Sheik Labaran Salifu Barry
Sheik Labaran Salifu Barry

The perceived or real excesses of Ghana’s political leadership can be well appreciated and contextualized if a system of validity is evolved to guide their actions, says the Director of Intelligence, Tema Port.

Sheik Labaran Salifu Barry insists that Governments are tempted to take unilateral decisions because, as a nation, we have not developed a State Craft that guides the actions of political leaders, hence their ability to take decisions that citizens may see as unpopular and improper.

He made this known on Tuesday, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in relations to the debate on the findings of the Emile Short Commission that inquired into the Ayawaso West Wougon by election related violence.

“The reason why we have challenges with governance style in Ghana is because we don’t have a state craft we can rely on to decide issues of national importance; our approach towards politics, our approach towards economics, which methodology to be used, etc. So we don’t have any laid down standard that Governments should conform to. So why do you blame the President if he takes unilateral decisions,” Sheik Barry asked.

Sheik Barry, who is also a maritime expert and an academic, observed that it was wise to use criteria related validity which was a system of rules and a systematic description of any step Government took.

“Whatever decision that you make you must make sure you are following the steps towards the implementation of that decision. So it means the President cannot take a decision without conforming to standards, “

Sheik Barry observed that Ghana did not have any criteria to govern the actions of Governments after sixty years of nationhood to the extent that even Commissions of Enquiries set by Presidents have no guiding principles, but the rules keep changing.

“The guiding principles could determine who should chair a Commission, should the chair come from the Ruling Party or Opposition; what type of persons should constitute that Commission and how they should present their report; is it to Parliament, or the President; should the President bring the report out, etc.?” Sheik Labaran said.

He added that, “So if there is a system or criteria that is the only time you could say that the decision of the President to set aside the report of the Emile Short Commission was a bad one, because he refused to conform to the criteria, but this is a situation in which we don’t have a criteria.”

Sheik Barry indicated that everybody had a belief about how the system should work, “That’s why some are capitalist and some socialists. But the most important thing is how to achieve stability and order of the system, economic order, political order, etc.”

The Cleric informed that when leaders were elected, they take the power to exhibit leadership, and that was why the President could determine whether his actions were calculated to protect the public by withholding information he deemed could create instability.

Sheik Barry explained that, “The actions of the President to set the report aside depended on his beliefs and assumptions or his leadership style as President. The Opposition sees it as wrong whilst the ruling party feels the President is right, which makes it political.”

He insisted that everything would be clear when Ghanaians see things academically—that leaders could govern using a hierarchical system, which means they could take unilateral decisions, or by using a subject to subject relationship, that every decision government took must come to parliament for a debate, therefore the need to come out with a criteria that would insist on what was to be done at all times.

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