President Mills Comedy of Errors

Posted by By at 20 May, at 05 : 00 AM Print

President Mills Comedy of Errors


Were President Atta Mills to know what is good for him, he will fire all his advisers.

The sad truth is that the good professor does not appear to have been the recipient of good advice from those that are close to him.

The president’s advisors have done little but badly mis-advised him and this has led to the high office of the presidency been reduced to a huge joke. It is a crying shame.

There have been too many unnecessary gaffes and faux pas that should normally not have reached the presidency, but which the president has had to deal with. The presidency appears increasingly to function more and more like a fire service department than being an effective, proactive and dynamic institution.

The current crises engulfing the ruling party, the National Democratic Party, NDC, is just the latest unnecessary national embarrassment to a president whose appointed (well-remunerated) aides lack the capacity to shield their chief.

The president must also share in the blame. There is a saying that: “Show me your friend and I‘ll know the type of person you are.”

The type of company you keep, says a lot about your character.

The question ought to be asked why any intelligent man would surround himself with an incompetent crew. The president’s appointed crew was of such low caliber that it was promptly and appropriately dubbed Team B. What are men like ET Mensah doing in any modern cabinet? Even the president’s men joke about it like it was a laughing matter.

Ok, they are Team B, but at the level of the presidency, where ponderous decisions that affect the destiny of the nation are crafted and implemented, a country deserves to choose the best available brains. Ghana has a large pool of highly competent professionals so the president must give an answer why he chose to go for low-grade aides.

We would never know whether the president’s own inadequate psychological make-up makes him uncomfortable with talented professionals.

The depth of the incompetence of president Mills’ men was laid bare for the whole world in that unsavory public masturbation the public was treated to on 5 May 2011.

Whoever advised the president to block traffic, inconvenient the people he pledged to serve and have the state-owned GTV run live commentary of his going to pick his party’s nomination paper, deserve a tremendous kick in the ass. Whoever dreamt that asinine plot up deserve an immediate sack.

What an un-presidential farce! What a mindless abuse of state (even party or private) resources on a useless enterprise that does nothing to elevate the politics of the nation, or enhance the office of the president.

What an unedifying spectacle to see the president of a nation that aspires to become middle-Income in five years reduced to blocking traffic, having his police, soldiers and security details manhandle people, all because of he wants to appear strong in his party’s internecine war?

Sorry, but that was a very unedifying spectacle! I didn’t see a strong president; I saw a charade, a circus.

Some things just do not appear right no matter how much gloss we paste over them. Does a president, in two and half years of his four-year term, need to self-flagellate himself before the public in order to secure the loyalty of his party members?

It is inconceivable to imagine former President John Jerry (JJ) Rawlings been reduced to the level of puppetry president Atta Mills exhibited on May 5!

It is doubtful if anyone in his party would have dared challenged JJ, to begin with. Whatever accusation we might tar him with, president Rawlings simply has the gravitas to firmly stamp his authority on his party that leaves no one in doubt of who is in charge.

We also witnessed how former President John Kufuor firmly and robustly stamped his authority on his party when voices of dissension arose. A chairman and a secretary-general were casualties when they crossed the Gentle Giant.

That is the mark of true leader.

Among the qualities necessary in leadership are boldness and decisiveness. It is said that a ship cannot afford to have two captains, and it is equally clear that two chefs cannot coexist peacefully in a kitchen.

Mr. Machiavelli rightly informed us that it is better for a Prince to be feared than loved. Maybe it is time someone lend President Mills a copy of The Prince.

Our elders have many wise sayings to support the position that a good leader must show strong and decisive leadership attributes; one of them is that two rams cannot drink from the same bowl.

There are enough warnings about the rumblings in the NDC that the only surprise is why the president left thing to degenerate to the gutter level without doing a darn thing about it.

Political survival instincts alone should have informed the president to stamp his authority on the party as soon a she was elected. His political antennae should have long picked up the threat posed by former President John Jerry Rawlings’ and his gang, he should have either reined or roped them in.

For whatever reason, President Mills did not do this, he is today reaping the harvest of his indecisiveness and the country is the worse off for it.

Expensive presidential time that should have been utilized to address the nation’s myriads of problems is now devoted to solving inter-party bickering.

President Mills appears like a leader who is afraid to rock the boat, and want to sit on the fence and be liked by all and sundry. This is not good enough. Leadership is not a popularity contest.

In the management of human affairs, there will be occasions when the whip needs to be swung and heads cracked; a leader should not shy away from doing so.

Human interests being what they are, it is simply impossible to please all the people all the time. It should not be the leader’s job to be Mr. Nice Guy. At the end of the day, it is results that count. It is through their achievements that leaders are judged.

