By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Friday, January 27, 2012
The ratcheting up of open condemnation and outright verbal attacks on President Mills by his political opponents has reached alarming proportions. All these opponents seem to think that he is a stumbling block to Ghana’s development and must be kicked out of office at the 2012 elections. I disagree with them.
Mills may lack the charisma or characteristics of the strongman mentality that have shaped public opinion about contemporary Ghanaian leadership; he may be slow to act and, therefore, come across as uninspiring; he may be too interested in committing problems to the Supreme Deity and allowing his Christian bent to influence his decisions and actions, even to a fault; he may not be exerting as much control over his appointees as his critics will have us believe; and he may be governing the country under a “Better Ghana” and “Father-for-all” agenda as an “Asomdwehene” only to be rebuffed by his critics as a hypocrite; but he is not Ghana’s problem.
We (every Ghanaian who has the opportunity to contribute toward nation building but who fails to do so) are the real problem. Will we be honest enough to admit that nation-building is not to be left to the President alone, as seems to be the case involving President Mills?
Of course, as the President, he is expected to provide the kind of leadership that will galvanize the people and help solve those problems. Will we say that he lacks the acumen to do so and, therefore, is not fit to be retained in office? Where is our own contribution to complement whatever he does?
To me, President Mills has performed his task of providing the administrative machinery for the country. We shouldn’t behave as if everything in the country is at a standstill. He has appointed people to positions of trust who are expected to know what their responsibilities are and to perform them without blemish. Is that what they are doing? And if they are not, why should it be Atta Mills’ cup of tea?
Or is President Mills being blamed for choosing the wrong cadres as office holders? Where are the right ones with the requisite acumen to succeed where others have failed?
His opponents may be quick to condemn what they see as his “poor leadership skills” but they shouldn’t forget that he is a reflection of the problem that this country has grappled with over the years and will continue to do for as long as no mechanism exists for grooming national leaders. And for as long as our politics remains dirty and influenced by immorality and mediocrity, we will continue to have this kind of leaderlessness.
The truth is that all those blaming President Mills are doing so just to score cheap political points, hoping that their dreams will come true at Election 2012. I am waiting to laugh them to scorn.
The agitations by these anti-Mills elements and pressure groups such as the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) accentuate this indecent haste to score cheap political points. I say without any reservation that this AFAG is as useless as the noise its functionaries make against the incumbent. Their mischief won’t put their NPP and its Akufo-Addo in office, for all they may care to know. Even if it does, I have no doubt in my mind that it won’t take long for Akufo-Addo to begin being undercut by the very people who are today singing “Halleluia” all over the place as if that will ensure his piety.
The fault-finding penchant will erode confidence in him because that is the Ghanaian disease. We waste valuable time and resources looking for faults instead of helping our leaders solve national problems. Then, we turn round to blame them for our plight. That is the reason why the late General Acheampong’s apt description of Ghanaians as “difficult people” cannot be forgotten all too soon.
To redeem ourselves may take a long time unless we redirect our energies toward doing what will help the very leaders we put in office tackle our national problems. No matter how others assess his performance, I will continue to insist that President Mills is not Ghana’s problem; he is not the cause of anything untoward happening; nor should he be the bull’s eye for all these misguided archers banded together in the NPP and its affiliated so-called pressure groups wasting everybody’s time crying wolf all over the place. Don’t they have anything more important to do to help Ghana move forward than this wolf-crying escapade?
Not until we all rise above pettiness and thievery in national life, nobody we elect as our President can help us solve our problems. Imagine how all those with access to national resources are stealing left and right; then, turn to how those unscrupulous public officials are manipulating the system to advantage. Everything points to the fact that there is too much rot in our national life. Is it Atta Mills who is to blame for this canker? He is not the problem; you and I are.
The NPP’s Akufo-Addo may be running helter-skelter, head over heels in search of the people’s mandate to replace the incumbent; but he may just be setting himself up for a worse reception. Which of our national leaders has ever been praised from the beginning of his reign to the end of his life? Cast your mind round.
The Great Osagyefo led Ghana to gain independence but became an anathema and ended up in misery; Busia took over but died in exile; Acheampong ended up at the Kpeshie shooting range, his life snuffed out by firing squad; Fred Akuffo suffered the same fate; and Dr. Limann ended unsung.
Don’t talk about the Vice Presidents. None of them ended well. Joe de-Graft Johnson? Kow Nkensen Arkaah? Or Aliu Mahama who was humiliated by his own party when he attempted taking over from Kufuor? He hasn’t recovered from that shock nor will he regain the trust of his own political camp.
Those former leaders still living aren’t in any better light than their deceased predecessors. Rawlings is still alive but being buried under the weight of calumny that has been heaped on him. Kufuor isn’t any better, even though he seems to be enjoying what he does best, which is junketing all over the globe.
The problem is a typical Ghanaian one. Instead of supporting those we put in office, we quickly gang up against them to frustrate their efforts. Is that how to develop a country? We can’t do so if we continue to undermine those we put in office—who are a reflection of our collective national psyche, anyway. We are a nation of talkers and arm-chair critics, not doers, which is our major problem.
Are we ready to change for the better? Not until we do so, we will continue to go thirsty in the abundance of water. Our circumstance will not change for the better, not even if we put angels in office to govern our affairs. The Atta Mills will come and go but we will not cease running around in circles despite the over-abundance of all the resources that can help us turn Ghana into a heaven-on-earth. Aren’t we, then, the cause of our own woes? Let’s leave Atta Mills alone. He deserves our support and encouragement, not the kind of misplaced venom that his opponents are spitting at him.