By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
June 11, 2015
I don't know that God in His Wisdom chose for Ghanaians a leader afflicted with "The Dead-Goat Political Syndrome" or style of governance that is fundamentally self-referential (See "Mahama's Exit Will End Disasters - Pastors" Adomonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/8/15). What I know is that since Biblical times, and I stand guilty of my heavily Christian influence, it is the people who have always decided their own choice of leadership with the blessings of their God/gods. Well, there is this Accra-based group of Ghanaian pastors calling themselves International Bishops And Pastors Intercessors Network, who appear to firmly believe that the resignation of President John Dramani Mahama would immediately bring paradise, in the form of a cessation of all disasters, to the country.
I wish I could chuck logic and grim historical reality to the wind and back the IBPIN operatives unreservedly. But I am afraid God is not so facile in both temperament and orientation as to psychologically and intellectually think in such desperate terms. I personally believe that the leadership of President Mahama has not been good for Ghana. But I also firmly believe that the disasters currently rocking the country are not totally new to postcolonial Ghanaian history. Since the era of Ghana's first postcolonial leader, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, the country has been visited by untold disasters, both natural and human-made. In 1959, for example, as the editors and publishers of Ghana's Daily Graphic newspaper recently recalled, there was a massive flood in the country that affected not only Ghana's capital city of Accra, but also the twin Western Region's cities of Sekondi-Takoradi.
What is important to ponder here is what the Nkrumah-led Convention People's Party (CPP) government and leadership did to remedy the situation or prevent this natural disaster from recurring in the same catastrophic manner in the offing, as well as in the long term. Well, we are cocksure that not much was done to forestall the annual inundation of large parts of the country because during the shortlived tenure of Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, widely known for his rural-development expertise, the people of Akyem-Nsutam, near my hometown of Asiakwa, had to be resettled on higher ground and away from the Birem River that annually flooded the town and made the lives of "Nsutamese" virtually ungovernable.
In other words, what the aforesaid bishops, led by Rev. Edmund Aryee, ought to be doing is conferring with environmentalists and city/ town planners and engineers to figure out constructive ways of remarkably easing up these acts of nature which, we are nevertheless scientifically informed, have equally much to do with the regressive cultural habits of Ghanaian citizens and our leaders at large. Indeed, Rev. Aryee's group may do itself and the rest of their countrymen and women a lot of good by doing some soul-searching, in particular regarding precisely how it came about that they had been gapingly unable to intercede on behalf of the people to have God appoint for us, via the ballot box, the sort of leadership whose genius and ingenuity could have spared us the sort of political anathema that Rev. Aryee imagines to eptomize the personality and caliber of President Mahama.
I mean, here we are a full 15 years into the 21st century, and I hope that the members of the International Bishops and Pastors Intercessors Ntework fully appreciate the fact of this age being one of great scientific acumen than sheer speculation, and we are being preached at with a sermon that is better suited to medieval culture. In other words while, indeed, Divine Providence and His/Her grace may still be relevant and even central to our heavily faith-based Christocentric culture, nevertheless, there is little patience and tolerance for such scandalous lack of critical thinking. The recent OECD ranking of Ghana's public educational system at the very bottom of some 76 nations around the world, ought to give Rev. Aryee and his associates prompt and serious sit-up about the real nature of the problems besetting our country and how best and most intelligently to resolve the same.
In sum, we need to transcend the primitive and unsavory politics of personalities in order to soundly and progressively appreciate the inescapably institutional nature of our problems, as well as the collective responsibility required to resolving the same.