Former President John Dramani Mahama has admonished politicians and Ghanaians, in general, to be cautious of how they treat persons in power and to desist denigrating government offices in the process of trying to vilify occupants of those positions at any given point in time.
He explains that people are responsible for the treatment they receive and the level of respect accorded them when they assume a particular government office because their actions and or inactions, while they were in the back seat, may have warranted the same the feedback and response they are getting from the public during their term.
“We must always respect our leaders. Indeed, if you don’t even like the personality in the position or in the office, you must show respect to the office because you don’t know when you yourself will find yourself there or your son will find himself there or your relative will find himself there or even somebody you like will find himself there. If you have developed the culture of denigrating the office, you’ll find that when you get there, you have so denigrated the office that you cannot command the kind of respect that you also think you deserve”.
He however maintained that refraining from demeaning the office or persons occupying it, does in no way suggest that people should refrain from criticizing government officials when the need arises. For him, criticism should be done but done constructively.
“It doesn’t mean that we must not criticize our leaders when they go wrong, we must criticize them but we must criticize them in decorous language…..it depends on how that criticism is packaged, if you want somebody to accept your criticism, you must package it properly and when you package it properly, it becomes easy for the person to absorb and when he absorbs it, the necessary corrections will be made. Even if at the time he doesn’t appear to have accepted it, because you packaged it well it will be in the back of his mind and unconsciously or consciously, he will make the corrections you want to see”.
Mr. Mahama admonished politicians to be ready to accept criticism and learn from them as it is a vital tool for development.
“Our leaders too must learn to accept criticism. Criticism is good for progress because if people keep telling you only the favorable things you want to hear, both in your personal life and as a leader of an organization, you will ran the organization into the ground or you’ll find yourself as an individual in a wrong place that you did not intend to be and so it’s important for people who are friends, who know you, who have a stake in your life to criticize you when you are going astray and we must take that criticism in good faith”, he said.
Mr. Mahama was speaking at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Madina Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Trinity Parish, Accra on Sunday, 12 November.