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Why I have Patience for Pres. Mahama

Why I have Patience for Pres. Mahama

Wed, 15 May 2013 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

– RE: Gov't to hold daily press briefings

By Kwaku A. Danso

The government Press release titled: Gov't to hold daily press briefings, on Myjoyonline of May 13, 2013 has brought many comments for discussion on the GLU –Ghana Leadership Union global forum. Veteran Journalist Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, President of the Ghana Association of Writers and Member, National Media Commission wrote this in response to my comments of applause to the government:

“you have stated more than once that it appears "President Mahama is trying". Can you be a bit more specific and explain how and why you think he is "trying".”

Another writer, MB, wrote:

Ghanaians have such low expectations that they accept the bull shit excuses offered by anyone assigned a job or task who fails to deliver when they simply say they "tried" or "did their best" Never mind that they tried the wrong things or failed to think through the problem to then use the right approach and solution with the right resources employed! Well, in our case more often than not "their best" is not good enough! We should have benchmarks and standards for evaluating performance! If it ain't measured it ain't movin'. If it is not documented it doesn't exist! Talk is cheap! (MB – GLU Forum Tue, 14 May 2013 09:51:39)

I share my response to the general public since this is of general interest to the nation and people of Ghana: Kwasi, Friends, I am not suggesting that we don’t hold Mahama accountable. Let us remember the man did not have any Managerial experience, or experience leading any groups, before being voted for. At least Obama of America was a Community Organizer (smile)! The people who voted for him, John Mahama, knew that, and yet they voted for him. They did not vote for Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom or Jacob Osei Yeboah or Dr. Abu Sakara! Why?

I know destiny has not been fair in all cases to the people of Ghana but that is the result of the Karma of a people who have not demonstrated any self-consciousness to fight for what they stand for. Our own mothers tell us not to get involved! Is that good? Many Ghanaians including myself, have run away from the fight because our own mothers told us not to get involved. For me, at least most know I have tried and I am now getting tired or worn out after 40 years! Nobody among the honorable and venerable members assembled at an East Legon meeting at Emmanuel Eye Clinic in 2010, when I was talking about forming a Town Council for ourselves, was prepared to defend me. One man in the group shouted when I was talking “We don’t want the America type”! My Gosh! If you take the unfortunate unending wars out, what is so bad about doing what America has done to be where they are in terms of human and economic development?

That hit me greatly later on as I reflected, to ponder if I was born at the right place or not! A people get what they deserve! We want a nice humble-looking man and are not prepared to punish crimes! Otherwise why should a party which claims to be a continuity of a treason in Ghana, the PNDC, even get 40% or even 35% of the votes? Have you ever thought about that? Are the poor not smart enough to be aware that the same people who killed people for corruption and incompetence are “enjoying” by taking public funds, and don’t care about them, so to speak? Reminds one of one of Michael Jackson’s Music Videos – “They don’t care about us”.

Let us do a short review: Rawlings was elected in 1992 and 1996. Rawlings selected Atta Mills – the people did not have a choice but then after Atta Mills tried for 3 times, eventually the people voted for him. He himself did not have any VISION at all you and I can remember, except that he was a nice man, kind and affable and God-fearing man. That is what the people wanted since they thought Akufo Addo was not as honest-appearing as Atta Mills, and perhaps Nana’s shaved head was scary to the women? or whatever the reason was, I don’t know!

Mills appointed Mahama. Mahama had the destiny thrust on him just like Mills did!! They never worked hard for the position they had thrust on them, except in fact Mahama was an MP and hence at least a little better. Did Mahama ever write an article about how Government should be run? Please anybody help me if I lie. I have written hundreds of articles on how Government should be run. Show me what Mahama wrote! Kwasi, destiny may not seem fair to us all, but a President of a nation, voted for, is the destiny of the deserved prayers of that nation even if small cheating occurred. Ghanaians are getting what we deserve as our people seem docile and don’t hold the “shirt-collar” (figuratively) of elected officials as we used to do when growing up and playing in the playgrounds! If the community leaders are bribed to convince people how to cast their vote, why do we want to blame anybody but ourselves! Isn’t that what is happening in the communities?

MY POINT is this: First point: People who don’t have strong opinions like some of us, and who go about life appearing only as nice people, really don’t have much of a VISION beyond feeding family and living good for themselves. As such we should realize that Mill and Mahama were learning on the job, but had no hard-core philosophical principles to run a chicken coop let alone a nation. The same was said of President Kufuor before them. For Jerry Rawlings, the little said the better since he was not voted for till after the coercive eleven years of fearful dictatorial rule. Please I don’t mean disrespect but an Akan proverb suggest that a child who will buy a car when he grows up starts asking the price of tires when he is young. That describes the importance in our folklore of the need for having a VISION in life. One has to DREAM of what one would be early in life. Prof. Michael Porter of Harvard University has several books in this ideas of how a Vision can be implemented using Strategy. But the vision has to come first. Can anybody tell me what John Mahama stood for as MP or whiles in College? Noooooo!! He was a nice boy and grew to be a nice man!! Women liked him and his people in his town liked him, and his family was rich! That’s it! They voted for him! Most of such people never make a single speech while in Parliament. My hometown Abetifi MP, Wiafe Peprah, a 2nd or 3rd cousin, has been MP for 5 years now and has never given a public speech we can remember! Nothing!! And yet they will vote for him again!

Second point: When such men attain the highest power, it takes them some time to define what they really want to be when they grow up, so to speak. The job is overwhelming to him, and in fact as VP Mahama was an errand man, sent overseas to lead delegations but never realized he had power. Even when he called the MDs of Ghana Water Company, Electricity Corporation, GRIDCO, PURC to his office as VP, he never gave them any deadlines or work definition. No! He only told them as Mills used to do, to do better for the people. Is that how to manage?

Kwasi, I am not trying to give Mahama or Mills excuses,, but they had no clue what to do with the power entrusted in them. Mahama or Mills had no idea they could order for people to lose their jobs or as Americans say, FIRE people, or as Shaka Zulu used to say GIVE THEM FIRE!!!

Kwasi, I think honestly Mahama is just coming out of a daze. Why? He never imagined ever being President. So I think he is finding his feet gradually. He is defining his VISION now, and then, hopefully within the next 3 months he may define the JOB it takes to get those done if he listens to good advice. He is also reasonably scared of the people who had participated in the PNDC treason of Dec.31, 1981 whom he has appointed – and this is men like Ato Ahwoi and Kwamena Ahwoi. Unless and until our people learn to rise and confront authority, there will be no drastic change and the .

Enjoy these pictures I took in October 23, 2009 sitting very close to him at the Achimota’ Golf Club 75 year anniversary. For example, at this function he said that Ghana could work hard so that such places as Achimota golf club could be a Tourist destination where global Businesses can come and create business for Ghana. Lovely idea but remember once more what I said at the top: the man has never been what we call in our language “Obrefoo”, translated as a man forced to use his brains to survive, like some of us have done. Has he done anything about this vision or he expects things to be done by itself? It is for this reason I have some patience for him. But how long that patience will last is another issue. No man can live by promises alone. Sooner or later he has to learn to manage or else face a legacy of disgrace and no work completed.

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.