What are we supposed to think of a president who needs to drag party and state officials from their duty posts to come and pledge allegiance to him on national television? C’mon, we are not in the Soviet era? Why should a leader need public declaration of fidelity from his appointees?

This was a badly scripted act that did little to enhance the president’s stature! President Atta Mills needs to do more. He needs to sit up and raise the bar of his performance. Whether or not he wins the party’s nomination, the president needs to crack the whip. He needs to change the perception that he’s an effeminate and indecisive leader with no mind of his own.

Who needs the sycophantic declaration of political jobbers? Mr. President should start to credit us with some intelligence. By dragooning his cabinet and party hacks to swear public allegiance to him, the president more than declared that all is not well.

Public declarations of support for a president are disgusting sight to which we should not be treated. Those are not what we want to see and they are not what we should be seeing from our Executive President.

We are not interested in the president’s ruckus with his party members. A wise man does not bring his family palaver to the public square. The president should solve his party’s problem at his own time; his time with us should be spent on addressing our pressing national issues.

We have enough brain to know that political jobbers owe their bread and butter to the president, and will do anything and everything to ensure that their positions are not threatened, so what exactly is Mr. President telling us?

Was he hoping to surprise us that his ministers support him publicly? I just cannot get the message the president’s handlers tried to send to us.

It is indeed sad to see the governance of Ghana reduced to such spectacle. 5 May 2011 mark a new low in the political life of the nation. All these bring us to my biggest beef with president Mills.

The president’s handlers never lose any opportunity to remind us about his academic accomplishments. A professor at twenty something, they keep on telling us.

The question is thus beggared why a professor who get elected to lead his country appear so bereft of great ideas on how to move his nation forward in giant leaps and bounds. What is the point in brandishing one’s intellectual pedigree if it is not to think big?

More importantly, why would an intellectual giant surround himself with mental Lilliputians who are incapable of generating any useful ideas or raise the level of any intellectual debate?

A great mind will surround himself only with like-minded people and will have no time for lickspittles and sycophantic hanger-ons.

Truth be told, President Mills have not enunciated any big and bold action plan into which we can sink our teeth.

Did the president handlers expect us to be enthused by the sight of Ghana’s Chief Executive cutting sods for KVIP toilets and canteens in universities?

We expected our president to cut sods for giant industrial, scientific and agricultural projects, not one that takes great pride in cutting tapes for primary and secondary schools.

We have many public and private universities in the country. We also have lots of town planners, surveyors and architects, yet we cannot fathom how to build affordable and decent houses for our people. Our president is reduced to a mere sod-cutter and we are expected vibrate with happiness and gratitude.

The job of our president is to utilize the human resources of the land to improve our lives. It is duty to think and dream big and make us part of his big ideas.

Alas, the people that surround our Chief of State cannot fathom the need to raise the standard. They are contended to trumpet the building of KVIPs as solid achievements for their over-flogged Better Ghana Agenda!

I sometime try to imagine what type of brains some of our officials are endowed with! Rather than think of how to build houses with toilets, they are thinking in terms of public toilet in the year 2011 and beat their chests in triumph!

Why on earth should our people in this age and time still build houses without toilets? That should be question to agitate our minds.

Again we are told that Mr. President sleeps and breathe with the gods, and we often see him parleying often with priests.

But why can’t he find the time to call the scientists and engineers in the land and gave them very SPECIFIC NATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS to solve within a specific time frame?

Let us take electricity as example of a major problem that requires bold leadership. Despite lots of noises, we still cannot generate and distribute enough electricity for domestic and industrial needs.

But for the foresight of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana Inc. would have grounded to a halt by now. The Akosombo Dam built by the Osagyefo continues to sustain us.

The Osagyefo also established the university that today bears his name at Kumasi. It is a university of science and technology and was set up to help with the nation’s quests for scientific and technological breakthrough.

Sadly, not much has been achieved as we continue to import all our technical needs. We can take solar lantern as an example of a specific problem we can set our minds to solve within few months. KNUST should be given a marching order to develop and get affordable solar lantern on the GH market within two years.

Another example is the dirty waterways in the nation’s capital, Accra. Legon should be tasked with coming up with solution that will breathe life into the dead waterways. The water can become arteries for transportation, agriculture and pure leisure.

Those who argue about how we are going to get the money should ask themselves where other people get theirs. They can also ask what could be done with all the money the telecomm companies waste on their useless jamborees or what we waste on parties.

A friend told me something few years back that still leaves my head reeling: He said we should remain grateful to our forebears because without them he cannot imagine what we would have done with our lives. He gave examples of the cutlass, hoe and the mortarpestle. He said without formal schooling, our ancestors invented those useful things. Thousands of years later and with many universities, polytechnics, SSS, JSS, we have not improved upon any of them.

About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

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