Battling Epidemic of Presidential Plagiarism

Posted by By at 4 April, at 06 : 48 AM Print

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‘We can rebuild our economy but we cannot bring back the millions who could die.’ – Daniel W. Snare March 25, 2020,…/We-can-rebuild-our-econo…

“What we do not know how to do is to bring people back to life.” – Akufo-Addo, March 28, 2020.

It is quite sad that while we struggle to battle the existential threat posed by COVID-19, we also have to contend with another epidemic in the Republic of Ghana Inc. – bouts of presidential plagiarism.

When I suggested that the newly-inaugurated President Akufo-Addo should fire his speech-writers who gave him text filled with unattributed quotes lifted verbatim from all over the world, many people thought I was too harsh.

No, I wasn’t. Our elders told us that the eyes that will last us until the evening will not start oozing pus in the morning. That inaugural snafu has come to define the Akufo-Addo presidency.

I called for action simply because the presidency is the highest office in the land, and it should reflect the highest the country can offer.

Nothing but the very BEST should be allowed to come near the exalted office.

The reason is simple: presidential declarations are like decrees; their ramifications are national, sometimes international.

Every presidential decision and pronouncement must not only be well-intentioned, it must also be seen to have been well-thought-out. That explains my urging that the president should ensure that he has attracted only the best minds the country can offer to his personal staff.

Of course, my urging was dismissed. We have now ended up in a situation whereby the president of the republic is considered a notorious serial plagiarist.

This could have been easily avoided.

With all the perks that they receive plus the prestige attached to their offices, why would those who work at the presidency not consider it both a privileged blessing and a golden opportunity for them to shine?

What does it take to work and produce original thoughts for the president of your republic?

I loved to visit the late Pa KB Asante at his La residence, not only for his brilliant and acute mind but I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to him regale me with the stories of his experiences as an aide to Kwame Nkrumah. I count myself both lucky and blessed to have enjoyed his friendship.

From Pa KB Asante I learned a great deal on what made the Osagyefo such a great leader.

In one of our meetings, Mr. Asante lamented the fact that foreign envoys think nothing of commenting on our internal affairs and are audacious enough to be advising our presidents.

The old man blamed it on how our leaders have lowered themselves and cheapened the prestige of their office by becoming chummy with western envoys. He said that during his time with Nkrumah, foreign envoys would see the president ONLY when they had to present their papers or when they attended State Functions to which they have been invited.

Today, we have the president of the Republic of Ghana visiting, dining, wining, boozing and boogieing it up with a Norwegian envoy!

That’s just by the way.

I cannot believe that any aide would have had the audacity to present Kwame Nkrumah with a plagiarized text.

The reason is simple: the aide would have had enough respect for his boss’s intelligence not to do any dimwit piece of work and hand it over.

Of course, there would also have been a system in place to ensure that presidential time was not wasted on shoddy jobs. And, of course, the president would read and check texts, especially National broadcasts, before he delivered them.

What boggles my mind is that we currently have people working at the presidency, with all the perks, refusing to put in quality work to help their principal.

This is most troubling. Are they just lazy, or do they have scant regard for their boss?

But then, our elders say that goods are priced the way they are presented. No subordinate of mine would dare to insult me with any shoddy job; the reason is that s/he knows that there will be all hell to pay for such reckless effrontery!

(c) Femi Akomolafe
April 3, 2020.

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