Is President Kufuor Afraid Of Chairman Rawlings?

Sat, 4 Jul 2015 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

June 30, 2015

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Following the June 3-4 flash flood and fire outbreak that claimed the lives of some 200 Ghanaians, former President John Agyekum-Kufuor joined hands with TV3 to raise a targeted GHC 10 million in relief support for the victims of the aforementioned disaster (See "Blame Recurring Floods On Lack Of Continuity By Gov'ts - Kufuor" TV3Network.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/9/15). What was most fascinating about the man affectionately called "The Gentle Giant" was not his gracious presence at the venue of the fund raiser itself, but rather what the former president had to say about what he firmly believed to have been the real cause of the partly natural disaster.

According to the former Member of Parliament for Atwima-Nwabiagya, in the Asante Region, during the Limann-led Third Republic, it was the woeful lack of continuity in development policies on the part of successive governments that precipitated the June 3-4 fiery flash-flood disaster. Ironically, the TV3 fund raiser was chaired by the daughter of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, Dr. Zenator Rawlings. It was ironic because for twenty years, Chairman Rawlings rode roughshod on the backs of Ghanaians, first, as a "revolutionary" dictator and, subsequently, as a constitutionally elected President of Ghana for two terms; and yet did absolutely nothing substantive about the annual deadly flooding of the country.

On the aforementioned occasion, Mr. Kufuor faulted the failure of "successive" governments in laying out a comprehensive policy agenda for drastically reducing the devastating impact of the annual flooding of the country by torrential rainfall. Maybe somebody more truthful and courageous than the 76-year-old former president ought to draw Mr. Kufuor's attenton to the fact that most of the last 40 years of Ghana's political history has been dominated by the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress (NDC). And when the leadershp mantle has not been decked by the former Ghana Airforce flight-lieutenant, it has fallen to such proteges and minions as Presidents John Evans Atta-Mills, late, and, presently, John Dramani Mahama. In other words, one cannot truthfully talk about "successive" governments in today's Ghana.

Rather, what we have had is a virtual one-party state with a military-oriented policy agenda foucused, for the most part, on the stockpiling of small munitions to ensure its perennial entrenchment on the Ghanaian political landscape, at the expense of nearly every progressive policy initiative. This is the real and true story of the June 3-4 fiery flash-flood that took the lives of some 200 Ghanaian citizens and caused the destruction of properties running into tens of millions of cedis. It was also quite instructive to appreciate the fact that President Kufuor could not even slightly reference any comprehensive flood-reduction policy initiative that his New Patriotic Party government, in power for eight years, put in place to foresightedly avert the June 3-4 disaster. Instead, Mr. Kufuor preferred to lamely take pot-shots at the membership of the Institute of Planners, Architects and Engineers, a non-governmental guild of civil engineering professionals, who the former president faulted for not having put enough pressure on "successive" governments to upgrade the ramshackle state of the country's infrastructure.

Well, if one may aptly ask: What is the purpose of the creation of the cabinet portfolio of the Ministry of the Environment Science and Technology by "successive" governments, if the duties and functions of the foregoing executive portfolio really belong to the membershp of the Institute of Planners, Archtects and Engineers?

Now, it begins to be sharply and embarrassingly driven home the kind of woefully unimaginative and out-of-touch leaders who have dominated Ghana's political culture for the past twenty-odd years of our Fourth-Republican dispensation. President Kufuor was, of course, right on target when he highlighted the fact that about the only Ghanaian leader who made any serious attempt at reducing the pernicious and devastating impact on floods in the country was Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. I am sure there quite a number of others, but his most notable and celebrated achievement in the area of rural development was the resettlement of the people of Akyem-Nsutam, in the Eastern Region.


Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame