of the people are nothing but followers, we need to remember that it is this class of followers who have the VOTES and can elect you to power. To ignore that class would be suicidal for the NPP. In democracy it is one man one vote. Amoako Tuffuor or Danquah Kufour can only cast one vote but if each counter remarks can bring a thousand followers you have 1001 votes. Freedom of speech is important. The price hike on petroleum products is inevitable but the large voter block cares less about how the Gov?t balances the budget. In the U.S. there are some people who are happier and safer in the jail than being free on the outside-why because all their needs are provided while in Jail- 3 square meals, 24 hrs access to the doctor and in the winter have a warm bed to sleep in-a better life than some individuals who have their freedom outside of jail. Simply put, their priorities are different. Consider some relative basics: I am accustomed to such a lifestyle that whether or not I visit Ghana this year to see my folks is dependent upon whether the air conditioner system to be installed in my more than $400,000 home in Ghana will be functional else I am not making the trip. Trivial? Yes may be, but the point is-a matter of priorities.I am worried about some stupid A/C when others are worried about a ball of kenkey. How many people like me who live in Ghana can vote a gov?t in power? Very insignificant number- the real power is in the hands of the veranda boys who sleep on store fronts at night. Who is looking out for these folks? They are the ones who can afford to stay in the scorching sun or in the rain so that their votes can be cast. What they need is first and foremost to be nourished and clothed, all of which can be fulfilled if given jobs.Government as the main employer is bad economics but rather gov?t needs to empower the private sector and incentivise them to employ people.

Events in Ghana now question the leadership of President Kufour who inherited unprecedented goodwill from the people of Ghana after Rawlings, very much like when President Nkrumah brought Ghana across the Nile of independence into the Republic away from the British. Eventually he lost the goodwill of the people which paved way for the diabolical use of arms against government. Ghana needs to learn to use the ballot to effect changes rather than to use arms to do the same. Only barbaric, stone aged individuals with minds the size of a frog will resort to arms to change governments.

AND WHERE ARE THE PRESIDENT?S MEN? While being accused of this and that, where are they to rally behind the president and lift him high above all these BS. The ministers, no one has even made positive comments that could be reverberating in the corridors of the media-rather many are busy joggling for position to become the flag bearer of NPP in the year 2008. There is even the appearance that the ministers are distancing themselves from the commander - in- chief. Where is your loyalty? The success of NPP in year 2008 depends largely on how President Kufour takes score from now till then. And let me warn you, ladies and gentlemen, the NPP may be practicing tolerant democracy but when NDC comes back into power, and just the mere thought of that even gives me the goose bumps, it would be ?pay back democracy? ? democracy of humiliation. Rawlings is quoted as saying that one of the areas of priorities when NDC comes to power is to expand NSAWAM prisons to accommodate the NPP members and the order of the day would be ?guilty until proven otherwise? and while in NSAWAM it may take 5-8 yrs before you prove your innocence. Is this the kind of democracy you are longing for?

Who is the leader of NPP now? The race for 2008 has already started; it is a marathon and the NDC are trying to mess up the terrain so that you may fall as you try to run the marathon.

It would be selfish, short sighted or plain old stupidity unless the business of NPP is well orchestrated. When NPP fails we all fail ;all lovers of democracy fail. I am not an NPP person; I am just old enough to have seen all the governments that Ghana has experienced in its post independence life and NPP so far is the birth of true democracy. The other previous governments just weren?t given enough chance by the blood thirsty coup makers to withstand the test of time and as for NDC it was like a transvestite, a male dressed in woman?s clothes-a soldier in navy blue blazer.

In closing please remember that those of us who occasionally may write or speak thro? the media form the minority yet we can be influential good or bad. The majority of the masses is poor and uneducated and what we say or write may influence them therefore my plea to my fellow opinion builders is that be responsible and avoid being in the class of ?Irresponsible Intellectuals?

Kwame Kotre
New York City

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

Columnist: Kotre, Kwame

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