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07.10.2003 Feature Article

The Leader that Ghana (yea Africa) needs

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Almost sixty years ago, the call came from Ghana unambiguous and loud. ‘Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all other things shall be added unto it.’ The call was simple but electrifying and galvanizing. As if possessed or hypnotized, we aggressively took up arms. We enthusiastically demonstrated. We indefatigably composed inspiring songs. We tirelessly matched. We defiantly and stoically went into prison. Hymns like ‘Land of our birth, we pledge to thee’ acquired new meaning and significance. Now all Africa have accomplished the objective. Political freedom as was sought has been found. I am frustrated to state that nothing concrete or worthwhile has been added to it. The reason being lack of an ideal leadership What the visionary or the dreamer Nkrumah thought was to be was added was not only a national anthem or a coat of arms or national flag. Were these? Was it only a formidable national soccer team that Nkrumah envisaged? Did Nkrumah mean a residence of a black man in the governor’s house? Did he mean only a black president with a motorcade escorts? Did he mean greediness and rampant corruption? All the above are what have been added.

We are now poorer and more pitiable than when we sought independence.

We have had tall and statuesque leaders like Acheampong. We have had short leaders like Busia or Akufo Addo. We have had fair colored leaders like Rawlings. We have had very dark leaders like Nkrumah. Now we are having a giant of a man leader like Kufour. Yet Ghana is still groping in the dark. The leader Ghana needs is not based on physical characteristics as the above list palpably shows

The leader must be as visionary just like Kwame Nkrumah. The ideal leader with a vision must have the ability to articulate clear superior alternatives to the ill-fated and hollow promises and catchy slogans that have been the lot of all politicians.

He must be as an idealist just like Jerry Rawlings. He must have passion. Voters respond to someone who knows what he believes and will fight for it. Without passion the leader cannot get the attention of the teaming and hungry electorate.

He must be educated, my concept of educated person is a person who must be tolerant and be able to listen and not loose his cool when insulted. Rawlings and Busia woefully failed in this instance.

The leader must not only be nationalistic like Joe Appiah but incorrigibly be honest as well. The leader must not be ostentatious just like the ‘socialist boys’ in the First Republic and unlike the Tsatsu clan of Rawlings era. He could emulate them if he will. They were Kofi Badu, Kofi Batsa, Eric Heyman, Kofi Baako and Kojo Addison. The leader must be prepared to lay down his life for Ghana just like Lt General Kotoka, Lt. S. B. Arthur and Odartey-Wellington. The leader must be courageous and be prepared to state the unspeakable. He must level with Ghana and Ghanaians. He should let Ghanaians know that no foreign nation or multi national organization owe Ghana a living. He must be candid in letting Ghanaians know that the IMF has not been able to transform a nation from the developing to the status of a developed country before. The leader must tell Ghanaians that the first fifty years of post independence Ghana has not been successful if not a brutal failure. The leader m! ust let Ghanaians know that we have to rely fundamentally on our own ingenuity and resources. The leader must draw the attention of Ghanaians that our educational standards are falling. He should be an educator. He should let Ghanaians know that the dead do not have influence on the lives of the living. It is therefore; wrong to fritter away fortunes on the dead and dying. He should mince no words in letting Ghanaians know that we cannot be very religious without commensurate moral excellence. Be prepared to let the nation know that it is better to be morally responsible than praying five times a day just as our Moslems brothers and sisters do or attending Mass religiously and ritually as Catholics do.

The leader must practice what he preaches. He must be honest as already stated. Honest, because many knowledgeable voters are justifiably skeptical if not cynical of politicians. Ghanaians are searching for authenticity in their leaders. Honesty means telling the truth about his own mistakes and short comings and about how Herculean it would be to clean this Aegean stable called Ghana of filthy and corruption. He should be honest to tell Ghanaians of the hard tasks it would be to change the direction of the country given the pervasive rot and lack of patriotism. Patriotism is more than rabid support of the national soccer team. It is more than patronizing the services of Ghana Airways even though their services are mediocre to say the least. Patriotism entails paying taxes. Patriotism implies refusing to give bribe for civil services. Patriotism means helping the police in their fight against crime.

The ideal leader should know that Ghanaians are tired with the well meaning but never achieved slogans that they have been bombarded with since independence. That the era of freedom fighters and the cold wars is over must be emphasized. In the arena of attracting foreign investment, Ghanaians must know that foreign businesses are here to maximize their returns and not as philanthropies.

In addition, the ideal leader must be a person of ideas. The ideal leader should put more premiums on original and workable ideas than his curriculum vitae. He should accept the fact that ideas are social and tools. He must be tribally blind. More importantly, he must be a statesman. No section of Ghana should be favored more than the others. Further more he must have the willingness to make tough and unpleasant decisions to protect Ghanaian interests. The ideal leader must have more than a platform existence. He must have his own personality and not just be the mere mouthpiece of his party. He must have the courage to change when circumstances change. Ideal leaders know that to achieve a single purpose sane men adapt their policies to circumstances. Rawlings showed us that negatively or positively.

No doubt the ideal leader must be a superman that is why we are running frantically on thread mill. Indeed, he must avoid sycophantic adulation of his party or fanatical hatred of his opponents. For, we are all in the end human beings and Ghanaians. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Nikoi Kotey
Nikoi Kotey, © 2003

The author has 23 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: NikoiKotey

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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